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