Durban Tours & Kwa-Zulu Natal Tours Archives - Tim Brown Tours

Durban big 5 Safari

Durban big 5 Safari – 21st-23rd July 2015   We began our Durban big 5 safari from my home as I was taking my cousins on a 3 day safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, St Lucia and Cat rehabilitation center. I was to be a great 3 day on safari from Durban! We began at 06:30 and by 09:30 we were in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and made our way down south in the hope of finding cats. It was a bonus to have a Giraffe at the gate as we entered and some Zebras on the hill.   We were very lucky as the first time I drove past this pan there was no Lions and I turned back just to check one more time all all of a sudden there was 2 Lions in a tree. This was my favorite pride of Lions the Tree climbing Lions of Hluhluwe! In the tree was an adult female and a sub adult cub under a year old.         Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Lioness in tree Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Lioness in tree                               We got some amazing footage and as the game reserve was doing road maintenance trucks where racing by and didn’t see these Lions so we mostly had them to ourselves for an hour.         Video: Tree climbing Lions on safari near Durban There was a young male cub which was resting in the branches on the tree and then he decided to come down. I also had to video this as Lions are not built for climbing down trees as they do not have locking wrists like Leopards.           Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Lion cub in tree Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Lion cub in tree                                   Video – Lion comes down from tree in Hluhluwe imfolozi game reserve We continued our Big 5 safari from Durban and found some Zebra that was great as they were crossing the road but it was hard to feel as excited after seeing Lions in the tree and spending an hour watching them before they walked over the hill.           Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Zebra Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Zebra                                   We made our way down to the bone dry Umfolozi river and patiently waited to see if we could spot anything. We watched an Impala drinking and then something caught my eye far up stream and it was a Hyena. It kept popping out onto the dry river bed and then hiding again. We were super lucky and the 3 more appeared and amazingly one ran across the riverbed with a big chunk of  what looked like skin in its mouth and the others followed.           Video: Hyena carries carcass in mouth This was now just amazing and I could not have wished for a better start having seen 2 predators before the end of the first day! We turned and made our way to the Centenary center and there was 2 bull Elephants drinking from a drain behind the center where we had our lunch! Another amazing sighting!   After enjoying lunch and a look around the shop we went back to the car park and the 2 bull Elephants were now among the cars so I had to be cautious in getting to the vehicle safely. Unbelievable stuff, we were so lucky to have now seen 4 of the Big 5 as we had seen Buffalo in the distance as well.           Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Elephant Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Elephant                                 I also forgot to mention that after the Hyenas we spotted a lovely herd of Wildebeest in Umfolozi!             Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Wildebeest Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Wildebeest                                   We raced back to Hilltop camp for check in and to get settled in the rooms but we only had 30 minuted before we needed to leave again to go to the cat rehabilitation center outside of Hluhluwe.   Before we could get to Hilltop camp though we spotted a Crocodile resting near some water in the forest.           Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Crocodile Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Crocodile                                 We were not done yet and a bit further up the road we managed to find Giraffe which was great as they were so close, then the one male walked down the road behind us. Man, what a great day, 4 of the Big 5 on this Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari tour!           Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Giraffe Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Giraffe                                 We finally arrived and quickly left Hilltop camp for the Cat rehabilitation center.   On route we spotted some Rhino.           Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Rhino   Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Rhino                               We thought that this would be all our sighting for the day but we added another of the Big 5 animals to our list as we spotted Elephants again and this time with little babies as they walked across and then down a road. We had been super blessed!             Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Herd of Elephants Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Herd of Elephants                                   We finally got the the Cat rehabilitation center near Hluhluwe and were so excited because of the amazing day we had experienced so far that we knew this experience would also be an amazing one. At the Cat rehabilitation center we interact with Cheetah and Serval in the afternoon as it is the feeding tour so they others are being fed so we cannot obviously gone in with them.             Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Claire with Cheetah at Cat rehab Hluhluwe Big 5 Safari; Claire with Cheetah at Cat rehab                                 I managed to get a great photo of Claire my cousins wife with the Cheetah cub with my camera but all the other photos I took with there camera for them with the other species of cat.   I also got some great videos…           Video – Caracal jumps for its food! Video – Serval catches food in tree We had had an amazing day and really though we could not have done any better at this point! We made our way back to Hluhluwe Imfolozi big 5 game reserve to get back to camp for some dinner. It was not 17:30 and we had 30 minuted to get back to camp.   On route the unimaginable happened as we had a great sighting of an African wild dog running down the road towards us! I was absolutely amazed that we could of had such an amazing day of sightings and it would be hard to beat the next day but non of us cared at this point we were on a high from the excitement of the day and would probably battle to sleep the night!           Video: African wild dog in Hluhluwe runs down road   We arrived back at camp and had a 30 minute rest before dinner. It was nice for me as it was my family so I could share a bottle of wine with them and talk about the amazing day we had experienced. It was for sure one of the best days of game viewing I have ever experience and it always makes it so much better if you have people to share it with. We had seen Lions in a tree, Hyenas with a carcass in there mouth, Buffalo on the road, Rhino not far from the road, Elephant 2 meters from our car, Wild dog running towards our car, Zebras crossing the road, Giraffe walking on the road and a whole host of other things!     We went off to bed and after doing some work I fell right off to sleep with a smile on my face!             Day 2: Durban big 5 Safari – 22nd July 2015       We began day two at 6am and left Hilltop camp in the dark to maximize our time in Hluhluwe Imfolozi big 5 game reserve in the hope we would see lots of amazing animals and interactions.   We made our way north first into the Hluhluwe section and were hoping to find the African wild dogs. That fell by the way side and we spotted two huge herds of Buffalo one was on the road!           Big 5 safari from Durban, Buffalo Big 5 safari from Durban, Buffalo                                   We continued to a view point and enjoyed the views before checking the Hluhluwe river area for signs of animals. We had the most amazing sighting of Rhinos which I will put up there with one of my best! There was 4 sub adult males and 2 of them were fighting.         Video – White Rhinos fighting in the wild, video 1         Big 5 safari from Durban, Rhino fighting 1 Big 5 safari from Durban, Rhino fighting 1                                   Video: White Rhinos fighting in the wild, video 2       Every time we thought they would stop either of the two Rhinos would continue the fight. In some of the videos you can see that they younger ones eye almost gets taken out. In nature Rhino males do kill each other over the rights to territory and to mate with females. Having said this, this fight was more fun and game to prepare the males for when they become adults and have to challenge a big male for territory.             Big 5 safari from Durban, Rhino fighting 2 Big 5 safari from Durban, Rhino fighting 2                                         Video: White Rhinos fighting in the wild, video 3       This was an unbelievable sighting an one I will never forget! We had been so luck to have clear visual of all of our Big 5 sightings and every other animal we saw as well.   As we drove down south now we spotted some Zebras walking down the road and the one at the front was a new specie I call it the Tailless black bummed Zebra! No, it was just a Zebra that had been in some clay mud and it tails got stuck up on its ass….(excuse the pun!)             Big 5 safari from Durban, New specie of Zebra… Big 5 safari from Durban, New specie of Zebra…                                   The day now began to merge for me a bit as the weather changed and things became hard as the rain came down. We had some respite but at time it was plain pouring with rain so much so the roads were almost flooding. This was odd as it was our winter and we usually only have rain like this in summer.   We still saw animals. It was just that even the Elephants we saw were running away from the rain! Where they will running to was another story but they were not enjoying the heavy rain.   Amidst the rain we still spotted Giraffe, Impala and Elephants.           Big 5 safari from Durban, Giraffe Big 5 safari from Durban, Giraffe                                     Big 5 safari from Durban, Elephant Big 5 safari from Durban, Elephant                                 We stopped for some lunch at the centenary center once again and had to have something warm to make us feel content. It had been a long hard day but we still had seen animals and the Rhinos really were the highlight. After lunch and a look around the “Operation Rhino museum” we began to head back to Hilltop camp for a couple hours rest before my cousins would got for another 3 hours on the open vehicle and I would do some work and meet them for dinner at 8pm.   Before arriving back we had spotted two Leopard tortoises who come out more when its wet in winter. I had to move one off the road so nobody hit it with their car. I was careful to check for any animals as I was breaking the rules but felt if it was to protect nature and considering I have been in the industry for 10 years and done walking trails before it would be fine and it was.           Big 5 safari from Durban, Moving a male Leopard tortoise off the road Big 5 safari from Durban, Moving a male Leopard tortoise off the road                                   By the time we got back to Hilltop camp had done 9 hours of big 5 safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi and my cousins added the extra 3 hours to make it a 12 hour day of safari in Africa!     I was grateful to be able to attend to my emails and begin the blog posts I needed to do and it was great to meet my family later for dinner and wine.     We all had a great night sleep and would be ready for day 3!               Day 3: Durban big 5 Safari – 23rd July 2015         We got up a little later the next day and had breakfast at 7am before checking out and a final 3.5 hours of big 5 safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.     Our first sighting was of Elephants crossing the road in front of us. They were males which we trying to keep up with the breeding herd which had already gone over the next hill.         Hluhluwe Big 5 safari from Durban, Elephant Hluhluwe Big 5 safari from Durban, Elephant                                 We continued on and I had one thing in mind and that was to try and find the African wild dogs for my family in the day time! Before we could get there we had a great sighting of kudu silhouetted against the African sun!               Hluhluwe Big 5 safari from Durban, Silouet of Kudu Hluhluwe Big 5 safari from Durban, Silouet of Kudu                                 We went to the usual are we look now near to where they have a den sight and we spotted fresh scat on the road so we waiting around and drove up and down and used our ears.   All of a sudden I heard the squeaks and it was a mad rush as they were 20 meters down the road crossing. We got there and more came across right in front of us. It happened so fast that vehicle that arrived 1 minute later missed everything. We were so lucky again. We had now seen 4 of the Big 5 and African wild dogs twice the most endangered carnivore in Africa!           Hluhluwe Big 5 safari from Durban, African Wild Dog crosses road Hluhluwe Big 5 safari from Durban, African Wild Dog crosses road                                   This was becoming some kind of story which you would tell your kids when they were old enough about your experience in Africa. I just could not believe how lucky we had been during the 3 day of Safari from Durban.     Finally some calm and we drove for a little while with out seeing much except Impala and then we spotted a Juvenile Martial Eagle which I managed to capture in flight!             Hluhluwe Big 5 safari from Durban, Juv Martial eagle takes off Hluhluwe Big 5 safari from Durban, Juv Martial eagle takes off                                 We now  began to make our way out of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and spotted some Warthogs and Baboons. The funniest part was this male Baboon was sitting on a flimsy dead branch surveying the area and it snapped under his weight! I managed to take a photo of this as he fell to the ground not so gracefully!               Hluhluwe Big 5 safari from Durban, Baboon falls Hluhluwe Big 5 safari from Durban, Baboon falls                                 We exited Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve after any incredible 3 days and made our way to St Lucia estuary for lunch and our 2 hour boat cruise to view Hippos, Crocodiles as well as bird life.   After an hour drive we arrived and settled in for some lunch before what was another great cruise on St Lucia Estuary.             St Lucia wetlands safari from Durban, Hippos in estuary St Lucia wetlands safari from Durban, Hippos in estuary                                   We spotted Hippos galore and amazing bird life, these 2 Crocodiles where one of the amazing things we saw in the 2 hours of this relaxing St Lucia boat tour.             St Lucia wetlands safari from Durban, Crocodiles at St Lucia estuary St Lucia wetlands safari from Durban, Crocodiles at St Lucia estuary                                 I made a lovely short video of one of the massive pods of Hippos where the babies left the water that we saw at St Lucia and you will be able to see it below.           Video – Baby Hippos leave the water at St Lucia estuary                 We had been so lucky and began our cruise back to the jetty where we still spotted the Hippos and Crocodiles. We had a great sighting of an African fish eagle being mobbed by some Grey Headed Gulls.               St Lucia wetlands safari from Durban, Africa fish eagle gets mobbed St Lucia wetlands safari from Durban, Africa fish eagle gets mobbed                                 It was now time to drop my family off and make sure they got the car from the car rental place before leaving them at there lovely guesthouse in St Lucia. It is always hard to say goodbye and having spent 4 amazing days with my family starting in the Drakensberg mountains and the a 3 day safari from Durban really meant we would have memories that we share forever.   Thank you to Jean-Marc and Claire for the visit and my wife for arranging the stay at our home as well as the snak packs. It had been a very special time for us all.     If you wish to join one of this tours click the links below to the 2 tours we did.     Drakensberg, Sani pass day tour.   Hluhluwe Imfolozi big 5, 3 day safari tour.

