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
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
After collecting my clients who were returning to South Africa from Monaco to visit family for the festive season, we headed off to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve where we conduct most of our Durban Safari Tours.
We chatted about the history of Durban and South African before arriving at Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and beginning our Durban Safari to see what animals we could find.
The first day of our Durban Safari turned out to be good as we began with lots on Impala and some Buffalo.
I was blessed with a repeat client who brought a friend out from Australia to experience a Durban 3 day safari tour. We departed from Umhlanga and we were able to cover the history and new things that I hadn’t said the last time. It wasn’t long before we stopped and got some coffee and the continued on to the Cat rehabilitation center which was a real experience.
My clients loved it and after interacting with the Cheetah hands on the day was set up to be legendary!
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:
Our Hluhluwe overnight safari began in Durban where I met my clients. We then began the journey to the cat rehabilitation center to interact with Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and African Wild cat.
It is always an amazing experience to interact hands on with these great endangered species and very memorable!
One of the Cheetah cubs was very playful and hugged one of my clients all very exciting when on Safari in Africa.
I had two different pick ups for this 3 day Durban safari tour one in Durban and the other in Umhlanga. Once I collected my client and we got chatting I knew we would have a good safari!
Our first day was near floor-less as we achieved so much in the first day. We began covering some of the interesting history of the area of Durban and KwaZulu Natal before arriving at the cat rehabilitation center near Hluhluwe.
Our tour around the rehab was great!
We entered the enclosures with all 4 of the endangered species of Cat; Serval, Caracal, African Wild Cat and Cheetah.
The above picture of a Serval is lovely and these cats are very interactive so when we go into the enclosure it is always a great time watching them.
Our Durban safari continued and we entered with then Cheetah cubs which were also very interactive.
This Cheetah cub was so interested with watching her sister playing with a rope on the end of a stick that even her soccer ball was not distraction enough!
We finished up with the cats and moved on into Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for the Durban safari side of our 3 day Safari tour. This Big 5 game reserve near Durban is malaria free and is probably the biggest hidden secret in the area.
Our first sighting was of Warthogs and as it was the first animal we saw we spent some time with them before continuing our safari and then spotting some Zebra not too far from the road.
We made our way to Hilltop camp where we would be spending the two nights and had some lunch before checking in and settling into the rooms for half an hour.
Then we headed back out to continue our Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. We spotted a huge herd of Buffalo on the road so we spent a good 15 minutes with them while they all crossed and then only continued on.
We were making our way toward the Hluhluwe river when we spotted both Rhino and Elephants. All we could do was wait to see what would happen and good job we did as the Elephants came to the road and we got them to cross in front of us.
The Rhinos at this point were near to the road as well so we managed to get a decent photo of them before moving onward to see what else we could find.
We heard that Lions had been seen at 3pm but it was already 5pm so I knew the chances of finding them was not very high. When on a Durban safari or any safari you always have hope and we tried our best at first without success but then as the sun set we spotted them making their way to the road following a herd of Buffalo.
The Lions then began to hunt the Buffalo which made things hard on me as I was caught up with the ethical battle of keeping the lights on the Lions so we could see them but also not wanting to give the Lions away to the Buffalo which would end there chances of a successful hunt.
What a great start to our Durban 3 day safari tour, the Lions attempted the hunt and in the darkness we heard the growling and Buffalo bellowing when we turned the lights one there was only dust and the Lions had not been able to hold on to their dinner. The lucky Buffalo kept walking away and we left the lions to try again.
We made our way back to the lodge and settled in for some dinner and a chat about how amazing our day was having seen 4 of the Big 5 on the first day of our Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
We even did a spot of star gazing before we were all very tired and we headed off to bed.
We began our day with high hopes of seeing lots of animals and hopefully more Lions but you just never know what will show up for you on these safaris from Durban.
After breakfast we headed South in the game reserve and it was like the luck from day one had never left as we kept up the tempo and saw lots of animals.
Our major concern was finding Giraffe which we managed to knock on the head after just 30 minutes of driving!
We also spotted lots of general game like Zebra, Impala, Warthog, Wildebeest and we must have spent about 45 minutes in one spot as all these amazing animals came to a watering hole to drink.
After watching these Rhinos drinking and getting spooked by the Zebra which came in for a drink we managed to see the female Rhino sharpening her horn so that she would have it ready for any poachers that tried to mess with her and remove her horn!
Our 3 day safari from Durban was really turning out to be a great time and we just kept getting great luck and being in the right places at the right times.
