South African Safari - Tim Brown Tours

South African Safari 26-29 July 2015

 

 

We began our South African safari near Durban where I collected my client who were out for a Baptist conference here in Durban, South Africa!

As it was a slightly larger group than I usually take on Safaris from Durban I rented a 13 seat vehicle and trailer.

Once we got all the luggage in we headed off to Hluhluwe Imfolozi and Hilltop camp for our 3 nights there and to enjoy nature at its best.

On route I covered as much history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa as possible over the microphone and in no time it seemed we had arrived at the gate into Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, my second home.

 

Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve as a deep history which you can read about on the link over the words Hluhluwe….

It is well known for having saved Rhino from extincting in the 1940’s and 50’s.

 

On route to Hilltop camp we spotted one of these amazing Rhinos the White Rhino before having the most amazing Black Rhino sight I have had in a long time. This male Black Rhino walked down a slope and crossed the road in front of us and was super relaxed for a Black Rhino. I was amazed and we were all super happy.

 

 

 

Video: Black Rhino crosses road in front of us during our Durban safari

 

 

 

 

 

 

What a special moment! We then arrived at Hilltop camp and checked in getting clients and luggage to the rooms which did take a little but of time as it was dark.

 

We then met for dinner before a good nights sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

Day 2: South African safari from Durban

 

 

Day two began at 06:30 am and we made our way into the northern section of Hluhluwe game reserve. We had luck right off the bat as we found Elephants near to the road and all down in the valley and up on the hills near the camp.

 

 

 

 

 

 

South African safari; Elephant

South African safari; Elephant
South African safari; Elephant

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also had some amazing luck with Rhino as we got one posing very nicely for us all during our South African safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

 

 

 

 

 

South African safari; Rhino standing

South African safari; Rhino standing
South African safari; Rhino standing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were trying our best for the African wild dogs but hear they had made there way over the river after feeding on an Nyala and taken their puppies with them. So we continued and up the road found a huge herd of Buffalo in fact we must has seen about 6 herds of Buffalo….

 

 

 

 

 

South African safari; Buffalo

South African safari; Buffalo
South African safari; Buffalo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love the above Buffalo picture even though it is not sharp it has character with the flies and the dust. We also managed to spot some Zebra on our South African safari which was great as the sunlight really hit them nicely.

 

 

 

 

 

 

South African safari; Zebra

South African safari; Zebra
South African safari; Zebra

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The one Zebra looks like she is laughing at us… As we continues our 4 day safari tour in Hluhluwe we also found Giraffe but they were far away and I knew we would get them later. So we continued back to camp for breakfast before heading out to the Cat rehabilitation center.

 

 

The Cat rehabilitation center was amazing and my clients loved it as they got to interact with Cheetah hands on and Serval.

 

 

 

 

 

South African safari; Cheetah at emdoneni

South African safari; Cheetah at emdoneni
South African safari; Cheetah at emdoneni

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next picture was of the Cheetah cub which is 3-4 months old and the clients got to play with him, he is very cute and playful. Wow what a South African safari this was turning out to be from Durban!

 

 

 

 

 

 

South African safari; Cheetah cub at cat rehabilitation center

South African safari; Cheetah cub at cat rehabilitation center
South African safari; Cheetah cub at cat rehabilitation center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We then made our way back to the gate and just stopped for some food and fuel. We then got back to camp as some of the group we doing the evening open vehicle safari and other we coming with me.

 

Those that came with me were treated to a few things, the first was a Southern Tree Agama.

 

 

 

 

 

 

South African safari; Southern Tree Agama

South African safari; Southern Tree Agama
South African safari; Southern Tree Agama

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also found some Vultures in a tree among the usual things like the Elephants, Rhino, Buffalo, Zebra and even a Wildebeest.

 

 

 

 

 

 

South African safari; White Backed Vultures

South African safari; White Backed Vultures
South African safari; White Backed Vultures

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We then had great fortune and found the Giraffe we had been looking for near to the road so it was great for photos excepting the light was beginning to fade. Either way it was fantastic and our success continued during our Safari from Durban in South Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

South African safari; Giraffe

South African safari; Giraffe
South African safari; Giraffe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We tried one more time for cats and dogs with no luck, but we had an amazing sighting for a rare specie the Bush Pig which you usually only see at night. It was now dusk and the video I made came out decently but not very well.

 

 

 

 

 

Video: Bush Pig out at dusk


 

We still had one more shot of the day and it was of the sun going down and the planets Venus and Jupiter! The night sky had cleared from the previous night was was looking great with so many stars out.

We had a great day on safari from Durban.

 

 

 

 

 

South African safari; Sunset, Venus and Jupiter

South African safari; Sunset, Venus and Jupiter
South African safari; Sunset, Venus and Jupiter

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was now time to wait for the others to get back and at 8pm we all had a great dinner. The food at Hilltop camp is always lovely. We were all very tired and headed off to bed as we would meet the next day fairly early at 7am for breakfast.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 3: South African safari from Durban

 

 

We began the day in the hope of finding cats but sadly we battled for them through the day!

 

This did not bother us much as we found many other species of animals from Elephant to Mongooses.

We were wanting to see more Giraffe on this African Safari and we did.

