Safari from Durban Archives - Tim Brown Tours

African safari tours

African safari tours are always amazing but this African safari tour would be extra special as we would see so many amazing animals in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. I had met my client in Umhlanga near Durban for their Durban day safari and we began what turned out to be a very short 2.5 hours drive to Hluhluwe game reserve. It would be the boarder between the two sections that we would enter and first head briefly into the Hluhluwe game reserve section. It was in this section we located a massive male Warthog very early on in our African safari tour.

Hluhluwe Big 5 game reserve

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.

Durban safari

We began our Durban safari in the city of Durban where I collected my four clients for what was to be a very successful 2 days of safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. On route we chatted about the interesting history of the area as well as the crops and population groups. Before you knew it we were at the Cat rehabilitation centre for the 10:30 tour for interaction with Cheetah. We would also see Caracal, Serval and African wild cat. The Cheetah was great fun and the one male was stalking Wildebeest up the fence line. Sadly for the Cheetah the Wildebeest was safe on the other side of the fence.

Durban day safari

Durban day safari   I met my clients at the Sibaya lodge in Durban for their Durban day safari with me to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve which is home to the Big 5.   We had some very funny weather on the drive up as it rain intermittently but through all of this I chatted to my clients about the history of Durban, South Africa and of course the world famous Hluhluwe Imfolozi national park.    I always try and cover as much as possible with the 2.5 hours I have on the drive up as it is very interesting on these Durban safaris to learn more about how each population group came to be apart of our wonderful country, South Africa. On a Durban day safari we have limited time so I tend to really get as much out as possible. Everyone seemed to enjoy the interaction through the day and we were very luck with amazing sightings.   We arrived at Hluhluwe Imfolozi around 09:30 for our Durban day safari and we spotted some Buffalo on a hill near the gate. We also spotted Black Rhino with in about 10 minuted of driving and Impala. The Black Rhino is such a rare sighting and we also caught glimpse of a Anti-poacher watching them from a distance!             Durban day safari; Black Rhino Durban day safari; Black Rhino                                 We now had to deal with some road work as Hluhluwe Imfolozi is having the roads maintained which is a good thing and then we spotted some Rhino as well as some Baboons.             Durban day safari; Baboon Durban day safari; Baboon                                   We continued with our safari from Durban and before we could cross the Umfolozi river we spotted some Impala as well as some Zebra. The Zebra are one of few animals which are known to bite and kick each other as well as predators. This Zebra was biting at the other.             Durban day safari; Zebra love bite Durban day safari; Zebra love bite                                   We crossed the Umfolozi river and found no animals but it was beautiful, we made our way up to Mpila camp and continued through after looking at the lovely array of horns they have on display there. Our next sighting was Rhino but I didn’t get a great photo so I left it out as I got some great ones later.   After this Rhino our Safari was about to hot up! We spotted a few vehicles all reversing and in panic! We stopped to assess the situation and it was a huge bull Elephant in Musth which was walking up the road. Someone said to us “a car was off the road because of the Elephant”.    It is very important that you come to game reserves with a guide who is experienced with animal behavior and can tell the signs of a stressed animal.              Durban day safari; Elephant bull Durban day safari; Elephant bull                                   This Elephant just had 6 x the normal level of testosterone running through his body as he was ready to mate with females, this does mean that he can be a lot more frustrated and aggressive.   We turned off the engine as this stresses animals further and the Elephant move 10 meters off the road to feed. We rolled up to him and enjoyed him for about 10 minutes before leaving. We then spotted the first casualty of the day!             Durban day safari; Car scared off the road by an Elephant Durban day safari; Car scared off the road by Elephant                                   This rental cars driver could not handle the stress and was obviously to close to the Elephant and reversed his car of the road… Next time keep your distance or come with a guide.   I later hear that the same Elephant has pierced a cars with his tusks and shoved it off the road… he had also pushed over a Knob Thorn over the road.     Anyway I think those people involved will come with a guide next time or will never come again. As we continued we had more sightings of Baboons and great sightings of Warthogs.             Durban day safari; Warthog wars Durban day safari; Warthog wars                                 These two male Warthogs were having a little fight over a lady and she decided after a few minutes to run off and leave them to it! Wow at this point all had gone so well and we had been having an amazing Durban day safari.     Next was the Male Impala with a Warthog in the same picture as they share habitat.           Durban day safari; Impala and Warthog Durban day safari; Impala and Warthog                                   I have forgotten that we actually saw a big male Giraffe just after the Elephant which was amazing as he was right next to the road feeding and every so often would lift his head up to look at us.             Durban day safari; Giraffe Durban day safari; Giraffe                                 We continued our Durban day safari and found a Crash of Rhino near to the road the best part was it was a Male and a mother and her calf. What made it even better was that a Warthog was with them.               Durban day safari; Rhino and Warthog Durban day safari; Rhino and Warthog                                 Sometime on our safaris when we see Warthogs from a distance with Rhino I think it looks like a baby Rhino… This is all again that they share habitat and eat similar things like Grass.             Durban day safari; Rhino mother and calf Durban day safari; Rhino mother and calf                                   It was time to look at a view point over the river and in the reeds we spotted a good sized herd of Buffalo which then left the rivers edge and moved up into the grassy plains. It was here we got a good photo of them.             Durban day safari; Herd of Buffalo Durban day safari; Herd of Buffalo                                 We now had to make our way back up to the Centenary center where we would have some lunch and a look at the museum and craft market. On route we had to drive around a tree the Elephant had pushed over and then we came across the big Rhino we had seen earlier laying at a pan.             Durban day safari; Rhino bull Durban day safari; Rhino bull                                   This Rhino we saw on our Durban day safari looked so cute! We then got back to the centenary center later than we had expected with all the amazing sightings and enjoyed some lunch before a final look around to see what we could see before departing at 4pm.   We managed to find another bull Elephant which was super relaxed feeding next to the road.           Durban day safari; Elephant feeding Durban day safari; Elephant feeding                                     We left the Elephant and found a big herd of Buffalo right near the road and they just stared at us it was a great sighting. We maneuvered around took a few pictures before we realized we would have to leave for Durban.               Durban day safari; Buffalo face Durban day safari; Buffalo face                                   We turn around and made our way back to the gate on route spotting the same Elephant walking down the road! Wow, what a great Durban day safari!   We departed Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve with smiles on our faces on route for Durban. We had enjoyed nature at its best and all have great memories from the day to take home with us. We stopped once on the way back and they the rain came down a fitting way for our safari to end with a blessing of water for the animals. We arrived in Durban and said our farewells before I headed home.    

