Day Tour from Durban Archives - Tim Brown Tours
  • 11th June 2015

    St Lucia day tour 11th June 2015

     

     

    I met my client from Durban where we would begin our 2.5 hour drive up to St Lucia the Isimangeliso Wetland park. This area is full off Hippo and Crocodiles and is the largest lake/estuarine system in Southern Africa.

     

    St Lucia named after St Lucy and founded in 1554 by Portuguese sailors who were ship wrecked there and named the river “Rio de Areias de Ouro” meaning River of the sands of Gold.

    It is an amazing place full of ecological beauty and South Africas first proclaimed world heritage site is a must visit on either a Day tour from Durban or on an overnight safari from Durban.

     

    After covering some of the interesting history of the area and the scenes on route we arrived and settled into a 2 hour boat cruise on the St Lucia estuary. The cruise in St Lucia is really relaxing and very beautiful. I have traveled with my wife to Zimbabwe and the the great Zambezi river which is in my opinion nothing near as good as St Lucia for viewing of Hippos and Crocodiles!

     

     

     

     

    St Lucia day tour; Raft of Hippo

    St Lucia day tour; Raft of Hippo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    One of our first sights was the above picture of a massive pod or raft of Hippo which were just resting after a long night of feeding on grass. Hippos can consume 15 -90 KGs of grass in a night and return to the water as they do not have sweat glands to cool themselves down so have to keep cool using the water. 

     

     

    We also spotted a fair number of Crocodiles and lots of Bird Life.

     

     

     

     

    St Lucia day tour; Crocodile in Estuary

    St Lucia day tour; Crocodile in Estuary

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    These amazing creatures have anything between 66 – 72 teeth in there mouth and can have up to 45 changes of teeth if they break in a fight of eating of food. They are cold blooded hence we can see them basking on the sand banks warming up their body temperature.

     

     

    We managed to see a African fish eagle on the St Lucia day tour as well as Kingfishers and Herons.

     

     

     

     

     

    St Lucia day tour; African Fish eagle in flight

    St Lucia day tour; African Fish eagle in flight

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The best was the above picture of the African fish eagle on this estuary boat tour at St Lucia were it flew right above us and I some how managed to capture it in a photo.

     

    After we had nearly completed the 2 hour St Lucia boat cruise we spotted some Hippos standing outside the water and 2 young babies. This was an amazing scene for my clients!

     

     

     

     

     

    St Lucia day tour; Hippos on shore

    St Lucia day tour; Hippos on shore

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We then heading of to the Crocodile park and I showed my clients some of the Historical things about the area and of course the Crocodile breeding program. St Lucia is a lovely quaint little town and after enjoying looking at the ancient Cycads, Crocodiles, Alligators, Snakes and a few other things we stopped for some lunch in the town.

     

    The food was great and we relaxed before heading down to the board walk to the Estuary mouth where at times you can see Hippos and Crocodiles right on or next to the beech.

     

    On route you always spot a few interesting signs like this one warning us of what is one the beach!

     

     

     

     

    St Lucia day tour; Estuary board walk warning sign

    St Lucia day tour; Estuary board walk warning sign

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Believe it or not the Bull sharks are found in the estuary and can be aggressive so even they feature with the Hippo and Crocodile on the warning board. The board walk on the St Lucia tour is very enjoyable and it leads you onto the Estuary beach we you can see Maphelane, the second largest vegetated sand dune in the world at about 187 meters above sea level.

     

     

     

     

     

    St Lucia day tour; Indian ocean and Maphelane

    St Lucia day tour; Indian ocean and Maphelane

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Indian ocean with is the one we find in on this eastern part of South Africa is a warm ocean and is lovely to dip you feet into to at least say you have done it!

     

    After a good walk on the beach we made our way back to the vehicle and slowly made our way back to Durban were I would be returning my clients after a very good St Lucia day tour.

     

     

  • 27th April 2015

    St Lucia day tour from Durban 26th April 2015

     

    I met my clients in Durban for this special day tour from Durban to St Lucia – Isimangeliso Wetland park where we would be visiting South Africa’s 1st World heritage site decided on by UNESCO in 1999. There are 5 different Eco Systems in the area; namely the Sand forests, Mangrove Swamp lands, Savanna, Indian ocean and the Esturine system where we would be doing the 2 hour boat cruise to see the Hippos and Crocodiles.

     

    St Lucia is well known even here in South Africa and it a major tourist magnet, with so much to offer they also boast deep sea fishing as well as Whale and Turtle watching seasonally!

     

    One of our first sightings on our Durban day tour to St Lucia was of Hippos mating which is very rare to see let alone film. I was lucky to have my camera on hand to film this amazing sight!