We waited longer at the watering hole as a herd of Wildebeest came down and had a drink during this time we also spotted some great bird life. The best was a Malachite King fisher!
We then continued on to the Umfolozi river and I could not believe our luck as all of a sudden we spotted Lions running in the river bed. The only issue was they were running away because there was a bush walk that had not seen them and were having there walk in the river bed. This made it exciting and after a very short time we lost visual of the Lions so we continued with our Safari in Umfolozi.
I did get a picture but I felt it wasn’t good enough to go up on the blog and if you read on your will see why.
We drop through at this time of the year what looked like a desert as the place was so dry but we did spot more Rhino, Giraffe and other animals before we got to another section of the river and you would not believe it but there was Lions here!
The picture was not the best but I still figured I would use it. We then continued to a “hide” which is a hut overlooking a watering hole. It was here we spotted a wide variety of animals and birds before moving on back up to get some lunch.
After spending time in the Hide we made our way back to where we had seen the second lot of Lions in the river bed and it was here that we spotted a huge herd of Buffalo drinking. The Lions just watched them from the safety of being up stream.
This was a great sighting on our Durban safari tour and we made our way back to the area where we had seen the previous pride of Lion that had been chased by the people on foot. It was here that we spotted them resting in the dry river bed. There was two big males and some Lionesses and cubs!
This had been an amazing day seeing the Lions 4 times and seeing 3 of the big 5 before lunch. We still had not seen Elephant the whole morning and now it was lunch time so we saved that one of the Big 5 for a big later.
Lunch was great at the Centenary center before we began the drive back up to hilltop camp. On route we got our Elephants in fact 3 or 4 different Elephant sightings! This meant we had 4 of the Big 5 today as well!
Our next stop would be back at camp where we would have an hours rest before heading out on the evening night safari from 5pm – 8pm.
Dinner was great as usual and we headed off for a good nights rest.
I met my client just before 7am to collect their luggage and get them down for some breakfast. It was a relaxed time as when you do they same tour regularly you get into such a routine of doing things that it just flows. Just after 07:30 we were already on the road and at this stage I asked one of the ladies “what would you like to see today” she said to me ” the African wild dog would be nice”.
I knew where to look but had no idea if we would be so luck to find the most endangered carnivore in Africa but we did! I could not believe our luck and nor could my clients!
We watched the dogs jumping up and down in the long grass and running all over the place for about half an hour before we lost visual and began to make our way out of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. It had been an amazing 3 days with some amazing sightings for a 3 day safari from Durban.
Our next stop would be St Lucia or Isimangaliso Wetland park to take a 2 hour boat cruise to view Hippos and Crocodiles.
Our first look from the Jetty we spotted a pod of Hippos and when we got going we made our way to them to enjoy nature. They all ran into the water but it was lovely to see them.
Further up stream of the world heritage site of Isimangaliso Wetland park we found Crocodiles, Fish eagles, Herons, Kingfishers and lots and lots of Hippos. Wow what a safari up St Lucia estuary.
We then had a very interesting sighting of a Hippos chewing at a Buoy on a barge boat. This or though exciting for the clients go me very concerned as this behaviour could be very dangerous in the future as the Hippo playing with the boat will show others that they can do the same and this could increase attacks on boats.
I did however made a video for you to see this interesting behaviour.
Our cruise ended and we made our way into St Lucia town for some lunch which was great. After lunch we took a drive to the estuary mouth and then began our trip back to Durban after a very successful 3 days safari from Durban.
My clients were happy and so was I.
I met my clients in Durban city and this was where we would begin our Durban 3 day overnight safari tour. After the general introductions the 4 of us began this amazing 3 day safari from Durban.
We headed up the coastal road away from the city and as it was Freedom day in South Africa everyone was somewhere but the roads! This made my drive much easier as I had no city traffic to deal with and could begin some free flowing conversation about the History of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa.
The usual being covered, I then also explained about each population group and how they come to be here as well as all the plantation we would see on route to our first stop the cat rehabilitation center, outside of Hluhluwe.
It had now been 3 hours on the road and it was nice to stop to see something new and stretch the legs further to what we did at the couple of stops we took along the way. We began our tour of the cat rehabilitation center at 10:30 and it was here that my clients would be able to interact with 4 species of endangered cats, namely the Serval, Caracal, African wild cat and Cheetah.
After this amazing experience we moved on to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve the oldest proclaimed national park in South Africa established in 1895. It would be here that we would be spending the majority of our 3 days enjoying the best nature would show us.
