It has been a dream to show off Durban and KwaZulu-Natal to the world.
Battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal – Anglo Zulu, Rorkes Drift, Isandlwana and Blood River
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve, Cat Rehabilitation and St Lucia iSimangaliso Wetland Park – Budget Package
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve, Cat Rehabilitation and St Lucia iSimangaliso Wetland Park – Standard Package
uKhlahlamba Drakensberg Hiking and Sightseeing Tour
Address: Springside Road, Hillcrest, Durban, 3610, South Africa
T: +27 71 453 2781
Battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal – Anglo Zulu, Rorkes Drift, Isandlwana and Blood River
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve, Cat Rehabilitation and St Lucia iSimangaliso Wetland Park – Budget Package
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve, Cat Rehabilitation and St Lucia iSimangaliso Wetland Park – Standard Package
uKhlahlamba Drakensberg Hiking and Sightseeing Tour
Address: Springside Road, Hillcrest, Durban, 3610, South Africa
T: +27 71 453 2781
Our Durban tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve began in Durban where I met my clients and we made our way to the Cat rehabilitation to interact with Cheetah hands on.
Once we had experienced this amazing place we headed into Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve only 20 minutes away.
It was a hot day and the mercury crept up to 35 degrees, this of course meant game viewing was a little quiet at the start until the afternoon.
We stopped at a view point however overlooking the Hluhluwe river and spotted three different species the Buffalo, Nyala and Baboons.
On this Durban tour we also spotted Rhino but they were still resting in the shade with the heat of the day. We then made our way to Hilltop camp where we would be staying and checked in while having some lunch. We continued our Durban tour 20 minutes after arriving at the room as I had got word of Lions very far away and we needed the time to try to get there and to return for the 5pm evening open vehicle game drive.
It turned out to be worth it even with the heat we spotted one male Lion who then go up and tried to stalk a Warthog! He was so close to catching it but for him sadly he missed.
After watching this exciting moment we saw the Lion looking around probably feeling a little embarrassed! As I mentioned to my client the Lions have a really pour success rate of 10%.
Wow so far we had already seen 3 of the Big 5 on our Durban tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, Africa’s oldest proclaimed protected area.
As we left the sighting we mentioned it would be nice to see Giraffe and them we spotted one! This was a lovely male and for me this really capped off a good start to our Durban tour of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
We made our way back to Hilltop camp and I got my client onto their evening open vehicle safari which they enjoyed but didn’t really see much they said.
This was fine as we had done so well and it left me with some pressure to find then Elephant the next day. We went through for dinner and enjoyed the food before a good nights rest.
Our Durban tour would continue the following day at 7am when we would meet for breakfast.
We met for some breakfast which was lovely and we had a Buffalo bull drinking outside the restaurant from some run off water from the lodge. This made breakfast that much more exciting.
We then checked out and headed down south to try and find Elephants.
It was only minutes into our Durban tour and we found Zebra near the lodge.
After a great look at the Zebra we continued our Durban tour and found Black Rhino a real treat! They were resting on a hill in the distance and it was only with the Binoculars that I could confirm they were Black Rhino.
As there is around about 200 left this was like gold dust!
As we continued with our Durban tour we also found some White Rhino which was great to see and also to show the distinct differences between the two different species.
We made our way down to the Umfolozi river and it was here that we spotted 3 of the big 5 at one spot. We saw Buffalo, Rhino and finally an Elephant. The only trouble was the Elephant showed us his bum for 15 minutes. We decided to look at a view site to see if we could see him better. We could hear him moving so we raced back down so we could get a better view. We were lucky and got him side on for a minute of two. Still it wasn’t brilliant. We continued on and decided to return later.
When we returned we found another male Elephant much closer and almost side on.
Wow, not only was it 36 degrees but our Durban tour to Hluhluwe had heated up and now we had seen 4 of the big 5 well in the 2 days. It was also time to head to the gate but before we could get out to go to St Lucia we spotted Giraffe and more Rhino.
