Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve Archives - Tim Brown Tours

Hluhluwe “Big 5” game reserve

Hluhluwe “Big 5” game reserve safari     Our Hluhluwe “Big 5” game reserve safari from Durban began in the city where I collected my clients. It was to be a Hluhluwe game reserve safari to remember! Our day began at 06:30 and we made our way to the world famous Hluhluwe game reserve and the Umfolozi game reserve in the south. After covering the major history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa we arrived at Hluhluwe game reserve and it was only 09:30. As it was a cool day I was really hoping we would find cats but as nature has it, you have to be at the right place at the right time.   Our Hluhluwe game reserve safari began at Nyalazi gate and we got a tip off on Lions for the lady at the gate. That was very sweet of her, she could have just said nothing! We drove only 1 kilometer and found a young male Lion literally 5 meters off the road. It was so exciting we could hardly contain ourselves but we managed and enjoyed him for 10 minutes before spotting his brother on the other side. We were very luck as the first one we found crossed the road to his brother then they both crossed over one in front of us before it started to rain. They them moved for the riverbed and we moved off as well. Wow what a start to a Durban day safari in Hluhluwe game reserve.             Hluhluwe game reserve; Young male Lion Hluhluwe game reserve; Young male Lion             Video: Hluhluwe “Big 5” game reserve; Young male Lions on our safari from Durban               We left the Hluhluwe game reserve and entered the Umfolozi game reserve in the south in the hope we would find Elephant and a few other species. We were now spotting things far off but to be honest the Lions had really kept our hopes up for the day and it was the best way to start a safari from Durban. After the Lions we spotted Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo in the distance making it already 4 of the Big 5 that we had seen in this single day!           Umfolozi game reserve; Buffalo Umfolozi game reserve; Buffalo           We crossed over the Umfolozi river or shall we say dry riverbed after the lack of rainfall we have had in the past 8 years… We didn’t spend to much time watching this old male Buffalo before we spotted some Baboons walkinging down the road and near the road.           Umfolozi game reserve; Baboon Umfolozi game reserve; Baboon             It was now time to get a far down south as we could to give our selves a chance. I spoke with a couple of guiding mates through the day in passing and the both said, “Its quiet”. They were not wrong but we had luck on our side and kept chipping away and finding animals. I must say I had a great group that really helped me spotting, it is always important to remember the guide can only look in one direction at a time… We then found some Giraffe it was a mother and her baby which was laying down resting in the shade.             Umfolozi game reserve; Giraffe Umfolozi game reserve; Giraffe           African safaris are so rewarding if you have the patients to take in your surroundings when in a game reserve like Hluhluwe Imfolozi. We were not thinking Rhino! and boy did we get luck when we spotted a mother Rhino and her tiny calf of about 6 months or less. This was one of the best sighting I have had of a baby Rhino in over 10 years! This little fella lay down on the road in front of us and waiting for his mom to cross over. They he got up and lay back down on the other side of the road! It was brilliant and I was so glad that I documented it on our African safari in Hluhluwe and Umfolozi game reserve.           Umfolozi game reserve; Rhino calf sleeping in the road Umfolozi game reserve; Rhino calf sleeping in the road             Video: Hluhluwe game reserve; Rhino calf rests on road in front of us                   After this amazing sighting on our African safari in Hluhluwe game reserve we thought we couldn’t possibly have any more luck. This was wrong on me to thing and a we came around a corner in the road we spotted a Leopard which is supposed to be nocturnal about 30 meters off the road. As Leopards do they do not stick around and as we stopped the vehicle he held his pose and the scuttled off into the thick but back to the river.    It was a very sweet sighting for me as it have been a 6 month drought since my last Leopard sighting but I have made a silly mistake which I actually will never regret but may actually use again in the future now. I have said to my guests after the Lions sighting that if we were to see a Leopard I would buy everyone lunch as it is so rare to see them and in the day time, damn near impossible! We had no chance for photos but our African safari in Hluhluwe game reserve had been completed and the Big 5 had been achieved for the second time in 5 years for me on a day safari from Durban.  We were all stoked and could not believed our luck but we still wanted the Elephant closer. As we headed back from lunch we spotted Giraffe, Wildebeest, Impala and even Nyala. Eventually as we crossed back over the Umfolozi river we spotted Elephant but it was a 60 second sighting and he was gone!   We stopped for lunch and I said to my clients that I was sure that Elephant will be waiting at the gate for us. We decided after lunch to continued till 15:30 before making our way back to the gate and with all the road works I got a puncture! We that is life and with the help of one of my clients I changed it and we were up and going in 15-20 minutes.   What did this day not have?  We got to the gate to get cleaned up and depart and this is what was waiting for us!           Umfolozi game reserve; Elephant Umfolozi game reserve; Elephant           Wow what a day in the African bush under the African sun, Rain, wind and with the big 5! We could not really have wished for a better day on our African safari from Durban! We all were very tired and made our way back to Durban with big 5 smiles one our faces! The Big 5 in one drive! Legendary safari with Tim Brown Tours!

