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
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!
We began our Durban overnight Big 5 safari on the Bluff in Durban where I collected my client and we headed off to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 game reserve. It would be a safari from Durban to remember!
The usual story took place with me covering the general history of Durban and KwaZulu Natal on route to our first stop, the endangered cat project for Cheetah interaction.
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!
This was a very exciting and interesting Durban overnight safari tour with clients which were visiting Durban for the Travel Indaba beginning after the 3 day safari.
I collected my first client in Durban itself and then collect the group of 4 clients from King Shaka International airport aptly names after the great Zulu King for 1816 -1828 who revolutionized the the way the Zulu’s fought against any other nation or tribe.
On route I covered the usual history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and any questions my clients had.
We made good time considering we had a late start and half of the luggage got lost between JHB and DBN.
As we began this Durban overnight safari later thank usual we had to rush and speed the day along to get all activities into the day. We began at Nyalazi gate on the eastern side of the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, and it wasn’t long before we were reeling in the sightings of animals. It was actually and amazing start!
After a short drive seeing Zebra and Warthog we stopped for a quick lunch at the centenary center and then continued on to find more animals.
Our first major sighting was of Lion cubs in a Marula tree and we found a young male hiding in the bushes near the road it was amazing.
When Lions are you first major sighting on day 1 of a 3 day overnight safari tour you know you could be in for something special! An my goodness was this a special 3 days of sightings!
This was so exciting for us all and it was not long after that we found Elephants and lots of them as well. The only problem was they were a little tucked behind the bushes which was still fine as we made the most of it before moving on to get ourselves checked in to Hilltop camp.
We arrived at Hilltop camp and we were all smiles as we had just had a great start to our overnight safari from Durban. We checked in and enjoyed the view as well as getting the luggage we had to the rooms. 10 minutes later it was time to go to the Cat rehabilitation center and enjoy some interaction with endangered cats hands on.
On route to the gate we spotted a huge herd of Buffalo.
Again luck was on our side as we spotted Rhinos fighting and we stopped again quickly to enjoy them. This was very exciting as we had now seen 4 of the Big 5 in such a short space of time and still had the Cats to see and interact with at the rehabilitation center.
We got to the gate and had to deal with the Nguni cows and goats on the road before finally arriving 5 minutes before the cat tour began. Wow we did well with our timing! The tour at the Cat rehabilitation center began at 4pm and we enjoyed the feeding of the cats and the interaction with the adult Cheetah and Cheetah cubs as well as the Serval.
After this it was a matter of trying to relax after what was an amazing day on Safari from Durban but also trying to locate the luggage that was lost at the airport and to be delivered to the gate. Now of course the gates close at 6pm so we first needed to get ourselves back and then worry about the luggage. We made a few calls and as we arrived at the gate at 17:50 the luggage was there waiting for us! I could not believe our luck on that either. We then re entered and made our way back to Hilltop camp for a lovely dinner and a good nights sleep.
Before I could leave my room outside was a great scene of an array of animals! Nyala mother and calf suckling, Crested Guinea fowl and Vervet monkeys!
We began with breakfast at 7am and then headed out on what would be a long 8 hour safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve the most underrated game reserve in South Africa! It also just happens to be the oldest in Africa!
We began and our first sighting was of the animal we all wanted to see the Giraffe!
We enjoyed the Giraffes for a while before moving further South in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to try and cover as much of the reserve as possible in the 8 hours.
What happened next was also amazing as we spotted some Elephants in the distance and we waited as they were making their way to the road. It was to be an amazing sighting and one we would remember for a long time. With patience we were able to have these Elephant cross right in front of us and I made a video we could even hear the dung and one went to the toilet hitting the ground!
Things on our overnight safari from Durban then just got better and we spotted herds of Impala crossing the road and some Zebra before we stopped to look at some Rhino of a hill. As I picked up my binoculars I spotted a pride of Lions resting on the hills to the left of the Rhinos. Of course we didn’t care about the Rhino any more and focused on the Lions!
We continued on crossing the Umfolozi river and once on the other side we were lucky enough to spot 2 Rhinos near to the road which we watched grazing away. It was a lovely sighting as they were just a couple of young males staying with each other for companionship.