The Giraffe gave us a really good show and my clients loved them. We then departed and headed to St Lucia aka Isimangaliso Wetland park(Place of wonders/miracle).
It took us an hour so the client could have a rest while I drove and them as we got closer I explained about this amazing world heritage site.
It was now time to board a boat for a 2 hour cruise to view Hippos, Crocodiles, Mangroves and Bird life. Sharks are also found here, the Bull shark but we don’t usually see them but this time we saw 2 of them!
It was a great was to end our Durban tour and we had amazing Hippo sighting wish some even out of the water.
As we went further up the Estuary we spotted Buffalo bulls resting on the shore of the Estuary. This was great to see as we hadn’t really seen Buffalo this close on our safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
We also were lucky and saw a couple of Crocodiles on the shore line! This was great to add to our ever growing list of animals we had seen in the 2 days of touring from Durban.
The cruise ended and we stopped in St Lucia town which is a holiday town for some lunch. It was great sea food and we then made our way back to Durban to drop off the clients.
Over all it had been a great 2 days and very rewarding considering the short time we had on this tour.
If you would like to do a tour like this please click the link below:
I met my clients for their Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari 2 days safari in Umhlanga(Durban) and we made our way to the world famous Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. On route we would stop at the cat rehabilitation centre to interact with Cheetah hands on as well as a couple of other endangered wild cats.
We had a great start as we chatted about the history of the area and then stopped for some coffee and a rest before we would arrive at our first destination for this 2 day Durban safari.
The cat rehabilitation centre was amazing and my clients really enjoyed the interaction with the big and small cats.
We then departed the Cat rehabilitation center for Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 game reserve. It was hear our safari would really begin. It was a hot day at 30 degrees and a little humid. This added to the atmosphere and we had some amazing sightings in the first hour and a half before we got to the Hilltop camp for lunch.
In this time we spotted 3 of the Big 5, Rhino, Buffalo and Elephants as well as other smaller species of animal.
The Big 5 is what most people want to come and see so we were lucky with the start we had.
After enjoyed the Warthogs next to the road we quickly found Rhino in the distance as well as Impala.
As we continued a herd of Buffalo were in the distance and we watched then and a Rhino mother with calf.
As we continued we managed to find some Elephants in the thickets near the road and this with patients became a really good sighting.
We departed to the lodge and settled in to some lunch before checking in and taking a 20 minute rest before heading back out on safari.
It wasn’t long before we spotted some Rhino near to the road and we got a great few photos to add to the collection.
We then had an amazing sighting of Baboons and a Bush buck as well as Rhino mother and calf. The Baboons always seem to intrigue humans and we watched them for some time before continuing our Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari.
As we continued we spotted Nyala, Rhino, Wildebeest and Zebra in a short space of time it had been an amazing day!
It was not time to get back to the lodge for the clients open vehicle game drive and it was here that I got some time to write this. I would meet my clients again at 8pm for dinner and as it was only a 2 day safari we planned to head out very early at 6 am the next day to see what we could find.
After a good night sleep we met at 6am and began day 2 of our Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari.
It was a 6am start and and we were all a little tired after a long day before but all very happy at the prospect of seeing more animals and experiencing another great day on safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
Our first major sighting was of these amazing Giraffe on and next to the road. The big male was testing all the female urine to see if they were ready to be mated.
After this amazing sighting and the first Giraffe we has seen we continued further south in the quest to find more Lions.
We found some Leopard tracks and scat but no cat but it was fine and we continued spotting Zebra, Rhino and Nyala before finding a lovely herd of Elephant after the Umfolozi river crossing the road in front of us.
We continued on and had some lovely sightings of Rhino the best probably being this one of a mother and small calf. Wow, we had been having a great Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari.
We were running out of time now and the day was getting hot so we headed back to the Umfolozi river and were very lucky to spot four bull Elephants that went to have a drink at the river as well as a sand bath.
