Big 5 Durban Archives - Tim Brown Tours
  • 16th Sep 2015

    We began our Durban day tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve in Durban city where I collected my clients. It would be a day to remember with great sightings.

    I covered the usual history of Durban and KwaZulu Natal on route to the Hluhluwe Imfolozi big 5 game reserve and answered any questions my clients had.

    We arrived before 10 am and had immediate luck as we spotted Zebra and Giraffe together!

  • 6th Aug 2015

    Big 5 safari from Durban for 2 days

     

    I met my clients in Durban for their Big 5 safari just outside Durban to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve which is world famous for its Rhino breeding success through the 1950’s.

    We are truly blessed to have such an amazing Big 5 game reserve near Durban which in my opinion is just as good if not better than Kruger national park.

     

    Kruger National park may be bigger but it is not as scenic as Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve one of the main features all my clients point out!

     

    As usual I covered the History of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa on route to the Hluhluwe Imfolozi national park as well as anything we saw through Zululand.

     

    As we got further into Zululand we stopped at a Cat rehabilitation center to enjoy some interaction with 4 species of endangered cats, the most exciting being Cheetah!

    My client of course loved it being big cat fans.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Serval

    Big 5 safari Durban; Serval

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Servals are very relaxed and also great to interact with so the above picture if of one of the Serval we interacted with. All this cats are here for either breeding or interaction due to some issue which prevents them from being released into the wild. The idea is to try and get as many of them back to the wild where they belong if not they are used as an educational tool to highlight there situation.

     

     

    We then left and arrived in Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 game reserve not 3 hours from Durban and began our 2 day safari tour.

    Our first sighting was of Nyala and Warthogs.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Warthog

    Big 5 safari Durban; Warthog

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I was a little concerned as it had been a bit quiet in the national park in the past few days but that would not stop us having good sightings!

    We spotted Giraffe and Zebra in the distance so I made our way closer and we had the most amazing sighting where we had a troop of Baboons, Zebra, Giraffe and Rhino cross the road in front of us! It was amazing so at this point we had see the first of the Big 5 animals the Rhino but it seemed like we had seem so much more which we had!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Rhino

    Big 5 safari Durban; Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Rhino crossing road on our African safari


     

     

     

    I made a good video of the Rhino crossing and then later got a great photo of a male Giraffe near to the road.

    It had been a great start and it was time to head to Hilltop camp for some lunch, check in and head back out for more animals.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Giraffe

    Big 5 safari Durban; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We enjoyed the Giraffe for a while and moved on to Hilltop camp for some lunch.

    We were as quick as we could be as my clients also wanted to do the open vehicle safari at 5pm-8pm with the lodge which meant for me I needed to find as many animals as possible in the afternoon.

     

    Our first sighting in the afternoon as some Nyala and then some Baboons all over the road grooming themselves.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Baboon

    Big 5 safari Durban; Baboon

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We tried to check all the view points over the Hluhluwe river to see if we could add to our Big 5 list with Elephant but we had no luck. We did find a few Red Duiker and one new born which was very cute, sadly I missed the photo so got the adult instead.

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Red Duiker

    Big 5 safari Durban; Red Duiker

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was time to begin our way back to Hilltop camp but before we could get there we managed to add lots more Rhino and a herd of Buffalo to our Big 5 safari list.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Buffalo

    Big 5 safari Durban; Buffalo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We had now seen 2 of the Big 5 on our safari from Durban and the clients got on to the evening game drive before we met again at 8pm for dinner. I was surprised as when they returned they had not been too luck so had not added any more of the Big 5 to the list which meant I had huge stress to find Cats and Elephants the other 2 major ones of the Big 5 were were missing. The Leopard which would be the 5th of the Big 5 we try and think of it as a bonus as we see it so rarely.

     

    After a great dinner it was time for bed and we were all exhausted after a long day.

     

     

     

     

     

    Day 2: Big 5 safari from Durban

     

     

    We met before 7am and got all luggage in the vehicle before having a quick breakfast and making our way as far down south in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve as the 3.5-4 hours we had would allow us.

     

    This would be a pure crazy day as we just had such luck!

    As we had our way down south we ignored Rhino, Buffalo in the distance and most other things it the quest to find Elephant and Cats.

