It has been a dream to show off Durban and KwaZulu-Natal to the world.
Battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal – Anglo Zulu, Rorkes Drift, Isandlwana and Blood River
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve, Cat Rehabilitation and St Lucia iSimangaliso Wetland Park – Budget Package
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve, Cat Rehabilitation and St Lucia iSimangaliso Wetland Park – Standard Package
uKhlahlamba Drakensberg Hiking and Sightseeing Tour
Address: Springside Road, Hillcrest, Durban, 3610, South Africa
T: +27 71 453 2781
Battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal – Anglo Zulu, Rorkes Drift, Isandlwana and Blood River
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve, Cat Rehabilitation and St Lucia iSimangaliso Wetland Park – Budget Package
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve, Cat Rehabilitation and St Lucia iSimangaliso Wetland Park – Standard Package
uKhlahlamba Drakensberg Hiking and Sightseeing Tour
Address: Springside Road, Hillcrest, Durban, 3610, South Africa
T: +27 71 453 2781
I met my clients for their Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari 2 days safari in Umhlanga(Durban) and we made our way to the world famous Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. On route we would stop at the cat rehabilitation centre to interact with Cheetah hands on as well as a couple of other endangered wild cats.
We had a great start as we chatted about the history of the area and then stopped for some coffee and a rest before we would arrive at our first destination for this 2 day Durban safari.
The cat rehabilitation centre was amazing and my clients really enjoyed the interaction with the big and small cats.
We then departed the Cat rehabilitation center for Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 game reserve. It was hear our safari would really begin. It was a hot day at 30 degrees and a little humid. This added to the atmosphere and we had some amazing sightings in the first hour and a half before we got to the Hilltop camp for lunch.
In this time we spotted 3 of the Big 5, Rhino, Buffalo and Elephants as well as other smaller species of animal.
The Big 5 is what most people want to come and see so we were lucky with the start we had.
After enjoyed the Warthogs next to the road we quickly found Rhino in the distance as well as Impala.
As we continued a herd of Buffalo were in the distance and we watched then and a Rhino mother with calf.
As we continued we managed to find some Elephants in the thickets near the road and this with patients became a really good sighting.
We departed to the lodge and settled in to some lunch before checking in and taking a 20 minute rest before heading back out on safari.
It wasn’t long before we spotted some Rhino near to the road and we got a great few photos to add to the collection.
We then had an amazing sighting of Baboons and a Bush buck as well as Rhino mother and calf. The Baboons always seem to intrigue humans and we watched them for some time before continuing our Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari.
As we continued we spotted Nyala, Rhino, Wildebeest and Zebra in a short space of time it had been an amazing day!
It was not time to get back to the lodge for the clients open vehicle game drive and it was here that I got some time to write this. I would meet my clients again at 8pm for dinner and as it was only a 2 day safari we planned to head out very early at 6 am the next day to see what we could find.
After a good night sleep we met at 6am and began day 2 of our Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari.
It was a 6am start and and we were all a little tired after a long day before but all very happy at the prospect of seeing more animals and experiencing another great day on safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
Our first major sighting was of these amazing Giraffe on and next to the road. The big male was testing all the female urine to see if they were ready to be mated.
After this amazing sighting and the first Giraffe we has seen we continued further south in the quest to find more Lions.
We found some Leopard tracks and scat but no cat but it was fine and we continued spotting Zebra, Rhino and Nyala before finding a lovely herd of Elephant after the Umfolozi river crossing the road in front of us.
We continued on and had some lovely sightings of Rhino the best probably being this one of a mother and small calf. Wow, we had been having a great Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari.
We were running out of time now and the day was getting hot so we headed back to the Umfolozi river and were very lucky to spot four bull Elephants that went to have a drink at the river as well as a sand bath.
After another amazing sighting of Elephants we made our way towards the gate and it was now time to head off to St Lucia – Isimangaliso wetland park.
We took a breather and then we were there at South Africa’s first world heritage site. It is one of the only places you can find Hippos, Crocodiles and Sharks in the same waters.
We first had lunch and then we head to the St Lucia estuary for our 2 hour boat cruise.
Our Cruise was awesome and we saw lots on Hippos and crocodile.
We had my best sighting of an African fish eagle that I actually captured on photo! I was really stoked.