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.

Durban day safari

Our Durban day safari began in Durban where I collected some of my clients for this African safari near Durban. We continued to Umhlanga to collect Nick and then headed up to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 game reserve. I was a little concerned as I had been up a few days in the week already and it had been a little quiet on the Cat front so decided to play it safe and enter a gate I knew we would have more chance at finding animals.

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.  

Safari from Durban

Safari from Durban 2nd -4th June 2015   I met my clients in Durban city and this was where we would begin our Durban 3 day overnight safari tour. After the general introductions the 5 of us began this amazing 3 day safari from Durban. I began some free flowing conversation about the History of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa which is always worth a listen, well I think so! The usual being covered, I then also explained about each population group and how they come to be here as well as all the plantation we would see on route to our first stop the cat rehabilitation center, outside of Hluhluwe.     It had now been 3 hours on the road and it was nice to stop to see something new and stretch the legs further to what we did at the couple of stops we took along the way. We began our tour of the cat rehabilitation center at 10:30 and it was here that my clients would be able to interact with 4 species of endangered cats, namely the Serval, Caracal, African wild cat and Cheetah.   The clients always love this part of the tour and it add so much more to the whole safari experience from Durban.     Safari from Durban; Cheetah cub at Cat rehabilitation center Safari from Durban; Cheetah cub at Cat rehabilitation center                               After we finished at the Cat rehabilitation center we drove 20 minutes to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and entered at the Memorial gate. It was here we entered and within a few minutes we spotted Baboons near the road and some crossing.       Safari from Durban; Baboon Safari from Durban; Baboon                             Our safari from Durban had truly began and it was not long before we spotted even more animals! We spotted first a single bull Elephant and by watching him we found a herd of Elephant walking from a drainage line through a dip onto the open plain!   Video – Safari from Durban – Elephants walk out of a dip in Hluhluwe   After enjoying these Elephants we continued and spotted some Giraffe which we were all excited about as it is one of the big animals that clients always want to see. We spotted a baby with a mother and a couple other female Giraffe.       Safari from Durban; Giraffe Safari from Durban; Giraffe                               We were on our way up to Hilltop camp where we would be staying for the 2 nights and it was not easy to get there as we kept seeing animals which of course we were not complaining about. We had another sighting of a small breeding herd of Elephant and it was great.         Safari from Durban; Elephants Safari from Durban; Elephants                                 We eventually made it up to camp and settled in for some lunch most of us having the Bunny chow before heading to the rooms for a short while. I them met my clients and 3 of the 4 did the open vehicle game drive leaving myself and Jan to spend about 1 hour doing our own Ferrari safari(fast one).   We headed out and with the cloud building up it was a little dark but we still spotted a herd of Elephant on the hill near the camp.       Safari from Durban; Elephants at sunset Safari from Durban; Elephants at sunset                               The lighting on one Elephant was amazing and after enjoying the view we continued seeing almost nothing except Nyala as it was so dark and windy. We then got back onto the main road and had some amazing luck as we found a lone African wild dog the most endangered carnivore in Africa.       Safari from Durban; African wild dog Safari from Durban; African wild dog                             The picture was not good as it was so dark and he was running down the road so I made a video clip in the hope that it would work out better.     Video – Safari from Durban – Wild Dog runs down the road in the dark     It was now time to get back to camp and wait on the others arrival from there evening open vehicle safari. I was glad to hear when they got back that the did see African Wild dog so we all had seen the same things.   It was time for dinner and we all enjoyed what we wanted off the menu and then headed off to bed after a long but great safari from Durban. Day 2 of our safari I was sure would be just as good as day 1.       Day 2:  Safari from Durban       We met for a 7am breakfast before departing the lodge at 07:30. We would be heading into the Umfolozi section to see if we could get lucky with cats and any other animals.   Our first sighting was of Rhino which was not a good as I hoped but as I always say a Rhino is a Rhino!         