Durban safari tour – 29 September to 1st October 2015
I was blessed with a repeat client who brought a friend out from Australia to experience a Durban 3 day safari tour. We departed from Umhlanga and we were able to cover the history and new things that I hadn’t said the last time. It wasn’t long before we stopped and got some coffee and the continued on to the Cat rehabilitation center which was a real experience.
My clients loved it and after interacting with the Cheetah hands on the day was set up to be legendary!
I knew that Julie loved Elephants and I had to tell her we were battling for Elephants over the past three weeks. It is always good to cover yourself as you cannot control nature.
We were greeted at the gate with some very disturbing news that 9 Rhinos had been killed in the past two nights by poachers for their horns to be sold for medicine in China etc. I was gutted! We made our way into Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and fortunately found two Rhinos and Buffalo in the distance before I had to make the shock discovery of one of the Rhino carcasses! I hardly knew what to say and it wouldn’t surprise me if I actually swore out loud which I apologized for. The unnatural death of a symbolic animal like the Rhino is very hard to stomach, with no head and a bloated body even the vultures had not yet arrived.
Durban safari tour; Poached Rhino
I am sorry to have posted the above picture but I believe it is important for you all to see how horrible the human race can be! We are the apex predator and we have the ability to love and give but we so often just take away and its always from nature and each other! We will be judged eventually!
Anyway on a better note we moved on to try find Elephants and it was a great feeling of joy when we did find a few small breeding herds of Elephant and they fed next to the road. They then crossed the road and stood in the shade interacting with each other on the road too! It was a great start to our Durban safari tour.
Durban safari tour; Elephants in the shade
Video: Durban safari tour; Elephants rest in shade
We were so happy and spent so much time almost an hour with the Elephants that we almost forgot about lunch. We decided to leave the Elephants to themselves and we made our way slowly to the camp. We managed to find some Buffalo and even Rhino that were living as well! Yay.
Durban safari tour; Rhino
Come to think of it these Rhinos seemed sad themselves which I only just realized now! It is sad that by 2030 there will be no more Rhinos in the world, and all at the hands of humans the most intelligent animals around…
We arrived at Hilltop camp with a lovely view and a cool breeze where we could enjoy some lunch and check in. Once we were done I got my clients to there room and then arranged to meet them later for the afternoon safari.
Our Durban overnight safari tour would just get better as we managed to find a huge herd of Buffalo on the road.
Durban safari tour; Buffalo
After these Buffalo we spotted 2 young male Lions up on a hill a million miles away but Lions are Lions! As it was only 5pm we decided to return again later in the hope they would have come down from the hill it was not to be! They were all in the open but as flat as cats can be!
Durban safari tour; Lions
When we returned and we actually had an amazing sighting! A Black Rhino mother and calf poking their heads above the thickets. We were hoping they would come into the open but then a staff vehicle came flying by and the Rhinos ran away. We still could see our Lions but they were sleeping even though the Buffalo were walking towards them.
Durban safari tour; Black Rhino
We now were losing light and had to make our way back to Hilltop camp for the night and of course dinner. We arrived back having big smiles as we had seen 4 of the big 5 in one day and Black Rhino! This helped with the sadness of the Rhinos that had been killed but we will never forget them. Also just before Hilltop camp we spotted a bull Elephant which was making his way to below the rooms to feed.
Dinner was a buffet of lovely foods and we tucked into the meal before we went off to bed. When I was walking to my room I could hear the Elephant we had spotted on our way back to camp feeding on the trees.
During the night I heard Hyena and Lions at 4am vocalizing wow it was amazing.
Day 2: Durban overnight safari tour
We began at 6am after a great night of animal sounds which made me feel like we would really do well in the morning. Within 2 minutes we found some Kudu crossing the road.
5 minutes later we spotted a herd of about 10-15 Elephants they were moving fast so I asked it the clients would be happy to wait to see if they crossed the road and they did. It was really exciting to get this as they had such lovely babies with them.