After an amazing 2 days of safari from Durban in the World famous Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and World heritage site of Isimangaliso wetland park – St Lucia we headed back to Durban.
On route we stopped for some coffee and to stretch the legs before we covered our final questions and arrived back in Umhlanga near Durban.
What a great 2 day Durban safari.
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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 Hillcrest only about 5 minutes drive from my home which was great! They were from South Africa, Cape Town which for me is not common to have South Africans on a Durban safari tour but it was really great fun and the tour was amazing!
On route to the most underrated Big 5 game reserve Hluhluwe Imfolozi national park, I covered lots of the history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and general things that we saw like the crops of the area etc.
We stopped to stretch the legs on the way up and refuel before continuing the last hour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for our Durban day safari tour.
We arrived at Hluhluwe Imfolozi park and began with our game drive to see what animals we could see. We actually didn’t even need to leave the parking lot for our first sighting as there was an Elephant bull drinking near the gate!
As we continued with our safari from Durban we came across a huge herd of Elephants with tiny babies on the hill near the Centenary center where we would be having lunch later that day. The Elephants seemed to be on some mission as they kept walking very quickly and were heading to the eastern fence line. I had seen three herds of Elephant do this 3 days before which always makes me think they are attending an Elephant funeral or there is a weather change!
We continued with our Durban day safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and came across a female Impala with thin horns this is a genetic abnormality and could be cause by inbreeding! This can happen is a male mates with his offspring instead of being ousted from the leadership of the Harem of female by another dominant male.
We also crossed over the Umfolozi river and spotted a Buffalo bull very far away and the photo was not good so I waited till we spotted these Rhino. They crossed the road in front of us and this was a special sighting for my clients and meant we had already seen 3 of the Big 5, Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo.
After spending a few minutes with the Rhino we continued with our safari from Durban and we had a quiet patch but I knew that we would see lots of animals. It was not long and we were blessed with a sighting of Cheetah. It was a mother and her 2 cubs around a year old and they were so much fun to watch we must have spent half an hour with them. At the same place was 3 crashes or Rhino which made it even more exciting!
I might have gone over the to with pictures and Videos but it was Cheetah and there were two cubs which we active and running around in an open patch. This was such an exciting moment and we all enjoyed it. What a way to begin your first safari for my clients.
One final picture of the Cheetah playing and I promise no more Cheetah photos or Videos for today! I just couldn’t help myself! They were beautiful!
As we continued with our Durban day safari tour I honestly could not have really cared for myself if I didn’t see another animal but I knew I have to see what we could find for my clients as they were only here for a day safari tour. We kept getting lucky and we went round one of the many dirt road bends we stopped as we had some Zebras walking down the road towards us!
The Zebra were so beautiful and we enjoyed chatting about some of the interesting facts and features of this animal before moving on with our safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and finding a couple of Wildebeest walking on the road!
I figured now it was time for a rest room break so I made our way to a picnic site. We arrived at the Sontuli picnic site and we so lucky again! We saw Lions laying down in the river bed. I just could not believe our luck we had now seen 4 of the Big 5 and Cheetah in just a few hours. The best part about these Lions was the structure, it was an Adult male and female with one cub around a year old or a bit less.
It is not often you see these restful cats on a Durban day safari tour or see a big male usually its just the Lionesses and the sub adults.
We decided that all we hadn’t seen was the Giraffe and it became our new mission to try and find the Giraffe. I drove all the best areas that I could with the time we had and then had to head up to the Centenary center for lunch.
Before we could get to the Centenary we stopped at a view point which you are allowed to get out of your vehicle at and it was here we saw a huge herd of Buffalo.
I thought this was the ideal spot to take a picture for my clients with the lovely view over the Umfolozi river with the Buffalo in the back ground.
We continued on in the hope of finding some Giraffe before lunch and we returned to where the Cheetah had been. They had gone but there was some lovely Rhino in the area and they were really posing for us on our Durban day safari tour.
There was still one more thing would we have to photograph before we made it to the lunch stop and that was a Dazzle of Zebra and Impala on the road.
Finally we arrived at Centenary center and it was here that we had a lovely lunch and a look around the world famous museum for operation Rhino. The craft market was also available and then we made our way for the final 1 and a half to find these Giraffe.
We did it! It was 20 min in after lunch and I spotted a male Giraffe in the distance so we used the binoculars to see him better and then we continued further and found more Giraffes near enough to the road.