Hluhluwe game reserve safari

Hluhluwe game reserve safari 15th October 2015     After having a few days off from being on the road I began another Hluhluwe game reserve safari for a couple from America who were out in South Africa for a holiday. An African safari is always the best way to see the best that Africa has to offer and Hluhluwe game reserve which is a Big 5 reserve is the best place to visit if you are in the Durban, KwaZulu Natal area. Hluhluwe game reserve is the oldest protected reserve in Africa and home to the Big 5, the 5 most dangerous animals to hunt on foot. The Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Elephant and Rhino. We are very fortunate to have the Hluhluwe game reserve on the door step of Durban. Hluhluwe game reserve is a mere 2.5 hours away from Durban city and as this blog post will show in one day on an African safari, is the best place to visit with Tim Brown Tours.   We began this amazing day in Durban where I met my clients and on route to the Hluhluwe game reserve I covered the history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa. As South Africa and particularly Durban is a melting pot of difference cultures their is so much to talk about before we even get to experience the Hluhluwe game reserve on our African safari.   We arrived earlier than I expected at Hluhluwe game reserve and I had an idea where Lions could be from discussing with some guide friends the day before. We went straight there but the Lions were no where near where I had been told. I figured I would try another 5 km up the road to be sure and just as I was about to turn back we spotted them feeding on a Buffalo about 100 meter off the main highway which cuts through the middle of the Hluhluwe game reserve in the North and the Umfolozi game reserve in the South.             Hluhluwe game reserve; Lions on a kill Hluhluwe game reserve; Lions on a kill                                   Video: Hluhluwe game reserve; Lions feeding on Buffalo       It is a bit of a misconception that Vultures always circle when there is a kill. They circle and drop down waiting in the near by trees and on the group for the predators to finish. A lot of the time you can see vultures circling and you assume they have found a carcass. Most of the time it is just them catching the thermals after leaving there roosting spot and using the thermals to conserve energy circling upwards before heading off to find a carcass.   These Lions had killed this Buffalo a couple day before and we got to see 5 Lions in total. There were two big males and 3 Lioness.             Hluhluwe game reserve; Lions feeding on a Buffalo Hluhluwe game reserve; Lions feeding on a Buffalo                                         Video: Hluhluwe game reserve: Lions on a Buffalo kill             After spending almost 45 minutes with these Lions and watching them feed and move around we decided be better head into the gate of the Hluhluwe game reserve and investigate roads that we can only use by paying the entrance. What was so funny was that on this one stretch of road we had seen 3 of the Big 5, Buffalo, Lions and Elephant.   We entered the Hluhluwe game reserve and had some luck as we spotted a dazzle of Zebra walking down the road towards us.             Hluhluwe game reserve; Zebra walking down road Hluhluwe game reserve; Zebra walking down road                                   We had a great sighting of these Zebra and we made our way further north in Hluhluwe game reserve to and area where Lions had been seen. Sadly for us we were 10 minutes to late and the Lions had moved away with all the vehicle pressure so we only saw then far off. It was not all lost as I spotted some Giraffe and Rhino and then we spotted an Elephant. It really was turning out to be a great safari in Hluhluwe game reserve. As the pictures were not a good as we would get later in the day we continued on with our safari and headed back south out of the Hluhluwe game reserve in the Umfolozi game reserve. It was here we spotted Rhino and one was marking his territory.             Hluhluwe game reserve; Rhino marks his territory Hluhluwe game reserve; Rhino marks his territory                                   The male Rhinos kick their dung and scatter it out in what we call a midden which is a regular spot within their territory that the use to mark out their boundaries. The scattering gets their scent into their feet as well and they can then walk putting more scent down as they go.   We were trying to get ourselves down to the Umfolozi river but kept seeing things like Giraffe and Impala so it took longer than we expected. At one of the view points over the Umfolozi river we spotted Lions far down stream and nearer Buffalo and Rhino together laying in a small patch of water on the sand.             Hluhluwe game reserve; Buffalo and Rhino in the riverbed Hluhluwe game reserve; Buffalo and Rhino in the riverbed                                   We enjoyed the fresh air and stretching of our legs before continuing on to the actual river crossing. As we were beginning the crossing of the bridge to check the river bed we all gasped as literally 15 meters from the bridge was two big bull Elephants which had dug a whole in the sand and were drinking the fresher water below.   It was a great sighting as there was about 6 more Elephants further down stream as well. We mostly enjoyed the two nearest to us and spent a lot of time with them.           Hluhluwe game reserve; Elephant in the riverbed Hluhluwe game reserve; Elephant in the riverbed                                 It was now already 13:30 and we still had to get back to the luncheon stop but non of us were complaining as we had just seen so many amazing animals in Hluhluwe game reserve on our African safari.   We left the Elephants and continued our African Safari and with another stoke of good fortune spotted a male Giraffe near the road. We waiting as I felt he would cross in front of us and we were lucky as he did!             Hluhluwe game reserve; Giraffe crosses road Hluhluwe game reserve; Giraffe crosses road                                 This was now the Cherry on the top on our day and having spend so much time seeing amazing sighting we would only now have time to get some lunch, look at the craft market and make out way back to the Lions we had originally seen to see what was happening.   We had a great lunch and then re-visited the Lions. They had left the carcass to the Vultures and between the three of us we managed to eventually spot where they were resting under a tree very far away. I was lucky to have some great eyes in the car the things I missed my clients spotted which was great and made the day that much more fun and exciting.   We departed for Durban and chatted about the amazing day and any other questions that my clients wishes to ask.   Thank you to my clients for joining me on this African safari to Hluhluwe game reserve I hope you enjoyed the blog post just as much a I enjoyed seeing all those amazing animals with you.

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.