Our Durban 3 day safari tour had begun and after going over the basic regulations of the the game reserve we headed in to see what animals we could find.
Usually in the middle of the day it is always quiet but today was not, their was a lot of activity around the first 2 kilometers of the national park and we did much better with the game viewing than I thought.
Our first sighting was of Zebra and a warthog just before we crossed over the electrified fence into the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
These Zebra we actually very interesting as the foul was grooming the mother and visa versa during the time we were watching them. They looked in such good health and really posed for us.
We then drove a hundred meters up the road an found two bull elephants near the road. This was great and the biggest of the males was in Musth and had high levels of Testosterone in his body which made him dribble urine and weep from his temporal glands. He smelled terrible!
The picture of this Bull Elephant was a real cracker and even now when I look at it I love the definition around the ears!
We continued on and found a couple of herds of Buffalo which were resting in the open grassy areas, they were enjoying the cooler weather and had no idea what would be coming later during our safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
It was now time to get to Hilltop camp in the Hluhluwe section of the national park to have some lunch and check ourselves in. Upon arrival we settled in and then had some lunch with a view of the game reserve.
We then headed to our rooms where I off loaded the luggage and then we took an hours rest before heading back out to see what we could find.
At 4pm we met again and began the safari into the north to see what we could find. It was great as we began to spot Nyala and Rhino before we had a great sighting of Rhinos. We watched these Rhino feeding and then they crossed the road in front of us!
We then continued up the road and were lucky enough to spot that a herd of Buffaloes on the hill were running around. We looked with the binoculars and saw they were being chased and were chasing Lions. It was amazing, it was such a dark afternoon and light was really fading but we saw a little bit of them. I found the best way to see them was with the camera on full zoom and to record the whole things. The best part was that they seemed to kill a Buffalo probably a young one as a big Lion crossed the road in front of us and made his way up the hill to the others.
Next we got the male Lions chasing the Buffalo around and visa versa which was great to see. Sadly the quality of the video is not great but it is still visible.
The cherry on the top was the male Lion reaching the kill and smashing one of the Lionesses that did not give him the piece of meat he wanted!
It had been a great day of safari from Durban and the rain began to fall settling the dust the Buffalo had created by running around. It was now time for us to leave the sighting as we couldn’t see much now anyway and we made our way back to the lodge to get some dinner.
Dinner was great as usual a lovely buffet spread and then it was time for bed.
We had a massive storm during the night which meant some sections of all rivers were flooding and not passable!
We met for breakfast and then went out for 3-4 hours of safari game drive, before we could even leave the camp of Hilltop we spotted some Baboon, Vervet Monkeys and Samango monkeys. Once we headed further onto the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve we spotted a really cool Leopard tortoise which was on the side of the road.
We drove around for quite some time with out find much except Nyala and then as the day heated up we began spotting animals. We spotted a few bull Buffaloes one of which lay down and rolled over before pulling his tongue out at us.
Next we managed to find a Rhino which again crossed the road in front of us. This was the first time I used a GoPro (Chinese version) to film any wild life.
You will notice in the above picture that this Rhino has a wide mouth which is where the original translation of the name comes from. They Dutch called them the “Wyd Rhinoster” meaning the “wide Rhino” referring to this square mouth used for eating grass.
As we left the Rhino to enjoy his day I had notices that the tracks of the Elephant bulls from the previous day had crossed into an area we could not access. I felt a little disappointed until about 3 minutes later as we found them. They must have looped back around and we had the big musth bull Elephant on the road in front of us. Remember is you respect nature it will respect you back.
After these amazing video clips of this Bull Elephant we continued our Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and we spotted Giraffe which was great as we hadn’t yet seen any.
The picture didn’t turn out to well so I left it out as we saw more later in the afternoon.
We returned to camp to have a rest and then we heading back out at 15:30 for 2.5 hour to see what other animals we could spot.
Again things were quiet at first and then we crossed the heavy flowing Hluhluwe river before before spotting some Rhinos on a dirt road loop. It was getting a little frustrating as I kept spotting tracks of Giraffe but could not find them until finally I did…
We also had great sightings of the sunset and Buffalo. One of the best sightings this afternoon was the Rhino in the mud wallow as I spotted a Terrapin heading to his groin to removed ticks. This is a behavior that is not always noticed and people don’t look out for it and also don’t know that Terrapins are carnivores!
We made our way back to the lodge for some dinner and a well deserved rest. We were all pretty tired and had one more big day to go.