One of these female Giraffe was either chewing a bone which they do to get calcium into their diet or she had a twig stuck in here throat. It wasn’t long and she liked her lips and continued feeding.
We had a great look at this Giraffe and then on our way back right near the gate we spotted a Big male 5 meters from the road feeding on a Buffalo thorn. It was the perfect ending to a great Durban day safari tour and we all were very happy with our sightings.
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.
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.
Africa’s oldest game reserve, Hluhluwe Imfolozi was established in 1895 after the South African government and a couple of influential conservationists realised that the continuous hunting of wildlife was causing them to run out of raw materials like Ivory (Elephant tusk) for the trading between Europe, Africa and Asia. Its is am ideal game reserve to visit for a Safari while in Durban as it is a Big 5 game reserve, Malaria free and near Durban.
Why did they over hunt this area? Actually it was more the fact that there was an issue with Tsetse flies which was believed to be caused by the animals. The Tsetse fly caused Sleeping sickness or “Nagana” which affected the Blood of animals and Humans causing fever, loss in weight, weakness, Anemia and potentially death.
This was so feared by the Settlers that they killed vast numbers of game(animals) literally 100 000′s in order to get rid of this disease.
It was only in the 1940′s that DDT (an agricultural toxin) was used by being sprayed over the vast area of Hluhluwe Imfolozi’s 96 000 Hectare reserve. This not only killed off the Tsetse fly but also the Anopheles mosquito which carried Malaria(female only). This meant that today we are very lucky to take our clients on Safaris near Durban and not have any issues with Malaria!
We are blessed in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to have a Pride of Lions which has a strange ability to climb trees. This is not usual in Lions as Lions do not have a locking mechanism in their wrists to come down from a tree in a graceful manner. They are also big animals and to see them taking to the trees is amazing. On our Safaris from Durban you may get lucky enough to see this spectacle.
There is a couple reasons this pride of Lions would have turned to climbing trees and the most common reason would be that the area that they hold a territory in is too very thick and it makes it easier for them to see there prey item by being up high. Having said all of this the Big Lions do not take to the tree so this is something that the Lionesses and the young Lions are doing. As they get bigger the risk of falling when they come down the tree and breaking there necks is higher.
Behaviour like this of the Hluhluwe Imfolozi tree climbing Lions has also been reported in east Africa but as mentioned is very uncommon due to the risks of coming down. These cats are like our domestic cats happy to go up but to come down is a slippy affair!
Just to see these amazing creature even on the ground on one of our Durban safari tour is amazing but when they are seen up in the tree it is even more amazing and special for us.
With in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve there is some amazing scars which can be seen on either Wilderness Trails or from the air. The reason behind these great scars at the confluence of the Black and White Umfolozi rivers is due to the greatest Zulu King, Shaka!
King Shaka reigned supreme of the vast area of Zululand between 1816 and 1828 defeating and taking over smaller Black African Tribes. He became known by the tribes as “the Hyena man” and the Cape Colonist called him the “Black Napoleon”.
Shaka instructed his “Impis”(Worriers/Soldiers) to construct these great pits which were used to chase vast numbers on animals into once a year. The young Impis would then spear the animals killing them as a sign of there courage. It appears that there could have been more to this non-selective killing of animals. Shaka being as great as he was would never want anyone to be a stronger King than he was or to defeat him. It seems that he could have used his hunting pits to prevent there being much food for intruders who entered the area wishing to dethrone the great Shaka!
Throughout Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve there are signs of Stone age activities with Artifacts being found over they years. It was also an area where early metal work took place and on the Western side of Masinda lodge with in the game reserve we are told Iron Ore was found and formed into spears and Assagais by the Zulus.
Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve is home to the Big 5 – Lion, Leopard, Buffalo, Rhino and Elephant. Apart from these amazing creatures, Hluhluwe Imfolozi has Hippos, Giraffe, Zebra, Cheetah, African Wild Dog and a vast number of Antelope Species.
This is not all that you can expect to see in this amazing nature reserve. With around 380 species of birds, Mountainous areas, Open areas and views to die for you will never get bored if you are guided through this amazing reserve.
The Hluhluwe Section of the game reserve is vastly different to the Umfolozi section. Hluhluwe is more scenic with more rolling hills and forests. It contains Savanna and some grasslands but more so mountainous with great views over the Valleys.