We left the Rhinos and stopped for a rest room break at Mpila camp and it was here that we began to take in what an amazing 1.5 days we had had so far! After the rest we continued our Durban 3 day safari tour and as we went further south we came across an old Giraffe kill from a week prior. It was here we spotted a couple species of Vultures and even a few Hyenas. Sadly we could not photograph the Hyenas as the bush was to thick and the moved to fast for us.
We then did a big dirt road loop which actually was a little pointless as we didn’t see very much except Impala, Rhino and other animals far away. It was only at the end of the loop back past where we saw the Hyenas that we spotted some Zebras.
As we headed back through Mpila camp and over the Umfolozi river again we spotted some Wildebeest and Rhinos! Wow our overnight Durban safari tour was really going well. We had not yet seen Wildebeest so this was another tick on the list.
We left the Wildebeest to relax and then began to head to the Centenary center for some lunch. Out the corner of my eye I spotted a Male Water buck mating with a female up on a hill which was interesting behaviour and we stopped of a picture.
The picture actually came out very clearly for the distance and time of day I took it and you really can see everything. It was also funny as the females first born was right their looking on.
We finally got to lunch and we were all super happy with how everything had gone and we tucked into a great meal before the curio shopping for Ostrich eggs and other items took place.
After a while we left the Centenary center and headed straight back to Hilltop camp to get the tickets sorted for the evening night drive and book dinner for 8pm when my clients would arrive back.
It was already after 15:30 so we had around an hour before the open vehicle safari would take place. I decided to stay behind to catch up on this blog post and other work. The vehicle was full anyway but I still regret not having gone as when my clients returned they had seen a Leopard! So that was the Big 5 completed in 2 days and we still had one day to go on our overnight safari tour from Durban. Wow is all I can say!
We had some dinner and headed off to bed before day 3 which would begin at 7 am with a luggage collection and then breakfast.
After luggage collection we had breakfast and then check out before heading out of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for St Lucia – Isimangeliso Wetland park.
Before we left we spotted some amazing animals including Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant.
It was minutes after the sighting above that we got a herd of Elephant crossing the road in front of us and behind us which was a fitting good bye for out visit to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
It had been an incredible 3 days of Safari from Durban.
We exited all feeling a little sad but really we still had a lot more to see and do at St Lucia – Isimangeliso Wetland Park. We arrived for our 10 am boat cruise and had some amazing sighting of Hippos in and out the water, Crocodiles and bird. St Lucia is South Africa’f first world heritage site and is the largest lake system in Southern Africa.
Further up the estuary we came across some beautiful pods of Hippos and the best part was some were out of the water on the land which is not common for them during the day time. We really had a special overnight safari from Durban.
Next we had a great shot of a Goliath Heron it was actually the 3rd time we had seen on from the boat but this one flew and I managed to catch it in flight! It was a super cool photo so I had to post it.
On our sail back to the jetty we spotted some Hippos making their way into the water, the best part was that there was a crocodile and Goliath Heron right near by so they ended up in the video too!
We had come to the end of the boat cruise and after arranging for the photographers to bring us a Calendar or two with the clients pictures in it we settled in for lunch at John Dorys.
We all enjoyed our lunch and the general chatted about how wonderful the Safari from Durban had been and all the amazing animals we had seen in the wild.
After lunch we stopped to try and get a Zebra skin but the were very expensive so my clients settled on some smaller items the Ostrich eggs and other general carvings.
We then headed to the Board walk so I could show my clients the estuary and Indian ocean as well as Maphelane the second highest vegetated Sand dune in the world.
It was amazing and as we got off the board walk onto the beach which was very beautiful I showed everyone the Titanium in the sand which is mined further South of the World heritage site.
It was now time for the long drive back to the airport, Umhlanga and then Durban. It actually went really well and all final questions we asked and answered before the day ended with the sun having long set on the day and our amazing 3 day safari tour from Durban.
After collecting my clients from Durban for their Durban overnight safari in KwaZulu Natal to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, we headed up to the Cat rehabilitation center outside of hluhluwe were we would begin our first day of safari from Durban.