We began with collecting luggage and then a buffet breakfast before moving out of the lodge and onto the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. We had some amazing luck with Giraffe, Buffalo and Elephant in the first 30 minutes.
We were lucky with this bull Elephant as he was relaxed and right next to the road so we had a great show with him. It was then a matter of minutes and we spotted some Elephants hiding in the bushes. After assessing the situation I realised they wanted to cross the road so I reversed back and they crossed right in front of us making it a special sighting!
This was an amazing sighting and we were very happy about seeing the small babies as we had only seen bull Elephants on our our Durban safari tour so far.
As we continued we found a Nile Crocodile in a section of the river. We didn’t stay to long as we needed to exit to get to Isimangeliso wetland park and do the 2 hour boat cruise on the St Lucia estuary.
The cruise began very well with Hippos and Crocodiles in a very short space of time, we then cruised up the St Lucia Estuary and spotted lots and lots of Hippos and a few more Crocodiles.
The sightings of Crocodiles were just as good and we really enjoyed the sun shine on the boat cruise. There was a little bit of bird life in the Mangrove swamps which was also great to see.
You will see in the above picture of the crocodile that his mouth is open, this is to help regulate his body temperature a bit like a dog except Crocodiles do not have tongues just a gular flap which stops the water from going down their throats.
It was not time to get some lunch in the ocean village of St Lucia, I also heard that their was activity at the estuary mouth and that finally they would be reopening the estuary to the ocean. It close naturally in 2007 but with out the salt water this has effected the habitat somewhat and cause the reeds to take over the estuary.
Lunch was great and so was looking at the new estuary with a small opening to the ocean. We then began our long 2.5 hour drive back to Durban where I returned my clients to there accommodation in one piece.
It had been another great overnight safari tour from Durban in KwaZulu Natal and we had all enjoyed ourselves.
I met my clients in Durban for their 3 day safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park in South Africa. It is the oldest preserve in Africa and home to the Big 5 the 5 most dangerous animals to hunt on foot. Obviously we were here for ecotourism as Hunting is not an option in a National park like Hluhluwe Imfolozi.
We began at the Cat rehabilitation center in Hluhluwe and enjoyed the experience of interacting with some of the Cats including African wild cat, Serval and Cheetah adults and cubs. The Caracal we do not touch as they are together for mating which can make them potentially more aggressive.
I was lucky enough to have done some back to back Durban safari tours so I was feeling the way the Cheetah in the picture was looking.
My clients also got to interact with the Cheetah hands on which is always an amazing experience and they enjoyed it just as much as every other client I have take has. This is a must in you are in the area and wish to do a Durban safari tour be it and overnight safari tour or just a day safari tour.
Next it was time to head into the World famous Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for our safari tour from Durban. It wasn’t long before we spotted some animals and they were the Buffalo, Zebra and Impala oh and Warthogs.
The Buffalo were a bit for off so I didn’t photograph them but the Zebra really posed for us and this made for a great start to our Safari from Durban.
After the dazzle of Zebra we continued and spotted a Black Rhino which was really lucky. The only problem was that he kept going behind the bushes and was already so far away that the picture was really bad. A black Rhino is rare so I decided to put the picture up anyway.
We then made our way to the camp where we settled in for lunch and checked in. Again I heard from my clients that they had seen all the complaints about Hilltop camp and the roads but they were surprised that it was nothing like what some of the reviews say.
After checking in we had a short rest before heading back out to see what animals we could find. It started really quiet and then I got word of Lions in the area we were heading into. As always when you are trying to get somewhere you end up seeing so many things which hinders your progress! It was still good as we got this calf Rhino with his mother near to the road.
We also found Nyala and Buffalo but we continued and there they were, a pride of Lions in the distance sitting in the dried up Hluhluwe river. At first it was a far sighting then we found another spot where we could see them a little better. The photos were not great but it was good enough and very special to see a couple of the Lions sitting on a rock. We also had a Rhino come and drink while we were watching the Lions.
We then returned to the view sight where we had a look at the view. Down in the river bed was 4 Rhinos having a little go at each other so my clients watched this through the binoculars and I took a couple photos for them.
It had been a good day. When you see Lions on the first day it helps and makes things easier for the rest of the tour. We continued back up to the camp for some dinner and on route spotted a crash of 6 Rhino. It was a lovely sighting and this really capped off the day for us on safari in Africa.