    We did have to stop for this sighting of Giraffe and Zebra though!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Zebra and Giraffe

    Big 5 safari Durban; Zebra and Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We didn’t have to continue much further before we spotted our Elephants but they were far away and it did not make for the best picture. Minutes after we spotted another 2 Elephant and then another 2! Again pretty far away but we now had 3 of the Big 5 on our Durban safari.

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Elephants

    Big 5 safari Durban; Elephants

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As we continued on we headed over the Umfolozi river and saw nothing but on the other side I bumped into a friend of mine Marumo who is involved in research. She said that 10 minutes before there was Lions in the river bed. I though we may as well turn back and check from a view point and there they all were all 14 of these amazing Lions! We were all so excited.

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Lion mom and cubs

    Big 5 safari Durban; Lion mom and cubs

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Lions in Imfolozi game reserve


     

     

     

    We now had 4 of the Big 5 on our Durban safari and were very happy with that. I had to put up another picture with a couple of big males in it to share with you all.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Lions

    Big 5 safari Durban; Lions

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We must have spent 15-20 minuted watching them and knew we still needed to try find Elephants closer but I think in our hearts we were all content having seen 4 of the Big 5 during our Safari from Durban.

     

     

    We battled and only found everything else except the Elephants close. We got one good sighting of Zebra though!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Zebra

    Big 5 safari Durban; Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We made our way to the gate to head to St Lucia estuary for our 2 hour boat cruise to see Hippos and Crocodiles as well as some Bird Life. It was an hour drive and we said farewell to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 game reserve and hello to Isimangaliso Wetland park.

     

    We stopped for some lunch in St Lucia town which was lovely before the boat cruise on the St Lucia estuary.

     

    Our cruise went very well we saw Hippos galore, Crocodiles, Birds and even a baby Hippo new born and its mother out the water.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Hippo mom and baby

    Big 5 safari Durban; Hippo mom and baby

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I was really fortunate to have filmed this and it was amazing watching the young Hippo head into the water with its mother and have her display by opening her mouth.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Hippo mother and baby on the shore run to the water

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We had a great look at couple of Crocodiles which was great and after seeing 4 of the Big 5 on our Durban safari to see Hippos and Crocodiles is always a treat!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Crocodile

    Big 5 safari Durban; Crocodile

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    One of my favorite pictures from the St Lucia boat cruise was the this one below where I managed to have the good fortune of lining up 2 or 4 Hippos heads in a row.

     

    We had a great 2 hours at St Lucia on the boat and it was not time to head back to Durban and say goodbye after sharing some great memories.

     

    If you wish to do the same tour as described above please click on this link below:

     

     

    Durban 2 day Big 5 safari tour

     

     

  • 3rd Apr 2015

    Big 5 Safari from Durban to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve 2nd April 2015

     

    We began our Big 5 safari from Durban in Ballito one of the lovely suburbs of Durban. After meeting my clients we began the 2.5 hour drive to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve covering the history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and surrounding areas.

    This was meant to be a 2.5 hour drive but as it was the Easter weekend we usually find lots more monkeys driving cars and this means lots more accidents. Unfortunately we came across one of these and has to turn back and enter the game reserve at another gate costing us 40 minutes. This was no major problem though and we arrived at Nyalazi gate in the Umfolozi section of the game reserve and began our Big 5 safari from Durban.

    Our first sighting was of a Buffalo bull but he was pretty far away so the pictures didn’t really warrant being posted here. We enjoyed some of the scenery before spotting Rhinos in the distance and the some Zebra. Waterbuck and Rhebuck on a ridge a lot closer to the road.

     

    Big 5 Safari from Durban – Zebra

    Big 5 Safari from Durban – Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    These two Zebra were having a little scratch against one another and resting their head on each others back. After spending some time with them we moved on to cross the Black Umfolozi river and just before here we spotted our first Impalas and Rhinos. One of the baby Rhinos was Suckling but again it was hard to get a clear picture.

     

    At the Umfolozi river itself on our big 5 safari from Durban we spotted a Bull Elephant again he was far away! I was now a little frustrated but knew we had all day and the animals would eventually show up and so they did.

    The next sighting was of a Rhino male mud wallowing with the Red Billed Oxpeckers on his back. This was amazing to see as he was in the open about 15 meters for the road. Our safari was hotting up!

     

    Big 5 Safari from Durban – Rhino in mud wallow

    Big 5 Safari from Durban – Rhino in mud wallow

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After spending time with him we spotted another 3 Rhinos in the area and lots more Impala. Moving further South stopped at a lovely view point over the White Umfolozi river and one we continued on we found a Wildebeest with some Impalas.

