3 day Durban Safari Archives - Tim Brown Tours
  • 2nd August 2015

    Safari near Durban – 29th July to 1st August 2015

     

     

    I met my clients in Durban, a family for their 3 day Durban safari tour. We got all the luggage aboard and began making our way to the cat rehabilitation center near Hluhluwe.

    It would be here that our safari near Durban would begin and we would interact with Cheetah, Serval and African wild cat hands on.

    As usual I covered the general History side of Durban and answered any questions they had.

     

    It is always amazing to see these cats and to learn about them and why they are so endangered.

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Cheetah at Rehabilitation center

    Safari near Durban; Cheetah at Rehabilitation center

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After we left the cat rehabilitation center we made our way to the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for our 2 nights at Hilltop camp where Prince Harry was staying. I think my guests were amazed when they saw him at dinner the first night. If Hilltop camp is good enough for Prince Harry it is should be good enough for my clients and of course it always is.

     

     

    Before we got to the camp we did see some great animals.

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Male Nyala demonstrates philo-erection

    Safari near Durban; Male Nyala demonstrates philo-erection

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Philo- Erection is when the hair on the male antelope in this case a Male Nyala stands up which make him look bigger and that the other males. The idea is to be the biggest so you can take over a harem of females for yourself.

    Next we spotted some Buffalo and Zebra together down in a dip on our Safari near Durban.

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Buffalo and Zebra

    Safari near Durban; Buffalo and Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We then arrived at Hilltop camp and had some lunch before checking in and settling into the rooms for 45 minutes. It was then time for us to get out and see what other animals we could find. I was a little concerned as it was still only 15:15 and pretty warm still so I said to my client not to expect many animals for the first hour.

     

    Well when ever you say something like that on a safari you can expect something good to happen and boy did something great happen.

     

    I spotted something that I knew was a big cat but as she was running in the valley I could not make out if she was a Lion or Leopard I was hoping for the latter but didn’t really care as a cat is a cat!

     

    It turned out to be a Lioness and she was looking to hunt some Nyala in broad daylight! It was amazing. We raced down to meet here and she was beautiful, she posed for us on a rock and then crossed the road in front of us.

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Lioness on rock

    Safari near Durban; Lioness on rock

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Lion on rock in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve


    We then got her staring at the Nyala and she made her way off the rock and crossed the road in front of us! It was amazing and such a great spot of luck and good fortune. The best part of this sighting was we had her to our selves.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Lioness sits on rock

    Safari near Durban; Lioness sits on rock

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Lion crosses road in middle of day in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve


     

    We were very lucky and had now just experience something that would normally only be seen a night in broad daylight.

    We decided to leave here as we lost visual and made our way to the Hluhluwe River to see if we could find Elephants. We had no luck but did find Rhino which was amazing.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Rhino

    Safari near Durban; Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    In fact our Rhino sightings were very good this day I will not give a number but we saw a good amount of them. We then tried for Giraffe and Buffalo and got the Buffalo all around the vehicle on one of the road but the sun was setting so the light was not good for a photo. We did however enjoy watching them!

    We needed to get back to camp so we hurried along and got to near Hilltop camp and spotted a Elephant in the dark which was very hard to photograph but we did anyway.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Elephant

    Safari near Durban; Elephant

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We got back to camp and settled in for some dinner at 7pm it wasn’t long after this that Prince Harry arrived with his Body Guards and walked past us to go and eat in a secluded area as people had been trying to get photos of the poor guy…

    It was still amazing to see a prince at the lodge I always bring my clients too.

     

    After dinner we headed to bed and it was a Blue moon it looked amazing.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Day 2: Safari near Durban

     

     

    We began day two of our Safari from Durban in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve with breakfast and then headed down south in the game reserve.

    We did very well and spotted lots of Giraffe and even Lion tracks from the night before.

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Giraffe

    Safari near Durban; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was one of those mornings when everything seemed to be working well for us and we even had the most amazing Rhino sighting, one which I have been waiting for, for years!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Rhino

    Safari near Durban; Rhinos

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Rhino marks his territory and does flehmen grimace


     

     

     

    After this unbelievable sighting we made our way further south and found some Zebra and Impala together before spotting some Kudu and Warthogs.