Safari from Durban; Rhinos hiding Safari from Durban; Rhinos hiding                             We enjoyed the Rhino mother and calf for while before continuing our safari from Durban. It was interesting as we managed to spot some great animal behaviour a bit later on when we found a White backed Vulture breaking a twig and then flying into a tree with it clearly looking to build a nest. This you don’t see often!         Safari from Durban; White backed Vulture with a twig in its beak Safari from Durban; White backed Vulture with a twig in its beak                             As we continued further south we found a dazzle of Zebra and got some to cross the road in front of us before finding some Giraffe just before the Umfolozi river.         Safari from Durban; Zebras look over Umfolozi Safari from Durban; Zebras look over Umfolozi                             At the river itself we managed to spot some Elephants up stream just on the edge of the river and they were not really doing much except flapping their ears to cool off. It was already 27 degrees and this is our winter.         Safari from Durban; Elephants Safari from Durban; Elephants                               Driving on with our safari from Durban we were enjoying the views when we found 5 Buffalo bulls resting near to the road and just chewing the cud. It was a great site and they completely ignored us as normal.           Safari from Durban; Buffalos Safari from Durban; Buffalos                               We stopped for a rest room break and here we enjoyed watching some warthogs. We then went through a very frustrating patch where we spotted lots on Impala, warthogs and animals in the distance but nothing close. I got word that Lions had been seen earlier in the morning so I decided to give it a bash and see if we could relocate them. We were successful and it was an amazing sighting as we watched a Lioness and her sub adult male cub resting with each other clearly fat and full from eating something!         Safari from Durban; Lions sleeping on a full belly Safari from Durban; Lions sleeping on a full belly                                 Wow what a great day it had just turned out to be on our safari from Durban! We then watch the adult Lioness get up and walk away from her cub and I managed to get this on video before the male gave us a lovely glance.     Video – Safari from Durban – Lions in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve         Safari from Durban; Young male Lion Safari from Durban; Young male Lion                               We must have spend 30 minuted with these lovely Lions before beginning the long drive to the luncheon stop at the Centenary center, home of Operation Rhino which brought back the White Rhinos from Extinction. The drive back was very quiet until we got to the Umfolozi river and spotted more Elephants.         Safari from Durban; Bull Elephant Safari from Durban; Bull Elephant                               Before we could get to lunch we spotted some Giraffe with a huge herd of Impalas which at this stage we were a little tired of seeing. The Giraffe male came very close to the road showing us his 45cm long tongue as he ate the acacia tree leaves.         Safari from Durban; Giraffe Safari from Durban; Giraffe                               We stopped for lunch and had a great meal before a look around the Museum and the curio shop respectively. Once all were done we began the hour long drive back to Hilltop camp to book the clients on the evening open vehicle game drive. Our safari from Durban had gone really well today and we met again just before the evening game drive and then at 8pm for some dinner.       Day 2: Safari from Durban       The next day would be again a 7am start with some breakfast and checking out before some game drive time and then heading on to St Lucia -Isimangeliso Wetland park for our 2 hour boat cruise to view Hippos and crocodiles.   We managed to finally get a great sighting of Rhino and we had 3 of them together on the road and in an open area which was very exciting. We watched them doing their thing and then moved on to find Buffalo and some Zebra before we needed to make our way out of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to go to St Lucia.         Safari from Durban; Rhino Safari from Durban; Rhino                               We were super lucky when we were at St Lucia and apart from the lots of Hippos and a Crocodile we saw we managed to spot the elusive Bull Shark which is found in the St Lucia Estuary.           Video : Safari from Durban – Bull shark in St Lucia estuary       Our Hippos sightings were very good and we managed to get some out of the water and one which was feeding on the reeds near the bank of St Lucia estuary.         Safari from Durban; Hippo at St Lucia Safari from Durban; Hippo at St Lucia                               After a great 3 days of Safari from Durban it was time to grab some lunch and chat about how amazing a safari we had and then make our way back to Durban city.   My clients were sad to leave the Nature behind but I am sure they will be back in the future to see it all again. Africa has a way of pulling at your heart strings!