Hluhluwe game reserve safari 15th October 2015
After having a few days off from being on the road I began another Hluhluwe game reserve safari for a couple from America who were out in South Africa for a holiday.
An African safari is always the best way to see the best that Africa has to offer and Hluhluwe game reserve which is a Big 5 reserve is the best place to visit if you are in the Durban, KwaZulu Natal area.
Hluhluwe game reserve is the oldest protected reserve in Africa and home to the Big 5, the 5 most dangerous animals to hunt on foot. The Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Elephant and Rhino. We are very fortunate to have the Hluhluwe game reserve on the door step of Durban.
Hluhluwe game reserve is a mere 2.5 hours away from Durban city and as this blog post will show in one day on an African safari, is the best place to visit with Tim Brown Tours.
We began this amazing day in Durban where I met my clients and on route to the Hluhluwe game reserve I covered the history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa. As South Africa and particularly Durban is a melting pot of difference cultures their is so much to talk about before we even get to experience the Hluhluwe game reserve on our African safari.
We arrived earlier than I expected at Hluhluwe game reserve and I had an idea where Lions could be from discussing with some guide friends the day before. We went straight there but the Lions were no where near where I had been told. I figured I would try another 5 km up the road to be sure and just as I was about to turn back we spotted them feeding on a Buffalo about 100 meter off the main highway which cuts through the middle of the Hluhluwe game reserve in the North and the Umfolozi game reserve in the South.
Hluhluwe game reserve; Lions on a kill
Video: Hluhluwe game reserve; Lions feeding on Buffalo
It is a bit of a misconception that Vultures always circle when there is a kill. They circle and drop down waiting in the near by trees and on the group for the predators to finish. A lot of the time you can see vultures circling and you assume they have found a carcass. Most of the time it is just them catching the thermals after leaving there roosting spot and using the thermals to conserve energy circling upwards before heading off to find a carcass.
These Lions had killed this Buffalo a couple day before and we got to see 5 Lions in total. There were two big males and 3 Lioness.
Hluhluwe game reserve; Lions feeding on a Buffalo
Video: Hluhluwe game reserve: Lions on a Buffalo kill
After spending almost 45 minutes with these Lions and watching them feed and move around we decided be better head into the gate of the Hluhluwe game reserve and investigate roads that we can only use by paying the entrance.
What was so funny was that on this one stretch of road we had seen 3 of the Big 5, Buffalo, Lions and Elephant.
We entered the Hluhluwe game reserve and had some luck as we spotted a dazzle of Zebra walking down the road towards us.
Hluhluwe game reserve; Zebra walking down road
We had a great sighting of these Zebra and we made our way further north in Hluhluwe game reserve to and area where Lions had been seen. Sadly for us we were 10 minutes to late and the Lions had moved away with all the vehicle pressure so we only saw then far off. It was not all lost as I spotted some Giraffe and Rhino and then we spotted an Elephant. It really was turning out to be a great safari in Hluhluwe game reserve.
As the pictures were not a good as we would get later in the day we continued on with our safari and headed back south out of the Hluhluwe game reserve in the Umfolozi game reserve. It was here we spotted Rhino and one was marking his territory.
Hluhluwe game reserve; Rhino marks his territory
The male Rhinos kick their dung and scatter it out in what we call a midden which is a regular spot within their territory that the use to mark out their boundaries. The scattering gets their scent into their feet as well and they can then walk putting more scent down as they go.
We were trying to get ourselves down to the Umfolozi river but kept seeing things like Giraffe and Impala so it took longer than we expected.
At one of the view points over the Umfolozi river we spotted Lions far down stream and nearer Buffalo and Rhino together laying in a small patch of water on the sand.
Hluhluwe game reserve; Buffalo and Rhino in the riverbed
We enjoyed the fresh air and stretching of our legs before continuing on to the actual river crossing. As we were beginning the crossing of the bridge to check the river bed we all gasped as literally 15 meters from the bridge was two big bull Elephants which had dug a whole in the sand and were drinking the fresher water below.
It was a great sighting as there was about 6 more Elephants further down stream as well. We mostly enjoyed the two nearest to us and spent a lot of time with them.
Hluhluwe game reserve; Elephant in the riverbed
It was now already 13:30 and we still had to get back to the luncheon stop but non of us were complaining as we had just seen so many amazing animals in Hluhluwe game reserve on our African safari.
We left the Elephants and continued our African Safari and with another stoke of good fortune spotted a male Giraffe near the road. We waiting as I felt he would cross in front of us and we were lucky as he did!
Hluhluwe game reserve; Giraffe crosses road
This was now the Cherry on the top on our day and having spend so much time seeing amazing sighting we would only now have time to get some lunch, look at the craft market and make out way back to the Lions we had originally seen to see what was happening.
We had a great lunch and then re-visited the Lions. They had left the carcass to the Vultures and between the three of us we managed to eventually spot where they were resting under a tree very far away.
I was lucky to have some great eyes in the car the things I missed my clients spotted which was great and made the day that much more fun and exciting.
We departed for Durban and chatted about the amazing day and any other questions that my clients wishes to ask.
Thank you to my clients for joining me on this African safari to Hluhluwe game reserve I hope you enjoyed the blog post just as much a I enjoyed seeing all those amazing animals with you.