Hluhluwe Overnight safari

Hluhluwe Overnight safari   Our Hluhluwe overnight safari began in Durban where I met my clients. We then began the journey to the cat rehabilitation center to interact with Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and African Wild cat.   It is always an amazing experience to interact hands on with these great endangered species and very memorable!   One of the Cheetah cubs was very playful and hugged one of my clients all very exciting when on Safari in Africa.         Hluhluwe overnight safari; Cheetah cubs     Hluhluwe overnight safari; Cheetah cubs                                 In the above picture of the Cheetah cubs they look really chilled out but this was before they noticed the bags people had with them…   After an amazing time interacting with these creatures we made our way to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 game reserve only 20 minutes away. We arrived at the gate and found that even though it was the middle of the day and warm there were still animals out and about.         Hluhluwe overnight safari; Zebra Hluhluwe overnight safari; Zebra                             The above picture was one of Zebra which aside of Warthogs and Impala was one of the first sightings we had on day 1. We continued and it was not long before we spotted a herd of Elephant. That herd of Elephant very quickly became 3 herds of Elephant making it a crazy start to our 3 day safari from Durban.         Hluhluwe overnight safari; Elephant herd Hluhluwe overnight safari; Elephant herd                             We then finally made it to Hilltop camp where we settled in for some lunch before I checked us in and got the clients settled in there rooms before we made our way back out onto Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to see what else we could find.   It again wasn’t long before we spotted more animals one of the best being this old Buffalo bull.         Hluhluwe overnight safari; Old Buffalo bull Hluhluwe overnight safari; Old Buffalo bull                               It is always a better option to do a Hluhluwe overnight safari than a Hluhluwe day safari as the late afternoon is always a good time to see animals and the morning.   Next on the cards was more Elephant and one young lad was interested in displaying to us and sniffing away.         Hluhluwe overnight safari; Elephant Hluhluwe overnight safari; Elephant                             We were actually trying hard to look for the African Wild dogs which have a den in the Hluhluwe section of the reserve but sadly we had no luck. They are the most endangered carnivore in Africa so its expected that you need a bit of luck to be at the right place at the right time on a Hluhluwe overnight safari.   We did however had the most amazing sighting of two huge female Rhinos which have been hanging out with each other for at least 4 years.       Video – Hluhluwe overnight safari – Rhino with twisted horn crosses road. What was so funny about the whole sighting was the fact that over lunch I had been telling my clients about this exact Rhino with the abnormal horn growth and that I hadn’t seen her in ages! So what you think about you can bring about!         Hluhluwe overnight safari; Rhino Hluhluwe overnight safari; Rhino                               After having these Rhino walk around and then cross the road in front of us our spirits were high. I made a second video to show you below as well. What a great Safari from Durban.       Video- Hluhluwe safari tour – Rhino with twisted horn and another female It had been an amazing first day safari from Durban and we made our way back to Hilltop camp for some dinner and rest before the second day of safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.   Dinner was amazing again!     Day 2: Hluhluwe overnight safari     We began after a great breakfast and made our way down south into the Umfolozi section of the game reserve. This time of the year the lack of rain has hit us hard and the reserve is very dry and in particular the Umfolozi section. We were hoping that if we got to the river sections that we would be able to find animals there.   We didn’t stop to much for the animals on the hills that we saw but we were very luck when we visited a view site and spotted 3-4 Hyena and a huge number of Vultures feeding on a dead Buffalo! This was the real highlight of the days safari.     Video – Durban safari – Hyenas feed on Buffalo carcass in Hluhluwe Imfolozi We must have spent half and hour enjoying this sighting and chatting about what was going on. What a great start to the Hluhluwe overnight safari on day 2.         Hluhluwe overnight safari; Hyena charges at Vultures Hluhluwe overnight safari; Hyena charges at Vultures                                 Video – Learn more about Hyenas as they chase vultures off a Buffalo carcass in Hluhluwe, and I talk about cannibalism This obviously kept us in high spirits through the quiet times in the day but we did come across a great sighting of Zebra on the road not long after the Hyena sighting.         Hluhluwe overnight safari; Zebra Hluhluwe overnight safari; Zebra                             There is nothing like a real Zebra crossing it beats all the rubbish in the city! Our next sighting was a huge herd of Impala and an old male Buffalo at the Umfolozi river before we continued past Impila camp and down into the deep South West of the reserve. Down here I could not believe how quiet it was and I personally began to get a little frustrated.   We stopped for a toilet break and to enjoy a view over the river and then we found some Impala with Red Billed Ox Peckers on them.         Hluhluwe overnight safari; Red billed ox peckers on Impala Hluhluwe overnight safari; Red billed ox peckers on Impala                             I checked the 2 places Lions had been seen in the morning but sadly we had no luck for the cats on our side! It wasn’t all bad as we did spot a Leopard Tortoise on the road.         Hluhluwe overnight safari; Leopard tortoise Hluhluwe overnight safari; Leopard tortoise                                 Our safari from Durban in Hluhluwe continued and we made our way slowly back up for lunch, actually it was quite quickly as we were hungry. On route we did have a great sighting of a Giraffe picking up a bone and chewing it to get some calcium and some Baboons.           Hluhluwe overnight safari; Giraffe chewing a bone Hluhluwe overnight safari; Giraffe chewing a bone                               Video – Durban safari; Giraffe chewing a bone   We continued to the lunch stop and had some food which was very welcome as we had been driving a long time with little success! I managed to book 2 of my clients on the evening open vehicle game drive and we then began to make our way back up to camp.   On route we had another great sighting of a herd of Elephant. The best part being that a tiny baby lay down and began to play on the ground for us all to see. I had to share this in a video as well.       Hluhluwe overnight safari; Baby Elephant lays down Hluhluwe overnight safari; Baby Elephant lays down                               Video – Baby Elephant plays on the ground during our 3 day safari from Durban We eventually made it back to camp and aside of not seeing cats we had a great experience during the day of safari. It was time to get tickets for the evening game drive safari and book dinner.   We would all meet again the following morning for breakfast.     Day 3: Hluhluwe overnight safari     After a great breakfast we checked out and continued with our 3 day safari from Durban in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.   We found Zebra very early on just standing in the road. We were able to to so close I could take a picture of the one Zebras eye!         Hluhluwe overnight safari; the eye of a Zebra Hluhluwe overnight safari; the eye of a Zebra                               We continued trying everywhere for these Lions without luck! It was driving me mad. Eventually I think I resigned myself to the fact we may not see them today. We did then come across a troop of Baboons grooming one another which was nice to see as there was also babies around.         Hluhluwe overnight safari; Baboons Hluhluwe overnight safari; Baboons                               We noticed the Baboons all of a sudden looked over their left shoulder and I was hoping they may have seen a predator but no it was just a herd of Elephants which wondered into the dry river bed and crossed to the other side.         Hluhluwe overnight safari; Elephants in a dry river bed Hluhluwe overnight safari; Elephants in a dry river bed                               Our time was running out and we needed to make our way to the gate to exit and get to St Lucia -Isimangaliso wetland park for lunch and our 2 hour boat cruise.   On route we did spot some Rhino, Zebra, Buffalo etc.     We departed and spent an hour getting to St Lucia, South Africas first world heritage site. It was here we had lunch before a great 2 hours on a boat in the St Lucia estuary.   Our first major sighting was of Crocodiles.         Hluhluwe overnight safari; Crocodiles Hluhluwe overnight safari; Crocodiles                               As we continues up St Lucia estuary we spotted more bird life than usual as the estuary was so low. The specials we spotted were a Pink backed Pelican, Saddle billed stork and Yellow billed stork with chick.         Hluhluwe overnight safari; Yellow billed stork and Pelican Hluhluwe overnight safari; Yellow billed stork and Pelican                                         We found lots of Hippos which is always a guarantee and we had a fantastic sighting of one pod of Hippos which did not move at all they just lay out on the shore calling away to each other.         Hluhluwe overnight safari; Hippos Hluhluwe overnight safari; Hippos                                 Video – Durban overnight tour; Hippos calling while lying on a bank         Overall we had had an amazing 3 days of safari from Durban only missing the cats but aside of that it was incredible. If you wish to join us on a 3 day safari tour from Durban click  the link below.     Hluhluwe overnight safari tour.

Durban private safari

Durban private safari 20 June 2015     I met my client in Durban where we began what was to be a day where we would mix up two tours, the Hluhluwe day tour and a visit to the cat rehabilitation center.   We left just before 7am and but 09:30 we were at the cat rehabilitation center where we arranged a private tour around the center before the main group at 10:30. We interacted with the four species of Endangered cats and of course the Cheetah was the best as well as the cubs! It is always great on a Safari from Durban to interact with these amazing animals.   Durban private safari; Cheetah Durban private safari; Cheetah                               At this time we left and made our way into Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to begin our Durban private safari side of the tour. We had immediate luck as we spotted Zebra and Warthog before a quiet period.         Durban private safari; Zebra Durban private safari; Zebra                             We made our way to the Hluhluwe river in the hope of finding Elephants but we only found Nyala and Buffalo which was also great to see so we had now seen the first of the Big 5.         Durban private safari; Herd of Buffalo Durban private safari; Herd of Buffalo                               We continued and found some more Nyala and then looked over the Hluhluwe river where we had a different sighting of 2 Egyptian geese fighting probably over a female!         Video: Durban private safari; Eqyptian geese fighting       After this we continued and managed to find a herd of Elephants they were slowly making their way towards the road and we managed to get two crossing the road. The others just took way too long so we moved on to see what else we could find on our Durban private safari.         Durban private safari; Elephant playing on road Durban private safari; Elephant playing on road                             We managed to get this one bull Elephant dust bathing and playing with a tuft of grass which was great to watch.         Video: Durban private safari; Elephant playing on road           After this amazing sighting we were very lucky again as I spotted a Rhino and Buffalo together! The only trouble for us was it was so thick that we had to settle for picture of Rhino from a distance as we could not see this ones horns through the long grass.         Durban private safari; Rhino Durban private safari; Rhino                             We even then got lucky with a couple of Water buck males crossing the road in front of us before we made our way down South to the Nyalazi gate for a restroom break.         Durban private safari; Waterbuck Durban private safari; Water buck                               Before we could get down to the Nyalazi gate we found a Nile Crocodile resting in one of the river beds which was awesome and then we began to spot lots of Impala and Nyala. Eventually we spotted some Giraffe but they were very far away. Sadly all our sighting of Giraffe until we were heading out of the game reserve of Hluhluwe Imfolozi were from very far away. We would have to settle for this below picture.       Durban private safari; Giraffe Durban private safari; Giraffe                               We stopped at the Centenary center for some curio shopping and quickly grabbed some food before we headed off again.    Having seen 3 of the Big 5 during the day we were not unhappy at all but we really wanted to have a better sighting of Rhino! Sadly we did not and had to settle for what we saw. It was 4pm and we departed the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve the oldest game reserve in African back to Durban.   Having mixed up the day we had a great selection of animals and this had been a great day safari from Durban having seen a few interesting things!    

