Tala game reserve Archives - Tim Brown Tours

Tala game reserve

I was collecting my clients of the Ocean Princess cruise ship which was docking in Durban for the Tala game reserve and Zulu culture tour. As we were expecting some bad weather the ships was more than 2 hours late which meant we would need to adjust the tour slightly to maximize the time for the clients in Tala game reserve and on the Zulu culture tour. We left Durban harbor at 11:30 and made our way straight to Tala game reserve, it was here we began our Safari part of the tour and tried in 2.5 hours to find as many of the animals as we could. Tala game reserve being very small has a very high density of animals which made things easier for me to find all the animals the clients wishes to see. We found Rhino, Giraffe, Zebra, Hippo, Wildebeest, Ostrich, Impala, Nyala, Warthog, Blessbok and much more…

Durban private tour

I met my client from Scotland at his hotel in Durban for his Durban private tour to Tala game reserve and the Valley of 1000 Hills. On route we chatted about some of the History of Durban and KwaZulu Natal but mostly chatted about general things that we are going through as a country as we would be spending 4 days together.

Tala day tour

We began our day tour in Durban where I met me clients and we made our way up to Tala game reserve 45 minutes outside of Durban city. On route I covered the history of Durban and KwaZulu Natal, as well as answering any questions my clients had for me. We reached Tala game reserve and began with our Safari part of our tour from Durban and as Tala is so highly populated with animals it is really easy to find the animals if you know where to look.

Durban day tour – Ocean Princess cruise – 1 May 2015

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

Durban day safari to Tala and Valley of 1000 Hills

Durban day safari to Tala and Valley of 1000 Hills 11th January 2015   I met my client in Durban off the Oceana Nautica cruise ship it was one of those days where the ship comes 2 hours late and for some Tour operators and tour guide this ruined the day as they would have booked something and ended up not being able to get their in time. I was really fortunate as I could be really flexible and we manage for the most part to avoid the huge bus tours as we went on our merry way. My clients were originally from Scotland and not live in Canada which was really interesting, a lovely group. We first began at Tala game reserve and having learning that my clients had been to Botswana for and the Sabi Sands for Safaris already on this trip all I could do was wow them with information they may not have heard. The animals sightings I have to say were very good but Tala is a small private game reserve and does not have the Big 5, except Rhino. Our first sighting as usual was Zebra as we go into Tala game reserve on our Durban day safari.   Zebra on our Durban day safari Zebra on our Durban day safari                                     As we continued we found more Zebra, Wildebeest, Blesbok, Warthogs, Nyala, Impala and the list goes on. We only ended up spending just over 2 hours at Tala as we saw everything they had just about and as the clients had seen it all before this meant we could get into the Valley of 1000 Hills sooner than expected after the ship delay.   Ostriches on our Durban day safari Ostriches on our Durban day safari                                     These ostriches were great as they had a huge amount of little ones with them and this was something my clients had not seen! We continued on and found some Giraffe which were great as it was 2 females with 2 babies. We spent some time correcting some theories other guides had mentioned and this was really great for me to share the knowledge I have on these animals with my great clients.   Giraffe on our Durban day safari Giraffe on our Durban day safari                                     As we move on we visited the dam where the Hippos were and go some small looks at them which were not great but still good. We then made our way into the open plains to find the Rhinos of which we did all 5 of them. This was looking like a good Durban day safari.   Rhino on our Durban day safari Rhino on our Durban day safari                                     We decided to leave the game reserve of Tala and move on into the valley of 1000 Hills 35 minutes away to enjoy the views and have some lunch. I was very surprised that the restaurant was able to make provision for us and we had a restaurant all to our selves even though they had it booked for the Ships big bus tours! My clients were great sports and had Phutu, Chakalaka and Boerewors which I had as well which is a really traditional dish! It was lovely. Once we finished up we avoided the crowds at the reptile park and I did my own tour for my clients. It was great and some of the crocodiles there are huge!   Crocodile seen on our Durban day safari Crocodile seen on our Durban day safari                                     The above crocodile was a female on a nest that we saw in the valley of 1000 hills at Phezulu safari park. Next would be the Zulu Cultural village overlooking the amazing valley of 1000 hills which is so we known in the area and a great place to visit if you are in the Durban area on a Durban day safari with Tim Brown Tours.   We then moved on into the Zulu cultural village where we got to witness some amazing Zulu dancing and drumming. The team in the Valley of 1000 Hills, really put in such effort and perform for us!   Zulu dancing seen on our Durban day safari Zulu dancing seen on our Durban day safari                                     My clients enjoyed the Zulu dancing and after the show we had a look through the shop before making our way slowly back to the Oceana Cruise ship.   Zulu drumming on our Durban day safari Zulu drumming on our Durban day safari                                     We arrived back in Durban late afternoon after what had been a great Durban day safari and after my clients had got to experience some amazing Zulu Culture, Nature and History of the KwaZulu Natal area.   If you are interested in what is shown above contact me and we will area a Durban day safari or Durban overnight safari to suit your needs.    

