Big 5 in Durban Archives - Tim Brown Tours
  • 8th June 2015

    Durban safari tour – 5-7 June 2015

     

     

    After collecting my clients from Durban for their Durban overnight safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, we headed up to the Cat rehabilitation center outside of Hluhluwe were we would begin our first day of Durban safari tour.

    It was here that we interacted with 4 endangered species of cat, Serval, Caracal, African Wild cat and Cheetah! The Cheetah was the big attraction and the Cheetah cubs and Serval were very playful.

    Our day had only just begun but we were expecting a good one. The weather was cool and there was a cold winter breeze blowing but the sun was still shining on our Durban safari tour.

     

    We enjoyed the African Wild Cats and then entered into the enclosure with the Caracal, I managed to get a great shot of one of the Caracal in the tree!

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Caracal in Tree

    Durban safari tour; Caracal in Tree

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We moved on to the Cheetah brothers and interacted with them before making our way into the enclosure with the Cheetah cubs. This was great and my clients really enjoyed this experience.

    Next was the Serval which are always so interactive that it makes the tour so worth it.

     

    We then began the 20 minute drive to the gate of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, Africa’s Oldest proclaimed protected area and home the the Big 5! Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve is a great place to do a safari and is only 2.5 hours from Durban!

     

    Before we could even cross over the electric fence we found a sounder of Warthogs laying around and enjoying the sun on this cool winters day.

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Warthogs

    Durban safari tour; Warthogs

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was not long before we managed to find some Giraffe and this was a great sighting and a good start to our Durban safari tour.

    The Giraffe female that we first found was actually chewing a bone which is very normal but people do not always know why. It is to grind off some bone to get calcium into their diet.

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Giraffe chews bone

    Durban safari tour; Giraffe chews bone

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video : Durban safari tour – Giraffe chews on a bone

     

     

     

    We then continued and made our way to Hilltop camp with very little else to be seen in the middle of the day which is very normal especially when it is so dry during our winter.

     

    We got to Hilltop camp and had some lunch before checking in and getting settled in the rooms. At 15:30 we headed back out to continue our safari from Durban to see what animals we could find.

    We had a good start spotting some Giraffe and Zebra as well as Kudu and Nyala. It was not long after this we managed to find a lovely herd of Buffalo which after 15 minuted of waiting crossed the road in front of us!

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Buffalo and calf

    Durban safari tour; Buffalo and calf

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The next item on the list was Rhino and we got an mother and a 3 year old calf before having a real luck sighting of a mother Rhino and a baby only a couple months old. He was so cute!

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Rhino and calf

    Durban safari tour; Rhino and calf

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I was heading into the area I knew we could have a chance of spotting the African Wild dog but I was not sure we would be so lucky on this safari from Durban. I was very wrong and thankfully I chose the right road! We found the Wild dogs on the road and it was clear they were keen on hunting so we stayed with them.

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Wild dogs

    Durban safari tour; Wild dogs

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    All of a sudden they shot off into the bush and as we watched, 2 Wild dogs spotted a Red Duiker and bolted after it. It could not believe it as the whole park followed and caught up. The African wild dogs brought down the Duiker 5 meters from the road and we got to head all the noises as they quickly ripped apart the animal and fed just as fast. In a couple minuted they were chewing on the bones and the rest was gone!

     

     

     

     

    Video: Durban safari tour – Wild Dogs kill Red Duiker


    It was so fast that we hardly had time to take in what had happened so close to us and the road!

     

     

     

    Video: Durban safari tour – Wild dogs fight over Duiker leg

     

     

     

    After all the excitement calm returned to the bush and the sun had set on what had been an amazing first day on our 3 day safari tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

     

    We now only had the formalities of dinner before a well deserved rest.

     

     

     

    Day 2: Durban safari tour

     

    If we thought day 1 was amazing on our Durban safari tour we had another great day coming! We headed out after breakfast and spotted a few things but nothing much until out the corner of my eye laying 10 -15 meters from the road was two male Lions! They were so beautiful and just cuddling up to one another it was amazing to watch them.

     

    We spend some thing with them and with the other vehicles arriving they got annoyed and moved further into the bush but we had see them so perfectly we were so excited at this point!