Hluhluwe is an ideal spot to look for Elephant, Buffalo, Leopard as well as stunning bird life.
The Umfolozi sections of the game reserve is a mixture of Acacia thorn veld and grasslands. We come across many Tamboti thickets and riverine forests which can also make this a good spot to look for Leopard, Lion, Cheetah and African Wild Dog.
Overall between the two sections of reserve we have the chance of seeing the Big 5 and all the other animals mentioned during your Durban Safari Tour.
During the early years of the game reserves establishment from 1895 there was still a vast amount of hunting that took place. With the years of punishment to Rhino populations and other species this was getting out of hand and a program was put into place in the 1850′s to bring back the Black and White Rhino populations from the brink of extinction.
It was this program which also meant bringing in new genetics from other areas to prevent in breeding that really was a huge success. Today in the 21st century the White Rhino population in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve is the highest density of any reserve in the world.
This is a true feather in the cap for KwaZulu-Natal National parks(Ezimvelo KZN Wildlife).
There are two major camps/lodges within Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve on one of which is fenced and has catering, this is Hilltop camp.
All the other camps/lodges are self catering facilities and the Bush camps require a Guide to be with you during your stay, for your safety due to no fencing and human nature to explore.
Hilltop camp is my lodge of choice, being a 3 star facility with Wifi, TV, Shop, Bar and restaurant all set in the forest on the highest point in the game reserve. This of course means great views day and night(of the Stars).
Below are a few picture of Hilltop camp.
We began our 3 day safari to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve in Umhlanga and then met my other clients in the Canelands area outside of Durban. It was a humid day and only got hotter as we headed onward to the cat rehab center outside Hluhluwe. Durban safaris and tours are the best was to see KwaZulu Natal this amazing province that we live in and taking a tour with Tim Brown Tours is the best choice you can make if you have limited time.
We began our tour of the cat rehabilitation center and started with the African wild cats which look most similar to the domestic cats. Moving on we entered the Caracal enclosure where we got a very active cat to watch but not touch.
It was then time for some interaction and we headed into the Cheetah camp to interact with two hand reared brothers. It was here that my clients got to sit with the Cheetah and have their picture taken.
I got one in of two of my four clients and I hope they don’t mind me using their picture.
After this amazing experience we entered into and enclosure with a 6 month of Cheetah which will be used for breeding in the future with her sister which happens to be at the vet at the moment.
We all interacted with her before moving onto the Serval which are cats that are easily domesticated which means these hand reared cats and be more playful than some of the other bigger cats we saw.
Wow! What an amazing experience! How can you visit Durban and not come on a Durban safari or Durban tour when their are so many amazing things to see and do on a cultural, historical and natural level.
We had completed the tour of the cat rehab center and made our way to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for our Big 5 safari tour. It is always special to visit the oldest game reserve in Africa which is also home to the Big 5 animals, Lions, Leopard, Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant. These are the 5 most dangerous animals to hunt on foot, not that hunting takes place here anymore as it is a national park and used for eco-tourism.
Upon entering we spotted some Buffalo, Zebra and Impala within a few minutes. We then had a great sighting of 2 Rhino which crossed the road in front of us!
As we continued our Durban safari we got a bachelor herd of Buffalo and they we close to the road but they were mud wallowing. They were not to keen to have us around and ran off down the road and onto the other side parallel to us. We drove next to then and realised they we running at almost 40 km per hour!
At this point I noticed they wanted to cross back over to a watering hole to drink so I stopped they came across into the watering hole to drink.
After watching this amazing show on our Durban safari tour we also managed to get a great photo of one of these Buffaloes licking his nose clean after the drink he had. This really was a special moment.
We now were all getting a little hungry so we headed off to Hilltop camp for some lunch and we also checked into our rooms so we could have 45 minuted of rest to recover from all the excitement.
Our Safari from Durban really had started well.
At 15:30 we headed back out and it was still hot and humid so we had the air-conditioner on. We stopped at a few view points and spotted some Baboon on the road at one point.
This Baboon seemed to have so issue with his foot and mouth in sure it wasn’t the disease though! It was a great picture as the light caught his eyes and the hand to mouth and foot to head just made it such a winner!
We continued and found Nyala and Rhino in the distance before spotting some Giraffe near to the road.