It was here that we interacted with 4 endangered species of cat, Serval, Caracal, African Wild cat and Cheetah! The Cheetah was the big attraction and the Cheetah cub, Rain was very playful this wonderful day.
Our day had only just begun but we were expecting a good one. The weather was cool and the clouds were casting a shadow on the African soil but no rain drop would ever dampen the spirits of our Safari from Durban.
After this amazing experience we heading into the world famous and African oldest proclaimed game reserve, Hluhluwe Imfolozi. It was here we would be spending 3 great days and today would be the first of them.
Our first sighting was of Warthog and lots of them which was a little unusual but still great. As we continue our Durban safari in KwaZulu Natal we found 2 White Rhino males having a little fight over a girl. Men will be men and we always will fight for the ladies! It was actually very cool as the Rhino went at it I got a couple of photos and made a video to prove we were there!
As we left the Rhino to fight the good fight we headed of to Hilltop camp in Hluhluwe for some lunch and to check into the lovely lodge. It was here that we decided the plans for the rest of the day and I am really glad the clients chose to go back out at 15:30 with me. It was an amazing time. I actually remember after 30 minutes into our drive from the lodge saying “well you may have to pray to see some animals” and pray I think my clients did as we had some amazing sightings that even I will never forget!
Due to national geographic and other documentary companies most of my clients believe that animals do not go up on hills ie: Giraffe do not climb hills etc. Not the case at all.
We spotted the most amazing sighting of Elephant and then Wild Dogs chasing Giraffe and a Zebra! yes you heard correct! It was amazing and I was so happy about it you have no idea. What a way to begin day one of our 3 day in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
This was an amazing sight and everything scattered from the Baboons that took to the trees and the Baby Giraffe who’s mother came to support it. Non were hurt but that didn’t mean it wasn’t exciting for us all. Wow I still have no words to describe the feeling of natures force!
The sighting of the African Wild dogs was amazing but we had to continue to find the Elephant which we just around the corner. We watched them disappear over the ridge before having another crazy sighting of Black Rhino which is also hugely endangered! We had now seen Africa’s most endangered carnivore and the Black Rhino which their are only 200 in the whole 960 square kilometers of national park!
Wow is all I can say about our Durban overnight safari in KwaZulu Natal.
It was now time to end this amazing Durban safari tour with a stop at the lodge for dinner and then bed. It was a great meal that we all enjoyed and after a while we were all feeling tired and went off to bed.
We began day 2 with some breakfast and then we headed out on full day safari to see what we could find. It didn’t take long and we were in luck again as we spotted Baboon close to the camp on the road.
We moved on heading south to try get to the areas where the grass is a little shorter and where we could hopefully find cats. Before we could get all that way down there we spotted two Elephant bulls near the road and the one decided to break a big branch off a tree. It was amazing to watch and film.
We then continued further south on our Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve safari and didn’t see much for a while which was still fine as we had such lovely views over the game reserve.
A bit later after crossing the umfolozi river we found a big male Rhino not far from us so we enjoyed watching him feed for a bit before continuing on. Durban safaris in KwaZulu Natal can be amazing and special you just have to be patient and know the best areas to look for animals. Always go with I guide or you will miss so much.
We then saw a lot of general game including Giraffe, Zebra, Warthog and even some Buffalo bulls before we had a really special sighting of a mother Cheetah and her two cubs. It was really amazing and they were so relaxed and play full as well as moved around a lot! This was awesome to see on a Safari in KwaZulu Natal.
We had such a great sighting we were now feeling a lot more content and we moved on to see what else we could find. We started with some Giraffe and Rhinos.
We also spotted some herds of Wildebeest near to the road before the Cheetah which I forgot to mention! They too were great and seemed to be just relaxing in the open areas.
We had a great sighting just after the Giraffe of a crash of Rhino it was here that we filmed some Rhino behaviour where the young male Rhino was rubbing himself on a tree stump after having been in a mud wallow to remove parasites off the body and also to have a general scratch.