After another amazing sighting of Elephants we made our way towards the gate and it was now time to head off to St Lucia – Isimangaliso wetland park.
We took a breather and then we were there at South Africa’s first world heritage site. It is one of the only places you can find Hippos, Crocodiles and Sharks in the same waters.
We first had lunch and then we head to the St Lucia estuary for our 2 hour boat cruise.
Our Cruise was awesome and we saw lots on Hippos and crocodile.
We had my best sighting of an African fish eagle that I actually captured on photo! I was really stoked.
After an amazing 2 days of safari from Durban in the World famous Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and World heritage site of Isimangaliso wetland park – St Lucia we headed back to Durban.
On route we stopped for some coffee and to stretch the legs before we covered our final questions and arrived back in Umhlanga near Durban.
What a great 2 day Durban safari.
If you would like to share in this experience please click on the link below to see the rates:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
We began our Durban big 5 safari from my home as I was taking my cousins on a 3 day safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, St Lucia and Cat rehabilitation center.
I was to be a great 3 day on safari from Durban!
We began at 06:30 and by 09:30 we were in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and made our way down south in the hope of finding cats. It was a bonus to have a Giraffe at the gate as we entered and some Zebras on the hill.
We were very lucky as the first time I drove past this pan there was no Lions and I turned back just to check one more time all all of a sudden there was 2 Lions in a tree. This was my favorite pride of Lions the Tree climbing Lions of Hluhluwe! In the tree was an adult female and a sub adult cub under a year old.
We got some amazing footage and as the game reserve was doing road maintenance trucks where racing by and didn’t see these Lions so we mostly had them to ourselves for an hour.
There was a young male cub which was resting in the branches on the tree and then he decided to come down. I also had to video this as Lions are not built for climbing down trees as they do not have locking wrists like Leopards.
We continued our Big 5 safari from Durban and found some Zebra that was great as they were crossing the road but it was hard to feel as excited after seeing Lions in the tree and spending an hour watching them before they walked over the hill.
We made our way down to the bone dry Umfolozi river and patiently waited to see if we could spot anything. We watched an Impala drinking and then something caught my eye far up stream and it was a Hyena. It kept popping out onto the dry river bed and then hiding again. We were super lucky and the 3 more appeared and amazingly one ran across the riverbed with a big chunk of what looked like skin in its mouth and the others followed.
This was now just amazing and I could not have wished for a better start having seen 2 predators before the end of the first day!
We turned and made our way to the Centenary center and there was 2 bull Elephants drinking from a drain behind the center where we had our lunch! Another amazing sighting!
After enjoying lunch and a look around the shop we went back to the car park and the 2 bull Elephants were now among the cars so I had to be cautious in getting to the vehicle safely.
Unbelievable stuff, we were so lucky to have now seen 4 of the Big 5 as we had seen Buffalo in the distance as well.
I also forgot to mention that after the Hyenas we spotted a lovely herd of Wildebeest in Umfolozi!
We raced back to Hilltop camp for check in and to get settled in the rooms but we only had 30 minuted before we needed to leave again to go to the cat rehabilitation center outside of Hluhluwe.
Before we could get to Hilltop camp though we spotted a Crocodile resting near some water in the forest.
We were not done yet and a bit further up the road we managed to find Giraffe which was great as they were so close, then the one male walked down the road behind us. Man, what a great day, 4 of the Big 5 on this Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari tour!
We finally arrived and quickly left Hilltop camp for the Cat rehabilitation center.
On route we spotted some Rhino.
We thought that this would be all our sighting for the day but we added another of the Big 5 animals to our list as we spotted Elephants again and this time with little babies as they walked across and then down a road. We had been super blessed!
We finally got the the Cat rehabilitation center near Hluhluwe and were so excited because of the amazing day we had experienced so far that we knew this experience would also be an amazing one. At the Cat rehabilitation center we interact with Cheetah and Serval in the afternoon as it is the feeding tour so they others are being fed so we cannot obviously gone in with them.