 

 

 

 

South African safari; Giraffe

South African safari; Giraffe
South African safari; Giraffe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My clients were very happy with the Giraffe and after a short while we spotted a bull Elephant which crossed the road in front of us and fed next to the road to I made a video of this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

South African safari; Elephant crosses road

South African safari; Elephant crosses road
South African safari; Elephant crosses road

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video: Elephants near the road on Hluhluwe safari


 

 

 

 

 

We slowly made our way down to the Umfolozi river and before we got there we spotted a Rhino bull which decided to sit down and then have a rest by lying down.

It was an amazing sighting as I managed to shoot the sequence of events.

 

 

 

South African safari; Rhino 1

South African safari; Rhino 1
South African safari; Rhino 1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South African safari; Rhino 2

South African safari; Rhino 2
South African safari; Rhino 2

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South African safari; Rhino 3

South African safari; Rhino 3
South African safari; Rhino 3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After the Rhino went to sleep we made our way over the Umfolozi river which was in full force after the heavy rain we had had a couple days before! It was great to see this river flowing so well during our Durban safari in South Africa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

South African safari; Umfolozi river in flow

South African safari; Umfolozi river in flow
South African safari; Umfolozi river in flow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We continued and tried to get as far south as we could but time was also running out as I was unable to travel very fast in the 13 seat vehicle.

Things were quiet and we decided to stop at Bhejane hide hide and see what animals would come to us but sadly it was only birds.

We did however see Terrapins on the bank of the watering hole.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South African safari; Terrapins

South African safari; Terapins
South African safari; Terapins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Once of the best sighting at the watering hole was this African Hoopoe which was searching for food and maybe had a nest in this dead tree next to the watering hole.

 

 

 

 

 

 

South African safari; African Hoopoe

South African safari; African Hoopoe
South African safari; African Hoopoe

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We the made our way to the Centenary center for some lunch and then had a look around the curio shop. As we were a group of 12 it took longer than we thought and we needed to rush back to Hilltop camp to get back for the clients who were doing the evening open vehicle safari and to load up most of the luggage into the trailer, Thank you Jason for your help!

 

 

We arrived back and sorted everything out before meeting for dinner. We had to wait for the 4 clients that went on the open vehicle game drive but it was a good wait.

 

As we stood at the bar we noticed that Prince Harry was in the restaurant enjoying dinner we could not believe our luck to see such a character. We waited on the others and told them but did not want to bother the young prince as others were doing and we sat to enjoy our meal having had a great day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Day 4: South African safari from Durban

 

 

 

We began our forth day with a very early start at 05:45 and left Hilltop camp by 6am for St Lucia or Isimangaliso Wetland park for our 2 hour boat cruise viewing Hippos and crocodiles.

 

We arrived 10 minuted early and had a great 2 hour on the boat seeing lots of Hippos, Crocodiles, Mangroves and birds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

South African safari; Crocodile at St Lucia

South African safari; Crocodile at St Lucia
South African safari; Crocodile at St Lucia

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had unbelievable sightings of Hippos both in the water and on land during our African safari from Durban.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South African safari; Hippos out the water

South African safari; Hippos out the water
South African safari; Hippos out the water

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

St Lucia estuary is the largest esturine system in Southern Africa and home to 4 of the Big 5 the 5 most dangerous animals to hunt on foot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

South African safari; Hippos playing

South African safari; Hippos playing
South African safari; Hippos playing

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were lucky to catch these two baby Hippos playing in the estuary while we were on the boat tour of St Lucia we also had amazing Bird sightings of Pink Backed Pelicans, African Fish Eagles to Black winged stilts.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

South African safari; Pink backed Pelican in flight

South African safari; Pink backed Pelican in flight
South African safari; Pink backed Pelican in flight

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As the boat cruise drew to an end we had one more sighting and that was of a Bull Shark swimming in the St Lucia Estuary! They have been stuck here since 2007 when the estuary closed naturally to the ocean due to a lack of rainfall.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video: Bull Shark in St Lucia estuary, South Africa

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We finished up our cruise and began our way back to Durban International or King Shaka International airport stopping along the way for some food and coffee.

We arrived on time for the clients that would be catching there flights out of Durban and I took two of the clients after the safari to the Hilton Hotel in Durban. It had been an amazing tour having just missed out on the cats!

 

We all enjoyed it and would have many memories to take back home with us.

 

2 Comments

  • Suzii & Carolee
    Suzii & Carolee
    31st July 2015
    Reply

    Tim, We certainly found the right leader for our group. Thank you for your expert guidance in African nature, wildlife, birds, reptiles, culture and history. With you as our guide, we had a wonderful African experience and enjoyed riding together to see these amazing creatures – sharing animals has been a part of our life for many years and Carolee really appreciated riding co-pilot with you!

    Suzii and Carolee

  • Jason
    Jason
    3rd August 2015
    Reply

    Tim, the game drives were fantastic. I still can’t believe we had the rare opportunity to see a Black Rhino–what a special experience. Having been on several safaris in Kenya, I had never seen a Rhino before. In one trip with you I got to see both the coveted Black Rhino and some really amazing close-ups of White Rhinos. Your commentary throughout was superb! Thanks for an amazing trip.

    Peace,
    Jason

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