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
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 met my clients in Durban for our 3 day safari to the Big 5 Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and we began our safari. I covered some of the major history of South Africa, KwaZulu Natal and Durban before we stopped for coffee and to stretch our legs.
Once we were done we made our way to the Cat rehabilitation center where we interacted with Cheetah and three other species of endangered or threatened cats.
This Durban day safari was one of my best and not because I felt good about my performance but because nature also performed for us!
We began in Durban as we usually do and I collected a Swedish couple who were very excited about the Durban day safari after reading reviews on TripAdvisor. This always makes me feel a little pensive as with nature it is out of our control. All I know is the best places to look for the animals and their behaviour.
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 began our South African safari near Durban where I collected my client who were out for a Baptist conference here in Durban, South Africa!
As it was a slightly larger group than I usually take on Safaris from Durban I rented a 13 seat vehicle and trailer.
Once we got all the luggage in we headed off to Hluhluwe Imfolozi and Hilltop camp for our 3 nights there and to enjoy nature at its best.
On route I covered as much history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa as possible over the microphone and in no time it seemed we had arrived at the gate into Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, my second home.
Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve as a deep history which you can read about on the link over the words Hluhluwe….
It is well known for having saved Rhino from extincting in the 1940’s and 50’s.
On route to Hilltop camp we spotted one of these amazing Rhinos the White Rhino before having the most amazing Black Rhino sight I have had in a long time. This male Black Rhino walked down a slope and crossed the road in front of us and was super relaxed for a Black Rhino. I was amazed and we were all super happy.
What a special moment! We then arrived at Hilltop camp and checked in getting clients and luggage to the rooms which did take a little but of time as it was dark.
We then met for dinner before a good nights sleep.
Day two began at 06:30 am and we made our way into the northern section of Hluhluwe game reserve. We had luck right off the bat as we found Elephants near to the road and all down in the valley and up on the hills near the camp.
We also had some amazing luck with Rhino as we got one posing very nicely for us all during our South African safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
We were trying our best for the African wild dogs but hear they had made there way over the river after feeding on an Nyala and taken their puppies with them. So we continued and up the road found a huge herd of Buffalo in fact we must has seen about 6 herds of Buffalo….
I love the above Buffalo picture even though it is not sharp it has character with the flies and the dust. We also managed to spot some Zebra on our South African safari which was great as the sunlight really hit them nicely.
The one Zebra looks like she is laughing at us… As we continues our 4 day safari tour in Hluhluwe we also found Giraffe but they were far away and I knew we would get them later. So we continued back to camp for breakfast before heading out to the Cat rehabilitation center.
The Cat rehabilitation center was amazing and my clients loved it as they got to interact with Cheetah hands on and Serval.
The next picture was of the Cheetah cub which is 3-4 months old and the clients got to play with him, he is very cute and playful. Wow what a South African safari this was turning out to be from Durban!
We then made our way back to the gate and just stopped for some food and fuel. We then got back to camp as some of the group we doing the evening open vehicle safari and other we coming with me.
Those that came with me were treated to a few things, the first was a Southern Tree Agama.
We also found some Vultures in a tree among the usual things like the Elephants, Rhino, Buffalo, Zebra and even a Wildebeest.
We then had great fortune and found the Giraffe we had been looking for near to the road so it was great for photos excepting the light was beginning to fade. Either way it was fantastic and our success continued during our Safari from Durban in South Africa.
We tried one more time for cats and dogs with no luck, but we had an amazing sighting for a rare specie the Bush Pig which you usually only see at night. It was now dusk and the video I made came out decently but not very well.
We still had one more shot of the day and it was of the sun going down and the planets Venus and Jupiter! The night sky had cleared from the previous night was was looking great with so many stars out.
We had a great day on safari from Durban.
It was now time to wait for the others to get back and at 8pm we all had a great dinner. The food at Hilltop camp is always lovely. We were all very tired and headed off to bed as we would meet the next day fairly early at 7am for breakfast.
We began the day in the hope of finding cats but sadly we battled for them through the day!
This did not bother us much as we found many other species of animals from Elephant to Mongooses.