I managed to get a great photo of Claire my cousins wife with the Cheetah cub with my camera but all the other photos I took with there camera for them with the other species of cat.
I also got some great videos…
We had had an amazing day and really though we could not have done any better at this point! We made our way back to Hluhluwe Imfolozi big 5 game reserve to get back to camp for some dinner. It was not 17:30 and we had 30 minuted to get back to camp.
On route the unimaginable happened as we had a great sighting of an African wild dog running down the road towards us! I was absolutely amazed that we could of had such an amazing day of sightings and it would be hard to beat the next day but non of us cared at this point we were on a high from the excitement of the day and would probably battle to sleep the night!
We arrived back at camp and had a 30 minute rest before dinner. It was nice for me as it was my family so I could share a bottle of wine with them and talk about the amazing day we had experienced. It was for sure one of the best days of game viewing I have ever experience and it always makes it so much better if you have people to share it with. We had seen Lions in a tree, Hyenas with a carcass in there mouth, Buffalo on the road, Rhino not far from the road, Elephant 2 meters from our car, Wild dog running towards our car, Zebras crossing the road, Giraffe walking on the road and a whole host of other things!
We went off to bed and after doing some work I fell right off to sleep with a smile on my face!
We began day two at 6am and left Hilltop camp in the dark to maximize our time in Hluhluwe Imfolozi big 5 game reserve in the hope we would see lots of amazing animals and interactions.
We made our way north first into the Hluhluwe section and were hoping to find the African wild dogs. That fell by the way side and we spotted two huge herds of Buffalo one was on the road!
We continued to a view point and enjoyed the views before checking the Hluhluwe river area for signs of animals. We had the most amazing sighting of Rhinos which I will put up there with one of my best!
There was 4 sub adult males and 2 of them were fighting.
Every time we thought they would stop either of the two Rhinos would continue the fight. In some of the videos you can see that they younger ones eye almost gets taken out. In nature Rhino males do kill each other over the rights to territory and to mate with females. Having said this, this fight was more fun and game to prepare the males for when they become adults and have to challenge a big male for territory.
This was an unbelievable sighting an one I will never forget! We had been so luck to have clear visual of all of our Big 5 sightings and every other animal we saw as well.
As we drove down south now we spotted some Zebras walking down the road and the one at the front was a new specie I call it the Tailless black bummed Zebra!
No, it was just a Zebra that had been in some clay mud and it tails got stuck up on its ass….(excuse the pun!)
The day now began to merge for me a bit as the weather changed and things became hard as the rain came down. We had some respite but at time it was plain pouring with rain so much so the roads were almost flooding. This was odd as it was our winter and we usually only have rain like this in summer.
We still saw animals. It was just that even the Elephants we saw were running away from the rain! Where they will running to was another story but they were not enjoying the heavy rain.
Amidst the rain we still spotted Giraffe, Impala and Elephants.
We stopped for some lunch at the centenary center once again and had to have something warm to make us feel content. It had been a long hard day but we still had seen animals and the Rhinos really were the highlight.
After lunch and a look around the “Operation Rhino museum” we began to head back to Hilltop camp for a couple hours rest before my cousins would got for another 3 hours on the open vehicle and I would do some work and meet them for dinner at 8pm.
Before arriving back we had spotted two Leopard tortoises who come out more when its wet in winter. I had to move one off the road so nobody hit it with their car. I was careful to check for any animals as I was breaking the rules but felt if it was to protect nature and considering I have been in the industry for 10 years and done walking trails before it would be fine and it was.
By the time we got back to Hilltop camp had done 9 hours of big 5 safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi and my cousins added the extra 3 hours to make it a 12 hour day of safari in Africa!
I was grateful to be able to attend to my emails and begin the blog posts I needed to do and it was great to meet my family later for dinner and wine.
We all had a great night sleep and would be ready for day 3!