Day trip from Durban to St Lucia wetlands 13th May 2015

Day trip from Durban to St Lucia wetlands 13th May 2015   I collected my client from Hillcrest, West of Durban city center and we began our 3 hour drive up to Isimangeliso wetland park aka St Lucia Wetland park South Africa’s first world heritage site. On route I covered the history of Durban, kwaZulu Natal and South Africa as well as the history of St Lucia and the surrounding area.   We arrived in St Lucia for the early boat cruise at 09:15 and got settled in to enjoy the day and the 2 hour ride on the boat.   We had some amazing sightings of Hippos and Crocodiles so much so that the videos I took I had to put in this blog post. Before we got to the Estuary I must mention we stopped to look at a sign I always like to show my clients, see below:         Durban day tour; St Lucia interesting sign for Hippos Durban day tour; St Lucia interesting sign for Hippos                             Once we got going on the boat cruise on our day trip from Durban we spotted some Hippos and a couple of Crocodiles and lots of bird life. The water on the estuary was like glass it was so smooth.           Durban day tour; Nile Crocodile in St Lucia estuary Durban day tour; Nile Crocodile in St Lucia estuary                             These amazing creatures the Crocodile have around 45 replacements of teeth in their lifetime which can span 100 years depending on what they eat and where they are found. The best way of aging a Crocodile is by cutting on of the ridges off the back and counting the number of rings on it like you would do with a tree.   Further up stream there was Hippos and lots of them.           Video – Durban day tour – Hippos calling at St Lucia       Durban day tour; Pod of Hippos showing aggression Durban day tour; Pod of Hippos showing aggression                                 Video – Day trip from Durban – Pod of Hippos get aggressive with each other               We also captured this photo of a Goliath heron in flight over the estuary which was really beautiful.           Durban day tour; Goliath heron in flight over St Lucia estuary Durban day tour; Goliath heron in flight over St Lucia estuary                               Our cruise of St Lucia Estuary continued and we spotted a Goliath Heron walking on the backs of Hippos which was great. I even made a video, the only problem was I missed the best moment. Just as I stopped the video one Hippo lunged at the Goliath Heron almost grabbing it in its mouth! It was amazing to see!       Video – Durban day trip – Goliath Heron walks on the back of the Hippos             Durban day tour; Goliath heron walking on Hippos backs Durban day tour; Goliath heron walking on Hippos backs                               We were lucky on the Durban day trip to also get a Hippos on a couple of occasions with its mouth open. This is usually a sign of aggression and to tell us not to get any closer. The Hippos here have had the boats around them for 30 years so they are used to us but that does not mean they wont express their feelings.           Video -Durban day safari tour – Hippo bulls size each other up Durban day tour; Hippo with mouth open Durban day tour; Hippo with mouth open                               Video – Durban day tour – Hippo marks his territory     At we made our way back we saw the second largest vegetated sand dune in the world Maphelane South of the Estuary. We also were lucky enough to see an African Fish eagle perched on a branch.           Durban day tour; African fish eagle Durban day tour; African fish eagle                                     After the amazing 2 hours on the St Lucia estuary we made our way through St Lucia town to the Estuary mouth for the board walk which goes to the Indian ocean. It is a lovely walk and from here you can see Maphelane, the Indian ocean, the national park/World heritage site and the Estuary!         Durban day tour; Maphelane and the Indian ocean Durban day tour; Maphelane and the Indian ocean                                   After showing my client on our Durban day tour/trip the Titanium in the sand and venturing onto the beach we returned into St Lucia town for some lunch and then made our way to the Crocodile breeding center at the other end of St Lucia.   Here we saw lots of Crocodile and I run over some of the information of the area and why the Crocodiles are being bred etc. Here too there are interesting signs like this one below:         Durban day tour; St Lucia interesting sign for crocodiles Durban day tour; St Lucia interesting sign for crocodiles                               It was not the end of the time in St Lucia and we had to get the clients back early as they were meeting family for dinner. When ever I leave a tour early something always happens to make it a longer day than usual and today was no different. What was a 3 hour trip back to Durban took up over 4.5 hour because of one accident on the highway! Can you believe it. Non the less it was still worth it as we all had a great time and the tour from Durban was a huge success.  

