Durban 4 Day Big 5 overnight Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve, Emdoneni Cat Rehab centre and St Lucia Wetlands ( Isimangeliso Wetland Park) – 29th April to the 2nd May 2014.
Day 1: Durban Big 5 Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi Game reserve
On this Durban Big 5 Overnight Safari Tour we began in Mtubatuba outside of Durban, close to St Lucia.
On Route to the Big 5 Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve I covered very little of the major history of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa. We really only had a short 45 minute drive to the game reserve.
We entered the reserve and discovered that on Sunday a Rhino has been poached but they had managed to kill the poachers. This is becoming such a big problem with 1004 Rhinos being killed in South African last year (2013) that we know about.
We had some luck of the bat and found a big herd of buffalo as well as a couple of giraffe and warthogs within the first 15 minutes of entering Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve.
It was quiet after that and we got to the lodge to check in and I had some lunch before taking the clients back out onto Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve for a couple more hours till 6pm of Safari Touring.
We had a great sighting of Giraffe where a younger male just started running for a moment I thought he had seen a Lion bet he ran straight past the females and disappeared. It was clear to see what had scared him. A much older stronger male strode in and started to test the females to see if they were in season. What a great sight of our 4 Day Safari Tour from Durban.
This is my girl the giraffe says…on our 4 day Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve
We also spotted a monitor lizard and a crocodile before heading back to Hilltop camp for dinner at 7pm.
Water Monitor lizard relaxing on a rock on our 4 day Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve
We then retired to bed with the following day being a big day for us as it was the early morning open vehicle game drive and then breakfast. Then the Cat reb centre of emdoneni before lunch and game drive. Finally the evening open vehicle game drive and dinner. Busy Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour indeed! After day 1 we had seen only 2 of the Big 5 which was actually quite nice.
Day 2: Durban Big 5 Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi Game reserve
I collected the clients for there early morning open vehicle game drive at 05:45. I was lucky that when my alarm sounded at 5am I heard a Lion roaring down in the valley from Hilltop camp. I mentioned this to the guides but they could not locate.
I was bored so I went out on a bumble for an hour and found a Big Bull Elephant trouble was it was still dark, I did however get a great sunrise shot.
Sunrise on Day 2 on our 4 day Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve
When the clients returned we had a quick breakfast and headed off to Emdoneni an endangered cat rehabilitation centre where clients can interact with cheetah and other Cats hands on. It is a great additive to the usual Durban Day Safari Tour or Durban Overnight Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve but before we could leave the Hilltop camp we spotted this Baboon.
This Baboon looked like he wanted to hit me on our 4 day Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve
The clients had a great time and took some good pictures at emdoneni cat rehab centre.
We entered back into Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve and went back to Hilltop camp for lunch and a rest. On route we spotted 2 of the Big 5. The Rhino and Buffalo really close to the road.
Young strong Buffalo bull covered in Red Billed Oxpeckers on our 4 day Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve
Young female Rhino close to the road on our 4 day Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve
After arriving back at Hilltop camp we rested and got ready for the evening open vehicle game drive.
Day 3: Durban Big 5 Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi Game reserve
We left Hilltop camp at 7:30am and headed straight down south to the Umfolozi section to look for Cats. We were lucky and saw 3 different prides of Lion, Black Rhino, Cheetah and Elephants. So we saw 4 of the Big 5 on this day on our Safari Tour from Durban to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve.
Always good to see one of the Big 5 but the Lion was a real bonus as well as the cheetah and Black Rhino!
First it was a Baboon that we saw in a Sycamore Fig tree on this big 9 hour Day Safari Tour.
Young male Baboon eating figs on our 4 day Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve
We spotted this old male Buffalo as well which was good to see but little did we know that our Safari Tour in Hluhluwe Umfolozi had only really begun today!
We were approaching the Umfolozi river crossing and a pair of Lioness with two 6 month old cubs ran across the road. I didn’t manage a great photo but it didn’t matter…
As we continued we found this Lioness on a Kill which we could not see but she was full and had 3 others with her. Our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour was hot’n up!
Young Lioness in the reeds with a kill on our 4 day Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve
After having a great time watching rest and move around the sand bank with Vultures sunning themselves we moved on and spotted this beautiful male cheetah relaxing rather close to the Lions. Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tours are amazing.
Cheetah Male resting on our 4 day Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve
We continued on to Bhejane hide very far down South and were again insanely lucky with a Lioness and 2 big Males near a mud wallow. The catch was the Lioness had positioned herself for an ambush in Paradise! She waited first for a Warthog that got wind of her and moved off. But a Male impala came in and she bolted out the bushes like a bullet sadly for us just missing the Impala which lived to tell the tale!
Lioness and Lion at Bhejane Hide on our 4 day Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve
Lioness nearly catches an Impala at Bhejane Hide on our 4 day Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve
By this point we were buzzing with adrenaline and made our way back to check on the cheetah which had moved into a better position! Our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour was really becoming a treat on this Day Safari Tour.
We also returned to the Lions at the Kill and briefly saw them before the moved into the reeds. Amazingly we saw 2 Black Rhino I haven’t seen in months! Thank You Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve for the animals!
Black Rhino and calf suckling on our 4 day Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve
At this point we were so pumped up we made our way towards Centenary centre for some lunch but not before spotting some giraffe in a beautiful position.
Giraffe climbing the hill on our 4 day Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve
Eventually it was lunch and we rested a little before deciding we would not go back to camp until we had see Elephants close.
I pushed up north and an hour and a half later we got them crossing the road in front of us and displaying. The day was complete; we even had a baboon mate in front of us! We could not expect more but there was more on a Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour from Durban.
Elephants cross the road in front of our vehicle on our 4 day Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve
A 6 month old White Rhino calf crossed the road in front of us and the stood in the road to have his photo taken. Wow what a day. I don’t think we will be able to sleep tonight!
6 month old White Rhino Calf on our 4 day Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve
We returned to Hilltop camp for a rest and some dinner before a good rest.
Day 4: Durban Big 5 Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi Game reserve
We headed through for a breakfast at Hilltop camp restaurant after having loaded up the vehicle with our luggage. If was a great breakfast and the African Sun was beating down on us again!
We had only about an hour to see what we could find but after the cracker of a day the day before we were chilled and happy to see what ever showed up.
After checking out of Hilltop camp we began our last day safari tour of Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve. We saw Rhino in the distance, Giraffe, Buffalo, Zebra and monkeys.
This Male Nyala crossed the road in front of us he was really beautiful.
Male Nyala walking across the road on our 4 day Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve
We also spotted they lovely baby vervet monkeys playing on the main tarred road before we spotted our last herd of Elephant.
Young vervet monkeys play on our 4 day Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve
So this was it basically the end of our 4 day Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour from Durban. It was somewhat sad after the amazing things we had seen. We all will not forget the great show the animals of Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve put on for us on day 3 of our Safari Tour.
We all had a really good time and now it was time to head back to Durban with my clients and reminisce about the whole Safari Experience. Some of my favourite moments were the Lions we saw as well as the Cheetah, even the Elephants mock charging was so enjoyable.
I dropped my clients off at the airport in Durban (King Shaka International) before heading home to my wife.
If you would like a Big 5 Safari experience like this contact Tim Brown Tours and we can make this a reality for you.