KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve - Tim Brown Tours

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve 21 -23 March 2015

 

We began our exciting 3 day KwaZulu Natal safari in Durban where I collected my clients and we made our way up the North coast of KwaZulu Natal to an endangered cat project.

 

On route I covered the general history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa. The meaning of KwaZulu Natal if directly translated reads; of the people of Heaven, Christmas!

 

If you wish to learn more about this you may need to take a KwaZulu Natal safari tour with Tim Brown Tours.

 

At the Cat project we began with the amazing Serval cats and we able to touch these beautiful creatures. We then moved on to the African wild cat which is the specie of Cat which all our domestic cats have their origins.

 

 KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, African wild cat

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, African wild cat
KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, African wild cat

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

On a KwaZulu Natal safari you can see these amazing creatures but they are very rare. You will find lots of mixes as they can breed with domestic cats as well which has caused their own species numbers to decline.

 

Our next stop was the Caracal also an interesting cat which is found in the province of KwaZulu Natal but also very endangered. On our Safaris in KwaZulu Natal you can see these cats but sadly it would be rare in the wild.

 

We then made our way to the Cheetah camp and it was here that we were able to interact with these amazing cats hands on!

 

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Cheetah

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Cheetah
KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Cheetah

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was sure not that we probably would not see another cat for the remainder of the day but I am glad I was wrong. As we reached Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve the oldest game reserve in Africa, we spotted lots of animals near the gate.

 

Our first sight was of a Giraffe and some Zebra.

 

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Giraffe

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Giraffe
KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Giraffe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also watch a massive herd of Buffalo cross the road in front of us which was amazing. It reminded me of the great migration in Kenya and Tanzania.

 

KwaZulu Natal safaris really do have a lot to offer and Tim Brown Tours is one of few Tour operators focussing on KwaZulu Natal safaris and tours.

 

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Buffalo

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Buffalo
KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Buffalo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We now headed onwards to Hilltop camp in the Hluhluwe section of the game reserve and it was here that we sat down for some lunch and enjoyed the amazing views.

 

Once we were done I showed the clients to their room and we took an hour rest before heading back out to see what other animals we could find.

 

Our KwaZulu Natal safaris and tours are flexible so if you need more time to rest or more time on the game reserve we can arrange this for you.

 

KwaZulu Natal is fortunate to offer a few Big 5 game reserves and the most well known and oldest is Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. At this point we had seen 2 of the Big 5 and this was average for the time we had spent in the reserve.

 

We made our way down to an area where some one had reported Lions in the morning. On route we had one of the best sightings of an Elephant anyone could have! We spotted him on the bank above a stream and the then moved towards the road, I felt this was a great opportunity to let him cross in front of us but before he could he decided to play. He rubbed his right tusk on the ground and then sat down scratching his bum as he came down towards the road. He then got back up shook himself off and crossed to the Sycamore Fig tree on the other side of the stream.

 

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Elephant Bull

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Elephant Bull
KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Elephant Bull

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We then watched him reach up and grab figs to eat, then his pushed the tree dropping a whole lot of figs into the water below chasing a young Crocodile in the stream!!! It was purely amazing and I am so glad I filmed so of this to share with you.

 

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Elephant reaching for figs

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Elephant reaching for figs
KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Elephant reaching for figs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video of Elephant and figs

 

 

 

After this amazing scene we were happy about how our KwaZulu Natal safari was going that we didn’t care much about anything else! It was not long though that we spotted so Nyala and a Rhino. We also spotted Impala and a Warthog with a growth near the end of her tail.

 

Video of Warthog with growth at end of tail

 

 

We them continued our safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and made our way to where the Lions had been seen. We saw hardly anything there! In the deepest darkest shadow we saw a tail flick and a foot in the air that was it not even worth a photo. I said to my clients we would return later just before dark to see if things changed.

 

We then found more Giraffe, Rhino and Buffalo.