Durban day tour – Ocean Princess cruise – 1 May 2015

Durban day tour – Ocean Princess cruise – 1 May 2015   I met my clients in Durban at the harbour where their Cruise ship the Ocean Princess docked for the day before heading to East London for their Durban day tour. I was lucky as my clients were ready to go and the first ones off the ship which really made us keep ahead of things during the day. We began with the 45 minute drive to Tala game reserve a small reserve outside of Durban with a very high density of animals. Tala is always a great place to visit if you have limited time and you want to maximize your game viewing on a Durban day tour. In the 45 minutes to the game reserve I covered as much of the clients questions as well as the History of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa as I could just to paint the amazing picture that is Durban!   Jeff I looked up more information on Jan Smuts as I promised I would and turns out he was the 2nd Prime Minister of South Africa and he was the only man to sign both peace treaties ending the 1st and 2nd World Wars! See link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jan_Smuts   Back to our Durban day tour; We arrived at Tala game reserve and spotted the Rhinos before we even got to the gate. The Rhinos had their security team watching over them like hawks but fortunately we were early enough that we did not have their vehicles surrounding the Rhinos so we got great photos.       Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Rhino Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Rhino                             As we continued on we found a large dazzle of Zebra and one solitary male Wildebeest with them with a lot of Red Billed Ox Peckers on their backs as these birds remove the ticks off the bodies of the animals. What a lovely relationship where the bird gets a meal and the animal get cleaned! I also took a video of the Zebras and Wildebeest on this Durban day tour so others could see what we saw.       Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Zebra Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Zebra                               Video of Zebra and Wildebeest on our Durban day tour           After this great sighting we spotted some Ostriches, Impala and had a great sighting of the large Kudu antelope. The one male was trying to mate with the females which is always interesting as the behavior of the animal changes so much. The male Kudu will first sniff the female which encourages he to urinate, he then tastes the urine and inhales the scent over the Jacobson organ on the upper pallet of the mouth. This will then translate to him whether the female is in season and ready for mating. Even if she is she isn’t always that cooperative!         Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Kudu Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Kudu                             We had done really well to this point so we stopped at the lodge for a rest room break and to stretch the legs before we continued with our Durban day tour for the Ocean Princess ship. Our next commitment was to find the Giraffes and we did and a lot of them at that. In fact the had a huge Tower or journey of  Giraffe to enjoy and this made us all very happy!         Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Giraffe Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Giraffe                               Watching Giraffe feed is always interesting and one female actually was looking down to the ground trying to find bones so she could chew on them to get extra calcium in her diet. This is common with Giraffe and great to see on a Durban day tour.   Our next en-devour was to find the Hippos in the dam which actually proved to be harder than you think. We did spot just one which kept popping its head above the water and quickly darting under. We tried our best even with the assistance of the head ranger allowing me to take a road which only Tala vehicle could take which was very kind of him.       Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Hippo Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Hippo                               It was now time to leave Tala game reserve and make our way into the Valley of 1000 Hills which is a beautiful area so I took the scenic route as we had so much time due to my clients being so speedy in getting off the ship. It was great to explain more on the Zulu people and the new developments of houses built post apartheid for the previously disadvantaged communities. We got to see how some of our people are living on a day to day basis.   We arrived at our destination in the valley of 1000 hills for the remainder of our Durban day tour and we began it with lunch with a view at the Boma restaurant. Again I have to thank my guests for getting off the ship so fast as we were able to get in and have lunch before the ships big bus tours arrived and cluttered the place.   We all enjoyed our lunch and we then did a very rushed 15 minutes around the reptile center lead by myself so that we could be early for the Zulu Cultural tour and get seated before the big bus tour crowd!         Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Crocodiles Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Crocodiles                             After we were seated we could catch our breath and then the show began with the traditional way a young Zulu man would propose marriage to a girl. We also got to watch the young man visiting with the Sangoma(fortune teller) before he would have to pay Ilobola which is the dowry paid by the man to marry his wife.       Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Sangoma Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Sangoma                             Next on our Durban day tour was some of the traditional Zulu dancing and it was nice to see the “small shield dance” this dance was introduced by King Shaka when he was king between 1816 and 1828. It was spectacular with the view behind the dancers.       Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Small shield dance Durban day tour for Ocean Princess Cruise; Small shield dance                             No visit to a Zulu cultural village on a Durban day tour is complete with out a video of the dancing so I have put a clip below of the spectacle.       Video of Zulu dancing on our Durban day tour.            After this amazing show we had to begin the 45 minute trip back to Durban after our tour. Everyone seemed happy with how our Durban day tour had gone and we arrived back at the ship on time completing what had been a great trip out of Durban!    