We got up a little later the next day and had breakfast at 7am before checking out and a final 3.5 hours of big 5 safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
Our first sighting was of Elephants crossing the road in front of us. They were males which we trying to keep up with the breeding herd which had already gone over the next hill.
We continued on and I had one thing in mind and that was to try and find the African wild dogs for my family in the day time!
Before we could get there we had a great sighting of kudu silhouetted against the African sun!
We went to the usual are we look now near to where they have a den sight and we spotted fresh scat on the road so we waiting around and drove up and down and used our ears.
All of a sudden I heard the squeaks and it was a mad rush as they were 20 meters down the road crossing. We got there and more came across right in front of us. It happened so fast that vehicle that arrived 1 minute later missed everything. We were so lucky again. We had now seen 4 of the Big 5 and African wild dogs twice the most endangered carnivore in Africa!
This was becoming some kind of story which you would tell your kids when they were old enough about your experience in Africa. I just could not believe how lucky we had been during the 3 day of Safari from Durban.
Finally some calm and we drove for a little while with out seeing much except Impala and then we spotted a Juvenile Martial Eagle which I managed to capture in flight!
We now began to make our way out of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and spotted some Warthogs and Baboons. The funniest part was this male Baboon was sitting on a flimsy dead branch surveying the area and it snapped under his weight! I managed to take a photo of this as he fell to the ground not so gracefully!
We exited Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve after any incredible 3 days and made our way to St Lucia estuary for lunch and our 2 hour boat cruise to view Hippos, Crocodiles as well as bird life.
After an hour drive we arrived and settled in for some lunch before what was another great cruise on St Lucia Estuary.
We spotted Hippos galore and amazing bird life, these 2 Crocodiles where one of the amazing things we saw in the 2 hours of this relaxing St Lucia boat tour.
I made a lovely short video of one of the massive pods of Hippos where the babies left the water that we saw at St Lucia and you will be able to see it below.
We had been so lucky and began our cruise back to the jetty where we still spotted the Hippos and Crocodiles. We had a great sighting of an African fish eagle being mobbed by some Grey Headed Gulls.
It was now time to drop my family off and make sure they got the car from the car rental place before leaving them at there lovely guesthouse in St Lucia. It is always hard to say goodbye and having spent 4 amazing days with my family starting in the Drakensberg mountains and the a 3 day safari from Durban really meant we would have memories that we share forever.
Thank you to Jean-Marc and Claire for the visit and my wife for arranging the stay at our home as well as the snak packs. It had been a very special time for us all.
If you wish to join one of this tours click the links below to the 2 tours we did.
I met my clients in Durban at the Blue waters hotel which overlooks the ocean of the Durban beach front. Once we got the luggage in the car we began our 2.5 hour drive to the cat rehabilitation center in Hluhluwe for our interaction with 4 species of Cat; Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and African wild cat.
Before we got their though we covered the history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa as it sets up the Durban overnight safari nicely with some back ground of the area.
This 2 day safari from Durban is really exciting as it is really rushed but you will not feel it as everything is so well arranged and tuned that as the client it is still very enjoyable. I always recommend the 3 day safari tour but if you have limited time the 2 day safari tour can be equally as good if luck is on your side.
We were lucky as everything we our way from the traffic to the timing of animals and really it was a spectacular 2 day or safari that even I will not forget for a long time!
At the cat rehabilitation center we had a great tour and the best times were with the Cheetah adults and cubs as well as the Serval one which took a liking to my boots. This is the 3rd time she has done this where is dribbles saliva on my boot and then rubs it with her chin. It is very cute and always part of our overnight safaris from Durban.
After learning more about the amazing Cheetah we began the interaction and my clients enjoyed this as well and the best part was the interaction with the young cubs which are about 8 months old and very excitable. Once of them got hold of some one jacket and would not let go until I brought across her blanket…
Next we moved to the Serval and the interaction with them as also amazing and as I mentioned the boot incident took place! These tours around the cat rehab are always amazing I mean really! where in the world can you do things like this.