    The Zebra and Impala crossed the road in front of us which was great.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Zebra crossing

    Safari near Durban; Zebra crossing

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Funnily enough the clouds then began to gather as we entered the Umfolozi section and it began to rain a little. This was very odd at the forecast did not predict this. We still had great sightings and as we continued our safari near Durban we found more Giraffe in the rain.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Journey of Giraffe

    Safari near Durban; Journey of Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We then went through a very lean patch or so it seemed it might of been because we were so focused on looking for Elephant the be drove past Rhino, Baboons, Wildebeest, Nyala, Kudu, Zebra and more Giraffe…

    We almost got the Elephant and I got a puncture which I then needed to stop for to change the wheel and continue on. It took some time as these new vehicles are so much more complicated than the old cars we used to have.

     

    The temperature was dropping and we made our way back to the Centenary center for some lunch which we really needed but before we could get there we had an amazing sighting of a Rhino mother and calf.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Rhino mother and calf

    Safari near Durban; Rhino mother and calf

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Rhino mother and calf cross the road


     

     

     

     

    We still had one more good sighting of something new before we got to the Centenary center for lunch and that was of some Vultures and a Crow feeding off an old Buffalo carcass.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; White Backed Vultures on old Buffalo carcass

    Safari near Durban; White Backed Vultures on old Buffalo carcass

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We eventually sat down for some lunch and discussed the evening game drive and the clients decided they would brave the cold weather to see what they could see on the open vehicle.

    When I got back to camp I had to fix the puncture and change the wheels back around before getting to some computer work.

    I had an earlier dinner and would be meeting my clients the following morning for breakfast and luggage collection.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Day 3: Safari near Durban

     

     

    We began day 3 just before 7am with a luggage collection and breakfast at Hilltop camp before checking out and completing our final 3 hours of safari near Durban.

     

    During the safari we had some great luck and we had been looking for more Elephants and we got them down at the Hluhluwe river from a view point.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Elephants drinking

    Safari near Durban; Elephants drinking

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We watched the Elephant for about 10-15 minutes as they finished drinking they walked along the rivers edge and we enjoyed the calling from the Matriarch getting the herd to follow her.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Elephants walking in the Hluhluwe river bed

    Safari near Durban; Elephants walking in the Hluhluwe river bed

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This is always a good time to make a video so I got the camera running so I could share this moment with the followers of Tim Brown Tours or just Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Elephants walking in riverbed Hluhluwe game reserve

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We continued on with our safari near Durban and found Rhino and had an excellent sighting of Buffalo on the road. It was perfect as we had seen them on the road before but it was to dark to get pictures.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Buffalo bull

    Safari near Durban; Buffalo bull

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was not time to see what else we could find before leaving Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for St Lucia estuary for our 2 hour Hippo and Crocodile boat cruise.

    We tried for Giraffe and more Elephant with out much luck but did see more Zebra, Nyala, Waterbuck, Warthog and Buffalo before we departed.

     

    It was a 1 hour drive to St Lucia or Isimangaliso Wetland park as it is now known and we arrived, had some lunch and got to the boat for the wonderful 2 hour boat cruise.

    It is a guarantee to see Hippos and we usually see Crocodiles. This day we saw about 6-8 Crocodiles and 100 Hippos a least.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Crocodiles at St Lucia estuary

    Safari near Durban; Crocodiles at St Lucia estuary

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Hippos were mostly near the shore and some on the land as well so apart from the light being a bit bright it was great for us to photograph them.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Hippo at St Lucia estuary

    Safari near Durban; Hippo at St Lucia estuary

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We ended out boat cruise at St Lucia and began our journey back to Durban, it had been a great 3 day safari from Durban and the highlight was the Lioness and the Elephant for sure!

    If you would like to join a Tim Brown Tour or Safari like this 3 day Safari click the link below:

     

     

     

    Durban 3 day safari tour package

     

     

  • 10th October 2014

    Durban 3 day Safaris to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

     

    Our 3 Day Durban Safari began in Umhlanga where I collected my clients and we headed up to Emdoneni Cat Rehabilitation center near Hluhluwe for a 10:30 Tour.

    On Route I covered the History of the area, Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa. Sometime you find that no matter how much you chat you never get through the interesting History even in its most basic of forms.

    I was very lucky to have clients from a country I had not idea where it was, New Caledonia. I thought I better learn it bit about it so looked it up when I had a spare moment.

    The Tour in the Cat rehab was great as usual and we spend a good hour and a half with the endangered Cats.

     

    Caracal seen at Emdoneni Cat rehabilitation center on our Durban Safari

     

    Caracal seen at Emdoneni Cat rehabilitation center on our Durban Safari

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After spending time with both the African Wild Cat and the Caracal photographed above we then moved on to the Cheetah before visiting the Serval. Its always amazing to learn why these Cats are at the brink of extinction and see them close up.