Durban day safari

Durban day safari – 19th June 2015     I met my clients at their hotel in Durban to begin their Durban day safari to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve is the oldest proclaimed national park in Africa and home to the Big 5. We were hoping we would see as many of the Big 5 as possible and anything else that would show up.   Hluhluwe Imfolozi being proclaimed a national park in 1895 is only 2.5 hours from Durban and is an ideal place to visit if you have a day off from conferences or work in the city.   If you would like to book this tour click on the link below:   Hluhluwe Imfolozi day safari tour    On route I chatted to my client about some of the history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa.   It was great that my clients were interested and had some questions of there own, this always makes my job easier.   We eventually got to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to begin our Durban day safari and it began rather slowly with distant sighting of Zebra, Buffalo and Elephant.         Durban day safari; Elephants Durban day safari; Elephants                               After these long distance sighting I was really hoping we would see some animals closer and we did! It began with the Impala and Zebra and then we saw some Giraffe a bit closer up. We continued over the Umfolozi river and managed to find a few Rhino and later a big bull Rhino sleeping under a small tree. We were pretty happy about this chap as he was is such a lovely position for a photo.         Durban day safari; Rhino Durban day safari; Rhino                             I was beginning to feel a little pressure as we had been a couple minuted late to see a cheetah and had missed her totally so it was a little frustrating but I knew this was nature and that is how life goes. We did manage to spot a lovely bird the Lilac breasted Roller.         Durban day safari; Lilac Breasted Roller Durban day safari; Lilac Breasted Roller                                 I made a big call and headed straight for the Bhejane hide where I knew there was water and we would see something down here. Fortunately the gamble paid off and we spotted lots of Animals at the watering hole.         Durban day safari; Wildebeest, Nyala and Impala Durban day safari; Wildebeest, Nyala and Impala                               Our Durban day safari was coming together now with 3 antelope species together in one photo and we even got a great set of Photos with Zebra drinking. They were a bit skittish but that is normal for Zerba.         Durban day safari; Zebra drinking Durban day safari; Zebra drinking                               It was now time to try and see if we could some how locate this Cheetah again but it would not be easy. On route however we managed to find some beautiful Giraffe on 2 occasions near to the road.           Durban day safari; Giraffe Durban day safari; Giraffe                               We then hit the jackpot and finally had some really good luck and found this female Cheetah on a kill with here youg cub! Our Durban day safari was not kind of complete!         Video: Durban day safari; Cheetah on a kill           Durban day safari; Cheetah mother and cub on kill Durban day safari; Cheetah mother and cub on kill                               The mother Cheetah had killed a young female Nyala and stashed it near to a tree only 5 meters off the road in clear view of us. She was super relaxed with us but very concerned about the chance of predators stealing her kill and was looking around as well as getting up to make sure she and her cub were safe! Lions will kill Cheetah as they are competition for food!         Video: Durban day tour; concerned Cheetah on a kill with Cub           After what was a splendid sighting we let others have a look and moved on for what would be a very late lunch at 3pm! Wow, but we had had and amazing day and the Cheetah on a kill capped the day off. Lunch was lovely and we had very little time after lunch to find any more animals but before we could exit the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve we did find more Elephants and Giraffe!     Wow what an amazing Durban day safari we had! We made our way back to Durban very happy with how our Safari from Durban had gone!