After the amazing tour at the cat rehabilitation center it was time to head onward to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, Africa’s oldest proclaimed protected area.
We got there in 20 minutes and checked in at the gate before heading into the Hluhluwe section for our Safari. Our first sighting was 2 minutes from the gate and it was of a journey of Giraffe.
We also spotted Warthogs, Impala, Nyala and sleeping Rhino before I bumped into a mate of mine and he told me their was an Elephant Bull down by the river. So we headed down there and it was a good thing was did as he was drinking and we had him all to ourselves! At the same spot we saw some Vervet monkeys running around.
Before we could get to the camp we actually spotted Baboons on the road and it was great to see them with babies enjoying themselves.
We then headed off to Hilltop camp on route spotting a large herd of Buffalo on a hill. When we arrived at Hilltop camp we enjoyed the lovely view and some lunch before checking and and heading to the room for a few minutes. It was then time to head out for a couple more hours before one of my clients would be doing the open vehicle safari with the lodge.
This afternoon drive was one I would remember and my clients would cherish for a very long time to come!
We headed out and I nearly went a different direction but due to the limited time I felt we would not get to where I wanted to go and return in time for the game drive.
I was really glad I made that choice.
We had a very exciting start as we got on to one of the dirt road and went around a few bends we spotted 3 Lions walking next to the road. We were so shocked as it was only 4 pm and Lions are not usually active at this time that we could not get the word Lion out our mouths.
I got a couple of pictures before they moved into the bushes but they were not great and you will see why I didn’t bother putting them up.
Next I got a message from another guide friend that Lions we fighting and chasing Buffalo at one of the dams. I raced there but as you can imagine we began to see animals.
We spotted Rhino near to the road and had to stop for a photo.
As we continued we then came across a huge herd of Buffalo and one old male crossed in front of us so again we had to stop to watch them.
We finally got there and I was disappointed to see nothing there any more except the Buffalo. This sadness did not last long as we then spotted the Lions walking towards the road. The problem was we wanted to photograph the one young male we say laying on a sand bank so we paused for this.
We moved on quickly to get into position for the Lions as the crossed the road, we had already missed two or 3 cross over but I got a short video of the young male crossing and a photo of the Big male Lion.
This had truly been an amazing day and we headed back to the lodge with the biggest smiles you could imagine and feeling really content. I had to tell my clients that in 10 years of guiding I don’t think I have seen 2 prides of Lions in such a short space of time and both either on or that close to the road. It was a special overnight safari from Durban.
We got back an Lyn went on the evening game drive, I got down to some paper work and admin and Lee watch a football match.
We all met again at 8pm for dinner and chatted about the amazing first day of safari we had. My clients had already been to the the Lion park outside Joburg and a national park up there but this safari took the cake!
It was then off to bed and up for a 7am breakfast and check out.
We met for breakfast which was lovely and then we headed out onto the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, it was then that our day really began. Oh I forgot about the Baboons outside the window at breakfast.
It was not long before we got what we were hoping for a Giraffe near to the road. In fact he was on the road and was walking down it.
We continued with our Durban overnight safari and came across some Banded Mongooses and some Vervet monkeys. Unfortunately the Mongooses all ran away but we were left with some lovely monkeys.
We then made our way into an open area where we spotted a huge herd of Buffalo right next to the road at a mud wallow. It was a great sight to see them watching us just as much as we were watching them.
We then took a toilet break with a view and once we got to looking at the view we spotted 3 of the Big 5, Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo. We also saw Giraffe and Zebra from this hill, its amazing what patience can do!
We continued our overnight safari from Durban and made our way down south hoping to get to the Umfolozi river. On route we spotted some Kudu which was a new one for us and they crossed the road in front of us.
Next we had an amazing sighting of Elephants fighting, more like a dominance display which was very interesting to watch and not only for us but for a couple other Elephants which walking into the area.