We began day two at 6am when the gates opened and were hoping to find Elephants and Giraffe. It was strange as we saw lots of evidence that they were around but did not find them near to the road.
As we then continued we heard that the African Wild dogs were in the area but there was no sign of them so after waiting around for 20 minute I decided to take a dirt road perpendicular to where we were and we found the wild dogs. It was awesome as one crossed the road in front of us before joining the rest all with full bellies.
After enjoying the African wild dogs we continued and found Rhino in the distance as well as Zebra close to the vehicle. We had lots of Nyala sightings that we just gave up stopping unless it was a clear shot. It had been a quiet morning safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve but we had seen the most endangered carnivore in Africa so we were not unhappy at all.
We were getting closer to Hilltop camp where we would be having our breakfast and we finally spotted a giraffe male near to the road. He was great posing for us and walking next to us. They are such amazing creatures full of character.
Once we returned we enjoyed the breakfast and took some time out from the Safari and rested until after lunch when we headed back out again to see what we could find. We actually we desperate for Elephant but nature has a strange was of leveling you and showing you that even though we are the most successful animal we still cannot have everything our way. This is still a good thing.
We however found another male Giraffe which looks like he could have been the same male from in the morning as well as Rhino in the distance.
As we continued we spotted a whole troop of Baboon and some Nyala males having a joust with one another. The Baboons we really great and one mother had a tiny baby with her as she sat in the tree watching us. Our safari from Durban in South Africa was really great and its moments like these you remember how great they are!
I was feeling a little frustrated that we still hadn’t found Elephants but it was just one of those things, life is all about timing and we had seen such amazing other animals we could not really be sad.
We still tried, and then we saw Buffalo below Hilltop camp.
After this it began to rain heavier and we still tried for another 35 minuted for Elephant with no luck. We did however enjoy a spectacular rainbow which was not only going a full semi circle but was a double rainbow. It was so beautiful we could not even capture the beauty in a picture but we tried. Our safari was coming to an end and we spotted a Baboon on the road outside Hilltop camp. The best part was that he walked right next to us and was inline with the rainbow. People always say there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow but this was a Baboon at the end of our Rainbow!
We got back to camp and then I got the client onto the open vehicle safari that would hopefully find then Elephant but if not I would have to in the last hour and a half we would have the following day.
I went off to do the blog post I writing now and we would meet the next day for breakfast and check out.
Day 3 of our Safari from Durban began with luggage collection and then a great breakfast before the final pressure took shape realizing that in the 2 days prior we had not seen Elephant. This was not normal for me so my blood pressure was so high I had a headache.
I rushed off to try and maximize the 1.5 hours we had left to find an Elephant or 3 and thankfully the Elephant Gods looked down on us favorably and we found a Bull Elephant right next to the road it was great as he was relaxed and feeding away!
We then had this great sighting of a Big bull Elephant coming down the tar road towards us. He looked angry but it was just the angle of the road which gave him the loping walk down towards us. At first I couldn’t tell as I was holding the camera trying to get the video for the clients.
At this point the adrenaline was pumping and we were shaking with excitement as we were only 5 minutes from the gate and having to leave the game reserve. We had such great sighting in the last 1.5 hours of our Durban safari that we could not believe it. We even spotted this male Rhino with and Impala in front of him.
We then were pumped up and seconds later a we saw a mother Rhino near the road and I figured she and her calf would cross the road in front of us so I waited and bang! That is what the did and at some rate of knots!
It was not time to exit and make our way to St Lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park which is South Africa’s first world heritage site and has great biodiversity and we had great sightings!
We boarded a 10 am, 2 hour Hippos and Crocodile boat tour in inside 5 minutes we had seen both!
These two crocodile were actually laying on top of one another but my picture was really out of focus so I have to settle for this one after the one Crocodile moved to the water.
Next it was pod upon pod of Hippos that we saw, one of the best being a large group up stream.
We had a lot more sightings including a Giant Kingfisher catching a fish, a Saddle Billed Stork as well as a Goliath Heron. The best was yet to come as on our sail back to the jetty I spotted a Shark not one but 2 shark fins, we stopped and watched and saw them swimming around a bit. They could have been mating or hunting fish together. I was so excited I got the picture and even a video. Please excuse the South Africans making all the noise in the back ground!
My work was done and we returned to St Lucia town for some lunch and then headed back to the Airport where my clients would be heading back home. It has turned out to be a great Durban overnight safari with us having seen 45 of the Big 5 and Wild Dogs in Hluhluwe Imfolozi oh and Black Rhino. At St Lucia the special was the Zambezi sharks the first time I have successfully filmed them in the St Lucia estuary.