     

     

     

     

    St Lucia day tour; Hippos mating

    St Lucia day tour; Hippos mating

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video of Hippos Mating in St Lucia Estuary, South Africa

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This was really a special sighting and we all could not believe our luck! As we continued with our 2 hour boat cruise we ended up spotting something like 150 Hippos and maybe 8 crocodiles.

    As we continued we came across a couple of Hippos that displayed for us by opening their mouths and as we all say Yawned. However this Yawning is actually a display to show us to keep our distance and not get too close. It is often confused with the Hippos being tired!

     

     

     

     

    St Lucia day tour; Hippos Yawning

    St Lucia day tour; Hippos Yawning

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We had already had such a good time and we then looked at some of the mangrove swamps and spotted some crocodiles in the area. One of which seemed to catch something near the shoreline before resting near the rivers edge.

     

     

     

     

    St Lucia day tour; Crocodile in St Lucia estuary

    St Lucia day tour; Crocodile in St Lucia estuary

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    A trip to Durban is not complete with out taking a trip to St Lucia to see the Hippos and Crocodiles. The St Lucia estuary is the largest estrine system in Southern Africa.

    We then headed into the small town of St Lucia after the boat cruise for some lunch which was really enjoyable. The whole town has a great vibe of a holiday feel. It took us some time to get through the amazing food we got and then it was time to do the board walk in St Lucia.

     

    We headed down to the estuary mouth where we stopped the vehicle and began the estuary board walk. It is well worth the visit if you are in the area and a trip to South African is not complete if you do not visit this amazing beach. A beach where Hippos and Crocodiles roam, Bull Sharks swim and the bird life is amazing!

     

     

     

     

    St Lucia day tour; St Lucia estuary mouth crocodiles

    St Lucia day tour; St Lucia estuary mouth crocodiles

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I always find it an amazing picture when you have the St Lucia estuary with the crocodiles resting basically on the beach. The beach and Indian ocean in the back  ground and Maphelane the second largest vegetated sand dune in the world. It is also amazing as the sand if full of titanium which is mined but only away from the World Heritage site.

     

     

     

    St Lucia day tour; Maphelane from St Lucia estuary beach

    St Lucia day tour; Maphelane from St Lucia estuary beach

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The signs that you find on the beach are also incredible as they warn you of Hippos and crocodiles. I do not know of any other beaches in the world which have a sign like this. In the above picture you can see the massive Maphelane vegetated sand dune in the back ground.

     

    It is without say that the Isimangeliso wetland park – St Lucia is one of the wonders of the world and is a place you have to visit when you come to South Africa.

     

     

  • 27th April 2015

    Sani Pass Drakensberg day tour 25th April 2015

     

    I met me clients in Durban and they would be doing two days of touring with me beginning with today’s Sani Pass Drakensberg day tour from Durban.

    It was an early start at 6am and we began the almost 3 hour drive to the base of Sani pass which boarders on Lesotho the mountain kingdom. It was here we met with the 4×4 vehicles for the tour itself of the Drakensberg.

    On route I had already set the scene and covered a lot of the History of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa.

     

    As we ascended the great Drakensberg over into Lesotho we enjoyed the spectacular views of the mountain and enjoyed the day of touring from Durban.

      

     

     

    Sani pass drakensberg day tour; Picture going up Sani Pass

    Sani pass drakensberg day tour; Picture going up Sani Pass

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Every so often we go out of the vehicle to stretch the legs and enjoy the view on route to our destination Lesotho and the highest Pub in Africa!

    We got the the South African border post and after the formalities of passport stamping we spotted some Eland up on the hill. These majestic antelope are the original people of South Africa, the bushmen’s totem animal. The blood and fat of these animals were used in the paint of the Bushmen in the cliff overhangs in this Drakensberg range.

    The name itself Drakensberg means Dragons peak and the Zulu name “Ukhahlamba” mean barrier of spears! Both names are so indicative of this amazing mountain which is a mixture of Sand stone and Basalt rock.

     

     

     

     

     

    Sani pass drakensberg day tour; Picture of Eland

    Sani pass drakensberg day tour; Picture of Eland

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We finally reached boarder post into Lesotho at an altitude of 2874 meters above sea level. Having come from Sea level it was pretty high and it is normal to have a little headache. 

    It was hear that we had conquered this great mountain to reach its summit as many other had done before us. We spotted a little shop at the top before heading to the highest pub in Africa.