After this we moved on to find that a pride of Lion had just nailed a Warthog and they were just out of sight all we could see was a flashing tail every so often. At one moment we got one Lioness stand up but no photos were takes. That aside the sounds were spectacular and it was on our Durban safari tour.
We heading on to the Centenary center for some lunch and then we made our way back to Hilltop camp for some rest. Two of my clients went on the evening game drive and got to see a herd of Elephant, which must have been great.
It was time for some rest after dinner.
After collecting my clients luggage we had some breakfast and then headed back out for a final 3 hours of safari and we were very lucky we found Lions!
This was such an enjoyable sighting as we recapped on most of the other animals but we needed to see Lions so it was great. We also returned twice to see them and each time one moved around on the last look we saw the final Lioness walk away. What a lovely sighting to see in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve on our Durban safari tour of KwaZulu Natal.
Later we found and old male Buffalo which was just walking towards the Lions as if he was happy to die.
Next was St Lucia Isimangeliso Wetland Park, it was here that we would be taking a 2 hour boat cruise enjoying Hippos and Crocodiles.
We first had some lunch which was lovely and then we boarded the boat. Within minutes we had the craziest thing happen as a male Water Buck small in front of our boat from the Eastern Shores to the Western Shores. There was a lot of Crocodiles around and we were thinking he may get taken by one of the bigger Crocodiles which wasn’t to far away.
Next we came across lots and lots of pods of Hippos and one herd was on the land near the shoreline. It was very exciting and we all enjoyed the great Bird life as well as the Mangrove swamps, Hippos and Crocodiles.
It was now time to head back to Durban and return the clients to their respective hotels before heading off home myself to wash the car and get ready for the next days 3 day Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
We had lots of great memories to take home with us, our whole animal sighting experience had been amazing!
I met my clients in Durban which was a family of 5 from western Europe for their 3 Day Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
A few of the clients had been to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve 20 years ago and had enjoyed it but no seen any cats. This would be the Safari which could change that. We began by heading to the Cat rehabilitation center where we interacted with baby cheetah and adult cheetah as well as Serval, Caracal and African wild cat. All of these species are endangered hence the breeding program.
After the introduction of the baby Cheetah we moved to the adult Cheetah where my clients took their own photos and enjoyed the interaction and education of the whole tour.
We entered the African wild cat enclosure after we visited the Caracal where we saw the most beautiful little kitten! It is always special to see such endangered cats with babies during our Durban overnight Safari tours.
We then saw the African wild cats and their new babies which some clients got to interact with before we moved onto the Serval cats to enjoy them as well. This is something which is rare to be able to do but always a blessing for the clients on our Durban overnight safari tours.
We departed from the cat rehabilitation center and in 25 minuted were inside Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, Africa’s Oldest proclaimed nature reserve! As we began our Durban safari we struck gold as we found some Rhino near the road mud wallowing. This was amazing for the clients to be able to see as they are so endangered!
As you can see in the picture it was not only the Rhino we saw but also some Buffalo and Zebra in the back ground! A very lucky start to our Durban overnight Safari tour!
We made our way straight through to Hilltop camp for some lunch and to check in before heading out again to see what else we could see from 4 pm.
It was really a great day and not long after leaving Hilltop camp our base for the 3 days we spotted some Water buck on one of the dirt roads in Hluhluwe.
We continued our Durban overnight safari tour and came across some Rhino right in the road facing us it was a Rhino Road block and we would have to wait for them to move. So that is exactly what we did! In the process I made a video of the occasion and got to chat more about these amazing animals.
This was very exciting and after these Rhino moved off the road we found more Buffalo before stopping at the gate to use the facilities! At the gate is a Sausage Tree which I told my clients about and its traditional uses among the Zulus.
So far we had had a great Durban overnight Safari tour we were only on day one!
As the sun was setting we spotted some Elephants in the distance one two occasions but it really was not worth putting the photo up in such low light! So instead we stopped for a sunset picture know full well we would find Elephants the next day!
We settled into the camp for the night and enjoyed some good food at Hilltop camp before a good night rest.