 

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Giraffe feeding

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Giraffe feeding
KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Giraffe feeding

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was now time to return to the area where the Lions had been seen. We arrived and to my surprise we had a very old Lioness battered and bruised laying 2 meters off the road. She was very skinny and in bad shape but she had fed so would live to see another day.

 

Hluhluwe 3 day safari tour, Old Lioness holds on to life by the skin of her teeth

Hluhluwe 3 day safari tour, Old Lioness holds on to life by the slin of her teeth
Hluhluwe 3 day safari tour, Old Lioness holds on to life by the skin of her teeth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then to my surprise I spotted movement in my wing mirror and it was a young sub Adult male Lion which came behind us to the Lioness probably his mother or Grand mother. They greeted and then he went off to the carcass where we herd another Lion feeding in the thick bush.

 

Video of Lioness and Male Lion

 

 

 

The Lioness then began to groom herself cleaning off the blood on her paws.

 

Video of Lioness cleaning herself.

 

 

 KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Sub adult Lion

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Sub adult Lion
KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Sub adult Lion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video of young male Lion walking around the back to us.

 

 

 

This as you can imagine just made our day and the choice to come back was clearly the best decision I had made all day!

To see Lions like this in KwaZulu Natal is always amazing and so many people have only ever heard of Kruger National park. Hluhluwe Imfolozi is every bit as good if not better, the views are amazing here and some of the sightings, well just incredible.

 

 

We now had huge smiles and memories which would never be forgotten forged into our brains! It was time to get back to the lodge and have some dinner and a well deserved night sleep.

 

Dinner was amazing at Hilltop camp as usual and we reminisced about our amazing day on Safari from Durban to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve in KwaZulu Natal.

 

I left me client at the bar to enjoy the wifi and surely to send family and friends some of the footage while I went off to bed.

 

We would meet the next day at 06:55 from some breakfast before heading out on another safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

 

 

Day 2: KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

 

 

We met for some breakfast and coffee which was great before heading out to see what we could find in the game reserve. Before any of this could happen I spotted a Baboon resting on the roof of the TV lounge.

 

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Baboon taking it easy

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Baboon taking it easy
KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Baboon taking it easy

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It all began rather slowly this morning and we spotted some Elephants in the distance on a hill and got a bit closer and could hear them vocalising. It was pretty special.

 

Nothing much else showed up for a while during our KwaZulu Natal safari so we just kept on trying and looked as some of the smaller things. Having said that we did find a dead Buffalo which I had seen a week earlier alive and well but stuck in the mud. I gathered as he wasn’t struggling that he was fine but clearly not, a week later he is dead!

 

Anyhow that’s nature for you it can be cruel. We did spot a lovely living but old male Buffalo which crossed the road in front of us.

 

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Buffalo bull

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Buffalo bull
KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Buffalo bull

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our next sighting on our KwaZulu Natal safari was a Golden Orb spider which my clients had asked me to show them so when I found one it was great.

 

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Golden Orb Spider

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Golden Orb Spider
KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Golden Orb Spider

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we moved along we were very lucky to have a big male Giraffe cross the road in front of us, we had already spotted a female in the distance so he must have been on his way to visit her.

 

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Giraffe crossing

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Giraffe crossing
KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Giraffe crossing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We then had a lovely sighting of Zebra on the road and the were so relaxed that I ended up getting a lovely picture of them,

KwaZulu Natal safaris are not complete without seeing a dazzle of Zebra.

 

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Zebra

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Zebra
KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Zebra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I was now becoming frustrated that all our Rhino sightings had not been clear and we had only spotted them from a good 40 meters away at best. Again I needed to be calm and know that this is nature and this is how it is sometimes.

 

Next we spotted more Elephants and it was a great sighting as these two males seemed camera shy!

 

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Camera shy Elephants

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Camera shy Elephants
KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Camera shy Elephants

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We then did spot a Rhino mother and young calf on our KwaZulu Natal safari but again it was not the closest and I decided not to post the picture as it was so bad. Moving along we had a huge herd of over 100 Buffalo cross the road in front of us with was great to see.