    It is always interesting as the Male Wildebeest if they have not acquired females for themselves will hang around other species like the Impala to have that added safety of number around them. The more eyes and ears I always say the better!

     

    Big 5 Safari from Durban – Wildebeest and Impala

    Big 5 Safari from Durban – Wildebeest and Impala

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Next was the Zebras turn with the Impala! We spotted 3 male Zebra so a small bachelor herd relaxing with the Impala for the same reason! Safety! Zebra are always interesting creatures as they are the only animal in the world known to kick and bite at each other and at predators.

    They are also beautiful to look at with stripes which are all individual, like our thumb prints!

     

    Big 5 Safari from Durban – Zebra and Impala

    Big 5 Safari from Durban – Zebra and Impala

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We made our way around the river as I had seen tracks of a herd of Elephant moving through this big loop but sadly they did not come out the other side this was bad luck for us for the moment but still we had had a great big 5 safari from Durban.

     

    We stopped at one of the view sights again and were luck as down in this stretch of river was a big herd of Buffalo which were just resting the day away. Always lovely to see so many animals together on any of our big 5 safaris.

     

    Big 5 Safari from Durban – Buffalo in Umfolozi river

    Big 5 Safari from Durban – Buffalo in Umfolozi river

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We were all getting hungry now so it was time to complete the loop and get back up to the lunch stop at the Centenary center built for the Centenary of the game reserve in 1995. Yes that mean that Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve was established in 1895! Making it the oldest game reserve in Africa.

     

    Before we could get back to lunch we found some Baboon playing on the road, I was to slow with the camera and could only get this one male in the bush looking sadly into the sky perhaps wishing for rain!

     

    Big 5 Safari from Durban – Baboon

    Big 5 Safari from Durban – Baboon

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Finally lunch came and we had seen so much to this point but still wished for more closer sightings of Elephant and some Giraffe!

    We enjoyed the lunch and looked at the museum before heading back out on our big 5 Safari from Durban. We had a great start with Elephants crossing the road in front of us and a couple kilometers later 2 bull elephants came together to share a mud wallow but only for drinking! It was an amazing spectacle.

    We watched these Elephant for about 15 minutes as they were on the road and we couldn’t got anywhere but mostly because it was a special sighting. It was so special I made a 5 minuted video to share with you all!

     

    Big 5 Safari from Durban – Elephants

    Big 5 Safari from Durban – Elephants

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I could not have wished for a better Elephant sighting on this enjoyable day on Safari from Durban!

    It was really special and here is the video!

     

    Video of Elephants drinking on the road during our big 5 Safari from Durban.

     

     

     

    After this we move on to try find Giraffe but time was running out and we only saw more Buffalo and Elephants!

    It was not a major problem and we headed for the gate and exited onto the main national road which heads out of the game reserve.

    It was at this point we had 2 kilometers to find Giraffe and that is exactly what I did! I spotted them far away that even with a powerful zoom on my camera it was not clear in the picture but we had seen them and now everyone was happy about our big 5 safari from Durban.

     

    Big 5 Safari from Durban – Giraffe

    Big 5 Safari from Durban – Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    With all the satisfaction in the world we began the 2.5 hour drive back to Ballito where I would be returning my clients, of course we had to stop for coffee and a refuel alone the way but it had been an amazing big 5 safari from Durban and we all had smiles on our faces.

    If you wish to enjoy a big 5 safari from Durban join me Tim Brown Tours and we will show you what KwaZulu Natal has to offer!

     

  • 29th Nov 2014

    Durban Day Safari Tour – Big 5 plus Cheetah in One Day! – 22nd November 2014

     

     

    I met my clients in Durban and thought this would be a fairly normal Durban Day Safari Tour but I was totally wrong.

     

    You can never predict nature and today was a day I was really happy about that!

     

    After covering the History of Durban and KwaZulu Natal we reached our destination of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

     

    Our Durban Safari Tour began and strangely rather slowly.

     

    We saw the usual suspects, Warthogs, Rhino, Zebra and Wildebeest before getting to the Umfolozi river crossing. It was here that the day turned into an amazing day. It was a day of firsts.

     

    My clients were told by some one in Johannesburg that Durban doesn’t have the Big 5. Well that is wrong but even my client would not believe what happened.