We had decided to come for breakfast at 7am before heading out down into the Southern part of the game reserve the Umfolozi section. This was a good choice as their was no animals about before then as people told us later. It was a hot day though and the mercury rose to 39 degrees! We used the African air conditioner which my clients requested which was the outside air only which kept us sweaty but it was still great.
Our first major sighting was a Crocodile at one of the river crossings on our way down south for todays day safari. It was just resting in the water taking it easy!
It was not much longer before we found our next reptile a Rock monitor Lizard which had been digging through some Rhino dung looking for some grubs and Dung beetles!
We continued our Durban overnight safari tour and were hoping to see some Giraffe but they did not appear to be so easy as you would imagine. In fact our next sighting in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve was that of a new born Buffalo with umbilical cord still hanging down and it tired mother who had been away from the herd to give birth. We were very lucky as the herd near by began to move away and mother got her new born baby up and made it walk with her across the road in front of us. This was beautiful, new life!
It was not long before we got that elusive Elephant close to the road so we spent about 10 minutes with it enjoying it as if fed near the road. We kept a safe distance and then I realised the Elephant wanted to cross the road so we help back a bit more and hey presto he crossed in front of our vehicle calmly and fed on the other side of the road.
We then spotted some Giraffes in the distance but it really was not a great photo so we continued with our Durban safari tour and ended up at the Umfolozi river where we spotted some Baboons and an Elephant bull drinking!
Our next sighting was of some Kudu which we at a mud wallow drinking water, it was a lovely sighting until someone decided to race past us chasing the Kudu away. Our Durban overnight safari tour was really becoming something great we had seen 3 of the Big 5 and just needed some cats to spice things up a bit!
We continued south and after a long period with very little activity we finally spotted some Zebra and Rhino as well as some Warthogs near to one another.
Our Zebras up to this point had been very far away so this was a relief to see them close to us during our Durban overnight safari tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
The temperature was soaring and we slowly began our journey back the centenary center for some lunch.
A lot was still to happen for us on our Durban safari tour before we would reach their. At the White Umfolozi river we stopped for a rest and we spotted a massive herd of Elephants coming to drink near a herd of Buffalo. The dust the kicked up was amazing!
Later we spotted a Masked weaver making his nest and trying to impress the ladies! This does not always work and sometimes if the lady does not like his nest he has to cut it down and start again!
We were about to head back through Mpila camp when we saw another Elephant Bull which was in Musth but very relaxed so we watched him for a few minutes before he crossed the road behind us.
We finally made it to lunch and we enjoyed some good food before looking at the craft shop and beginning the journey back to Hilltop camp. We had had such a great day to this point and had just missed the cats out of the Big 5. I honestly was satisfied with the day and realised that it was hot and that we had very little chance of seeing much else between 2 and 3 pm.
I did however as always tell my clients that animals do not read the books we write about them and anything is possible during a Durban safari tour!
We were again lucky and saw two Black Rhino which are very rare and hard to spot as they love the thick areas.
We then resigned ourselves to the fact that we would need to look for Cats the next day as a priority and would you believe it at 3pm at the hottest part of the day a Lioness with a broken leg hobbled across the road in front of us and lay down in the thicket next to the road! I could not believe our good fortune but as I always say you just never know!
We finally reached Hilltop camp and the smiles on our faces told the story of our day safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi with Tim Brown Tours!
We decided some rest was needed and then before you knew it it was time for dinner and bed!
Our day began very early as the night before we had been told we could do the bush walk which was amazing! We left the camp at 5am to meet Xolani, our guide at one of the bush camps and we began an amazing bush walk in Hluhluwe imfolozi.
We walked and found a herd of Buffalo which ran away from us, it was like a stampede! We found some Hyena tracks and learned more about the smaller things in nature like – Insects, trees, birds and tracks.
Having said all of this we did see some Giraffe close so we approached and I took a photo of the clients with the Giraffe on our Bush walk in Hluhluwe.
We completed the walk and it was already hot at about 07:30 am,heading back up to Hilltop camp for some breakfast we saw a few animals but were all so tired we didn’t spend much time with them.
Breakfast was great and after a shower and check out we made our way down south for a final 2 hours of safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
We found this Big Elephant relaxing in a mud wallow.