     

    Cheetah seen at Emdoneni Cat rehabilitation center on safari near Durban

    cheetah seen at Emdoneni Cat rehabilitation center on safari near Durban

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was now time to depart from the Cats and visit the Big 5 Game reserve, Hluhluwe Imfolozi Africas oldest protected area established in 1895. I visit to Durban is not complete if you do not take a Safari from Durban to Hluhluwe.

    We arrived at the gate by 12 o clock and began a 45 minute Safari in the African Bush to Hilltop camp for lunch and to check in. During this short time we had such such luck and got to see this new born Rhino and its mother.

     

    Rhino mother and calf on our safari from Durban

    Rhino mother and calf on our safari from Durban

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Having been very patient these amazing creature got within 10 meters of our vehicle before turning around the bush and continuing with there feeding or shall I say Mother Rhino was feeding. The baby at a couple months is to young to digest grass so only drinks milk.

    Moving on with our Durban Safari we found more animals: Giraffe, Zebra, Buffalo and Nyala. We continued to Hilltop camp for lunch and checked in to this amazing resort on top of a hill in the middle of a game reserve. All that keeps us away from animals is the small electrified fence. Very special place!

    After we were feed and spent a few minutes in our rooms we headed back out onto the game reserve to see what else we could find. We had already seen 2 of the Big 5 in a very short space of time.

     

    Elephant of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve near Durban on our Safari Tour

    Elephant of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve near Durban on our Safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We did find our Elephants actually about 3 herds of Elephant in the 3 hours before 6pm’s return to camp. This meant we had found 3 of the Big 5. One of the inexplicable sightings was a Brown Chested Snake eagle flying at the back of Zebra touching it and flying off again. He gave the Zebra such a fright but it was amazing to see. As our Safari near Durban continued we spotted more Rhino, Giraffe, Buffalo, Zebra, Nyala, Impala and even an African Rock Python on the road!

     

    African Rock Python seen on the road in Hluhluwe on our Durban Safari Tour

    African Rock Python seen on the road in Hluhluwe on our Durban Safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I was so close to running this snake over as it did not move an inch as I drove past. It was due to it being dusk and the road was the warmer place to be for this cold blooded reptile.

    We also had great luck overlooking a patch of water and spotted this Giant King Fisher.

     

    Giant Kingfisher seen on our Durban Safari Tour

    Giant Kingfisher seen on our Durban Safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was getting late and we needed to get back to the lodge for some dinner.

    It had been a very exciting first day and after a great buffet dinner at Hilltop camp and a good nights sleep it would be time for a new day under the hot African Sun.

     

    Day 2: Durban Safaris and Tours to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve near Durban.

    We woke up at 6am and decided to have breakfast before departing on a search for Lions. It was amazing as at 06:15 I heard a male Lion calling which was so loud it seemed like it was just outside my room.

    I mentioned this to the clients and they too had heard it. So after breakfast we headed out and with in minutes we spotted this Lions on a Sloppy hill wandering around sniffing for the sign of intruders or perhaps the females. He stopped a few times and after 1 hour spent watching him we decided to leave and continue our Safari.

     

    Lion I first heard this morning from my room and we located him in Hluhluwe on our Durban Safari tour

    Lion I first heard this morning from my room and we located him in Hluhluwe on our Durban Safari tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As we continued our Safari into the Umfolozi section we had an Elephant road block which we were stuck in for about half an hour, by far the best kind of road block to be in!

     

    Muddy Elephants cross the road on our 3 Day Safari from Durban

    Muddy Elephants cross the road on our 3 Day Safari from Durban

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    These Elephants were having a mud wallow and eventually moved across the road, this was on of the amazing pictures we got.

    We rushed now a bit as we had given ourselves 7 hours for Safari today and stopped at one of the gates for a rest room break and then headed on down to the Umfolozi river.

    We had some luck with a troop of baboons feeding away turning over stones looking for food. It was amazing to see the small baby wrapped under the mothers belly.

     

    Baboon mother carries her little baby seen on our Safari Tour from Durban

    Baboon mother carries her little baby seen on our Safari Tour from Durban

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    On route we spotted more Giraffe and Buffalo before things got a little quiet. We did however spot a resting Rhino.

     

    Rhino rests in the shade during our Safari from Durban

    Rhino rests in the shade during our Safari from Durban

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    At the Umfolozi river there was not to much activity but we did spot a Small crocodile resting in the water near the banks of the river. Our Safari from Durban had really been a huge success.