Durban 3 day overnight safari tour

Durban 3 day overnight safari tour   I met my clients in Durban city and this was where we would begin our Durban 3 day overnight safari tour. After the general introductions the 4 of us began this amazing 3 day safari from Durban.   We headed up the coastal road away from the city and as it was Freedom day in South Africa everyone was somewhere but the roads! This made my drive much easier as I had no city traffic to deal with and could begin some free flowing conversation about the History of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa. The usual being covered, I then also explained about each population group and how they come to be here as well as all the plantation we would see on route to our first stop the cat rehabilitation center, outside of Hluhluwe.   It had now been 3 hours on the road and it was nice to stop to see something new and stretch the legs further to what we did at the couple of stops we took along the way. We began our tour of the cat rehabilitation center at 10:30 and it was here that my clients would be able to interact with 4 species of endangered cats, namely the Serval, Caracal, African wild cat and Cheetah.         Durban overnight safari; The family Durban overnight safari; The family                                           After this amazing experience we moved on to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve the oldest proclaimed national park in South Africa established in 1895. It would be here that we would be spending the majority of our 3 days enjoying the best nature would show us. Our Durban 3 day safari tour had begun and after going over the basic regulations of the the game reserve we headed in to see what animals we could find.   Usually in the middle of the day it is always quiet but today was not, their was a lot of activity around the first 2 kilometers of the national park and we did much better with the game viewing than I thought.   Our first sighting was of Zebra and a warthog just before we crossed over the electrified fence into the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.           Durban overnight safari; Zebra Durban overnight safari; Zebra                               These Zebra we actually very interesting as the foul was grooming the mother and visa versa during the time we were watching them. They looked in such good health and really posed for us. We then drove a hundred meters up the road an found two bull elephants near the road. This was great and the biggest of the males was in Musth and had high levels of Testosterone in his body which made him dribble urine and weep from his temporal glands. He smelled terrible!         Durban overnight safari; Elephant Durban overnight safari; Elephant                               The picture of this Bull Elephant was a real cracker and even now when I look at it I love the definition around the ears! We continued on and found a couple of herds of Buffalo which were resting in the open grassy areas, they were enjoying the cooler weather and had no idea what would be coming later during our safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.         Durban overnight safari; Buffalo Durban overnight safari; Buffalo                               It was now time to get to Hilltop camp in the Hluhluwe section of the national park to have some lunch and check ourselves in. Upon arrival we settled in and then had some lunch with a view of the game reserve. We then headed to our rooms where I off loaded the luggage and then we took an hours rest before heading back out to see what we could find.   At 4pm we met again and began the safari into the north to see what we could find. It was great as we began to spot Nyala and Rhino before we had a great sighting of Rhinos. We watched these Rhino feeding and then they crossed the road in front of us!         Durban overnight safari; Baby Rhino Durban overnight safari; Baby Rhino                                 Video of Rhinos crossing the road on front of us in Hluhluwe.           We then continued up the road and were lucky enough to spot that a herd of Buffaloes on the hill were running around. We looked with the binoculars and saw they were being chased and were chasing Lions. It was amazing, it was such a dark afternoon and light was really fading but we saw a little bit of them. I found the best way to see them was with the camera on full zoom and to record the whole things. The best part was that they seemed to kill a Buffalo probably a young one as a big Lion crossed the road in front of us and made his way up the hill to the others.         Durban overnight safari; Lion Durban overnight safari; Lion                             Video of Male Lion walking towards the pride on our Durban 3 day safari tour.         Next we got the male Lions chasing the Buffalo around and visa versa which was great to see. Sadly the quality of the video is not great but it is still visible.       Video of Lions chasing Buffalo and visa versa         The cherry on the top was the male Lion reaching the kill and smashing one of the Lionesses that did not give him the piece of meat he wanted!     Video of Lion smashing one of the Lionesses.       It had been a great day of safari from Durban and the rain began to fall settling the dust the Buffalo had created by running around. It was now time for us to leave the sighting as we couldn’t see much now anyway and we made our way back to the lodge to get some dinner.   Dinner was great as usual a lovely buffet spread and then it was time for bed.     Day 2: Durban 3 day overnight safari tour   We had a massive storm during the night which meant some sections of all rivers were flooding and not passable! We met for breakfast and then went out for 3-4 hours of safari game drive, before we could even leave the camp of Hilltop we spotted some Baboon, Vervet Monkeys and Samango monkeys. Once we headed further onto the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve we spotted a really cool Leopard tortoise which was on the side of the road.       Durban overnight safari; Baboons and Leopard Tortoise Durban overnight safari; Baboons and Leopard Tortoise                                         We drove around for quite some time with out find much except Nyala and then as the day heated up we began spotting animals. We spotted a few bull Buffaloes one of which lay down and rolled over before pulling his tongue out at us.         Durban overnight safari; Buffalo   Durban overnight safari; Buffalo                                         Next we managed to find a Rhino which again crossed the road in front of us. This was the first time I used a GoPro (Chinese version) to film any wild life.         Durban overnight safari; Wide Rhino Durban overnight safari; Wide Rhino                               You will notice in the above picture that this Rhino has a wide mouth which is where the original translation of the name comes from. They Dutch called them the “Wyd Rhinoster” meaning the “wide Rhino” referring to this square mouth used for eating grass.       Rhino runs across road on our Safari tour from Durban, South Africa           As we left the Rhino to enjoy his day I had notices that the tracks of the Elephant bulls from the previous day had crossed into an area we could not access. I felt a little disappointed until about 3 minutes later as we found them. They must have looped back around and we had the big musth bull Elephant on the road in front of us. Remember is you respect nature it will respect you back.         Durban overnight safari; Elephant Durban overnight safari; Elephant                               Video: Learn about Elephants on Safari with Tim Brown Tours in South Africa           Video: Safari from Durban, South Africa; Elephant bull lets it all hang out   After these amazing video clips of this Bull Elephant we continued our Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and we spotted Giraffe which was great as we hadn’t yet seen any. The picture didn’t turn out to well so I left it out as we saw more later in the afternoon. We returned to camp to have a rest and then we heading back out at 15:30 for 2.5 hour to see what other animals we could spot.     Again things were quiet at first and then we crossed the heavy flowing Hluhluwe river before before spotting some Rhinos on a dirt road loop. It was getting a little frustrating as I kept spotting tracks of Giraffe but could not find them until finally I did…       Durban overnight safari; Giraffe Durban overnight safari; Giraffe                                 Video: Giraffe crosses road on our Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari tour from Durban           We also had great sightings of the sunset and Buffalo. One of the best sightings this afternoon was the Rhino in the mud wallow as I spotted a Terrapin heading to his groin to removed ticks. This is a behavior that is not always noticed and people don’t look out for it and also don’t know that Terrapins are carnivores!       Durban overnight safari; Rhino asleep Durban overnight safari; Rhino asleep                             Video: Durban safari tour; Terrapin removes ticks off a Rhino in a mud wallow         We made our way back to the lodge for some dinner and a well deserved rest. We were all pretty tired and had one more big day to go.     Day 3: Durban 3 day overnight safari tour     We began with collecting luggage and then a buffet breakfast before moving out of the lodge and onto the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. We had some amazing luck with Giraffe, Buffalo and Elephant in the first 30 minutes.       Durban overnight safari; Elephant Durban overnight safari; Elephant                               We were lucky with this bull Elephant as he was relaxed and right next to the road so we had a great show with him. It was then a matter of minutes and we spotted some Elephants hiding in the bushes. After assessing the situation I realised they wanted to cross the road so I reversed back and they crossed right in front of us making it a special sighting!         Video: Herd of Elephants cross road on our Durban 3 day safari tour in Hluhluwe           This was an amazing sighting and we were very happy about seeing the small babies as we had only seen bull Elephants on our our Durban safari tour so far. As we continued we found a Nile Crocodile in a section of the river. We didn’t stay to long as we needed to exit to get to Isimangeliso wetland park and do the 2 hour boat cruise on the St Lucia estuary.   The cruise began very well with Hippos and Crocodiles in a very short space of time, we then cruised up the St Lucia Estuary and spotted lots and lots of Hippos and a few more Crocodiles.           Durban overnight safari; Hippos at St Lucia Durban overnight safari; Hippos at St Lucia                             The sightings of Crocodiles were just as good and we really enjoyed the sun shine on the boat cruise. There was a little bit of bird life in the Mangrove swamps which was also great to see.       Durban overnight safari; Crocodile at St Lucia estuary Durban overnight safari; Crocodile at St Lucia estuary                               You will see in the above picture of the crocodile that his mouth is open, this is to help regulate his body temperature a bit like a dog except Crocodiles do not have tongues just a gular flap which stops the water from going down their throats.   It was not time to get some lunch in the ocean village of St Lucia, I also heard that their was activity at the estuary mouth and that finally they would be reopening the estuary to the ocean. It close naturally in 2007 but with out the salt water this has effected the habitat somewhat and cause the reeds to take over the estuary. Lunch was great and so was looking at the new estuary with a small opening to the ocean. We then began our long 2.5 hour drive back to Durban where I returned my clients to there accommodation in one piece.   It had been another great overnight safari tour from Durban in KwaZulu Natal and we had all enjoyed ourselves.     

Safari from Durban, South Africa to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park