Durban safari tour; Elephant herd
In our quest to find the Lions we managed to find Warthogs, Baboons and a range of other amazing creatures. The Giraffe was one of the highlights but it was great to have the variety.
Sadly we missed the Lions as did everyone else and talking to others that went past we were lucky to have seen the Elephants!
Durban safari tour; Giraffe
After enjoying the Giraffe we made our way round to check the Rhino carcasses to see if there was any predator or scavenger activity, before we could get there we spotted some Zebra next to the road and then a huge herd of Buffalo.
Durban safari tour; Zebra
Next was the big herd of Buffalo on the road which meant we were stuck in a real road block much better than the ones the people in the cities talk about! This big male just gave us a stare as we made our way past them.
Durban safari tour; Buffalo bull
Finally on our Durban safari tour we got back to the Rhino carcasses and there was lots of vultures but no Lions or Hyenas. It was still an amazing sight and we didn’t stay to long as the reality was a little hard to swallow but it did again feel more natural then the previous day.
Durban safari tour; Vultures on dead Rhino
After a great morning safari on Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve we headed back to Hilltop camp for breakfast and then a rest before lunch.
After lunch we headed back out and temperatures got up to 39 degrees! It was very hot…
We made our way down to the Umfolozi river and found a pride of 13 Lions resting in the river bed. It was an incredible sight.
Video: Tim Brown Tours – Durban safari tours; Lions and Elephants in the river bed
Durban safari tour; Lions resting
Video: Durban safari tour; Lions rest in river bed
We spend a lot of time with them and got to watch Elephants walking out onto the riverbed as well with the Lions paying no heed!
Durban safari tour; Lions and Elephants
As we watched we found another Lioness coming out of the bushes and it was clear by looking at some of the faces of the other Lions that they had been feeding as well as looking at there bellies. Wow this really was a treat on our Durban 3 day safari tour.
Durban safari tour; Lioness
It was still 38 degrees so we made our way back to camp as we also had to catch the evening open vehicle safari for the clients from 5pm -8pm. After the 3 hours I met my clients and we had some dinner before a well deserved nights rest.
Day 3: Durban 3 day safari tour
We began at 6am with an early morning safari drive to make the most of the day. We were very lucky as near the camp we spotted a Rhino and then further on some more not to far away.
We were again on the mission to try find these Lions but with out success. We did find Baboon which was good to see, Nyala, Elephant, Buffalo, Zebra, Warthog, Impala and a couple other species in our time out in the bush.
Durban safari tour; Baboon
Life is always about timing and so is a Durban safari tour. We had many vehicles ask us had we seen Elephants and no one else except us had found Elephants. We were lucky and found a bull Elephant walking in a dry river bed and sniffing where the females had been the day before. He then also stopped for a drink of water.
Durban safari tour; Elephant bull
We then made our way back to camp for some breakfast and coffee before we checked out and went on a final safari drive to see what we could find before heading out to St Lucia.
We were lucky again and found Giraffe right next to the road.
Durban safari tour; Giraffe
We then arrived at the gate and departed to St Lucia – Isimangaliso wetland park which is South Africa’s first world heritage site.
It would be here that we would begin a 2 hour boat cruise viewing Hippos and Crocodiles as well as Mangrove swamps and bird life.
Durban safari tour; Crocodile
This Crocodile was feeding on a fish he had caught near the shoreline. There is a wide range of fish in the estuary and we even spotted a fin of a Bull Shark.
As we continued we spotted lots of Hippos and this male was on his own with a few cuts from a recent fight probably with a dominant male.
Durban safari tour; Hippo
After a wonderful boat cruise we stopped in the town of St Lucia and had some lunch, nothing like fish and chips on a cold day to make you feel warm inside.
It was then time to make our way back towards Durban and we chatted along the way about how lucky we had been and possibly another visit with more family of my repeat guests.
Thank you again to my guests Julie who was on her second Durban safari tour and Kris on her first. It was great to have see as much as we did and the quality as well was amazing! Look forward to welcoming you back and thanks for the Tim Tams!