     

    On our Safari near Durban we saw this Nile Crocodile

    On our Safari near Durban we saw this Nile Crocodile

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was only day two and we had had so much success already on our Durban Safari!

    As we drove down South we Spotted more Giraffe and before we could get to a nice journey of Giraffe near the River we spotted a Slender mongoose and a Rock Monitor. I did not have time to get a photo of the Mongoose but I did get one of the Rock Monitor.

     

    Rock Monitor Lizard runs down the road during our Durban Safari Tour

    Rock Monitor Lizard runs down the road during our Durban Safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After seeing this amazing creature we got down to the view point over the river to stretch our legs and spotted some Rhino drinking and Vultures cleaning there feathers. It was a really hot day with the mercury touching 40 degrees Celsius.

    The Giraffe we saw Necking we amazing click on this link to see a short video of the action.

     

    Male Giraffe necking for dominance seen during our Durban Big 5 Safari Tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

     

    Male Giraffe necking for dominance seen during our Durban Big 5 Safari Tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was now time to turn around and begin our Safari back to the Centenary center for lunch. When we had our fill we also had a look through the museum on Operation Rhino where Rhinos were brought back from extinction.

    We also had another great sighting on our Safari back to Hilltop camp of those same Elephant bulls near the same mud wallow.

     

    Bull Elephant sucks his trunk on our Safari near Durban

    Bull Elephant sucks his trunk on our Safari near Durban

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Upon arrival to Hilltop camp we decided that we had see so much that we should try something different the next morning and do the Walking Safari. I managed to arrange this at reception and booked our dinner.

    Later on that night we met for some dinner and it was a lovely warm evening.

    The following day we would be leaving at 05:15 for our Walking Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

     

    Day 3: Durban Safaris and Tours to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve near Durban.

     

    I dragged my tired but happy body out of bed at 04:40 am and met my clients who were just as excited as me and we met the lodges guide to go on our Walking Safari.

    We drove a couple of kilometers and on route spotted Lion scat from that Big male we had seen the day before.

    We actually were walking 500 meters away from his last position the day before which meant we could see his tracks on some of the sandy paths on the Walking Safari.

     

    Walking Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

    Walking Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Above is a picture of the group on the walking Safari with Jacques at the back and the guide Samora with a Scapular bone.

    As we continued the walking Safari we spotted Rhino, Zebra and Nyala but the best was a close sighting of 5 Rhinos not more than 40 meters away.

    After over 2 hours of lovely walking we returned to Hilltop camp for Breakfast and a shower before checking out and doing an hour safari to see what else we could find before exiting to St Lucia Estuary for our boat cruise.

    One the last Safari Tour we saw a lot of animals.

     

    Zebra seen on our Safari from Durban

    Zebra seen on our Safari from Durban

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This Zebra posed for us very nicely he was so close we could almost touch him.

     

    Buffalo seen on a Safari from Durban with Tim Brown Tours

    Buffalo seen on a Safari from Durban with Tim Brown Tours

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    These Buffalo were part of a herd of about 40 individuals and we had them crossing the road in front of us before we left Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and headed down to St Lucia, 1 hour away.

    We finally arrived at St Lucia Wetlands and the Estuary for our Boat Safari to view Hippos and crocodiles and that we did!

     

    Hippos seen on our 3 day Safari near Durban

    Hippos seen on our 3 day Safari near Durban

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We also had a great sighting of an African Fish Eagle and some King Fishers. The Cruise was lovely and relaxing and the temperature was much better at 28 degrees compared to the 40 degrees of the day before.

     

    African Fish eagle at St Lucia Wetlands near Durban on our Safari Tour

    African Fish eagle at St Lucia Wetlands near Durban on our Safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Once we turned to head back we spotted this nice crocodile before we got back to shore and headed for some lunch in St Lucia town at the Ocean Sizzler!

     

    Crocodile seen at St Lucia Isimangeliso wetland park during a Safari tour from Durban

    Crocodile seen at St Lucia Isimangeliso wetland park during a Safari tour from Durban

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Lunch at Ocean Sizzler was great as usual and we had a great chat during the meal. After lunch it was now time to make the trip back to Durban. Our whole 3 day Safari from Durban had been a brilliant experience and we had see and done so much is such a short time!

    We arrived back in Umhlanga with the rain falling so we really had done very well to miss any rain on our Tour. After a Quick good bye it was time to head home to my wife.

    A very successful Safari from Durban with Tim Brown Tours to a Big 5 game reserve.