It was time to head to St Lucia Estuary for the 2 hour boat cruise to view Hippos and Crocodiles before I would leave my clients in St Lucia as they were staying on a couple of nights to investigate Sodwana bay and Cape Vidal.
At the St Lucia estuary we spotted some lovely Hippos and even a Fish eagle in flight!
We even got to see a Goliath Heron the worlds tallest heron fishing at the shoreline! The cruise was really relaxing and the sun was hot so my clients could enjoy the sun on their skin!
This was now the end of the Durban safari tour for my client and I took them around the town of St Lucia to see where everything was and then I drove them to their guest house and we said our goodbyes. It had been a nice group to take around my beautiful country for the 3 days but now it was time to return home to see my wife and catch up on computer work ie: BLOG POSTS! lol.
I was blessed to have a repeat client from a year ago return with her family for a 6 Day Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and to the Drakensberg Mountains.
It is always great to get return clients but it is hard as well as I need to keep my standards high and try and ensure I go above and beyond my duty.
We began this amazing 3 day Durban Safari Tour by visiting the Emdoneni cat rehabilitation centre in Hluhluwe.
Here we saw 4 endangered species of wild cats; Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and African Wild Cat.
Once we finished up here we continued our Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. When we arrived at the Memorial gate and entered one of the first things we saw was a herd of Impala with there new born babies.
It was minutes and a Hyena ran across the road in front of up but the picture was no good for this blog post sadly.
As we continued we spotted a few Buffalo and one lone very old Buffalo bull. He was really relaxed and just stood in the middle of the road like a cow.
We got ourselves up to Hilltop camp and had some lunch before checking in to the lovely rooms.
After an hours rest we went back out to see what else we could find.
Our Afternoon Safari tour was great as we spotted a Journey of Giraffe, Rhino and Zebra.
We then spotted some Zebra and a foul was suckling from its mother. This was amazing to see on a Safari Tour.
Before we spotted the above Giraffe though we got some Rhinos after we had had a huge thunder storm. This was a mother and a calf with a Big Male Rhino which actually charged our vehicle. What a cheek! I could not believe it; this just shows that even when you think you know all there is to know about animal behavior they will keep you on your toes.
This was the first charge I have had from a Rhino which stopped this close to my vehicle. His horn almost touched the vehicle that’s how close he got!
We also spotted some more Rhino which had clearly got caught in the storm as they were wet all over and actually looked very clean. I got a great picture of one of them on this Hluhluwe Imfolozi Safari Tour.
After the storm we spotted the most beautiful Rainbow where you could see the entire half moon and not only one rainbow but two!
We continued and could come right with any cats so began to head back to the camp on route we spotted some Water Buck near the road.
We had had a great 1st day on our Durban Safari Tour and had a good amount of time left to spot more animals.
It was time to get in for some dinner so after a quick break we went through for some dinner which was a buffet and lovely.
It had cleared a bit but it was still very hazy for Star gazing.
It was time for bed as we decided to get up and leave at 5 am and take breakfast packs with us so that we could stay out longer and get further down into the game reserve to find cats and/or Elephant.
We headed down south and it was actually very quiet at first but we did spot Giraffe next to the road and a Hinged backed Tortoise laying her eggs.
As we reached the Umfolozi River we spotted a Rock monitor Lizard walking on the sand bank of the river.
It wasn’t long before we spotted a new animal which was a Martial Eagle the largest Eagle in Africa. He posed beautifully in the tree for a photo. Once we were done our Durban Safari Tour continued.
We passed through Mpila camp in the Umfolozi section of the National park before we finally spotted an Elephant. The only problem was he was in Musth so we needed to be a little careful. We did just that and still got a great photo in a safe manner.
We continued our Safari for quite some time before seeing anything major and then we spotted some Giraffe crossing the road and then eventually drinking water which is rare as they are independent of it.
Next sighting was some White backed Vultures basking in the sun. This helps with killing external parasites on the feathers.
We then continued and came across some Vervet monkeys sitting in a tree resting during the African Midday Sun.
The day was now hot and sticky as the humidity was still very high. So we continued to the centenary center for some lunch. Before we could get there we spotted some Baboons near the river.