After checking for Elephants everywhere I felt a little deflated having not seen any on day one but I also knew we had 2 more days. So after a long day in lovely Africa we headed back to Hilltop camp for the night and so great Buffet dinner. One of the meats was Eland the largest Southern African antelope which is not hunted on Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve I will have you know!
We wanted to do some Star gazing but the clouds came over so we could not. We would have a not so early start the next morning at 7am when we met for breakfast and then headed down south in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
Day 2 was a very important day for us to try and knock some of the big things on the head. It was a little stressful as I was sure we would find Elephant but was not so positive on the Lion front. They always say that hard work pays off and we worked very hard on day 2 to find the Big 5 and even the little Dung beetle.
After a quiet 30 minutes I was frustrated but then I spotted these Elephants! What a relief!
We had 3 or 4 Bull Elephants together and watched then in a dry river bed before they moved out into the open for a good picture! Wow it was great! It is such a relief, I don’t think anyone really realizes how stressful my job can be. It a constant effort to find these animals for my clients and sometimes no matter how hard I try it doesn’t come off. Most of the time it does though!
Next was a Leopard Tortoise which was on the main road so we waited for it to move off the road so it didn’t get squashed and enjoyed it walking around, Wow what a great sighting on our Safari from Durban in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
It was now time for the Big 5 and not the little 5 so we continued down south and crossed the Black Umfolozi river it was here I made the best all of the day. I said, “lets check back on that little road” I did and bang we got a pack of Wild dogs for 2 minutes as a mud wallow all to ourselves!
This was really the cherry on the top but more amazing sightings would follow, we just had to keep working hard and we would find more amazing animals.
Just in case you didn’t know this is the most endangered carnivore in Africa and their are only 60 odd in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, we saw about 13 of them! It was amazing! What a safari from Durban.
Next was a male Wildebeest which we spotted in an open area we 4 Rhino one of which made his way to the mud Wallow and lay down for a while.
After all the worry of the morning the day was really turning out very well. Our Safari from Durban was about to take another great spin as we finally found Lions, 15 meters off the road laying in the thickets.
This was really amazing and such a relief, we ended up watching these Lions for 20 odd minutes and one of the Lionesses got up and wondered around which was great to see.
The above video was very interesting as you will see in the video the Lioness was branded with the number 13. For some people this is a lucky number and other it is not, for us it seemed to be lucky.
As we moved on we found some Zebra right next to the road and they were resting their heads on each others backs which was amazing for my client to see. There is an explanation for this but you will have to take as Durban safari tour with Tim Brown Tours to find out!
Right across the road from the Zebra was a Rhino in a mud wallow and this was a crazy sighting as he was only 2 meters from the road which made it hard to drive up and not disturb him. We managed it though by turning of the engine and rolling up top him.
This was a very special sighting and you really had to be there to feel what it was like. I made a short video which I hope can help you feel what the experience was like for us and mostly my clients on this Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari tour.
We really had now be incredibly lucky and seen so much that we could only smile and laugh at how nervous I had been in trying to find good sightings for my clients.
We didn’t have to go much further before we spotted a Giraffe male feeding off the trees.
We were all getting hungry again after all the concentration and made our way back up to the Centenary center home of operation Rhino which brought back the White Rhinos in South Africa from extinction and also restocked Kruger national park with the population they have today.
Lunch was great and a look around the museum and curio shop was on the cards before we began the hour long drive back to Hilltop camp.
On route we spotted another Elephant right next to the road feeding.
Our day could not have been any better and as we arrived back at Hilltop camp we only had 45 minutes before the open vehicle game drive which my clients chose to do for the experience.
We met again at 8pm upon there return to see if they stars would be visible so I could do some star gazing before dinner. Sadly it was very cloudy and we had no chance. Even after another half hour no luck for us!
We went off to bed still very satisfied with our Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari tour and looking forward to the last day which would contain 3 hours of Safari and a 2 hour boat cruise on Lake St Lucia at Isimangeliso wetland park.
We began which packing the luggage into the car and a 7am start then breakfast. It was a great buffet again and then we got work the another pack of Wild Dogs were on a Nyala male kill not far from the camp. We rushed off and found what was left of the Nyala which was 1 leg and some horns! That was exciting enough but the smell of the Dogs was still in the area and we drove through a thicket which lead us to the dogs in an open area. They were up to there normal behavior after a kill of defecating and resting in the grass. A couple of the dogs including the Alfa male and a sub Adult male showed off a bit to us which was great to watch.