Durban day tour to Tala game reserve and valley of 1000 Hills Zulu Cultural village

Durban day tour to Tala game reserve and valley of 1000 Hills Zulu Cultural village 10 January 2015   We began our Durban day tour at the harbour in Durban where I collected my clients off the Seabourn Sorjourn which is one of the smallest cruise ships carrying about 400 passengers. Some of these monster ships carry as many as 6000 passengers! Once the clients were safely off we began with a briefing and headed up to Tala game reserve to see what animals we could find. It is actually a pretty easy game reserve to find animals as it is small and densely populated with animals. We arrived to the high security of the reserve due to high levels of Rhino poaching and we lucky to find Zebra as our first animal, apart from those we saw in the distance!   Durban day tour, Zebra in Tala game reserve Durban day tour, Zebra in Tala game reserve                                     It was a matter of meters and we spotted some Rhino on a ridge behind a Wildebeest which made for a lovely photo. After spending some time telling my clients about the Zebras, interesting facts and social structure etc we moved on to get to see the Rhinos closer.   Durban day tour, Wildebeest with Rhino on the ridge Durban day tour, Wildebeest with Rhino on the ridge                                     Before we could get their to the Rhinos we had more luck and saw ostriches and Wildebeest. We stopped at the Wildebeest before moving on where I chatted about this amazing creatures with speeds of up to 55 Km per hour and travelling vast distances in East Africa for water and food. It is always interesting as most clients can not believe how green everything his in South African and that it is not flat land!   Durban day tour, Wildebeest resting on a ridge Durban day tour, Wildebeest resting on a ridge                                     It was finally time to view the Rhino which today had a Anti-poaching vehicle watching over them. This is a good thing as poaching last year killed around about 1200 Rhinos in South Africa and most of the horn is headed for China for their traditional medicine market to cure cancer. The Rhinos were beautiful and we watched them knowing that some people believe in 5 years they will be gone! All the more a good reason to visit Africa and do a tour before they are extinct!   Durban day tour, Rhinos grazing with a security vehicle near by Durban day tour, Rhinos grazing with a security vehicle near by                                     While we chatted about these amazing prehistoric animals 2 Blue crane which are endangered birds which also happen to be South Africas National bird walked into shot! This was amazing!    Durban day tour, Blue cranes walk in the grasslands Durban day tour, Blue cranes walk in the grasslands                                       We moved on to find some Kudu near to the road on area we found a herd of females and in another these majestic males with beautiful curly horns! They really are a lovely animal to see on a Durban day tour.   Durban day tour, Kudu Bulls together in a field Durban day tour, Kudu Bulls together in a field                                     We planned now to get to the reception to stretch our legs and have a look around the curio shop. Before we could get their there was a male Ostrich grazing away. So we spotted to enjoy him before moving on to the restroom break.   Durban day tour, Ostrich grazing Durban day tour, Ostrich grazing                                     We made it round to the curio shop where some of the client bought things and others wondered around enjoying the lovely manicured gardens at Tala game reserve. We not had two things on our minds one being Giraffe and the other Hippos. I made my way down to where the Giraffe were and we had a cracking sighting with the crossing the road in front of us it was amazing and great fun! Just talking about the adaptations of these amazing creatures is something that you can hardly imagine!   Durban day tour, Giraffe in Tala game reserve Durban day tour, Giraffe in Tala game reserve                                     We then headed down to the dam were we spotted the Hippos far away so we had to drive around to get a better look. Sadly they were not keen to show much of themselves and with the sunlight on them the photo was not good to put up here. We then decided it was time to head out to the Valley of 1000 Hills 30 minutes away and get some lunch before the 2pm Zulu Cultural village tour. It was a great lunch and the views were amazing! We rushed off to the show and enjoyed the singing and dancing. I stupidly left my camera in the car to the old phone had to do the job which was not great! But here is one photo.   Durban day tour, Zulu dancing Durban day tour, Zulu dancing                           We then entered the Zulu hut to learn more about this great worrier nation and then one last look at a curio shop before departing for the Moses Mabida Studium where a couple of the clients took the Sky car to the roof of the stadium and the others enjoyed the views of this amazing structure. After a drive along the golden mile as far as we could go in the traffic we made our way back around to the dock and harbour area to get the clients back on their ship for departure. Overall a great Durban day tour.  