Our 3 day safari from Durban began with two different pick ups on in Kloof, West of Durban city and the other in Warner beach, South of Durban.
After I had all my clients aboard we began the 3 hour journey (Safari) to the Cat rehabilitation centre where we would learn more about endangered African cats hands on!
I covered the usual history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and how each population group came to be in the area during the 3 hours we had on the road.
We arrived 15 minutes early for the Cat tour and in this time rested before a very exciting time seeing these amazing endangered African cats.
We first began with the African Wild cat then the Caracal before visiting the Cheetah for some hands on experience and then the Servals.
We also got to interact with Rain one of the new Cheetah cubs. We actually got to have here run around us playing with a soccer ball before she got interested in the male Cheetahs in the next enclosure.
We then made our way to the world famous Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and it was here we really began our safari from Durban.
We really had a good start with some Zebra and Warthog near the gate, as we continued we spotted some Buffalo in the distance and then a few Giraffe one of which with patients we were able to get to cross the road in front of us.
It was now time to make our way to Hilltop camp and it was time for a lovely lunch before I got word of Lions down south so I made the crazy call of rushing off down there to see if we could get lucky on our Durban safari and see them.
We rushed and spotted a lovely male Rhino which I had to stop for as he was about to mark his territory and this was amazing as I filmed it!
We continued on and then as we got to where the Lions were we heard they had just crossed the road and were heading up the hill on the other side. We rushed to get some look at them but all we really could see was bums and they were far away!
I did make a video just to show you that we saw them and took a picture at full zoom which was terrible but a Lion is a Lion and that’s that!
We were I think actually depressed at this point but we some how managed to find a huge herd of Elephant on our Durban safari and I saw they were moving fast to get to water so we waited for almost an hour in total for then to come out of the bushes into the open for us.
Finally they did and the sighting was amazing!
They even in the video crossed the road in front of us there was about 150 Elephants in total which was really special to see so many!
We also had another great experience with these Elephants and that was of them drinking which we had hoped we would see. It was really amazing as the one baby was also drinking from its mother at the same time as she was drinking water.
After an amazing experience we began the safari back to camp and we saw about 8 Rhinos on the way before we got back and I checked the clients into there rooms safely. Here they rested for a short while and then we met for dinner.
The other half of the group I was driving on this 3 day safari a colleague of mine was taking and we all met at dinner so it was very exciting for us all.
Dinner was amazing with the great selection at Hilltop camp and then I had to go to bed as after the Zulu dancing the staff did for us my eyes could stay open no longer.
Day 2 would be a new adventure in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
We began day 2 of our 3 day safari from Durban with breakfast and then headed down south to try our best at finding these Lions.
As we got down South we spotted a lovely dazzle of Zebra which were right next to the road and posing for us so this was a real African safari moment!
We moved on from them and found more Rhino to add to our list as well as lots of Impala the McDonalds of the bush!
This was a dominant male which was spraying urine to mark his territory.
As we crossed over the Umfolozi river I was hoping to see some big animals but instead we saw some Storks and a Nile Crocodile.
He was just resting on the sand and we saw him again later that day when we drove back past him during our Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
As we passed through Mpila camp we stopped for a break and after this we managed to find some Giraffe near the road. We spent some time watching them as they were feeding and moving around. We then left them and continued our Durban safari.
We then spotted a Leopard Tortoise crossing the road. We seemed to have great luck with animals crossing the road on this Safari from Durban. This little fella also had his tongue out of his mouth at us!
We got into the area where Lion had been seen but sadly they had moved off and we were left looking at Wildebeest, Impala, Kudu and Buffalo. We actually had a great sighting of Buffalo a huge herd near the road.
We stopped for lunch at the Centenary center where we also looked at some curios and then we spotted an animal I am very familiar with! It is one of those South African children with no children present! It was a new and interesting sighting as this Homo Sapien climbed up upon the back of the brace Black Rhino Statue at the Centenary centre and pretended to ride the Rhino like a bicycle!
I was very interested in this strange but new sighting for us. Lol
All jokes aside we them began to make our way back to Hilltop camp to have a little rest before the evening game drive safari. Before we could get there though we found a few bull Elephants and a herd of Elephant near the road.
We then arrived back at Hilltop camp and had about 1.5 hours before we would meet again for the evening open vehicle game drive. I was really hoping my clients would get to see these pesky Lions which had caused me so much stress during the 2 days to date.