We watched these Elephants for a good while and then we realised we no longer had time to make it to the river which was also fine so we made our way out of the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and onward to St Lucia – Isimangeliso wetland park.
The drive was really nice as we chatted about how amazing the overnight safari from Durban had been but we still had a lot to see and do.
We arrived at St Lucia and had some lunch before our 1pm boat cruise on the St Lucia Estuary. Then we boarded the boat and enjoyed what turned out to be a lovely afternoon watching Hippos play fighting and wallowing around as well as some Crocodiles.
This was an amazing time and I didn’t take just one video I took 3 videos that were good enough to go up on this blog post for my clients and their friends.
This Crocodile was amazing as he was just sunning himself on the shoreline not far from our boat at all. Next was some amazing big pods of Hippos and the best after the playing in the water was them out of the water!
This was the final part of our Durban overnight safari tour and the whole way back to Durban we could not believe the luck we had had as well as just the amazing sighting of nature on our safari in Africa!
It was a beautiful winter day when I collected my clients from a Durban hotel. They would be spending 4 Days with me but the first 3 days would be a 3 day Big 5 Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve situated near Durban. My clients were from Washington DC and out for a holiday after a business trip to our city of Durban.
It is common to find travelers visiting Durban for conferences and business and then realising that there is so much to do here in Durban. Sadly Durban is not as well advertised as Cape Town, Joburg or Kruger National Park. Those are the usual places people have heard of an visit!
After covering some of the history of our amazing country, South Africa and City of Durban it was time to look at the History around the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and the Cat rehabilitation centre we would first be visiting.
Emdoneni Cat rehabilitation centre opened its doors in the early 1990’s to help endangered cats like Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and African Wild Cat increase there numbers. At this stage no success with Cheetah but plenty with the other endangered cats.
I am pleased to say that Tim Brown Tours supports this project by bringing our clients their as the entrance fee’s go to the aid of these amazing cats.
Once we had spent some time with these majestic cats we headed on into the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve which is only 20 minutes away from Emdoneni.
Upon entering through Memorial gate into this World Famous and historical game reserve, being the oldest in Africa we had immediate success. We spotted: Rhino, Buffalo, Zebra, Nyala and Warthogs in a matter on 10 minutes.
Most of these sightings were not brilliant but still were great. We moved on to Hilltop camp where we had some lunch and checked in before getting back onto the reserve to see what other animals we could find.
After spending some time driving around and watching animals from far, we decided to stop at a view point to look over the Hluhluwe River. He we spotted this large crocodile.
We continued on with our Durban Big 5 Safari and an old Buffalo bull feeding near to the road. This was the best sighting we had to this point of a Buffalo.
After enjoying this Buffalo feed we continued a short distance before we spotted a mother Rhino and her calf. We spent some good time watching them and witnessed the baby eating its mothers dung and suckling. The eating of mother dung in White Rhino is common as the babies do not have the enzymes in there stomach to digest the grass naturally. They therefore have to eat mothers dung to get the enzymes into there intestine to digest the grass they are feeding on.
We made our way back to the main road and we lucky enough to have a sighting on Lions on a Rocky hill, sadly it was not the best sighting but a Lion is a Lion in my book! Our Durban Big 5 Safari had started to get really exciting with 3 of the Big 5 Spotted on the first day.
We made our way round to find some Giraffe which we did and then had to turn back to get to our lodge before curfew. Over all our Durban Safari Today had been great for a start and with a 6am start the next day we would hopefully find more exciting Big 5 species and general game.
We then met for some star gazing and then dinner which was lovely as always before some sleep. It is fine if the mind goes on safari at night but the body must rest to keep fresh for the next day’s safari.
I met my clients on Day 2 at 6am and we departed for a full day safari, we would be heading down south into the reserve to see what we could find.
Our Safari from Durban had already been very successful but we hadn’t yet seen Elephants and of course seeing an Elephant is a big thing on a Safari as it is one of the Big 5.