     

     

     

    Sani pass drakensberg day tour; Shop at Sani top

    Sani pass drakensberg day tour; Shop at Sani top

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Lesotho on the eastern side is very baron and this pass was originally used for Donkeys and horses to trade with the South Africans with Mohair and wool. It is such a rough arid environment that you just cannot see how people can survive here, but they do. The nearest school is 50 km away so when the kids leave for school they only return for holidays to see their family.

     

     

     

     

    Sani pass drakensberg day tour; Basotho homes

    Sani pass drakensberg day tour; Basotho homes

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    At the moment the Chinese are in Lesotho creating a road from the village at Sani Pass to the nearest town where the kids get educated. The agreement is that they must use local staff for the labour.

    We had a great lunch under the hot Lesotho sun but with the breeze we were all a little cold however that wasn’t going to stop us from enjoying the breathtaking views, the Basotho Shepherds and after lunch the Basotho village. It was here we entered into on of the locals homes and she had some bread in a pot on coals and she was kind enough to share some with us and even allow us to taste there traditional beer.

     

    The views on the way down were just as good as on the way up the pass and our Drakensberg day tour from Durban had really been amazing.

     

     

     

     

    Sani pass drakensberg day tour; Picture coming down Sani pass

    Sani pass drakensberg day tour; Picture coming down Sani pass

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We were grateful for the amazing weather that we had been blessed with and the amazing sights and sounds of this mountain we have come to know as the Drakensberg. After we arrived back at the bottom we headed off to Durban where I dropped my clients off at a restaurant I recommended and then I headed back home for the night.

     

    It had been a great Durban day tour up Sani Pass into Lesotho.

  • 28th October 2014

    Durban Day Tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve 25th October 2014

     

    Our Durban Day Tour began in the vibrant and colourful city of Durban where the Indian spice markets can be found, the Rickshaws brought in by Mr Goble for his disabled wife and the surf washes away the pains of Apartheid.

    Durban had so much to offer the traveler or visitor to our shores it is like a pot of gold and full of culture!

    Anyway, after collecting my clients we began our 3 hour journey to the Hluhluwe Gate into the North eastern part of the oldest Big 5 Game reserve in Africa!

    I covered as much history as I could but it seemed my clients had not had much time to recover from the jetlag and this meant some rest was being taken while I spoke.

    We were on a tight scheduled as we needed to be at Hilltop camp for a 10am (midday open vehicle game drive).

    This required some bursts of speed ever so often but we made it with 10 minutes to spare. One route we actually spotted 3 of the Big 5, the Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant.

    This was great but we only had time for a very quick photo to meet our deadline.

     

    Herd of Buffalo seen on our Durban day Tour

     

    Herd of Buffalo seen on our Durban day Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We arrived at Hilltop camp and I got the clients onto the open vehicle game drive which I would sometime join if there was space but this time I decided to stay back to do some more research on Fort Nongqayi in Eshowe which I would be visiting with clients in a couple weeks time.

    After a 3 hour open vehicle safari tour the client came back a little cold so got stuck into some Whiskey during lunch while I had my Sprite and Burger. Actually lunch was quite pleasant as we chatted a bit. All 3 of my clients were working in Dubai but 2 were from India and one from Ukraine.

     

    After lunch we headed back out which I felt happy about and we had a good time spotting more animals, well those that were able to keep there eyes open did.

     

    Rhino on our Durban day tour

    Rhino on our Durban day tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This Rhino was a great sighting and he rubbed around in the mud for a while before we continued on to see what else we could find.

     

    Zebra on our Durban day tour

    Zebra on our Durban day tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This Zebra was posing so wonderfully for us and we saw a few different Dazzles of Zebra and Journeys of Giraffe before we got them close enough for a good photograph.

     

    Giraffe seen during our Durban day Tour

    Giraffe seen during our Durban day Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    These Giraffe were actually mating which was interesting to see, the male would not leave this poor female alone. We however did not interrupt the natural way of things and moved on.

    One of the most wonderful things about Spring is the Lily’s. The area is now littered with Ground Lily’s and Snake Lily’s.

     

    Ground Lilys seens on our Day Tour from Durban

    Ground Lilys seens on our Day Tour from Durban

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As we continued we kept spotting more Buffalo and Rhino before we got to the Exit gate where there was some Bull Elephants drinking water. At this point it is best to stand by the main building to get the feeling of being of foot at about 40-50 meters away from these Elephants but to still have the safety of the building.

    We all enjoyed it.

     

    Elephants on our Durban day safari Tour

    Elephants on our Durban day safari Tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We had now come to the end of our Durban Day Safari Tour and we began the 3 hours back to Durban city. Needless to say this was an idea opportunity to ask final questions or in some cases sleep.

     

    I had a great day and I am sure the clients also enjoyed it.