 

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Buffalo crossing

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Buffalo crossing
KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Buffalo crossing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We then moved on to Hilltop camp for a rest and later after lunch we headed back out to see what we could find before the clients took the evening open vehicle safari.

 

The afternoon turned out really well on our KwaZulu Natal safari! We only drove about 500 meters before I spotted a Chameleon on the road, it was so small about the size of my index finger I was relieved not to have ran it over.

 

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Chamelion crossing

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Camelion crossing
KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Chameleon crossing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After protecting it from on coming vehicles who couldn’t see it we moved on and tried our best to secure this good Rhino sighting we had been wanting. We first got them close to the road but moving away so again it was the bums in the long grass, we then hit the Jackpot!

 

A male Rhino which wanted to mud wallow but the smell of predators in the area put him off from wallowing. We waiting for him and gave him space turning off the engine and then he got in the mud. He wasn’t there long but it was amazing to see.

 

I got a good picture of him on the way to the mud wallow on this the second day of our 3 day KwaZulu Natal safari.

 

 KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Rhino

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Rhino
KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Rhino

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We continued on and came across huge numbers of vultures in the trees a clear sign that the way predators. The only problem was they were to far off the road to see.

 

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Vultures

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Vultures
KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Vultures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then we got to a dry river bed and there was lots of tracks from the Lions so the problem was solved as to who it was that had made the kill that the vultures were feeding off.

 

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Lion tracks

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Lion tracks
KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Lion tracks

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had very little time and we made our way back to the lodge for the clients to jump on the open vehicle game drive. I was sure they would enjoy the experience.

 

After dinner we went to bed and it was up for a 7am start the next day. This would be the third day of our KwaZulu Natal safari and would be the last day. We had so much to see and do including the St Lucia boat cruise on Lake St Lucia at Isimangeliso Wetland Park.

 

 

 

Day 3: KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

 

We got up and had our entire luggage packed and ready to go before heading down for some breakfast at the lodge and then checking out.

 

The next 3 hours would be our last part of the Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

After this it was a 1 hour drive to St Lucia – Isimangeliso Wetland Park for the 2 hour boat cruise to view Hippos, crocodiles and mangroves swamps.

 

We checked some of the other areas we had not visited in Hluhluwe and came across Buffalo, Rhino and two bull Elephants. It was a great sighting as they displayed to one another at a mud wallow.

 

Video of Elephants at mud wallow.

 

 

 

We moved one to check on the area where we had seen lions but there was no sign of them. As we continued we came across a herd of Elephant and then some Zebras standing in the road.

 

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Zebras on road

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Zebras on road
KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Zebras on road

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was now time to head on to Isimangeliso Wetland Park and enjoy the 2 hour boat cruise.

 

When we arrived we had time to look in the curio shop and then it was time to enjoy the cruise.

 

Our first sighting was of Hippos as usual and we got some in the distance with there mouths open.

 

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Hippos playing at St Lucia

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Hippos playing at St Lucia
KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Hippos playing at St Lucia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also spotted a big Crocodile in the estuary resting on the bank during our KwaZulu Natal safari in St Lucia.

 

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Crocodile at St Lucia

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Crocodile at St Lucia
KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Crocodile at St Lucia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video of Hippo Yawning

 

 

 

In St Lucia it is also a great place for bird watching and we spotted an African Fish eagle which was trying to perch in a tree.

 

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Fish eagle at St Lucia

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Fish eagle at St Lucia
KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Fish eagle at St Lucia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

A bit later on we were lucky to find a pair of Hippos nose to nose it looked like they were kissing it was a lovely way to end our major sightings on our 3 day KwaZulu Natal safari.

 

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Hippos Kissing at St Lucia

KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Hippos Kissing at St Lucia
KwaZulu Natal 3 day safari tour, Hippos Kissing at St Lucia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our cruise ended and we made our way into St Lucia town and enjoyed some lunch at the Ocean Sizzler before the 2.5 hour drive back to Durban.

 

This had been a great 3 days of Touring in KwaZulu Natal and we all enjoyed it.

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