A couple of my clients went through for an early dinner as did I, We then went to bed and the others came through later for some food.
We began our morning game drive safari at 6am in the hope that we would find these Lions again and a little bit closer. I was really happy to hear that my clients has seen the lions on the evening night drive.
This sort of relieved some of the pressure off my shoulders but only 4 of my 6 clients had take the game drive and seen the lions, this meant I had to find them.
After this amazing sun rise we continued and found a mother Rhino and calf with a Big male who was interested in her. She showed here displeasure and he shifted off but not before we got a photo of him crossing the road in front of us.
As we cruised around we stopped at one of the view points over the Hluhluwe river and I spotted something moving in the distance at another view point. I looked with my binoculars and it was lions. I literally told everyone to hold on as they were moving away from the river and we rushed around to where they were and luck for us we got to see them crossing and heading up a path. If we were 5 minutes later we would have seen nothing! I was really happy!
We then continued our 3 day Durban safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and tried to see what else we could find. We were luck as not much further along we spotted a Rhino drinking water and later a Buffalo bull full of Red billed Ox peckers on his back crossing the road in front of us.
Moving along we spotted Giraffe in the distance more Rhino, Buffalo and Impala. We had really been spoiled on this 3 day Durban safari tour that we were complaining we hadn’t seen a really good quality Elephant sighting since day one.
It wasn’t long and we spotted a Giraffe with a Little baby which was new for us and the a big Buffalo bull approached them it was interested to watch as the mother Giraffe just stared a him and he walked around them with not a bother in the world.
It was not time to head back to the lodge for some breakfast and then check out before a final dash down to St Lucia – Isimangeliso Weland Park to view Hippos and crocodiles from a boat. It was a lovely 2 hour boat cruise and at St Lucia we saw some really interesting things on this final stretch of our Durban safari tour.
First we spotted a Big Crocodile and caught an African Fish eagle in flight which was amazing!
We then had a couple of really interesting sighting. The first was of two Bull Buffaloes from the Eastern shores of Isimangeliso Wetland park which were walking in the estuary and the came across a crocodile which they approached and it just swam off before getting trampled on. I made a video of it below:
As we continued up stream we found lots of pods of Hippos and one was very interesting as his upper canines were growing out the side of the mouth instead of in the mouth! This was interesting and shows that even with some disability you can survive and be a big male.
After a great cruise on lake St Lucia we made our way into the town not before getting a group photo to remember the 3 days we had spent on safari together.
It was now time for some lunch and we enjoyed some seafood, steak and a few other bits and pieces. It was lovely and a great way to end the 3 days of our Durban safari tour.
It was now just a 2.5 hour drive back to Durban (Umhlanga) where I was dropping off my clients for a rest before a bit wedding. If you wish to be a part of one of these Durban safari tours contact Tim Brown – [email protected]
It was a beautiful spring day when I collected my clients from a Durban hotel. They would be spending 3 Days with me on a 3 day Big 5 Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve situated near Durban. My clients were from England and on their honeymoon which made the Safari Tour even more special!
I was really fortunate to have previous clients which had recommended my services to the honeymoon couple. This made the safari more special for me too as a referral is like gold dust.
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 center we would first be visiting. My age seems to be catching up with me at a young age as I very often get distracted and lose my place on the stories about South Africa’s interesting History.
Emdoneni Cat rehabilitation center was our first stop on our Durban Safari Tour and the 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.
We were fortunate that the Cheetah were happy enough to stay in the same position for pictures.
The African Wild Cat which we also go to look at is have very little DNA difference between it and the domestic cats, research tells us that Wild Cats were domesticated as far back as 10 000 years ago. It is more to do with Natural selection and human intervention with cat breeding which has caused there to be visual and behavioral differences.
This lovely Serval sat up in the tree on our Durban Safari and snarled at us every time we walked under the tree she was sitting in.
Upon entering through Memorial gate into this World Famous and historical game reserve, being the oldest in Africa we had immediate success. We spotted a few different species of animals in a short time before lunch.
Most of the Big 5 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 getting animals closer and closer we eventually had accumulated some fantastic sightings and it was only day one of our 3 Day Safari.
One of the first major sightings was a Buffalo bull but I chose this picture of a female Buffalo that was covered in Red Billed Oxpeckers that we saw later on in the day.
We continued on with our Durban Big 5 Honeymoon Safari and we eventually got a picture of a Rhino closer to the road.