     

    Zebra on our Durban Day Big 5 Safari Tour

    Zebra on our Durban Day Big 5 Safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We started with some Bull Elephants next to the road which was great for a Durban day Safari tour.

     

    Elephant bull seen on our Big 5 Durban Safari Tour

    Elephant bull seen on our Big 5 Durban Safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As we drove onto the bridge of the Umfolozi river we spotted 3 of the Big 5 and I got a picture of all three in one photograph.

    This was incredible!

     

    The Buffalo’s were in the river with an Elephant and on the hills was a Rhino.

     

    3 of the Big 5 in one picture on our Durban Day Safari Tour

    3 of the Big 5 in one picture on our Durban Day Safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We continued up and as I looked back down the river on the distant sand bank was a pride of Lions resting. Wow what as Durban Safari Tour!

     

    Lions on our Durban Safari Tour far up stream

    Lions on our Durban Safari Tour far up stream

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Next we spotted a giraffe; at this point after the slow start I was really happy and excited about seeing Giraffe for my clients.

     

    Giraffe seen on our Big 5 Safari Tour from Durban

    Giraffe seen on our Big 5 Safari Tour from Durban

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We headed pasted one of the camps and onto the dirt roads, it was here that I spotted some Rhinos in the mud wallow which was really close to us. Very exciting Safari!

     

    Mom and Baby Rhino in the mud during our Safari Tour from Durban

    Mom and Baby Rhino in the mud during our Safari Tour from Durban

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I had heard that there had been a Cheetah spotted with her 3 young cubs but I didn’t want to rush their as I knew they could very easily have moved.

    On our way down there out of the corner of my eye I spotted the first Leopard I had seen in 6 months. I was so excited I think I may have cursed which I apologised for!

     

    She was a beautiful female and she slinked off into the bushes after a couple of snap shots were taken.

     

    The first picture of the first Leopard we found on our Durban Safari Tour

    The first picture of the first Leopard we found on our Durban Safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    At this point adrenaline was pumping and I felt like anything was possible we had already seen all 5 of the Big 5 the 5 most dangerous animals to hunt on foot! What an incredible Durban Day Safari Tour.

     

    We made our way down to the cheetah and there were 5 cars there so we got in and out fast its never fun sharing a sighting with other vehicles…

     

    This cheetah was so beautiful and so where her cubs.

     

    Cheetah and 3 young cubs seen on our Durban Big 5 Safari Tour

    Cheetah and 3 young cubs seen on our Durban Big 5 Safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We moved off pretty quickly and went back the same way we had come and just thought maybe we would find out Leopard again. I really though there was no chance!

    I was pleasantly surprised as I found her 5 meters from the road resting in the shade.

    I could not believe our luck this time we were calmer and got a great photo.

     

    Leopard in Hluhluwe today, seen on our Durban Day Safari Tour

    Leopard in Hluhluwe today, seen on our Durban Day Safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I realised she wanted to not be seen by anyone and she moved away from us so I turned off the engine to not stress her out and she walked across the road in front of us. This was just crazy exciting for me and I am sure for my clients.

     

    Our Leopard crossing the road during our Durban Day Safari Tour

    Our Leopard crossing the road during our Durban Day Safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    At this point we were so happy we began to head back to our luncheon stop at the Centenary center. Our Durban Day Safari Tour could not have been any better!

     

     My luck guests with the Zebra in the Back ground on our Big 5 Durban Safari Tour

    My luck guests with the Zebra in the Back ground on our Big 5 Durban Safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We spotted some Baboons on our way to lunch and got another great photo of what had been a brilliant Durban Safari for us all.

     

    Baboons seen on our Durban Safari Tour

    Baboons seen on our Durban Safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After lunch my guest had a look around the curio shop and for the first time in my life my guests said to me. Tim we feel we are satisfied and we can head back to Durban!

     

    To be very honest they were right and more driving could not have rendered any more results except nothing as it was already so hot at 36 degrees.

     

    We were out of the game reserve at 14:30 and back in Durban at 17:30 about 1.5 hours earlier than normal. It had been a real special day and even I do not have words to describe this amazing and wonderful Durban Day Safari. This type of experience sometimes only happens once in a life time!

     

    If you wish to be as lucky or half as lucky join me Tim Brown Tours for a Durban Day Safari or Durban Tour and I will try to make you day safari tour just as special.