After this we found an African Harrier Hawk in a tree near to the road. My clients seemed to be interested in birds so this was great for us to see and watch as he flew from branch to branch. As Safaris from Durban go this was really one of the better one!
We didn’t have to go much further and at a bridge crossing we spotted a Crocodile resting in the water. These are amazing creatures to see also like the Rhino so prehistoric to look at yet their simple body is so effective.
We continued and did a loop which was not really that lucrative but after what we had already seen it didn’t seem to matter as we had some general chatter. We did spot some Rhino and Buffalo but all pretty far off except for one.
I again got word the Lions were in another area further south in the reserve of Hluhluwe Imfolozi so we made our way down their before exiting the reserve and came across some very sleepy lions. At this point the rain also came down but the Lions just lay in the open not to worried.
We now had just the cherry on the top and this way great as it was one of my clients birthdays and to now seen Lions and African Wild dogs twice in 3 days was amazing for us all. Durban safaris never seem to let you down even when things are quiet their is always something that shows up for us.
It was not time to head to St Lucia – Isimangeliso Wetland park and it was here that we would do a 2 hour boat cruise on lake St Lucia to view Hippos and crocodiles. This area of St Lucia estuary is the largest estuary or lake system in Southern Africa.
We managed to capture these two Hippo having a little argument in the Estuary. It was great to see their mouths open and having a full on conversation over something which I couldn’t hear.
We also spotted lots of King Fishers and even this amazing African Fish eagle.
To catch these birds in flight is a real challenge but I got it! I was pretty happy with the picture I must say.
We headed into St Lucia town for some lunch and enjoyed the meal before we headed all the way back to Durban to return the client to their respective hotels.
I know we all had a good time and the sightings were so special so I have to thank nature for showing up for us and making our Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari tour that much more special.
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 luck to have a group of friends and between the information I gave them on the area they asked questions and enjoyed some good chatter among themselves.
Our first stop would be Emdoneni where we would enjoy interaction with 4 endangered species of Cat including the Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and African Wild Cat.
We were lucky as we got to enjoy the 2 month old Cheetah cubs that have been brought in from breeding when they mature. We also got to interact with the 6 and half year old male Cheetahs which are part of the tour.
After enjoying these big Cats it was time to see more of the smaller cats so we entered into the Serval camp. One of the Serval got hold of a venomous snake a Vine snake and began to play with it!
We had enjoyed our time at Emdoneni and we moved on to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve the oldest game reserve in Africa! It took up just 20 minutes to get their and we entered the national park to see what animals we could find before lunch.
Our first sighting in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve was some Warthogs with babies and a young male and female were pushing each other around!
It was a matter of minutes and we found the first of our Big 5 animals the Rhino! What was extra special is they crossed the road in front of our vehicle. This was very exciting especially for the clients. Our Durban safari tour had clearly begun!
After a great sighting we continued up to the camp for lunch but before we could get there we found some Nyala near the road, I was lucky to get this decent picture of one of the males.
Before we could get up to Hilltop camp we checked some alarm calling from the Baboons with no luck of a predator but word had it that the Lions had been seen in that area and were hiding up on the hills.
It was time for some lunch and we arrived at Hilltop camp in Hluhluwe to enjoy it. I checked my clients into their rooms and while they enjoyed a drink off loaded their luggage as well. We met an hour later at 15:30 to continue our Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari tour.
After we got back out on the reserve we had already seen good sightings of Rhino and Buffalo so we looked to see if we could add to the collection of Big 5 animals we had found.
I stopped at a view sight and checked the area was safe before inviting the clients to join me. Down in the Hluhluwe river was a couple of herds of Elephants. It was a beautiful sight and we got great photos as the view is also spectacular even without the animals.
We also had the Male Nyala feeding and the Elephants decided to chase them away so they could have the food to themselves. It was a great sighting to see these Elephants chase the Nyala and some Elephants were chasing each other. What a special day it had been on Safari near Durban.
We continued and found some Buffalo bulls near the road feeding. Before we could get back to camp we also spotted an Elephant playing with one of the signs in the reserve. This meant we had seen 3 of the Big 5 in on day 1 of our Durban safari tour.
We had tried our best this afternoon to find these Lions with out any luck but that is the way it goes sometimes. We decided to head back to camp as it was getting dark and it was almost our curfew time.
