Durban 3 day safari tour – Hluhluwe Imfolozi 3-5 January 2015
I met my clients in Durban which was a family of 5 from western Europe for their 3 Day Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
A few of the clients had been to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve 20 years ago and had enjoyed it but no seen any cats. This would be the Safari which could change that. We began by heading to the Cat rehabilitation center where we interacted with baby cheetah and adult cheetah as well as Serval, Caracal and African wild cat. All of these species are endangered hence the breeding program.
Cheetah cub at a Cat rehabilitation center on our Durban day safari tour
After the introduction of the baby Cheetah we moved to the adult Cheetah where my clients took their own photos and enjoyed the interaction and education of the whole tour.
We entered the African wild cat enclosure after we visited the Caracal where we saw the most beautiful little kitten! It is always special to see such endangered cats with babies during our Durban overnight Safari tours.
Caracal kitten at a Cat rehabilitation center during our Durban safari tour
We then saw the African wild cats and their new babies which some clients got to interact with before we moved onto the Serval cats to enjoy them as well. This is something which is rare to be able to do but always a blessing for the clients on our Durban overnight safari tours.
Serval cat seen on our Durban safari tour
We departed from the cat rehabilitation center and in 25 minuted were inside Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, Africa’s Oldest proclaimed nature reserve! As we began our Durban safari we struck gold as we found some Rhino near the road mud wallowing. This was amazing for the clients to be able to see as they are so endangered!
Rhino, Buffalo and Zebra in one photo seen in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve
As you can see in the picture it was not only the Rhino we saw but also some Buffalo and Zebra in the back ground! A very lucky start to our Durban overnight Safari tour!
We made our way straight through to Hilltop camp for some lunch and to check in before heading out again to see what else we could see from 4 pm.
It was really a great day and not long after leaving Hilltop camp our base for the 3 days we spotted some Water buck on one of the dirt roads in Hluhluwe.
Waterbuck male seen on our Durban safari tour
We continued our Durban overnight safari tour and came across some Rhino right in the road facing us it was a Rhino Road block and we would have to wait for them to move. So that is exactly what we did! In the process I made a video of the occasion and got to chat more about these amazing animals.
Rhino road block on our Durban safari tour
Video of a Rhino road block in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve with Tim Brown tours.
This was very exciting and after these Rhino moved off the road we found more Buffalo before stopping at the gate to use the facilities! At the gate is a Sausage Tree which I told my clients about and its traditional uses among the Zulus.
So far we had had a great Durban overnight Safari tour we were only on day one!
As the sun was setting we spotted some Elephants in the distance one two occasions but it really was not worth putting the photo up in such low light! So instead we stopped for a sunset picture know full well we would find Elephants the next day!
Sunset on day one of our Durban safari tour
We settled into the camp for the night and enjoyed some good food at Hilltop camp before a good night rest.
Day 2 of our Durban overnight safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
We had decided to come for breakfast at 7am before heading out down into the Southern part of the game reserve the Umfolozi section. This was a good choice as their was no animals about before then as people told us later. It was a hot day though and the mercury rose to 39 degrees! We used the African air conditioner which my clients requested which was the outside air only which kept us sweaty but it was still great.
Our first major sighting was a Crocodile at one of the river crossings on our way down south for todays day safari. It was just resting in the water taking it easy!
Crocodile seen on our Durban safari tour
It was not much longer before we found our next reptile a Rock monitor Lizard which had been digging through some Rhino dung looking for some grubs and Dung beetles!
Rock Monitor seen on our Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari
We continued our Durban overnight safari tour and were hoping to see some Giraffe but they did not appear to be so easy as you would imagine. In fact our next sighting in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve was that of a new born Buffalo with umbilical cord still hanging down and it tired mother who had been away from the herd to give birth. We were very lucky as the herd near by began to move away and mother got her new born baby up and made it walk with her across the road in front of us. This was beautiful, new life!
Buffalo mother with new born calf on our Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari
Video of new born baby Buffalo crossing the road with its mother
It was not long before we got that elusive Elephant close to the road so we spent about 10 minutes with it enjoying it as if fed near the road. We kept a safe distance and then I realised the Elephant wanted to cross the road so we help back a bit more and hey presto he crossed in front of our vehicle calmly and fed on the other side of the road.
Elephant bull next to the road on our Durban safari tour
We then spotted some Giraffes in the distance but it really was not a great photo so we continued with our Durban safari tour and ended up at the Umfolozi river where we spotted some Baboons and an Elephant bull drinking!