Durban safaris

Durban safaris – 3 day tour 12 -14th June 2015   I had two different pick ups for this 3 day Durban safari tour one in Durban and the other in Umhlanga. Once I collected my client and we got chatting I knew we would have a good safari! Our first day was near floor-less as we achieved so much in the first day. We began covering some of the interesting history of the area of Durban and KwaZulu Natal before arriving at the cat rehabilitation center near Hluhluwe. Our tour around the rehab was great! We entered the enclosures with all 4 of the endangered species of Cat; Serval, Caracal, African Wild Cat and Cheetah.         Durban safaris; Serval Durban safaris; Serval                             The above picture of a Serval is lovely and these cats are very interactive so when we go into the enclosure it is always a great time watching them. Our Durban safari continued and we entered with then Cheetah cubs which were also very interactive.         Durban safaris; Cheetah cub   Durban safaris; Cheetah cub                               This Cheetah cub was so interested with watching her sister playing with a rope on the end of a stick that even her soccer ball was not distraction enough!   We finished up with the cats and moved on into Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for the Durban safari side of our 3 day Safari tour. This Big 5 game reserve near Durban is malaria free and is probably the biggest hidden secret in the area.   Our first sighting was of Warthogs and as it was the first animal we saw we spent some time with them before continuing our safari and then spotting some Zebra not too far from the road.         Durban safaris; Zebra Durban safaris; Zebra                               We made our way to Hilltop camp where we would be spending the two nights and had some lunch before checking in and settling into the rooms for half an hour. Then we headed back out to continue our Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. We spotted a huge herd of Buffalo on the road so we spent a good 15 minutes with them while they all crossed and then only continued on.           Durban safaris; Buffalo Durban safaris; Buffalo                                 Video – Durban safaris; Buffalo crossing the road in Hluhluwe   We were making our way toward the Hluhluwe river when we spotted both Rhino and Elephants. All we could do was wait to see what would happen and good job we did as the Elephants came to the road and we got them to cross in front of us.         Durban safaris; Elephant     Durban safaris; Elephant                               The Rhinos at this point were near to the road as well so we managed to get a decent photo of them before moving onward to see what else we could find.         Durban safaris; Rhino Durban safaris; Rhino                               We heard that Lions had been seen at 3pm but it was already 5pm so I knew the chances of finding them was not very high. When on a Durban safari or any safari you always have hope and we tried our best at first without success but then as the sun set we spotted them making their way to the road following a herd of Buffalo. The Lions then began to hunt the Buffalo which made things hard on me as I was caught up with the ethical battle of keeping the lights on the Lions so we could see them but also not wanting to give the Lions away to the Buffalo which would end there chances of a successful hunt.         Durban safaris; Lioness Durban safaris; Lioness                                   Video – Durban safaris; Lions cross road at night to hunt Buffalo   What a great start to our Durban 3 day safari tour, the Lions attempted the hunt and in the darkness we heard the growling and Buffalo bellowing when we turned the lights one there was only dust and the Lions had not been able to hold on to their dinner. The lucky Buffalo kept walking away and we left the lions to try again.     We made our way back to the lodge and settled in for some dinner and a chat about how amazing our day was having seen 4 of the Big 5 on the first day of our Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.   We even did a spot of star gazing before we were all very tired and we headed off to bed.     Day 2: Durban safaris; our 3 day safari tour       We began our day with high hopes of seeing lots of animals and hopefully more Lions but you just never know what will show up for you on these safaris from Durban. After breakfast we headed South in the game reserve and it was like the luck from day one had never left as we kept up the tempo and saw lots of animals.   Our major concern was finding Giraffe which we managed to knock on the head after just 30 minutes of driving!         Durban safaris; Giraffe Durban safaris; Giraffe                               Video: Safari in South Africa; Giraffe crossing road We also spotted lots of general game like Zebra, Impala, Warthog, Wildebeest and we must have spent about 45 minutes in one spot as all these amazing animals came to a watering hole to drink.         Durban safaris; Rhino reflection Durban safaris; Rhino reflection                                 Video: Durban safari tour; Rhino get spooked by Zebra at mud wallow After watching these Rhinos drinking and getting spooked by the Zebra which came in for a drink we managed to see the female Rhino sharpening her horn so that she would have it ready for any poachers that tried to mess with her and remove her horn!         Video: African safari; Rhino sharpens her horn waiting for poachers!   Our 3 day safari from Durban was really turning out to be a great time and we just kept getting great luck and being in the right places at the right times. We waited longer at the watering hole as a herd of Wildebeest came down and had a drink during this time we also spotted some great bird life. The best was a Malachite King fisher!         Durban safaris; Wildebeest drinking Durban safaris; Wildebeest drinking                                 Video: Safari from Durban; Wildebeest drinking in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve   We then continued on to the Umfolozi river and I could not believe our luck as all of a sudden we spotted Lions running in the river bed. The only issue was they were running away because there was a bush walk that had not seen them and were having there walk in the river bed. This made it exciting and after a very short time we lost visual of the Lions so we continued with our Safari in Umfolozi.   I did get a picture but I felt it wasn’t good enough to go up on the blog and if you read on your will see why.   We drop through at this time of the year what looked like a desert as the place was so dry but we did spot more Rhino, Giraffe and other animals before we got to another section of the river and you would not believe it but there was Lions here!           Durban safaris; Lions in walking in river bed Durban safaris; Lions in walking in river bed                             The picture was not the best but I still figured I would use it. We then continued to a “hide” which is a hut overlooking a watering hole. It was here we spotted a wide variety of animals and birds before moving on back up to get some lunch.         Durban safaris; Antelope drinking Durban safaris; Antelope drinking                               Video: African safari; Warthog rubs himself after a mud wallow       After spending time in the Hide we made our way back to where we had seen the second lot of Lions in the river bed and it was here that we spotted a huge herd of Buffalo drinking. The Lions just watched them from the safety of being up stream.         Durban safaris; Buffalo herd Durban safaris; Buffalo herd                               This was a great sighting on our Durban safari tour and we made our way back to the area where we had seen the previous pride of Lion that had been chased by the people on foot. It was here that we spotted them resting in the dry river bed. There was two big males and some Lionesses and cubs!         Durban safaris; Lions resting in river bed Durban safaris; Lions resting in river bed                               Video: Durban safari; Lions in the Umfolozi river       This had been an amazing day seeing the Lions 4 times and seeing 3 of the big 5 before lunch. We still had not seen Elephant the whole morning and now it was lunch time so we saved that one of the Big 5 for a big later.   Lunch was great at the Centenary center before we began the drive back up to hilltop camp. On route we got our Elephants in fact 3 or 4 different Elephant sightings! This meant we had 4 of the Big 5 today as well!         Durban safaris; Elephant bull Durban safaris; Elephant bull                               Our next stop would be back at camp where we would have an hours rest before heading out on the evening night safari from 5pm – 8pm.   Dinner was great as usual and we headed off for a good nights rest.       Day 3: Durban safaris; 3 day safari tour.     I met my client just before 7am to collect their luggage and get them down for some breakfast. It was a relaxed time as when you do they same tour regularly you get into such a routine of doing things that it just flows. Just after 07:30 we were already on the road and at this stage I asked one of the ladies “what would you like to see today” she said to me ” the African wild dog would be nice”. I knew where to look but had no idea if we would be so luck to find the most endangered carnivore in Africa but we did! I could not believe our luck and nor could my clients!         Durban safaris; African wild dog Durban safaris; African wild dog                               We watched the dogs jumping up and down in the long grass and running all over the place for about half an hour before we lost visual and began to make our way out of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. It had been an amazing 3 days with some amazing sightings for a 3 day safari from Durban.   Our next stop would be St Lucia or Isimangaliso Wetland park to take a 2 hour boat cruise to view Hippos and Crocodiles.     Our first look from the Jetty we spotted a pod of Hippos and when we got going we made our way to them to enjoy nature. They all ran into the water but it was lovely to see them.         Durban safaris; baby Hippo Durban safaris; baby Hippo                               Further up stream of the world heritage site of Isimangaliso Wetland park we found Crocodiles, Fish eagles, Herons, Kingfishers and lots and lots of Hippos. Wow what a safari up St Lucia estuary.         Durban safaris; Crocodile Durban safaris; Crocodile                               We then had a very interesting sighting of a Hippos chewing at a Buoy on a barge boat. This or though exciting for the clients go me very concerned as this behaviour could be very dangerous in the future as the Hippo playing with the boat will show others that they can do the same and this could increase attacks on boats.   I did however made a video for you to see this interesting behaviour.         Video: Hippo chewing buoy of boat in St Lucia!           Our cruise ended and we made our way into St Lucia town for some lunch which was great. After lunch we took a drive to the estuary mouth and then began our trip back to Durban after a very successful 3 days safari from Durban. My clients were happy and so was I.    