We had a quiet start with lots of Zebra and Giraffe. Our first major sighting was a male Giraffe near to the road in the Umfolozi section of the game reserve.
We also had great luck as I spotted a Hyena crossing the road and walking through the bushes into the scrub. This was really exciting for us all.
As we continued our Big 5 Durban Safari we came across a lovely sighting of a mother Rhino and her calf near the road. We had seen the same the day before but this was a much closer sighting and very enjoyable.
As we continued with our safari we came across more Giraffe and Rhino before we stopped at a “Hide” to see what animals came to drink. A “Hide” is a hut which overlooks a watering hole where people are supposed to sit in silence and see what animals come down to drink.
We were lucky as we got to see Zebra, Nyala and Warthogs come and drink in half an hour.
As we left the hide and continued our Safari we spotted some Wildebeest and we got them to cross the road in front of us. We were luck enough to also have a real Zebra crossing!
The Zebras are in great condition even though we have had a hard winter with fires and little good grass for grazing in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
As we began the long journey back to the luncheon stop we found our first Elephant in the Umfolozi River feeding on the reeds. We enjoyed him for a while and a small Water Monitor lizard before continuing on.
We stopped for lunch at midday and enjoyed some good food before continuing to look for Elephants we were in luck on this Safari from Durban!
Near the gate we spotted one Bull Elephant and then another two Bull Elephants. Now two out of these three Elephants had 5 legs! I will let you think about it!
These three Elephant Bulls came together and began to drink water near the gate. We got out to the safety of the main building to watch them and we also spotted Giraffe and Zebra in the same area.
The Elephants actually got into some great positions to use there flexible trunks to reach the water in this drain and I got a great photo.
It had now been 8 hours of Safari and it was time to make our way back to the camp for a rest before dinner.
What a great second day on our Big 5 Durban Safari to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
It was now time for bed as we needed some rest, the 3rd day of our Durban Safari would entail: Breakfast, checkout, 3 hour Hluhluwe imfolozi Safari and a 2 hour boat Cruise at St Lucia- Isimangeliso Wetland Park.
We began just before 7am and came through for some breakfast before checking out and starting our last 3 hour Big 5 Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
The 3 hours were great and we basically recapped on animals seen already. Unfortunately we did not find any more cats so we had to be happy with the one sighting of these amazing creatures.
One of our first sightings was this herd of Buffalos; I got a picture of the one young female.
As we continued we found a couple of Elephants that crossed the road and disappeared into the thickets before we could get a decent photo. We headed down towards the Umfolozi river via Seme and MaQanda on route we found Rhino and some Nyalas with new born babies. The one male was already checking to see if the female was ready for mating.
As we got closer to the Umfolozi River we spotted lots of Giraffe and Zebra.
It was now time to turn back to the Nyalazi gate and end the Big 5 Safari part of our Tour. We departed and headed to St Lucia Estuary – Isimageliso Wetland Park for our 2 hour Hippo and Crocodile boat Tour.
It was windy but we saw loads of Hippos and a few Crocodiles including Fish Eagles.
As we continued up the Estuary of St Lucia we soon spotted this Fish Eagle in a Tree scouting out for fish.
It was really only at the top of the Estuary that we got the best sightings of Hippos and we even got some Hippos out the water on the sand bank.
After we finished with the 2 hour boat Tour we headed into St Lucia town and had some lunch before departing for Durban City.
Durban is almost 3 hours away from St Lucia and we were already tired so we stopped a couple times along the way to freshen up.
Our 3 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour had been really successful and we all enjoyed the amazing sights from the Stars at night to the animals in the day. Not to mention the Hyena calling at night near Hilltop camp.
If you are interested in this or one of our other Durban Safaris or Durban Tours contact me through the online booking form of inquiry form and I will try to make you Safari/Tour just as exciting!
Durban Safari Tours and KwaZulu-Natal Safari Tours have been areas that few have focused themselves on. It has been a dream to show off Durban and KwaZulu-Natal to the world.