Once we got back we settled in for some dinner and some singing and dancing by the staff at Hilltop camp.
It had clouded over so no star gazing this night.
We had all agreed to have a 7am breakfast and then to spend the day down in the Umfolozi section of the game reserve. So after the buffet breakfast we sped off down south. It turned out to be a good idea to get up later as by the time we left it was no longer misty and raining!
We came across some Impala which are really common but as its the lambing season we saw lots of babies around.
After spotting these lovely Impala we found some Warthogs in the road drinking water from the puddles it was really cute as the mother had her three piglets with her. This was a good sign for the rest of the day we hoped.
As we continued we spotted some Zebras near to the road which was good as we had not seen many Zebra to this point. We watches them feeding on the wet grass before moving closer to the infamous Umfolozi river!
As we neared the Umfolozi river, I spotted a Hyena out the corner of my eye, it was so good to see one in the day time! We watched him and followed him until he dissipated into the bush. Unfortunately there was always some grass in front of his face so my picture all were out of focus!
We were really happy already and I was just hoping we would find some Lions near the river, but I was wrong. Before we made it to the river we spotted a Cheetah – a wild cheetah of which their are only 25 approximately in the whole 96 000 Hectare game reserve of Hluhluwe Imfolozi!
I was really stoked like a fire as she crossed in front of our vehicle and went jogging after some Impala but missed! Wow what as day in the African bush on safari! What could possibly be next!
As we moved on things finally became quieter and their was a slow build up to our next sightings… We did however find one old Buffalo bull in the Umfolozi river. Surprisingly it is really dry for this time of the year which is a little concerning!
The day was warming up and we drove some lovely dirt roads to which were very quiet but we had seen so much already that we just took in the whole experience. By the time we reach the next bit of river frontage we were ready for the next sighting. It was at the White Umfolozi river where we found a huge herd of Elephant and a Giraffe near by! This was great as their is a safe view point overlooking the river that we can get out at and enjoy these amazing animals while standing on our feet as appose to sitting in the vehicle.
The day was getting long but we had enjoyed such a good time so far that we continued on to see what else we could find.
We were lucky to find two Leopard Tortoises and Rhino mother and calf sleeping next to one another.
It was almost time for some lunch so we headed back up to the Centenary center and managed to find the cutest little Vervet monkeys. The best picture was this mother and her baby held tight to her chest. It really is such a privilege to be able to do these tours for my clients and I’m sure I enjoy it just as much as they do!.
After we stopped for lunch a little rain came down but not enough to wet the earth, we then made our way back to Hilltop camp and after an hour of rest my client got onto the open vehicle safari and sadly they didn’t see very much.
They had some dinner and an early night before day 3 which was to be a bumper day!
We got up at 6am and met for breakfast at 7am after loading the car up with the luggage. We had one thing on our minds and that was Lions! It was our last chance to find Lions before our 12 o clock St Lucia estuary cruise viewing Hippos and Crocodiles.
The day began and we headed down south to the Umfolozi river as this was our best chance for Lions!
On the way we say giraffe.
Then we got to the Umfolozi river and laying flat in the distance was a pride of lions is was so exciting! We made our way around to a view site to get a better look and I got an amazing video of these Lions. The lions had 5 Buffalo Bulls approach them as they wanted so water and also to get one over the old rivals the Lions! 2 more Buffalos joined the party and they were chased by the Lions one mature male Lion almost got a horn in his leg. This happened twice before we called it a day and went to St Lucia for our boat cruise.
What an amazing Durban 3 day safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve! We were truly blessed with amazing weather and 4 out of the Big 5 + Cheetah and Hyena! We could not have been happier!
It was time for a 1 hour drive to St Lucia for our 2 hour Estuary cruise.
When we got to St Lucia we saw some Crocodiles near the jetty.
Further up stream we found some lovely pods of Hippos, I waited for the perfect moment and I got a cracking photo!
This capped of one of the better Durban safari tours I have run for my clients and we stopped off in St Lucia town for some amazing Pizza at Ocean Sizzler!
After this we began the 2.5 hours back to King Shaka international airport where I was dropping my clients off, we had all enjoyed the safari tour from Durban and all had smiles and pictures to show for it!
Over all an amazing Durban 3 day budget safari tour with amazing sightings of the Big 5, Cheetah and Hyena!
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.
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.