Durban safari tour

Durban safari tour – 5-7 June 2015     After collecting my clients from Durban for their Durban overnight safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, we headed up to the Cat rehabilitation center outside of Hluhluwe were we would begin our first day of Durban safari tour. 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 cubs and Serval were very playful. Our day had only just begun but we were expecting a good one. The weather was cool and there was a cold winter breeze blowing but the sun was still shining on our Durban safari tour.   We enjoyed the African Wild Cats and then entered into the enclosure with the Caracal, I managed to get a great shot of one of the Caracal in the tree!         Durban safari tour; Caracal in Tree Durban safari tour; Caracal in Tree                             We moved on to the Cheetah brothers and interacted with them before making our way into the enclosure with the Cheetah cubs. This was great and my clients really enjoyed this experience. Next was the Serval which are always so interactive that it makes the tour so worth it.   We then began the 20 minute drive to the gate of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, Africa’s Oldest proclaimed protected area and home the the Big 5! Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve is a great place to do a safari and is only 2.5 hours from Durban!   Before we could even cross over the electric fence we found a sounder of Warthogs laying around and enjoying the sun on this cool winters day.       Durban safari tour; Warthogs Durban safari tour; Warthogs                               It was not long before we managed to find some Giraffe and this was a great sighting and a good start to our Durban safari tour. The Giraffe female that we first found was actually chewing a bone which is very normal but people do not always know why. It is to grind off some bone to get calcium into their diet.         Durban safari tour; Giraffe chews bone Durban safari tour; Giraffe chews bone                               Video : Durban safari tour – Giraffe chews on a bone       We then continued and made our way to Hilltop camp with very little else to be seen in the middle of the day which is very normal especially when it is so dry during our winter.   We got to Hilltop camp and had some lunch before checking in and getting settled in the rooms. At 15:30 we headed back out to continue our safari from Durban to see what animals we could find. We had a good start spotting some Giraffe and Zebra as well as Kudu and Nyala. It was not long after this we managed to find a lovely herd of Buffalo which after 15 minuted of waiting crossed the road in front of us!         Durban safari tour; Buffalo and calf Durban safari tour; Buffalo and calf                               The next item on the list was Rhino and we got an mother and a 3 year old calf before having a real luck sighting of a mother Rhino and a baby only a couple months old. He was so cute!         Durban safari tour; Rhino and calf Durban safari tour; Rhino and calf                                 I was heading into the area I knew we could have a chance of spotting the African Wild dog but I was not sure we would be so lucky on this safari from Durban. I was very wrong and thankfully I chose the right road! We found the Wild dogs on the road and it was clear they were keen on hunting so we stayed with them.       Durban safari tour; Wild dogs Durban safari tour; Wild dogs                                 All of a sudden they shot off into the bush and as we watched, 2 Wild dogs spotted a Red Duiker and bolted after it. It could not believe it as the whole park followed and caught up. The African wild dogs brought down the Duiker 5 meters from the road and we got to head all the noises as they quickly ripped apart the animal and fed just as fast. In a couple minuted they were chewing on the bones and the rest was gone!         Video: Durban safari tour – Wild Dogs kill Red Duiker It was so fast that we hardly had time to take in what had happened so close to us and the road!       Video: Durban safari tour – Wild dogs fight over Duiker leg       After all the excitement calm returned to the bush and the sun had set on what had been an amazing first day on our 3 day safari tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.   We now only had the formalities of dinner before a well deserved rest.       Day 2: Durban safari tour   If we thought day 1 was amazing on our Durban safari tour we had another great day coming! We headed out after breakfast and spotted a few things but nothing much until out the corner of my eye laying 10 -15 meters from the road was two male Lions! They were so beautiful and just cuddling up to one another it was amazing to watch them.   We spend some thing with them and with the other vehicles arriving they got annoyed and moved further into the bush but we had see them so perfectly we were so excited at this point!         Durban safari tour; Lions Durban safari tour; Lions                                 Durban safari tour; Lion standing Durban safari tour; Lion standing                                 Video: Lions seen on our Durban safari tour       It wasn’t much longer and we got some Zebra crossing the road in front of us! By this point we had also seen Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant but they were not the best of sightings. This meant in under 2 hours we had seen 4 of the Big 5 on our Durban safari tour.           Durban safari tour; Zebra crossing Durban safari tour; Zebra crossing                                 Video: Zebra crossing on our Durban safari tour We continued our Durban safari tour and got to a big body of water which I was hoping to find some animals at. We didn’t see much but the Impala we saw were really interesting as the males were Rutting!   We got one male trying to smash the other and I even got a video of it!           Durban safari tour; Impala clashing heads Durban safari tour; Impala clashing heads                               Video: Impala rutting in Hluhluwe Imfolozi on our Durban safari tour We made our way down to a lovely hide in the South west of the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. It was here that we would find a good sighting of the Elephants as there is water. When we arrived we saw, 2 of the Big 5. Elephant and Buffalo at the hide as well as Warthogs, Nyala, Impala, Wildebeest and some bird life.           Durban safari tour; Elephants play fighting Durban safari tour; Elephants play fighting                               These Buffalo were also at the mud wallow but waiting for the Elephants to finish drinking water before they took there turn…         Durban safari tour; Herd of Buffalo Durban safari tour; Herd of Buffalo                                 Video – Durban safari tour – Animals at Bhejane hide in Umfolozi           The above video just gives some perspective as to what the watering hole looks like when it is so full of animals it is like an oasis in the middle of a very dry part of the Umfolozi section of the game reserve.   We also spotted three antelope species drinking next to one another which was also so amazing to see.           Durban safari tour; Wildebeest, Impala and Nyala drinking together Durban safari tour; Wildebeest, Impala and Nyala drinking together                               After we had seen all of these amazing animals we made our way back to the Centenary Center for lunch and then managed to relocate the one of the Lions we had found in the morning!   We then drove up to Hilltop camp where my clients had about an hours rest before heading on the open vehicle game drive and then had dinner.         Day 3: Durban safari tour       The next day we met just before 7am for luggage collection and breakfast before it was time for our final game safari drive before heading to St Lucia – Isimangeliso Wetland park for the 2 hour Hippo and Crocodile boat cruise.   Our last morning safari was brilliant and we managed to recap some of the amazing animals we had see in the previous two days.   First was the Rhinos crossing the road in front of us on our Durban safari tour.         Durban safari tour; Rhino cross the road Durban safari tour; Rhino cross the road                                 Video: Rhino cross the road on our Durban safari tour     We didn’t have to continue our African safari much further before we found a herd of Elephants next to the road breaking trees and feeding off them! It was amazing as one female was right next to us and broke the Buffalo thorn 3 times to get what she wanted which was just a little bark!           Video: Elephant breaks tree on our Durban safari tour         Durban safari tour; Elephant Durban safari tour; Elephant                               I could not resist this amazing sighting and had to make a second video!         Elephant breaks tree and feeds during our Durban safari tour       It was now time to move on and see what else we could find. We tried to relocate on the Lions from the day before with no luck as they seemed to have walked up another road and we didn’t have time to go to investigate further.   It was time to head to St Lucia – Isimangeliso Wetland park and it was here we began a 2 hour boat cruise viewing Hippos and Crocodiles before we had some lunch. We had some luck not only with the Hippos but with some Bird Life. We actually found the elusive African Finfoot which is the first time I had seen it on this stretch of the Estuary at St Lucia.           Durban safari tour; African Finfoot at St lucia estuary Durban safari tour; African Finfoot at St lucia estuary                             Further down stream we managed to find a lovely sizable Crocodile.           Durban safari tour; Crocodile at St Lucia estuary Durban safari tour; Crocodile at St Lucia estuary                                 We had some amazing sightings of Hippos in the water and out on the shore one of the better sightings you can see in the picture below and the video of am Hippos resting his head on another Hippo while a small Crocodile was a meter away from his back foot.         Durban safari tour; Hippos at St Lucia Durban safari tour; Hippos at St Lucia                               Video: Hippo and crocodile meters from each other during St Lucia tour           It had been an amazing 3 day safari from Durban in which we had seen 4 of the Big 5 and the most endangered carnivore in Africa kill a Duiker 5 meters from the road! It was just super special and it was down day 3 and time for lunch.   After a great lunch we made our way back to Durban where I returned my clients safely to their hotel.  