Baboons relaxing near the river on our Safari from Durban
Our next sighting was of some Kudu which we at a mud wallow drinking water, it was a lovely sighting until someone decided to race past us chasing the Kudu away. Our Durban overnight safari tour was really becoming something great we had seen 3 of the Big 5 and just needed some cats to spice things up a bit!
Kudu drinking water on our Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari tour
We continued south and after a long period with very little activity we finally spotted some Zebra and Rhino as well as some Warthogs near to one another.
3 Rhinos and a warthog seen on our Durban safari tour
Our Zebras up to this point had been very far away so this was a relief to see them close to us during our Durban overnight safari tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
Zebra and Impala on our Durban safari tour
The temperature was soaring and we slowly began our journey back the centenary center for some lunch.
A lot was still to happen for us on our Durban safari tour before we would reach their. At the White Umfolozi river we stopped for a rest and we spotted a massive herd of Elephants coming to drink near a herd of Buffalo. The dust the kicked up was amazing!
Elephants storm down to the Umfolozi river for a drink
Later we spotted a Masked weaver making his nest and trying to impress the ladies! This does not always work and sometimes if the lady does not like his nest he has to cut it down and start again!
Masked Weaver makes his nest on our Durban safari tour
We were about to head back through Mpila camp when we saw another Elephant Bull which was in Musth but very relaxed so we watched him for a few minutes before he crossed the road behind us.
Big Elephant walks past us on our Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve
We finally made it to lunch and we enjoyed some good food before looking at the craft shop and beginning the journey back to Hilltop camp. We had had such a great day to this point and had just missed the cats out of the Big 5. I honestly was satisfied with the day and realised that it was hot and that we had very little chance of seeing much else between 2 and 3 pm.
I did however as always tell my clients that animals do not read the books we write about them and anything is possible during a Durban safari tour!
We were again lucky and saw two Black Rhino which are very rare and hard to spot as they love the thick areas.
Black Rhino mother and calf seen in Hluhluwe Imfolozi on our Safari tour
We then resigned ourselves to the fact that we would need to look for Cats the next day as a priority and would you believe it at 3pm at the hottest part of the day a Lioness with a broken leg hobbled across the road in front of us and lay down in the thicket next to the road! I could not believe our good fortune but as I always say you just never know!
Lioness with broken leg on our Durban safari tour
We finally reached Hilltop camp and the smiles on our faces told the story of our day safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi with Tim Brown Tours!
We decided some rest was needed and then before you knew it it was time for dinner and bed!
Day 3 of our Durban overnight safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
Our day began very early as the night before we had been told we could do the bush walk which was amazing! We left the camp at 5am to meet Xolani, our guide at one of the bush camps and we began an amazing bush walk in Hluhluwe imfolozi.
We walked and found a herd of Buffalo which ran away from us, it was like a stampede! We found some Hyena tracks and learned more about the smaller things in nature like – Insects, trees, birds and tracks.
Having said all of this we did see some Giraffe close so we approached and I took a photo of the clients with the Giraffe on our Bush walk in Hluhluwe.
Picture of client on bush walk with Giraffe behind them
We completed the walk and it was already hot at about 07:30 am,heading back up to Hilltop camp for some breakfast we saw a few animals but were all so tired we didn’t spend much time with them.
Breakfast was great and after a shower and check out we made our way down south for a final 2 hours of safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
We found this Big Elephant relaxing in a mud wallow.
Elephant on day 3 of our Durban safari tour
It was time to head to St Lucia Estuary for the 2 hour boat cruise to view Hippos and Crocodiles before I would leave my clients in St Lucia as they were staying on a couple of nights to investigate Sodwana bay and Cape Vidal.
At the St Lucia estuary we spotted some lovely Hippos and even a Fish eagle in flight!
Hippos at St Lucia on our Durban safari tour
Fish eagle in flight at St Lucia on our Durban safari tour
We even got to see a Goliath Heron the worlds tallest heron fishing at the shoreline! The cruise was really relaxing and the sun was hot so my clients could enjoy the sun on their skin!
Goliath Heron seen at St Lucia on our Durban safari tour
This was now the end of the Durban safari tour for my client and I took them around the town of St Lucia to see where everything was and then I drove them to their guest house and we said our goodbyes. It had been a nice group to take around my beautiful country for the 3 days but now it was time to return home to see my wife and catch up on computer work ie: BLOG POSTS! lol.