KwaZulu Natal tours Archives - Tim Brown Tours

Durban day tour

Durban day tour – St Lucia estuary – 17th July 2015     We began our Durban day tour in Durban city. After introductions and a briefing on how the day would run we headed up to St Lucia 2.5 hour away up the North coast of KwaZulu Natal. St Lucia is South Africa’s first world heritage site and is a one of a kind place. At St Lucia you can come across, Hippos, Crocodiles and Zambezi Sharks! Where in the world can you get this combination? This is not all, seasonally Whales frequent the coastline and well as Sea Turtles to lay their eggs on the shoreline. If this wasn’t enough surrounding St Lucia is Isimangaliso wetland park a 30032 Hectare game reserve home to four of the Big five!   If you are ever in the Durban area this is right up there as one of the best places to visit  and can be done in a day tour from Durban with Tim Brown Tours.   Back to the day itself!   After covering a lot of the History of Durban and KwaZulu Natal   we stopped for a coffee and toilet break before the final hour to St Lucia, Isimangaliso Wetland park. After arriving and enjoying some of the warning signs that St Lucia has about Hippos crossing at night we visited the Crocodile center. These amazing creatures have been around for millions of years with a design that is floor-less however we have noted a decline in recent years in their numbers. This is one of the reasons for the Crocodile center to educate people and to get some of these creatures back to the wild.           Durban day tour; Warning sign on St Lucia estuary beach Durban day tour; Warning sign on St Lucia estuary beach                               I took my clients around the center and told them about the Crocodiles, Hippos and a range of other things. It was then time to head down to the Estuary of St Lucia for our 2 hour boat cruise.   We began and there was Hippos every where what was really good on this day tour was that we also saw a lot of Crocodiles which in not a guarantee.           Durban day tour; Big pod of Hippo Durban day tour; Big pod of Hippo                                 It is only due to the fact that boat have traversed these rich waters of St Lucia for many years that we have the privilege of viewing the amazing dangerous animals so close without incident. The Hippos in this sections of 8 kilometers of river are used to the boats and this enables us to enjoy amazing sightings of them. We always have to remember that Hippos are wild animals and kill around about 3000 people per year in Africa!         Durban day tour; Crocodile hiding Durban day tour; Crocodile hiding                               The above picture was a Crocodile we found near the shoreline of St Lucia and it was so well hidden in the long grass! So lovely to see it though! We did see better Crocodiles but this picture just looked amazing.   As we continued up stream we came across a wide range of Bird life which is something else St Lucia estuary has to offer visitors. St Lucia is am idea place for birders to come and spot special birds they do not see every day. We spotted this Goliath Heron fishing near the shoreline, this is the tallest heron in the world!         Durban day tour; Goliath Heron Durban day tour; Goliath Heron                               A bit later on we managed to spot some Hippos on the shore and two of them had a little fight with one another. It was one of those moment you don’t expect so you miss most of it when you get you camera ready but it was amazing!           Durban day tour; Hippos fighting Durban day tour; Hippos fighting                                 As we continued our Durban day tour we spotted more birds and I am sure birders would always be happy to see this one, the Giant Kingfisher! If you are interest we can offer birding tours of KwaZulu Natal from Durban.         Durban day tour; Giant Kingfisher Durban day tour; Giant Kingfisher                               We began our way back to the jetty and on route spotted more Hippos and Crocodiles and had a special sighting of baby Hippos out the water on the shore resting. It is always amazing to see this but even more special when it is babies so I had to also make a little video.       Durban day tour; Baby Hippos out the water Durban day tour; Baby Hippos out the water                               Video: Hippo babies at St Lucia wetlands during our Durban day tour           We almost got to the dock and we spotted some Pink backed Pelicans which we don’t see very often this far up the estuary so it was a real treat. If we had birder on this Durban day tour they would have loved to see these birds. Maybe will have to start a KwaZulu Natal birding tour.         Video: Pink backed Pelicans at St Lucia estuary during our Durban day tour                 After docking the boat at the St Lucia jetty we made our way into St Lucia town to enjoy the vibe of this beach resort at the back end of school holidays. We stopped for some lunch which was great and then made our way to the Estuary board walk where we would walk down onto the estuary beach and enjoy the views as well as seeing Maphelane the second highest vegetated sand dune in the world.           Durban day tour; St Lucia estuary Durban day tour; St Lucia estuary                               We continued with our Durban day tour to St Lucia wetlands and got onto the beach and down to the Indian ocean which was looking amazing on this particular day! With Maphelane in the back ground it made for a beautiful picture. This is a special place for me and I love visiting St Lucia, maybe you should too!   Join the St Lucia day tour from Durban click here!      