Durban day safari

Durban day safari to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve 1 June 2015   I met my clients at 4 different hotels and 4 of my 5 clients had just ran and completed the Comrades Ultra Marathon the day before. This Marathon is no ordinary feat and I was surprised to not see them crawling on the ground and only limping a little!   We drove to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve from Durban to begin our Durban day safari in the hope of finding as many animals as we could. On route I covered a lot of the history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa to entertain my clients before we arrive at 09:30 a Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.   Our Durban day safari started great and in a few minutes we found a Leopard tortoise on the road, we made sure he got to the other side before continuing on with our safari.     Durban day safari; Leopard Tortoise Durban day safari; Leopard Tortoise                               It was not that many more minutes when we spotted some Baboons on the road during our safari from Durban. This really was a treat as Baboon are so similar to humans that the fascinate us a lot so it always makes for interesting viewing.         Durban day safari; Baboons on road Durban day safari; Baboons on road                               15 minutes later we spotted the most beautiful dazzle of Zebra and then got to watch two of them cross the road in front of us. We thought this was great but little did we know that just up the road was another dazzle of Zebra and some Wildebeest. On the opposite side of the road was more Zebra and some Rhino which were coming to drink water at a watering hole next to the road. Wow this was looking like being a great Durban day safari.       Durban day safari; Zebra Durban day safari; Zebra                               The Rhinos were amazing as they were very tentative to come and drink water and the Zebra got spooked and this made the Rhinos nervous and they ran too. A safari is a journey so we waited to see what would happen and eventually the Rhinos had a drink of water and a mere 15 meters from our vehicle.         Durban day safari; Rhino drinks with Zebra   Durban day safari; Rhino drinks with Zebra                         Once we let the Rhinos we continued with our day safari from Durban and got down the the Umfolozi river where we got lucky and found 2 bull Elephants feeding on the reeds. We enjoyed then for a while and at the same area on the other side of the river we spotted an old Buffalo bull resting in the water.     Video – Durban day safari – Rhinos drinking on our Big 5 safari from Durban      Durban day safari; Elephant bulls feeding Durban day safari; Elephant bulls feeding                               This old male Buffalo was one of the males which was no longer able to keep up with the speed that the breeding herd moves at hence he was on him own waiting to be taken by Lions.         Durban day safari; Buffalo Durban day safari; Buffalo                               As we continued with our Durban day safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve we took a couple of rest stops to stretch the legs. The Comrades runners were definitely feeling very stiff from the day before. We had great luck further on when we found a crash of Rhinos in fact there was 3 crashes and they were not to far from each other. The best part was watching a mother with a new born baby.           Durban day safari; two generations of Rhino Durban day safari; two generations of Rhino                               We now needed to try and find some Giraffe and it was probably getting more on my nerves than my client but I knew they wanted to see them so we just kept going trying to find them. On route we found a lone Wildebeest male and also stopped to look over the Umfolozi river.         Durban day safari; Wildebeest   Durban day safari; Wildebeest                               Then in the distance we saw a huge herd of Elephant down in the river drinking. We still had not found our Giraffe and I now knew we would be having a late lunch which everyone seemed happy to do. We continued and found more Elephants and got them to cross the road in front of us before we continued with our Durban day safari.       Durban day safari; Elephants crossing the road Durban day safari; Elephants crossing the road                               The race was now really one as I knew my client would be hungry after such a big run the day before. Luckily I finally spotted some Giraffe near enough to the road and we could relax and enjoy them before making our way back for lunch.         Durban day safari; Giraffe Durban day safari; Giraffe                             I decided to check on our way back one of the picnic sites which overlooks the river for Lions which were seen there the day before. We were in luck and with a bit of guidance we all were able to see these amazing animals with there cubs laying down by the waters edge. Wow, what a cherry on the top for our day safari from Durban!         Durban day safari; Pride of Lions resting in the river Durban day safari; Pride of Lions resting in the river                             We were no so happy and could no believe our luck that we drove past Rhinos, Zebras and even Giraffe near the luncheon stop in order to get some well deserved food. Lunch was amazing and we all tucked in to what we ordered before a quick look around the curio shop. It was already 3pm and we had 4 drop offs to do so we began to make our way to the gate very satisfied with our day. After exiting we still had one more sighting and that was of a Bull Elephant on one side of the road and a herd of Elephant on the other side. It was special and we departed for Umhlanga and Durban.   It had been a great Durban day safari!