We made our way back to the main road and back to Hilltop camp for some dinner after a pretty good time out in the African Bush. Our Durban Big 5 Honeymoon Safari had started to get really exciting with 2 of the Big 5 Spotted on the first day.
On our drive back it was getting dark and we spotted some Bush Pigs which are nocturnal and a Grey Duiker.
Over all our Durban Safari today had been great for a start and with a 7am 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. What a great day on Safari near Durban.
I met my clients on Day 2 at 7am for breakfast and then we would do a full day safari down into the South of the reserve the Umfolozi section to try and find Cats and Elephants.
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 great start with lots of Zebra, Giraffe, Nyala, Impala, Kudu, Rhino, Buffalo and load of other great animals.
As we got into the umfolozi section we came across a Dazzle of Zebra crossing the road which was really great to see during our Big 5 Safari.
As we continued our Big 5 Honeymoon Durban Safari we came across a Pride of Lions resting 50 meters from the road on a ridge. We were very lucky as we got to see that there were 7 of them in total with 2 males.
Of course as always you get those people who feel they are entitled to do as they please and put there children’s lives at risk and today was no different. True to form 2 South African men got out of there vehicles one with a young child because they couldn’t see the Lions from there vehicle… After asking the one man if he was aware he was contravening the regulations I was told “No”. Man common sense is really not so common. I was also blessed with his wife’s verbal abuse. At least I was concerned about the Childs safety…
As we continued we spotted a Bull Elephant very far away so we didn’t get a great photo of that. I knew we would be lucky later and see Elephants somewhere.
We continued our Durban Big 5 Safari and spotted some Rhinos resting near to the road. This made for a great picture.
As we continued with our safari near Durban and we came across more Giraffe, Rhino and something new a Wildebeest close as well as a Warthog resting.
The Wildebeest was a good sighting as we had only seen then at dusk on Day 1 of our Durban Safari so this made up for the bad light.
At a view sight over the White Umfolozi river we spotted a Warthog resting he was not the least bit concerned with us. Great day to this point already with what we had seen on our Durban Safari.
Our next sighting was very interesting and also very frustrating. It was an Impala in a tree. Now Impalas don’t climb tree so this one could only have got there by one animal, a Leopard. But could we find this Leopard, no chance!
Leopards can hoist 2 x there body weight into a tree and this helps to keep it away from Hyenas and Lions.
As we began the long journey back to the luncheon stop we found our first good sighting of Elephant in the Umfolozi River feeding on the reeds, mud wallowing and drinking. There were actually 5 Bull Elephant and a couple Buffalo Bulls that we saw on that stretch of river.
We stopped for lunch at around 1pm and enjoyed some good food before continuing to look for anything else we could find, we were very lucky on this Safari from Durban!
It had now been 7.5 hours of Safari and it was time to get back to camp for some rest before my client headed out on the evening game drive with the lodge.
Overall it had been an amazing second day on our Big 5 Durban Safari to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
I went through for dinner an my client would have a private dinner after there game drive and we would meet again in the morning for day 3 of our Durban Safari.
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 at 8am and came through for some breakfast before checking out and starting our last few hours of Big 5 Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
The few hours were great and we basically recapped on animals seen already on our Durban Safari. Unfortunately we did not find any more cats so we had to be happy with the one sighting of these amazing creatures. Fortunately on the evening game drive the clients saw Hyena which was a new animal.
One of our first sightings on our morning safari was this a herd of Buffaloes crossing the road.
As we continued we also came across a crash of Rhino next to the road, the one female had a huge horn.
It was now time to head 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.
After if covered the History of the St Lucia area we arrived and began our cruise of the St Lucia Estuary. We saw lots of crocodiles and Hippos on this Boat Tour near Durban but even the Bird life was amazing.
As we continued up the Estuary of St Lucia we soon spotted Hippos and a fair few crocodiles. Our Safari near Durban had really been going very well and the best way to cap it off is to end with a relaxing 2 hour Estuary cruise at St Lucia.
We had a really great sighting of a Hippo baby out the water feeding on the grass of the river bank. This is always interested as Hippos are vegetarian and eat grass only.
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 along the way to freshen up and fill up the car.
Our 3 Day Honeymoon 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. You will be surprised but there are Safaris near Durban and Tim Brown Tours conducts Durban Safaris and Durban Tours any day of the week and year.
If you are interested in this or one of our other Durban Safaris or Durban Tours contact me through the online booking form or inquiry form and I will try to make your 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.