Durban midlands tour

We began our KwaZulu Natal midlands tour in the Durban area and made our way up to the Nelson Mandela Capture site near Lions river. It would be here where our historical tour would begin! In 1962 on the 5th of August the late Nelson Mandela was captured on his way from Johannesburg to Durban where he was meeting Chief Albert Luthuli who ironically had won the noble peace prize in 1960! Mandela had been plotting to overthrow the Apartheid government. On the one side of the road the plaque commemorates this day.

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 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!  

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!    

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!    

St Lucia day tour from Durban

St Lucia day tour from Durban via Richards bay 29th March 2015   We began our St Lucia day tour from Durban but still had a pick up in Richards bay off the Crystal Serenity cruise ship which is much bigger than I thought! Once I had to group together we began chatting on some of the History of Durban, KwaZulu Natal, South Africa as well as the World heritage site of Isimangeliso Wetland Park aka St Lucia wetland park which we would be visiting.   As we covered the last hour to St Lucia we covered some of the history on the different plantations and import export details in the area which is always very interesting. We arrived in St Lucia at 11 am which meant we could go to the reptile center where breeding of Crocodiles is taking place due to research and the fact that their numbers are decreasing in the area.   Before we could get there though I pulled over to show my clients a really interesting sign board which just shows how serious Hippos can be walking around at night and how one has to be careful in the area. We always need to remember the animals were here before us and we have developed around them and therefore need to respect them and the space they need.   St Lucia day tour; Hippo warning sign St Lucia day tour; Hippo warning sign                               As we entered the museum section of the crocodile center I showed the clients a model of a fish which used to be though to be extinct and in the St Lucia area they were located again. These are the Coelacanths. They were first discovered in 1938 and were though to be extinct by the end of  the Cretaceous period. These fish were found in South African near St Lucia in the year 2000. Which also makes this a special place.   St Lucia day tour; Crocodile warning sign St Lucia day tour; Crocodile warning sign                               The above sign is a real laugh and is found at the crocodile center, this is always a time I wish I had a granny that was in a wheel chair so that I could take her to see this amazing sign, I’m sure it would be a good giggle for her. We had actually timed our arrival very well as they were doing a feeding show with the Crocodiles and this meant dead Chickens were being fed to the Crocodiles. The only specie we have in South African is the Nile Crocodile which you can see below with a Chicken in his jaws. Just so you know the crushing power of a Crocodiles jaws are somewhere in the region of 6 tons!   St Lucia day tour; Crocodile with chicken in its mouth St Lucia day tour; Crocodile with chicken in its mouth                               Next we moved on to the St Lucia Estuary for the 2 hour boat cruise to look at the amazing Hippos and a Crocodile in the wild. The St Lucia lake system runs north away from the Indian ocean and covers a distance of about 80 kilometers which makes it the largest lake system in Southern Africa. It contains Mangrove swamps, Sand forests, Savanna, Marsh lands and links up to the Indian ocean. It has a thriving community of Hippos and Crocodiles.   St Lucia day tour; Hippo in the St Lucia estuary St Lucia day tour; Hippo in the St Lucia estuary                               The above picture is one of the many Hippos we saw at St Lucia Estuary and this one was standing near the shore feeding on the reeds. Most of the other were resting under the water only showing us there heads every so often. It is always a guarantee to see the creatures even in the rain but we were lucky to have no rain and a sunny day.   I created a video clip so you too can experience some of what you would if you were on a Durban tour with me to the St Lucia Isimangeliso Wetland Park.   Video of Hippo eating reeds at St Lucia Estuary.        St Lucia day tour; African Fish eagle in flight St Lucia day tour; African Fish eagle in flight                               As you can see in the above picture St Lucia wetlands in not only known for it Hippos and Crocodile populations but also its bird life. This African Fish eagle took off from a tree and it nearly flew out of shot of my camera but thankfully I captured it for you to see!   Next we heading into the small town of St Lucia after a small spot of shopping for the local crafts. We went to John Dorys a Seafood restaurant as St Lucia is well know for its Seafood. It was great we all had fish and chips and after this we headed down to the Estuary board walk which goes parallel to the Estuary itself and ends up on the beach by the Indian ocean. Here we spotted Crocodiles and lots of bird life including the White Pelican on in the St Lucia Estuary mouth.   St Lucia day tour; Estuary board walk sightings St Lucia day tour; Estuary board walk sightings                                         It was now time to head back to the Crystal Serenity ship to drop off two of my clients before heading back to Durban to drop off the other. It had been another great St Lucia day tour from Durban and we all had enjoyed the day.