It wasn’t a fast trip back for lunch as we kept spotting animals. One of which was a Warthog which went into the mud wallow to cool off near to the road.
As we neared the luncheon stop we spotted some Rhino resting in the shade of a tree in an open area it was a lovely sighting.
Eventually at lunch we enjoyed a rest and a look at the local crafts.
It was then time to head back to camp during mid afternoon and book the bush walk for the next day.
We had some rest before dinner where we reminisced about the great day. All we were missing was cats but we were still content.
Again the skies clouded over and no starts were to been seen in the sky.
We went off to be with another early start the next morning for a 5am departure to Munyaweni Bush camp were we would meet Sabelo an go on the bush walk.
We began a great bush walk with Sabelo where we spotted Rhino sleeping and a Hyena Carcass. The main point of these walks; are to focus on the smaller things which we don’t speak to much of on a driving safari. Ie: dung, tracks, birds, trees etc
It is always exciting to see these amazing creatures on foot and you never know what you will see. We did also spot bones from Rhino which had died in fights over territory and I picked up a zebras hoof!
We raced back to camp after the bush walk as I had heard of a confirmed Lion sighting. We got back to a speedy buffet breakfast and coffee before packing, checking out and leaving the camp. True to form when you are in a rush somewhere something shows up to block your way and this time it was a Bull Elephant.
After the Elephant we spotted a crocodile resting near a stream.
We then spotted a Black Rhino and at this point I couldn’t believe our luck as we had done very well.
I felt anything would be possible on today’s Safari Tour.
We got to the area where the Lions were and were greeting to a Male Lion feeding on a Zebra 15 meters off the road. He was a beautiful young male and the only one we could spot as the other were resting in the shade some distance from the road.
We then headed off to Isimangeliso Wetland Park or St Lucia and boarded a boat for a 2 hour cruise of which we were the majority of the guests on board.
We were lucky to spot some crocodiles and of course the usual Hippos.
After we finished up with the 2 hour boat cruise we headed into the little town of St Lucia for some lunch.
Once we were done with lunch we headed back to Durban remembering all the amazing times we spend in just 3 days on a Durban Safari Tour with Tim Brown.
Remember its always better and Safer with a guide but choose your guide wisely, reviews of other clients on a guide with help you choose.
On this Durban Big 5 Overnight Safari Tour we began in Mtubatuba outside of Durban, close to St Lucia.
On Route to the Big 5 Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve I covered very little of the major history of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa. We really only had a short 45 minute drive to the game reserve.
We entered the reserve and discovered that on Sunday a Rhino has been poached but they had managed to kill the poachers. This is becoming such a big problem with 1004 Rhinos being killed in South African last year (2013) that we know about.
We had some luck of the bat and found a big herd of buffalo as well as a couple of giraffe and warthogs within the first 15 minutes of entering Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve.
It was quiet after that and we got to the lodge to check in and I had some lunch before taking the clients back out onto Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve for a couple more hours till 6pm of Safari Touring.
We had a great sighting of Giraffe where a younger male just started running for a moment I thought he had seen a Lion bet he ran straight past the females and disappeared. It was clear to see what had scared him. A much older stronger male strode in and started to test the females to see if they were in season. What a great sight of our 4 Day Safari Tour from Durban.
We also spotted a monitor lizard and a crocodile before heading back to Hilltop camp for dinner at 7pm.
We then retired to bed with the following day being a big day for us as it was the early morning open vehicle game drive and then breakfast. Then the Cat reb centre of emdoneni before lunch and game drive. Finally the evening open vehicle game drive and dinner. Busy Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour indeed! After day 1 we had seen only 2 of the Big 5 which was actually quite nice.
I collected the clients for there early morning open vehicle game drive at 05:45. I was lucky that when my alarm sounded at 5am I heard a Lion roaring down in the valley from Hilltop camp. I mentioned this to the guides but they could not locate.
I was bored so I went out on a bumble for an hour and found a Big Bull Elephant trouble was it was still dark, I did however get a great sunrise shot.