Safari from Durban, South Africa to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park     I met my clients in Durban for their 3 day safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park in South Africa. It is the oldest preserve in Africa and home to the Big 5 the 5 most dangerous animals to hunt on foot. Obviously we were here for ecotourism as Hunting is not an option in a National park like Hluhluwe Imfolozi. We began at the Cat rehabilitation center in Hluhluwe and enjoyed the experience of interacting with some of the Cats including African wild cat, Serval and Cheetah adults and cubs. The Caracal we do not touch as they are together for mating which can make them potentially more aggressive.   I was lucky enough to have done some back to back Durban safari tours so I was feeling the way the Cheetah in the picture was looking.     Safari from Durban in South Africa; Inside the mouth of a Cheetah Safari from Durban in South Africa; Inside the mouth of a Cheetah                                 My clients also got to interact with the Cheetah hands on which is always an amazing experience and they enjoyed it just as much as every other client I have take has. This is a must in you are in the area and wish to do a Durban safari tour be it and overnight safari tour or just a day safari tour.         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Touching a Cheetah Safari from Durban in South Africa; Touching a Cheetah                               Next it was time to head into the World famous Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for our safari tour from Durban. It wasn’t long before we spotted some animals and they were the Buffalo, Zebra and Impala oh and Warthogs. The Buffalo were a bit for off so I didn’t photograph them but the Zebra really posed for us and this made for a great start to our Safari from Durban.         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Zebra near the road Safari from Durban in South Africa; Zebra near the road                                 After the dazzle of Zebra we continued and spotted a Black Rhino which was really lucky. The only problem was that he kept going behind the bushes and was already so far away that the picture was really bad. A black Rhino is rare so I decided to put the picture up anyway.         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Black Rhino too far away Safari from Durban in South Africa; Black Rhino too far away                                 We then made our way to the camp where we settled in for lunch and checked in. Again I heard from my clients that they had seen all the complaints about Hilltop camp and the roads but they were surprised that it was nothing like what some of the reviews say.   After checking in we had a short rest before heading back out to see what animals we could find. It started really quiet and then I got word of Lions in the area we were heading into. As always when you are trying to get somewhere you end up seeing so many things which hinders your progress! It was still good as we got this calf Rhino with his mother near to the road.         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Rhino calf Safari from Durban in South Africa; Rhino calf                                   We also found Nyala and Buffalo but we continued and there they were, a pride of Lions in the distance sitting in the dried up Hluhluwe river. At first it was a far sighting then we found another spot where we could see them a little better. The photos were not great but it was good enough and very special to see a couple of the Lions sitting on a rock. We also had a Rhino come and drink while we were watching the Lions.         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Lions in the Hluhluwe River bed Safari from Durban in South Africa; Lions in the Hluhluwe River bed                                       We then returned to the view sight where we had a look at the view. Down in the river bed was 4 Rhinos having a little go at each other so my clients watched this through the binoculars and I took a couple photos for them.           Safari from Durban in South Africa; My clients looking at Rhino in the Hluhluwe river Safari from Durban in South Africa; My clients looking at Rhino in the Hluhluwe river                                 It had been a good day. When you see Lions on the first day it helps and makes things easier for the rest of the tour. We continued back up to the camp for some dinner and on route spotted a crash of 6 Rhino. It was a lovely sighting and this really capped off the day for us on safari in Africa.         Day 2:  Safari from Durban, South Africa to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park     We began day two at 6am when the gates opened and were hoping to find Elephants and Giraffe. It was strange as we saw lots of evidence that they were around but did not find them near to the road. As we then continued we heard that the African Wild dogs were in the area but there was no sign of them so after waiting around for 20 minute I decided to take a dirt road perpendicular to where we were and we found the wild dogs. It was awesome as one crossed the road in front of us before joining the rest all with full bellies.         Safari from Durban in South Africa; African Wild dogs Safari from Durban in South Africa; African Wild dogs                                       After enjoying the African wild dogs we continued and found Rhino in the distance as well as Zebra close to the vehicle. We had lots of Nyala sightings that we just gave up stopping unless it was a clear shot. It had been a quiet morning safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve but we had seen the most endangered carnivore in Africa so we were not unhappy at all.         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Zebra Safari from Durban in South Africa; Zebra                                 We were getting closer to Hilltop camp where we would be having our breakfast and we finally spotted a giraffe male near to the road. He was great posing for us and walking next to us. They are such amazing creatures full of character.         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Giraffe Safari from Durban in South Africa; Giraffe                                 Once we returned we enjoyed the breakfast and took some time out from the Safari and rested until after lunch when we headed back out again to see what we could find. We actually we desperate for Elephant but nature has a strange was of leveling you and showing you that even though we are the most successful animal we still cannot have everything our way. This is still a good thing.   We however found another male Giraffe which looks like he could have been the same male from in the morning as well as Rhino in the distance.         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Giraffe crossing road Safari from Durban in South Africa; Giraffe crossing road                                 As we continued we spotted a whole troop of Baboon and some Nyala males having a joust with one another. The Baboons we really great and one mother had a tiny baby with her as she sat in the tree watching us. Our safari from Durban in South Africa was really great and its moments like these you remember how great they are!         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Chacma Baboon and baby Safari from Durban in South Africa; Chacma Baboon and baby                                 I was feeling a little frustrated that we still hadn’t found Elephants but it was just one of those things, life is all about timing and we had seen such amazing other animals we could not really be sad. We still tried, and then we saw Buffalo below Hilltop camp.         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Buffalo Safari from Durban in South Africa; Buffalo                               After this it began to rain heavier and we still tried for another 35 minuted for Elephant with no luck. We did however enjoy a spectacular rainbow which was not only going a full semi circle but was a double rainbow. It was so beautiful we could not even capture the beauty in a picture but we tried. Our safari was coming to an end and we spotted a Baboon on the road outside Hilltop camp. The best part was that he walked right next to us and was inline with the rainbow. People always say there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow but this was a Baboon at the end of our Rainbow!         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Baboon at end of Rainbow Safari from Durban in South Africa; Baboon at end of Rainbow                               We got back to camp and then I got the client onto the open vehicle safari that would hopefully find then Elephant but if not I would have to in the last hour and a half we would have the following day.   I went off to do the blog post I writing now and we would meet the next day for breakfast and check out.         Day 3:  Safari from Durban, South Africa to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park     Day 3 of our Safari from Durban began with luggage collection and then a great breakfast before the final pressure took shape realizing that in the 2 days prior we had not seen Elephant. This was not normal for me so my blood pressure was so high I had a headache. I rushed off to try and maximize the 1.5 hours we had left to find an Elephant or 3 and thankfully the Elephant Gods looked down on us favorably and we found a Bull Elephant right next to the road it was great as he was relaxed and feeding away!         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Elephant feeding Safari from Durban in South Africa; Elephant feeding                                 We then had this great sighting of a Big bull Elephant coming down the tar road towards us. He looked angry but it was just the angle of the road which gave him the loping walk down towards us. At first I couldn’t tell as I was holding the camera trying to get the video for the clients.         Video of Elephant walking down the road towards us.             At this point the adrenaline was pumping and we were shaking with excitement as we were only 5 minutes from the gate and having to leave the game reserve. We had such great sighting in the last 1.5 hours of our Durban safari that we could not believe it. We even spotted this male Rhino with and Impala in front of him.         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Rhino and Impala Safari from Durban in South Africa; Rhino and Impala                                 We then were pumped up and seconds later a we saw a mother Rhino near the road and I figured she and her calf would cross the road in front of us so I waited and bang! That is what the did and at some rate of knots!         Video of mother Rhino and Calf running across road in front of us.             It was not time to exit and make our way to St Lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park which is South Africa’s first world heritage site and has great biodiversity and we had great sightings! We boarded a 10 am, 2 hour Hippos and Crocodile boat tour in inside 5 minutes we had seen both!         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Crocodiles Safari from Durban in South Africa; Crocodiles                                 These two crocodile were actually laying on top of one another but my picture was really out of focus so I have to settle for this one after the one Crocodile moved to the water. Next it was pod upon pod of Hippos that we saw, one of the best being a large group up stream.         Safari from Durban in South Africa; Hippos Safari from Durban in South Africa; Hippos                                 We had a lot more sightings including a Giant Kingfisher catching a fish, a Saddle Billed Stork as well as a Goliath Heron. The best was yet to come as on our sail back to the jetty I spotted a Shark not one but 2 shark fins, we stopped and watched and saw them swimming around a bit. They could have been mating or hunting fish together. I was so excited I got the picture and even a video. Please excuse the South Africans making all the noise in the back ground!           Safari from Durban in South Africa; Saddle billed stork and Zambezi Shark Safari from Durban in South Africa; Saddle billed stork and Zambezi Shark                                             Video of Zambezi Sharks swimming in St Lucia estuary – Isimangeliso Wetland Park               My  work was done and we returned to St Lucia town for some lunch and then headed back to the Airport where my clients would be heading back home. It has turned out to be a great Durban overnight safari with us having seen 45 of the Big 5 and Wild Dogs in Hluhluwe Imfolozi oh and Black Rhino. At St Lucia the special was the Zambezi sharks the first time I have successfully filmed them in the St Lucia estuary.    

Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal – Hluhluwe Imfolozi overnight safari tour

Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal – Hluhluwe Imfolozi overnight safari tour   After collecting my clients from Durban for their Durban overnight safari in KwaZulu Natal to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, we headed up to the Cat rehabilitation center outside of hluhluwe were we would begin our first day of safari from Durban. It was here that we interacted with 4 endangered species of cat, Serval, Caracal, African Wild cat and Cheetah! The Cheetah was the big attraction and the Cheetah cub, Rain was very playful this wonderful day. Our day had only just begun but we were expecting a good one. The weather was cool and the clouds were casting a shadow on the African soil but no rain drop would ever dampen the spirits of our Safari from Durban.       Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal; Cheetah Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal; Cheetah                               After this amazing experience we heading into the world famous and African oldest proclaimed game reserve, Hluhluwe Imfolozi. It was here we would be spending 3 great days and today would be the first of them.   Our first sighting was of Warthog and lots of them which was a little unusual but still great. As we continue our Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal we found 2 White Rhino males having a little fight over a girl. Men will be men and we always will fight for the ladies! It was actually very cool as the Rhino went at it I got a couple of photos and made a video to prove we were there!     Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal; Rhino fight Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal; Rhino fight                                   Video of Rhinos fighting in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.               As we left the Rhino to fight the good fight we headed of to Hilltop camp in Hluhluwe for some lunch and to check into the lovely lodge. It was here that we decided the plans for the rest of the day and I am really glad the clients chose to go back out at 15:30 with me. It was an amazing time. I actually remember after 30 minutes into our drive from the lodge saying “well you may have to pray to see some animals” and pray I think my clients did as we had some amazing sightings that even I will never forget!   Due to national geographic and other documentary companies most of my clients believe that animals do not go up on hills ie: Giraffe do not climb hills etc. Not the case at all.   We spotted the most amazing sighting of Elephant and then Wild Dogs chasing Giraffe and a Zebra! yes you heard correct! It was amazing and I was so happy about it you have no idea. What a way to begin day one of our 3 day in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.     Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal; Wild dogs chasing Giraffe Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal; Wild dogs chasing Giraffe                                 Video of Wild Dogs chasing Giraffe in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.             This was an amazing sight and everything scattered from the Baboons that took to the trees and the Baby Giraffe who’s mother came to support it. Non were hurt but that didn’t mean it wasn’t exciting for us all. Wow I still have no words to describe the feeling of natures force!         Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal; Wild dogs Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal; Wild dogs                               The sighting of the African Wild dogs was amazing but we had to continue to find the Elephant which we just around the corner. We watched them disappear over the ridge before having another crazy sighting of Black Rhino which is also hugely endangered! We had now seen Africa’s most endangered carnivore and the Black Rhino which their are only 200 in the whole 960 square kilometers of national park! Wow is all I can say about our Durban overnight safari in KwaZulu Natal.         Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal; Black Rhino mother and calf Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal; Black Rhino mother and calf                                           Video of Black Rhino mother and calf.               It was now time to end this amazing Durban safari tour with a stop at the lodge for dinner and then bed. It was a great meal that we all enjoyed and after a while we were all feeling tired and went off to bed.       Day 2: Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal – Hluhluwe Imfolozi overnight safari tour       We began day 2 with some breakfast and then we headed out on full day safari to see what we could find. It didn’t take long and we were in luck again as we spotted Baboon close to the camp on the road.         Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal; Baboon Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal; Baboon                                 We moved on heading south to try get to the areas where the grass is a little shorter and where we could hopefully find cats. Before we could get all that way down there we spotted two Elephant bulls near the road and the one decided to break a big branch off a tree. It was amazing to watch and film.         Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal; Tree meets Elephant Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal; Tree meets Elephant                                 Video of Elephant breaking branch on our Durban safari tour.               We then continued further south on our Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve safari and didn’t see much for a while which was still fine as we had such lovely views over the game reserve. A bit later after crossing the umfolozi river we found a big male Rhino not far from us so we enjoyed watching him feed for a bit before continuing on. Durban safaris in KwaZulu  Natal can be amazing and special you just have to be patient and know the best areas to look for animals. Always go with I guide or you will miss so much.           Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal; Rhino Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal; Rhino                             We then saw a lot of general game including Giraffe, Zebra, Warthog and even some Buffalo bulls before we had a really special sighting of a mother Cheetah and her two cubs. It was really amazing and they were so relaxed and play full as well as moved around a lot! This was awesome to see on a Safari in KwaZulu Natal.         Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal; Cheetah mother and cubs Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal; Cheetah mother and cubs                                           Video of Cheetah on our KwaZulu Natal safari tour.             We had such a great sighting we were now feeling a lot more content and we moved on to see what else we could find. We started with some Giraffe and Rhinos.       Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal Giraffe Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal Giraffe                                 We also spotted some herds of Wildebeest near to the road before the Cheetah which I forgot to mention! They too were great and seemed to be just relaxing in the open areas.           Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal; Wildebeest Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal; Wildebeest                                   We had a great sighting just after the Giraffe of a crash of Rhino it was here that we filmed some Rhino behaviour where the young male Rhino was rubbing himself on a tree stump after having been in a mud wallow to remove parasites off the body and also to have a general scratch.           Video of Rhino rubbing himself on our Durban overnight safari tour.             After this we moved on to find that a pride of Lion had just nailed a Warthog and they were just out of sight all we could see was a flashing tail every so often. At one moment we got one Lioness stand up but no photos were takes. That aside the sounds were spectacular and it was on our Durban safari tour.   We heading on to the Centenary center for some lunch and then we made our way back to Hilltop camp for some rest. Two of my clients went on the evening game drive and got to see a herd of Elephant, which must have been great. It was time for some rest after dinner.         Day 3: Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal – Hluhluwe Imfolozi overnight safari tour       After collecting my clients luggage we had some breakfast and then headed back out for a final 3 hours of safari and we were very lucky we found Lions!         Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal; Lions Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal; Lions                                             This was such an enjoyable sighting as we recapped on most of the other animals but we needed to see Lions so it was great. We also returned twice to see them and each time one moved around on the last look we saw the final Lioness walk away. What a lovely sighting to see in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve on our Durban safari tour of KwaZulu Natal.   Later we found and old male Buffalo which was just walking towards the Lions as if he was happy to die.         Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal; Buffalo Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal; Buffalo                                 Next was St Lucia Isimangeliso Wetland Park, it was here that we would be taking a 2 hour boat cruise enjoying Hippos and Crocodiles. We first had some lunch which was lovely and then we boarded the boat. Within minutes we had the craziest thing happen as a male Water Buck small in front of our boat from the Eastern Shores to the Western Shores. There was a lot of Crocodiles around and we were thinking he may get taken by one of the bigger Crocodiles which wasn’t to far away.         Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal; Waterbuck swims across St Lucia estuary with Crocodiles near by Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal; Waterbuck swims across St Lucia estuary with Crocodiles near by                                             Video or Water Buck at St Lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park swimming across the Estuary!             Next we came across lots and lots of pods of Hippos and one herd was on the land near the shoreline. It was very exciting and we all enjoyed the great Bird life as well as the Mangrove swamps, Hippos and Crocodiles.         Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal; Hippos outside the estuary Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal; Hippos outside the estuary                               It was now time to head back to Durban and return the clients to their respective hotels before heading off home myself to wash the car and get ready for the next days 3 day Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. We had lots of great memories to take home with us, our whole animal sighting experience had been amazing!    

Durban half day tour; Valley of 1000 Hills and City tour

Durban half day tour; Valley of 1000 Hills and City tour 13th April 2015   I met my clients in Durban at the docks where the Queen Mary 2 ship stopped for the day. Having left an hour before my collection time I was sure I would be nice and early but I was wrong. A big fender bender on the N3 just before Durban city cost me a lot of time and I ended up being late! Very embarrassing! At least I had the clients number so I could call ahead to let them know. Our Durban half day tour began and we headed up into the Valley of 1000 hills and to the township of KwaNyuswa. It was here that I did a little township tour and showed the clients how the majority of South Africans live. It was a great opportunity to explain to my clients about the great Zulu King Shaka and the structures of Zulu society. We also had a look at the views and everyone we went past waved back at us and seemed really happy which I always find incredible as its always the poorest of the poor which are happiest. After this we continued our Durban half day tour at Phezulu safari park and began with the Zulu cultural village tour and watched the singing and dancing of the Zulus.   Durban half day tour; Valley of 1000 Hills Durban half day tour; Valley of 1000 Hills                             The Zulu cultural village was packed and I had to make a plan to find a place for my clients to sit and enjoy the show. It was then time for the Zulu family to shine and show us more about their amazing culture.     Durban half day tour; Sangoma shows the herb Imphepho Durban half day tour; Sangoma shows the herb Imphepho                             Above the Sangoma shows the guests the herb Imphepho which is burned like incense to ward off evil spirits and to call upon the ancestors. On a Durban half day tour the Zulu Cultural village is a must visit. We then got to enjoy both the Zulu ladies and Zulu men showing off their skills with their traditional Zulu dance.     Durban half day tour; Zulu men dancing Durban half day tour; Zulu men dancing                             The views over the valley of 1000 hills behind the dancers is an attraction on its own and I am sure the clients enjoyed it. The Zulu dancers never seem to tire or appear frustrated at having to do the same song and dance 4 times a day it is a real spectacle.       Durban half day tour; Zulu dancing Durban half day tour; Zulu dancing                               Video of the Zulu dancing on our Durban half day tour         After this amazing experience on our Durban half day tour we headed for the City of Durban for our City tour. I stopped in the Berea area to show my clients the more affluent communities as well as the Globe off the top end of Florida road the party street in Durban. It was here that we got out to look at the amazing view over the city and to see the Moses Mabida Stadium.       Durban half day tour; Moses Mabida stadium and Moses Mabida statue Durban half day tour; Moses Mabida stadium and Moses Mabida statue                                         For those that don’t know Moses Mabida was one of the many ANC stalwarts which fought against the apartheid government. The new stadium was named after him. This is an amazing stadium and we took the sky car to the roof of the Stadium were we enjoyed the views over the city, another of the must sees if you only have a half day tour of Durban.       Durban half day tour; Best view of Durban from the Stadium roof Durban half day tour; Best view of Durban from the Stadium roof                             The above picture is of one of the many view you can see on a half day Durban tour from the roof of the Moses Mabida stadium. It looks out to the point and the point at which the ships enter the harbour of Durban or as it was once know Rio de Natal. It was time now to cover the Golden Mile and see the new Promenade as well as the Rickshas and craft market scattered along the beautiful beach front. It was lovely and I am glad my clients went away with a new idea of what Durban is really like. What a great Durban half day tour.  

Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve safaris; Hluhluwe Tree climbing Lions

Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve safaris; Hluhluwe Tree climbing Lions   Durban 2 day safari; Tree climbing Lions of Hluhluwe                               Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve – National Park History   Africa’s oldest game reserve, Hluhluwe Imfolozi was established in 1895 after the South African government and a couple of influential conservationists realised that the continuous hunting of wildlife was causing them to run out of raw materials like Ivory (Elephant tusk) for the trading between Europe, Africa and Asia. Its is am ideal game reserve to visit for a Safari while in Durban as it is a Big 5 game reserve, Malaria free and near Durban.   Nagana and Malaria free! Why did they over hunt this area? Actually it was more the fact that there was an issue with Tsetse flies which was believed to be caused by the animals. The Tsetse fly caused Sleeping sickness or “Nagana” which affected the Blood of animals and Humans causing fever, loss in weight, weakness, Anemia and potentially death. This was so feared by the Settlers that they killed vast numbers of game(animals) literally 100 000′s in order to get rid of this disease. It was only in the 1940′s that DDT (an agricultural toxin) was used by being sprayed over the vast area of Hluhluwe Imfolozi’s 96 000 Hectare reserve. This not only killed off the Tsetse fly but also the Anopheles mosquito which carried Malaria(female only). This meant that today we are very lucky to take our clients on Safaris near Durban and not have any issues with Malaria! Hluhluwe Imfolozi tree climbing Lions    We are blessed in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to have a Pride of Lions which has a strange ability to climb trees. This is not usual in Lions as Lions do not have a locking mechanism in their wrists to come down from a tree in a graceful manner. They are also big animals and to see them taking to the trees is amazing. On our Safaris from Durban you may get lucky enough to see this spectacle.   Video of the Tree climbing Lions of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve       There is a couple reasons this pride of Lions would have turned to climbing trees and the most common reason would be that the area that they hold a territory in is too very thick and it makes it easier for them to see there prey item by being up high. Having said all of this the Big Lions do not take to the tree so this is something that the Lionesses and the young Lions are doing. As they get bigger the risk of falling when they come down the tree and breaking there necks is higher.   Durban 5 Day Tour; Tree climbing Lions of Hluhluwe                               Behaviour like this of the Hluhluwe Imfolozi tree climbing Lions has also been reported in east Africa but as mentioned is very uncommon due to the risks of coming down. These cats are like our domestic cats happy to go up but to come down is a slippy affair!   Video of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserves tree climbing Lions   Just to see these amazing creature even on the ground on one of our Durban safari tour is amazing but when they are seen up in the tree it is even more amazing and special for us.   King Shaka’s Hunting Pits.  With in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve there is some amazing scars which can be seen on either Wilderness Trails or from the air. The reason behind these great scars at the confluence of the Black and White Umfolozi rivers is due to the greatest Zulu King, Shaka! King Shaka reigned supreme of the vast area of Zululand between 1816 and 1828 defeating and taking over smaller Black African Tribes. He became known by the tribes as “the Hyena man” and the Cape Colonist called him the “Black Napoleon”. Shaka instructed his “Impis”(Worriers/Soldiers) to construct these great pits which were used to chase vast numbers on animals into once a year. The young Impis would then spear the animals killing them as a sign of there courage.  It appears that there could have been more to this non-selective killing of animals. Shaka being as great as he was would never want anyone to be a stronger King than he was or to defeat him.  It seems that he could have used his hunting pits to prevent there being much food for intruders who entered the area wishing to dethrone the great Shaka!   Stone age settlements. Throughout Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve there are signs of Stone age activities with Artifacts being found over they years. It was also an area where early metal work took place and on the Western side of Masinda lodge with in the game reserve we are told Iron Ore was found and formed into spears and Assagais by the Zulus.   Flora and Fauna of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve is home to the Big 5 – Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Rhino and Elephant. Apart from these amazing creatures, Hluhluwe Imfolozi has Hippos, Giraffe, Zebra, Cheetah, African Wild Dog and a vast number of Antelope Species. This is not all that you can expect to see in this amazing nature reserve. With around 380 species of birds, Mountainous areas, Open areas and views to die for you will never get bored if you are guided through this amazing reserve. Hluhluwe section:  The Hluhluwe Section of the game reserve is vastly different to the Umfolozi section. Hluhluwe is more scenic with more rolling hills and forests. It contains Savanna and some grasslands but more so mountainous with great views over the Valleys. Hluhluwe is an ideal spot to look for Elephant, Buffalo, Leopard as well as stunning bird life.   Umfolozi section: The Umfolozi sections of the game reserve is a mixture of Acacia thorn veld and grasslands. We come across many Tamboti thickets and riverine forests which can also make this a good spot to look for Leopard, Lion, Cheetah and African Wild Dog.   Overall between the two sections of reserve we have the chance of seeing the Big 5 and all the other animals mentioned during your Durban Safari Tour.   Operation Rhino. During the early years of the game reserves establishment from 1895 there was still a vast amount of hunting that took place. With the years of punishment to Rhino populations and other species this was getting out of hand and a program was put into place in the 1850′s to bring back the Black and White Rhino populations from the brink of extinction. It was this program which also meant bringing in new genetics from other areas to prevent in breeding that really was a huge success. Today in the 21st  century the White Rhino population in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve is the highest density of any reserve in the world. This is a true feather in the cap for KwaZulu-Natal National parks(Ezimvelo KZN Wildlife). Lodging in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. There are two major camps/lodges within Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve on one of which is fenced and has catering, this is Hilltop camp. All the other camps/lodges are self catering facilities and the Bush camps require a Guide to be with you during your stay, for your safety due to no fencing and human nature to explore.   Hilltop camp is my lodge of choice, being a 3 star facility with Wifi, TV, Shop, Bar and restaurant all set in the forest on the highest point in the game reserve. This of course means great views day and night(of the Stars). Below are a few picture of Hilltop camp.

Durban day safari – Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Durban day safari – Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve 4th April 2015   We began our Durban day safari in Kloof where I collected one of my clients, then we moved on South of Durban for another two before our final pick up in Umhlanga near Gateway. Once I covered the basic itinerary and handed out snack packs and waters to the group we began the 2.5 hour journey(safari) to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve which is World famous for having the highest density of Rhino around. We were not disappointed at all! On route I covered some of the history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and the History of the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve on of our national parks here is South Africa. Their is also a lot of interesting history behind the area as to how every different colour and creed came to be here in Durban as well as the early Zulu history which is one of my favourite topics! I always get concerned that so early in the morning I bombard my clients with history but it does pass the time and in my opinion very important to understand the area and its people as well as the struggles we face and have faced in the past. When we finally arrived at the game reserve we stopped for a rest and then headed into the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to see what animals we could find. The first thing we saw was some Vervet monkeys in and around a Marula tree. The one monkey sat in the fork of the tree.   Durban day safari, Vervet monkey in Marula tree Durban day safari, Vervet monkey in Marula tree                             After this it was a matter of minutes and we found more animals actually Rhino but pretty far from the road so for a start this was great. We also spotted Nyala crossing the road in front of us and some Zebra with Wildebeest near to the road.   Durban day safari, Zebra Durban day safari, Zebra                               After enjoying watching these Zebra for a while and after explaining a few interesting facts about them we continued on towards the Umfolozi river where I was hoping we would find some animals. As some of the mud wallows were beginning to dry up with the lack of rain the hope that animals would be drawn to the major rivers was higher. Before we could get there we saw a Bull Elephant in the distance which being our first Elephant for the day we stopped to chat about it before moving on to the river. Below is some of the pictures of the animals from the gate to the Elephant on our Durban day safari.   Durban day safari, Rhino, Nyala and Elephant Durban day safari, Rhino, Nyala and Elephant                                         It was time to check the river out and it was here we spotted 2 old Buffalo bulls resting in the water and chewing the cud. These creatures are one of the Big 5 and are rated as the most dangerous of them. You will have to take a Durban day safari with Tim Brown Tours to find out why!   Durban day safari, Buffalo bulls and a Blacksmith Lapwing Durban day safari, Buffalo bulls and a Blacksmith Lapwing                               The Blacksmith Lapwing is the little bird you see on the right of the one Buffalos bum. It was also here at the river where we spotted a tiny Nile Crocodile he only looked a year or two old.   Durban day safari, Nile Crocodile Durban day safari, Nile Crocodile                               Moving along from the Umfolozi river we headed South west and began to try and see if we could find other animals and perhaps closer to the road. As we went along we stopped for a quick restroom break and then saw loads of Impalas. There after we found a couple of Rhinos next to the road. Jokes aside about 3-5 meters from the vehicle and just grazing away, not a care in the world. Wow, we were lucky and our safari from Durban was really looking good. Again it was a matter on minutes and we spotted another Rhino and a Wildebeest.   Durban day safari, Rhino standing and Rhino yawning Durban day safari, Rhino standing and Rhino yawning                                           I had to put a compilation together as we had seen so many Rhinos on this day safari from Durban. The one Rhino in the picture above was laying down and then got up and had a big yawn! That was really cool!   We continued on and finally came around a corner and there was an Elephant right next to the road feeding. I stopped and shouted “Elephant” and it always great at first as some client say where even though the Elephant is right in front of us. It was a great sighting and we watched him feeding before continuing on to a view site over the river.   Durban day safari, Elephant Durban day safari, Elephant                               We also spotted Baboons and the best part about this was that the clients were asking about the big red bum of the female and I was saying it is because some are in season and for some reason the males are attracted to this swollen red bum. Before I could finish the one big male jumped up on his hind legs and proved to us in broad daylight that he fancied the lady Baboon with the big red bum! It was short and sweet and left my client in stitches of laughter having just witnessed nature at its best.   Durban day safari, Animal selection Durban day safari, Animal selection                                         We finally got to the river section where we could get out and enjoy the view over the river, it was here we spotted a Black Rhino I was so stoked as they are so rare at about 200 left in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. I quickly got a picture. The funniest thing was we stood next to a couple of South Africans and they had no idea that they were looking at a Black Rhino they were not sure and just thought well it must be the common White Rhino! This is a sure sign that even the locals need to come on a Durban day safari or Durban day tour to learn more about what is on our own doorstep.   Durban day safari, Black Rhino and White Rhino in mud wallow Durban day safari, Black Rhino and White Rhino in mud wallow                                           Black Rhino is the top picture notice the smaller size, rounded mouth, almost no ears (due to parasites), Injury from parasites on side of body (common in Black Rhino) and head fixed higher up! Why am I telling you all of this? You need to come on one of my Durban safaris and I will explain which we see these amazing animals.   If you look at the previous picture you will see that there are Vultures sunning themselves in the top image these are White Backed Vultures and the sunning helps kill parasites on there feathers.   Our Durban day safari had been so good up to this point especially when you look at what we had seen and now it was time to head back up to the Centenary center for lunch. It was on route that we had 3 other things on our minds, Giraffe, Elephant and Lions. Could we some home get more and better quality sightings??? I knew we should with the Elephant, but Giraffe had been a frustration 2 days prior on my other day safari from Durban as had the Lions. We lived in hope, and then we knocked one off the list with Giraffe up a hill which was great to see. My clients and I were happy. I don’t thing my clients really realise the pressure and stress I am under to try and provide for them as many animals as possible. It is the same feeling that a man has when he is under pressure to provide for his family!   Durban day safari, Giraffe Durban day safari, Giraffe                               Lunch was amazing and I loved my Ostrich steak roll! My clients were kind enough to get me an Espresso Ice cream which must have had coffee in it as I was feeling alive again and ready to nail these animals that we wanted. We were in great luck and really blessed with the next sightings we had! I really was not expecting them at all.   We found a Elephant bull near the road and he began to run his bum on a tree which was so cool to see then he walked over to another tree a Marula and ripped of a branch before breaking wind(farting). It was amazing! This was not the only Elephant we saw as we found another 6 or 8 of them it then went from a Rhino day to and Elephant day!   Durban day safari, Elephants everywhere Durban day safari, Elephants everywhere                                           Durban day safari – Elephant rubs his bum on a tree Video         Durban day safari – Elephant pulls a branch from tree then farts Video       This was pure madness and we raced off to try and find some more Giraffe. I bumped into an old friend of mine and fellow guide who actually mentioned that Lions had been resting very far from the road in the same spot for 2 days. So with this new information I raced off to see if I could some how relocate Lions that you could not see with then naked eye!   We finally got there and with the Binoculars I could see then and showed them to the clients. Still a Lion is a Lion so we were very happy and a realised that it was clearer to see them if you made a video clip so that is what I did. Sadly its shaky but that is also fine. I will never be disappointed with a Lion sighting and we were all over the moon.      Durban day safari, Lions a million miles away with cubs Durban day safari, Lions a million miles away with cubs                               What you will notice is to the bottom right of the Lioness sitting upright is a tiny cub which I only noticed when I looked at the pictures at home. Wow that is amazing! What a great Durban day safari we had!     Video Durban day safari – Lions as far as my camera can see!       Wow what an amazing Durban day safari, how many times do you see 4 of the Big 5 and the Quality of the sightings being so good! It was now just the formalities of getting back to Durban and returning my clients safely to their home in Durban. If you wish to take a Durban safari click this link to reserve your dates: BOOK YOU TOUR!  