Durban overnight safaris

Durban overnight safaris – 17th -18th May 2015      I met my clients in Durban at the Blue waters hotel which overlooks the ocean of the Durban beach front. Once we got the luggage in the car we began our 2.5 hour drive to the cat rehabilitation center in Hluhluwe for our interaction with 4 species of Cat; Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and African wild cat. Before we got their though we covered the history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa as it sets up the Durban overnight safari nicely with some back ground of the area. This 2 day safari from Durban is really exciting as it is really rushed but you will not feel it as everything is so well arranged and tuned that as the client it is still very enjoyable. I always recommend the 3 day safari tour but if you have limited time the 2 day safari tour can be equally as good if luck is on your side.   We were lucky as everything we our way from the traffic to the timing of animals and really it was a spectacular 2 day or safari that even I will not forget for a long time!   At the cat rehabilitation center we had a great tour and the best times were with the Cheetah adults and cubs as well as the Serval one which took a liking to my boots. This is the 3rd time she has done this where is dribbles saliva on my boot and then rubs it with her chin. It is very cute and always part of our overnight safaris from Durban.         Durban overnight safari; Cheetah at cat rehab center Durban overnight safari; Cheetah at cat rehab center                             After learning more about the amazing Cheetah we began the interaction and my clients enjoyed this as well and the best part was the interaction with the young cubs which are about 8 months old and very excitable. Once of them got hold of some one jacket and would not let go until I brought across her blanket…         Durban overnight safari; My happy clients with a Cheetah cub Durban overnight safari; My happy clients with a Cheetah cub                                 Next we moved to the Serval and the interaction with them as also amazing and as I mentioned the boot incident took place! These tours around the cat rehab are always amazing I mean really! where in the world can you do things like this.         Durban overnight safari; Serval polishing my boots Durban overnight safari; Serval polishing my boots                               After the amazing tour at the cat rehabilitation center it was time to head onward to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, Africa’s oldest proclaimed protected area.   We got there in 20 minutes and checked in at the gate before heading into the Hluhluwe section for our Safari. Our first sighting was 2 minutes from the gate and it was of a journey of Giraffe.       Durban overnight safari; Giraffe near the gate Durban overnight safari; Giraffe near the gate                             We also spotted Warthogs, Impala, Nyala and sleeping Rhino before I bumped into a mate of mine and he told me their was an Elephant Bull down by the river. So we headed down there and it was a good thing was did as he was drinking and we had him all to ourselves! At the same spot we saw some Vervet monkeys running around.         Durban overnight safari; Elephant shaking his ears Durban overnight safari; Elephant shaking his ears                                 Video – Durban overnight safari – Elephant mud wallowing in Hluhluwe Imfolozi Before we could get to the camp we actually spotted Baboons on the road and it was great to see them with babies enjoying themselves.         Durban overnight safari; Baboon walking down the road Durban overnight safari; Baboon walking down the road                                 We then headed off to Hilltop camp on route spotting a large herd of Buffalo on a hill. When we arrived at Hilltop camp we enjoyed the lovely view and some lunch before checking and and heading to the room for a few minutes. It was then time to head out for a couple more hours before one of my clients would be doing the open vehicle safari with the lodge.   This afternoon drive was one I would remember and my clients would cherish for a very long time to come! We headed out and I nearly went a different direction but due to the limited time I felt we would not get to where I wanted to go and return in time for the game drive. I was really glad I made that choice.   We had a very exciting start as we got on to one of the dirt road and went around a few bends we spotted 3 Lions walking next to the road. We were so shocked as it was only 4 pm and Lions are not usually active at this time that we could not get the word Lion out our mouths. I got a couple of pictures before they moved into the bushes but they were not great and you will see why I didn’t bother putting them up.   Next I got a message from another guide friend that Lions we fighting and chasing Buffalo at one of the dams. I raced there but as you can imagine we began to see animals.   We spotted Rhino near to the road and had to stop for a photo.           Durban overnight safari; Rhino   Durban overnight safari; Rhino                               As we continued we then came across a huge herd of Buffalo and one old male crossed in front of us so again we had to stop to watch them.         Durban overnight safari; Buffalo posing Durban overnight safari; Buffalo posing                               We finally got there and I was disappointed to see nothing there any more except the Buffalo. This sadness did not last long as we then spotted the Lions walking towards the road. The problem was we wanted to photograph the one young male we say laying on a sand bank so we paused for this.         Durban overnight safari; Lion resting on bank Durban overnight safari; Lion resting on bank                               We moved on quickly to get into position for the Lions as the crossed the road, we had already missed two or 3 cross over but I got a short video of the young male crossing and a photo of the Big male Lion.       Video – Durban overnight safari – Young male Lion crossed road in front of us     Durban overnight safari; Lion crosses road in front of us Durban overnight safari; Lion crosses road in front of us                             This had truly been an amazing day and we headed back to the lodge with the biggest smiles you could imagine and feeling really content. I had to tell my clients that in 10 years of guiding I don’t think I have seen 2 prides of Lions in such a short space of time and both either on or that close to the road. It was a special overnight safari from Durban.   We got back an Lyn went on the evening game drive, I got down to some paper work and admin and Lee watch a football match.   We all met again at 8pm for dinner and chatted about the amazing first day of safari we had. My clients had already been to the the Lion park outside Joburg and a national park up there but this safari took the cake!   It was then off to bed and up for a 7am breakfast and check out.       Day 2: Durban overnight safaris – 17th -18th May 2015    We met for breakfast which was lovely and then we headed out onto the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, it was then that our day really began. Oh I forgot about the Baboons outside the window at breakfast.   It was not long before we got what we were hoping for a Giraffe near to the road. In fact he was on the road and was walking down it.           Durban overnight safari; Giraffe walking down the road Durban overnight safari; Giraffe walking down the road                             We continued with our Durban overnight safari and came across some Banded Mongooses and some Vervet monkeys. Unfortunately the Mongooses all ran away but we were left with some lovely monkeys.         Durban overnight safari; Baby Vervet monkey Durban overnight safari; Baby Vervet monkey                                 We then made our way into an open area where we spotted a huge herd of Buffalo right next to the road at a mud wallow. It was a great sight to see them watching us just as much as we were watching them.           Durban overnight safari; Herd of Buffalo Durban overnight safari; Herd of Buffalo                               We then took a toilet break with a view and once we got to looking at the view we spotted 3 of the Big 5, Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo. We also saw Giraffe and Zebra from this hill, its amazing what patience can do!   We continued our overnight safari from Durban and made our way down south hoping to get to the Umfolozi river. On route we spotted some Kudu which was a new one for us and they crossed the road in front of us.         Durban overnight safari; Kudu cows Durban overnight safari; Kudu cows                               Next we had an amazing sighting of Elephants fighting, more like a dominance display which was very interesting to watch and not only for us but for a couple other Elephants which walking into the area.         Durban overnight safari; Elephants fighting for dominance Durban overnight safari; Elephants fighting for dominance                               Video – Hluhluwe safari – Elephants fighting on our Durban overnight safari tour   We watched these Elephants for a good while and then we realised we no longer had time to make it to the river which was also fine so we made our way out of the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and onward to St Lucia – Isimangeliso wetland park.     The drive was really nice as we chatted about how amazing the overnight safari from Durban had been but we still had a lot to see and do.   We arrived at St Lucia and had some lunch before our 1pm boat cruise on the St Lucia Estuary. Then we boarded the boat and enjoyed what turned out to be a lovely afternoon watching Hippos play fighting and wallowing around as well as some Crocodiles.           Durban overnight safari; Hippos fighting at St Lucia Durban overnight safari; Hippos fighting at St Lucia                               Video – St Lucia tour – Hippos play fighting on our Durban safari tour in KwaZulu Natal     This was an amazing time and I didn’t take just one video I took 3 videos that were good enough to go up on this blog post for my clients and their friends.         Video – Durban overnight safaris – Hippos playing in the water at St Lucia           Durban overnight safari; Crocodile at St Lucia   Durban overnight safari; Crocodile at St Lucia                               This Crocodile was amazing as he was just sunning himself on the shoreline not far from our boat at all. Next was some amazing big pods of Hippos and the best after the playing in the water was them out of the water!           Durban overnight safari; Hippos on land at St Lucia Durban overnight safari; Hippos on land at St Lucia                               Video – Durban safari tour – Hippos on land at St Lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park               This was the final part of our Durban overnight safari tour and the whole way back to Durban we could not believe the luck we had had as well as just the amazing sighting of nature on our safari in Africa!