Durban day tour to Tala and Valley of 1000 Hills – 8 January 2015

Durban day tour to Tala and Valley of 1000 Hills – 8 January 2015   I met my clients in Kloof as western suburb of Durban. The man of the family spent the first 16 years of his life in South African and wanted to show his family more of the area. We didn’t really chat much about history on this Durban day tour as the questions were mostly heading towards the changes in the past 10 years etc. It was still a lovely drive up to Tala game reserve where we began with our Durban safari part of our tour. Once we got in through the gate we headed up to look for the Rhino but their were not around probably due to the fact that their was a lot of activity and it looked as though the guys were darting the Rhinos to remove the horns. This proved to be true later when we eventually sadly found a Rhino still with a dart in its back and the horn removed! These smaller private game lodges like Tala game reserve are having to turn to dehorning their Rhinos due to the high number of Rhinos being poached in South Africa. The rough figures for 2015 was 1200 poached that we know about and at this rate some people believe by 2020 so in 5 years time their will be no Rhinos left in South Africa.   Anyway our first major sighting was Zebras and lots of them! Tala game reserve has such a high density of animals it is unbelievable for such a small game reserve!   Zebras on our Durban safari tour to Tala game reserve Zebras on our Durban safari tour to Tala game reserve                                     Zebras very often stand like this in order to rest the head but also to let the other ones tail swish in front of their noses to keep the flies away! Nature is amazing and taking a Durban day tour is one of the best ways to experience it! Our next sighting was of some Eland which are very special in the original South Africans culture the San-Bushmen. The San-Bushmen originated on the land here in South African and now are down to about 300 people as very sad situation. Eland was their animal for food, clothing, paint and ceremony. It is high in fat and was used as a spiritual creature for the San-Bushmen to reach their God!   Durban safari Tour, Eland seen in Tala game reserve Durban safari Tour, Eland seen in Tala game reserve                                     As we continued our Durban day tour we came across a pair of Blue Cranes which is South Africa’s national bird. They are very rare and only really found in protected marsh like areas. So for me this was a cracking sighting!   South Africas national bird the Blue Crane South Africa’s national bird the Blue Crane                                     We spent more time looking for animals and came up with some Giraffe a whole Journey of them! They were beautiful and after watching them cross the road in front of us and feed we move off to find 2 males which were up to interesting behaviour. Some studies have shown that Giraffe are the “Gayest” animal in nature but my honest opinion is that displays of male trying to mate with each other are for dominance just like your domestic dogs at home. Even 2 female dogs will show dominance in the same manner of mounting each other.   Durban safari tour, Giraffe dominance Durban safari tour, Giraffe dominance                                   As we continued we headed down to the dam where we find the Hippos in the day time enjoying the sun and water. It was here that we are able to get out and enjoy the scenery and the Hippos from the safety of a wooden hut. It was lovely to watch all the Egyptian Geese playing around and calling.   Durban day safari, Hippos in dam Durban day safari, Hippos in dam                                     We headed up to the toilets and the curio shop where we also found some Nyala and a Giraffe outside the shop. He was not for Sale! My clients enjoyed some shopping before we continued with the Durban day tour and we to find the Rhino. I must say I actually got a huge fright when I spotted this Rhino laying next to the road breathing heavily and not moving, even though I became aware that they may be dehorning their Rhinos. This pour chap was dehorned and looked more like a Hippo! I really wish we would spend more of the money raised to fight poaching to get the Chinese government to  accept Rhinos from us and harvest the horn as it grown 3-5 centimeters per year! We have very good trade relations with China and this would be a foot hold to get this sorted out and legalize the trade of Rhino horn like we did 11 years ago with Ivory. In the past 11 years in South African we have only had 1 incident of  poaching an Elephant for its tusks and that was a year ago! My opinion, but I believe we are making more of a mess of things than we really need to.   Durban day tour, Rhino darted and dehorned Durban day tour, Rhino darted and dehorned                                     After this sighting we decided to make our way out of Tala game reserve and continue our Durban day tour in the valley of 1000 Hills 40 minutes away. We arrived at 12:45 and went to the Boma restaurant for lunch with a great view over the Valley of 1000 Hills. We all had such a big portion of food we could not each everything on our plate but the food was good! We began a bit later at the reptile park where we looked at some Crocodiles.   Durban day tour, Crocodiles at a reptile park in the valley of 1000 Hills Durban day tour, Crocodiles at a reptile park in the valley of 1000 Hills                                     After enjoying these very old prehistoric animals we continued with the snakes and then moved on the traditional Zulu cultural village. It is here that you get a great view over the valley of 1000 Hills and where we get to learn more about the Zulu Culture.   Durban day tour, view over the valley of 1000 hills Durban day tour, view over the valley of 1000 hills                                     We entered the Zulu Cultural village an were entertained by the Zulu dancing and singing of both the men and the women. This is always a great sight to see on a Durban day tour, the team always give a great performance.   Durban day Tour, Zulu cultural village Durban day Tour, Zulu cultural village                                       Durban day tour, Zulu traditional dancing Durban day tour, Zulu traditional dancing                                       After enjoying the great Zulu dancing we got to enter into the Zulu huts and learn more on the cultural side of this great nation! We also got to sample some Traditional Zulu beer which even my guest enjoyed and had a second helping.  The final touch to our Durban day tour was the look at the craft shop where many things can be purchased.  At this point we had completed the day of Touring in the Valley of 1000 Hills and Tala game reserve. It was not time to head back to Durban, well Kloof to drop my client off safely. It had been a very enjoyable Durban day tour.