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Lions

    Durban safari tour; Lions

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Lion standing

    Durban safari tour; Lion standing

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Lions seen on our Durban safari tour

     

     

     

    It wasn’t much longer and we got some Zebra crossing the road in front of us! By this point we had also seen Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant but they were not the best of sightings. This meant in under 2 hours we had seen 4 of the Big 5 on our Durban safari tour.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Zebra crossing

    Durban safari tour; Zebra crossing

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Zebra crossing on our Durban safari tour


    We continued our Durban safari tour and got to a big body of water which I was hoping to find some animals at. We didn’t see much but the Impala we saw were really interesting as the males were Rutting!

     

    We got one male trying to smash the other and I even got a video of it!

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Impala clashing heads

    Durban safari tour; Impala clashing heads

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Impala rutting in Hluhluwe Imfolozi on our Durban safari tour


    We made our way down to a lovely hide in the South west of the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. It was here that we would find a good sighting of the Elephants as there is water.

    When we arrived we saw, 2 of the Big 5. Elephant and Buffalo at the hide as well as Warthogs, Nyala, Impala, Wildebeest and some bird life.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Elephants play fighting

    Durban safari tour; Elephants play fighting

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    These Buffalo were also at the mud wallow but waiting for the Elephants to finish drinking water before they took there turn…

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Herd of Buffalo

    Durban safari tour; Herd of Buffalo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video – Durban safari tour – Animals at Bhejane hide in Umfolozi

     

     

     

     

     

    The above video just gives some perspective as to what the watering hole looks like when it is so full of animals it is like an oasis in the middle of a very dry part of the Umfolozi section of the game reserve.

     

    We also spotted three antelope species drinking next to one another which was also so amazing to see.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Wildebeest, Impala and Nyala drinking together

    Durban safari tour; Wildebeest, Impala and Nyala drinking together

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After we had seen all of these amazing animals we made our way back to the Centenary Center for lunch and then managed to relocate the one of the Lions we had found in the morning!

     

    We then drove up to Hilltop camp where my clients had about an hours rest before heading on the open vehicle game drive and then had dinner.

     

     

     

     

    Day 3: Durban safari tour

     

     

     

    The next day we met just before 7am for luggage collection and breakfast before it was time for our final game safari drive before heading to St Lucia – Isimangeliso Wetland park for the 2 hour Hippo and Crocodile boat cruise.

     

    Our last morning safari was brilliant and we managed to recap some of the amazing animals we had see in the previous two days.

     

    First was the Rhinos crossing the road in front of us on our Durban safari tour.

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Rhino cross the road

    Durban safari tour; Rhino cross the road

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Rhino cross the road on our Durban safari tour


     

     

    We didn’t have to continue our African safari much further before we found a herd of Elephants next to the road breaking trees and feeding off them! It was amazing as one female was right next to us and broke the Buffalo thorn 3 times to get what she wanted which was just a little bark!

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Elephant breaks tree on our Durban safari tour


     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Elephant

    Durban safari tour; Elephant

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I could not resist this amazing sighting and had to make a second video!

     

     

     

     

    Elephant breaks tree and feeds during our Durban safari tour


     

     

     

    It was now time to move on and see what else we could find. We tried to relocate on the Lions from the day before with no luck as they seemed to have walked up another road and we didn’t have time to go to investigate further.

     

    It was time to head to St Lucia – Isimangeliso Wetland park and it was here we began a 2 hour boat cruise viewing Hippos and Crocodiles before we had some lunch. We had some luck not only with the Hippos but with some Bird Life. We actually found the elusive African Finfoot which is the first time I had seen it on this stretch of the Estuary at St Lucia.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; African Finfoot at St lucia estuary

    Durban safari tour; African Finfoot at St lucia estuary

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Further down stream we managed to find a lovely sizable Crocodile.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Crocodile at St Lucia estuary

    Durban safari tour; Crocodile at St Lucia estuary

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We had some amazing sightings of Hippos in the water and out on the shore one of the better sightings you can see in the picture below and the video of am Hippos resting his head on another Hippo while a small Crocodile was a meter away from his back foot.

     

     

     

     

    Durban safari tour; Hippos at St Lucia

    Durban safari tour; Hippos at St Lucia

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Hippo and crocodile meters from each other during St Lucia tour

     

     

     

     

     

    It had been an amazing 3 day safari from Durban in which we had seen 4 of the Big 5 and the most endangered carnivore in Africa kill a Duiker 5 meters from the road! It was just super special and it was down day 3 and time for lunch.

     

    After a great lunch we made our way back to Durban where I returned my clients safely to their hotel.

     

  • 29th November 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.