Big 5 Safari from Durban to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Big 5 Safari from Durban to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve 2nd April 2015   We began our Big 5 safari from Durban in Ballito one of the lovely suburbs of Durban. After meeting my clients we began the 2.5 hour drive to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve covering the history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and surrounding areas. This was meant to be a 2.5 hour drive but as it was the Easter weekend we usually find lots more monkeys driving cars and this means lots more accidents. Unfortunately we came across one of these and has to turn back and enter the game reserve at another gate costing us 40 minutes. This was no major problem though and we arrived at Nyalazi gate in the Umfolozi section of the game reserve and began our Big 5 safari from Durban. Our first sighting was of a Buffalo bull but he was pretty far away so the pictures didn’t really warrant being posted here. We enjoyed some of the scenery before spotting Rhinos in the distance and the some Zebra. Waterbuck and Rhebuck on a ridge a lot closer to the road.   Big 5 Safari from Durban – Zebra Big 5 Safari from Durban – Zebra                               These two Zebra were having a little scratch against one another and resting their head on each others back. After spending some time with them we moved on to cross the Black Umfolozi river and just before here we spotted our first Impalas and Rhinos. One of the baby Rhinos was Suckling but again it was hard to get a clear picture.   At the Umfolozi river itself on our big 5 safari from Durban we spotted a Bull Elephant again he was far away! I was now a little frustrated but knew we had all day and the animals would eventually show up and so they did. The next sighting was of a Rhino male mud wallowing with the Red Billed Oxpeckers on his back. This was amazing to see as he was in the open about 15 meters for the road. Our safari was hotting up!   Big 5 Safari from Durban – Rhino in mud wallow Big 5 Safari from Durban – Rhino in mud wallow                               After spending time with him we spotted another 3 Rhinos in the area and lots more Impala. Moving further South stopped at a lovely view point over the White Umfolozi river and one we continued on we found a Wildebeest with some Impalas. It is always interesting as the Male Wildebeest if they have not acquired females for themselves will hang around other species like the Impala to have that added safety of number around them. The more eyes and ears I always say the better!   Big 5 Safari from Durban – Wildebeest and Impala Big 5 Safari from Durban – Wildebeest and Impala                               Next was the Zebras turn with the Impala! We spotted 3 male Zebra so a small bachelor herd relaxing with the Impala for the same reason! Safety! Zebra are always interesting creatures as they are the only animal in the world known to kick and bite at each other and at predators. They are also beautiful to look at with stripes which are all individual, like our thumb prints!   Big 5 Safari from Durban – Zebra and Impala Big 5 Safari from Durban – Zebra and Impala                               We made our way around the river as I had seen tracks of a herd of Elephant moving through this big loop but sadly they did not come out the other side this was bad luck for us for the moment but still we had had a great big 5 safari from Durban.   We stopped at one of the view sights again and were luck as down in this stretch of river was a big herd of Buffalo which were just resting the day away. Always lovely to see so many animals together on any of our big 5 safaris.   Big 5 Safari from Durban – Buffalo in Umfolozi river Big 5 Safari from Durban – Buffalo in Umfolozi river                               We were all getting hungry now so it was time to complete the loop and get back up to the lunch stop at the Centenary center built for the Centenary of the game reserve in 1995. Yes that mean that Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve was established in 1895! Making it the oldest game reserve in Africa.   Before we could get back to lunch we found some Baboon playing on the road, I was to slow with the camera and could only get this one male in the bush looking sadly into the sky perhaps wishing for rain!   Big 5 Safari from Durban – Baboon Big 5 Safari from Durban – Baboon                               Finally lunch came and we had seen so much to this point but still wished for more closer sightings of Elephant and some Giraffe! We enjoyed the lunch and looked at the museum before heading back out on our big 5 Safari from Durban. We had a great start with Elephants crossing the road in front of us and a couple kilometers later 2 bull elephants came together to share a mud wallow but only for drinking! It was an amazing spectacle. We watched these Elephant for about 15 minutes as they were on the road and we couldn’t got anywhere but mostly because it was a special sighting. It was so special I made a 5 minuted video to share with you all!   Big 5 Safari from Durban – Elephants Big 5 Safari from Durban – Elephants                               I could not have wished for a better Elephant sighting on this enjoyable day on Safari from Durban! It was really special and here is the video!   Video of Elephants drinking on the road during our big 5 Safari from Durban.       After this we move on to try find Giraffe but time was running out and we only saw more Buffalo and Elephants! It was not a major problem and we headed for the gate and exited onto the main national road which heads out of the game reserve. It was at this point we had 2 kilometers to find Giraffe and that is exactly what I did! I spotted them far away that even with a powerful zoom on my camera it was not clear in the picture but we had seen them and now everyone was happy about our big 5 safari from Durban.   Big 5 Safari from Durban – Giraffe Big 5 Safari from Durban – Giraffe                               With all the satisfaction in the world we began the 2.5 hour drive back to Ballito where I would be returning my clients, of course we had to stop for coffee and a refuel alone the way but it had been an amazing big 5 safari from Durban and we all had smiles on our faces. If you wish to enjoy a big 5 safari from Durban join me Tim Brown Tours and we will show you what KwaZulu Natal has to offer!