Durban day safari – Tala game reserve and Zulu Cultural village tour

Durban day safari – Tala game reserve and Zulu Cultural village tour 28th December 2014   On this Durban day tour I had 2 groups of clients. I met the first group in Durban who were visiting Durban and South Africa, this family had the origins in Ruwanda and now live in America. The second couple I met off the ship Oceana Nautica in Durban and by 8am we were on the road to Tala game reserve near Pietermaritzburg. We began our Durban day tour/safari covering some of the amazing History of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa before we reached Tala game reserve. Tala game reserve has a really high density of animals but today we really out did ourselves as we spotted everything they had! Rhino, Giraffe, Zebra, Wildebeest, Ostrich, Kudu, Nyala, Impala, Hippo, monkeys, Eland and the list goes on… We got some amazing photos of some of these animals as they really posed for us on our Durban day tour.   Zebra all in a line on our Durban Safari and Cultural tour   Zebra all in a line on our Durban Safari and Cultural tour                                     Close to  this line of four Zebras was a male Wildebeest which is very common as the theory goes that the Zebras being bulk feeders eat the tops of the grass and the Wildebeest being ruminants enjoy the shorter more succulent shoots of grass. Not entirely true if you ask me but some truth to it.   Wildebeest at Tala game reserve during our Durban day safari tour Wildebeest at Tala game reserve during our Durban day safari tour                                       The animals being so dense on this type of Durban day safari tour means that it is all out action and you just can’t drive anywhere with out seeing some animals. This always makes my job really easy but it is nice for a change to the big national parks. As we drove over the hill we spotted some Rhinos near a watering hole. Their has been issues of poaching of Rhinos even in this small game reserve that I noticed some kind of tracking device on the one Rhinos foot!   Rhinos on our Durban day safari tour Rhinos on our Durban day safari tour                                     As we continued on we came across Ostriches, Nyala, more Zebra and Warthogs even Eland in the distance but I decided to return later to see if they got nearer the road. We visited the lodge for a rest room break and a look at the shop before heading out to find some Giraffe. We saw loads of Giraffe on this Durban day safari tour.   Giraffe seen on our Durban day safari tour Giraffe seen on our Durban day safari tour                                     We continued on and spotted lots of Blessbok and at Hippo Hide a wooden cabin which looks over a dam we saw some Hippos resting in the water. At this point we made our way around back to the Eland but before we could get there we spotted some Blessbok with babies.   Blessbok seen on our Durban day safari tour Blessbok seen on our Durban day safari tour                                     We continued with our Durban day safari tour and found the Eland very close to the road which was great. Eland have been for many years the San Bushmens totem animals containing super natural potency as their body is so fatty!   Eland seen on our Durban safari tour Eland seen on our Durban safari tour                                     We now had completed our 3 hour safari at Tala game reserve and made our way out to the valley of 1000 Hills to the Zulu Cultural village and reptile park. They also have an amazing restaurant with a view over the rolling hills created many years ago. Previously home to the Debe people who became cannibals during King Shakas time! It was in these hills we stopped for a great lunch and then began a tour of the reptile park viewing Crocodiles and snakes.   Crocodile on our Durban day safari tour Crocodile on our Durban day safari tour                                     After enjoying this part of our Durban day safari tour we moved on to the Zulu Cultural village where we got to witness the proposal of marriage of a Zulu man and girl. It was here that we watched some heated traditional Zulu dancing learning more of this great culture!   Zulu dancing on our Durban day safari tour Zulu dancing on our Durban day safari tour                                     Video of Zulu Dancing:     We also got to see how the Sangoma -fortune teller dresses and sees into the future of the young man who wanted to find out if he was making a wise choice in marrying this young lady! Durban safari tour be it a Day tour or overnight tour are always very interesting and a must if you are visiting Durban for business or pleasure!   Sangomas read a Zulu mans fortune Sangomas read a Zulu mans fortune                                     We then moved on into some of the Zulu traditional beehive huts where we got to see how maize is ground up and beer is made, among other things which you will experience if you come on one of these Durban day tours with Tim Brown Tours. We then had some time to look around the shop as the clouds rolled in and the rain began to fall on our way back to the city as it so often does! Zulu cultural is amazing and really special to learn more about. We arrived back in Durban and then the Docks to meet the ship before I rushed home to prepare for the following days 2 day safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.