When the clients returned we had a quick breakfast and headed off to Emdoneni an endangered cat rehabilitation centre where clients can interact with cheetah and other Cats hands on. It is a great additive to the usual Durban Day Safari Tour or Durban Overnight Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve but before we could leave the Hilltop camp we spotted this Baboon.
The clients had a great time and took some good pictures at emdoneni cat rehab centre.
We entered back into Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve and went back to Hilltop camp for lunch and a rest. On route we spotted 2 of the Big 5. The Rhino and Buffalo really close to the road.
After arriving back at Hilltop camp we rested and got ready for the evening open vehicle game drive.
We left Hilltop camp at 7:30am and headed straight down south to the Umfolozi section to look for Cats. We were lucky and saw 3 different prides of Lion, Black Rhino, Cheetah and Elephants. So we saw 4 of the Big 5 on this day on our Safari Tour from Durban to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve.
Always good to see one of the Big 5 but the Lion was a real bonus as well as the cheetah and Black Rhino!
First it was a Baboon that we saw in a Sycamore Fig tree on this big 9 hour Day Safari Tour.
We spotted this old male Buffalo as well which was good to see but little did we know that our Safari Tour in Hluhluwe Umfolozi had only really begun today!
We were approaching the Umfolozi river crossing and a pair of Lioness with two 6 month old cubs ran across the road. I didn’t manage a great photo but it didn’t matter…
As we continued we found this Lioness on a Kill which we could not see but she was full and had 3 others with her. Our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour was hot’n up!
After having a great time watching rest and move around the sand bank with Vultures sunning themselves we moved on and spotted this beautiful male cheetah relaxing rather close to the Lions. Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tours are amazing.
We continued on to Bhejane hide very far down South and were again insanely lucky with a Lioness and 2 big Males near a mud wallow. The catch was the Lioness had positioned herself for an ambush in Paradise! She waited first for a Warthog that got wind of her and moved off. But a Male impala came in and she bolted out the bushes like a bullet sadly for us just missing the Impala which lived to tell the tale!
By this point we were buzzing with adrenaline and made our way back to check on the cheetah which had moved into a better position! Our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour was really becoming a treat on this Day Safari Tour.
We also returned to the Lions at the Kill and briefly saw them before the moved into the reeds. Amazingly we saw 2 Black Rhino I haven’t seen in months! Thank You Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve for the animals!
At this point we were so pumped up we made our way towards Centenary centre for some lunch but not before spotting some giraffe in a beautiful position.
Eventually it was lunch and we rested a little before deciding we would not go back to camp until we had see Elephants close.
I pushed up north and an hour and a half later we got them crossing the road in front of us and displaying. The day was complete; we even had a baboon mate in front of us! We could not expect more but there was more on a Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour from Durban.
A 6 month old White Rhino calf crossed the road in front of us and the stood in the road to have his photo taken. Wow what a day. I don’t think we will be able to sleep tonight!
We returned to Hilltop camp for a rest and some dinner before a good rest.
We headed through for a breakfast at Hilltop camp restaurant after having loaded up the vehicle with our luggage. If was a great breakfast and the African Sun was beating down on us again!
We had only about an hour to see what we could find but after the cracker of a day the day before we were chilled and happy to see what ever showed up.
After checking out of Hilltop camp we began our last day safari tour of Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve. We saw Rhino in the distance, Giraffe, Buffalo, Zebra and monkeys.
This Male Nyala crossed the road in front of us he was really beautiful.
We also spotted they lovely baby vervet monkeys playing on the main tarred road before we spotted our last herd of Elephant.
So this was it basically the end of our 4 day Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour from Durban. It was somewhat sad after the amazing things we had seen. We all will not forget the great show the animals of Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve put on for us on day 3 of our Safari Tour.
We all had a really good time and now it was time to head back to Durban with my clients and reminisce about the whole Safari Experience. Some of my favourite moments were the Lions we saw as well as the Cheetah, even the Elephants mock charging was so enjoyable.
I dropped my clients off at the airport in Durban (King Shaka International) before heading home to my wife.
If you would like a Big 5 Safari experience like this contact Tim Brown Tours and we can make this a reality for you.
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.