We were wanting to see more Giraffe on this African Safari and we did.
My clients were very happy with the Giraffe and after a short while we spotted a bull Elephant which crossed the road in front of us and fed next to the road to I made a video of this.
We slowly made our way down to the Umfolozi river and before we got there we spotted a Rhino bull which decided to sit down and then have a rest by lying down.
It was an amazing sighting as I managed to shoot the sequence of events.
After the Rhino went to sleep we made our way over the Umfolozi river which was in full force after the heavy rain we had had a couple days before! It was great to see this river flowing so well during our Durban safari in South Africa.
We continued and tried to get as far south as we could but time was also running out as I was unable to travel very fast in the 13 seat vehicle.
Things were quiet and we decided to stop at Bhejane hide hide and see what animals would come to us but sadly it was only birds.
We did however see Terrapins on the bank of the watering hole.
Once of the best sighting at the watering hole was this African Hoopoe which was searching for food and maybe had a nest in this dead tree next to the watering hole.
We the made our way to the Centenary center for some lunch and then had a look around the curio shop. As we were a group of 12 it took longer than we thought and we needed to rush back to Hilltop camp to get back for the clients who were doing the evening open vehicle safari and to load up most of the luggage into the trailer, Thank you Jason for your help!
We arrived back and sorted everything out before meeting for dinner. We had to wait for the 4 clients that went on the open vehicle game drive but it was a good wait.
As we stood at the bar we noticed that Prince Harry was in the restaurant enjoying dinner we could not believe our luck to see such a character. We waited on the others and told them but did not want to bother the young prince as others were doing and we sat to enjoy our meal having had a great day.
We began our forth day with a very early start at 05:45 and left Hilltop camp by 6am for St Lucia or Isimangaliso Wetland park for our 2 hour boat cruise viewing Hippos and crocodiles.
We arrived 10 minuted early and had a great 2 hour on the boat seeing lots of Hippos, Crocodiles, Mangroves and birds.
We had unbelievable sightings of Hippos both in the water and on land during our African safari from Durban.
St Lucia estuary is the largest esturine system in Southern Africa and home to 4 of the Big 5 the 5 most dangerous animals to hunt on foot.
We were lucky to catch these two baby Hippos playing in the estuary while we were on the boat tour of St Lucia we also had amazing Bird sightings of Pink Backed Pelicans, African Fish Eagles to Black winged stilts.
As the boat cruise drew to an end we had one more sighting and that was of a Bull Shark swimming in the St Lucia Estuary! They have been stuck here since 2007 when the estuary closed naturally to the ocean due to a lack of rainfall.
We finished up our cruise and began our way back to Durban International or King Shaka International airport stopping along the way for some food and coffee.
We arrived on time for the clients that would be catching there flights out of Durban and I took two of the clients after the safari to the Hilton Hotel in Durban. It had been an amazing tour having just missed out on the cats!
We all enjoyed it and would have many memories to take back home with us.
I met my clients at their hotel in Durban to begin their Durban day safari to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve is the oldest proclaimed national park in Africa and home to the Big 5. We were hoping we would see as many of the Big 5 as possible and anything else that would show up.
Hluhluwe Imfolozi being proclaimed a national park in 1895 is only 2.5 hours from Durban and is an ideal place to visit if you have a day off from conferences or work in the city.
If you would like to book this tour click on the link below:
On route I chatted to my client about some of the history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa.
It was great that my clients were interested and had some questions of there own, this always makes my job easier.
We eventually got to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to begin our Durban day safari and it began rather slowly with distant sighting of Zebra, Buffalo and Elephant.
After these long distance sighting I was really hoping we would see some animals closer and we did! It began with the Impala and Zebra and then we saw some Giraffe a bit closer up.
We continued over the Umfolozi river and managed to find a few Rhino and later a big bull Rhino sleeping under a small tree. We were pretty happy about this chap as he was is such a lovely position for a photo.
I was beginning to feel a little pressure as we had been a couple minuted late to see a cheetah and had missed her totally so it was a little frustrating but I knew this was nature and that is how life goes. We did manage to spot a lovely bird the Lilac breasted Roller.
I made a big call and headed straight for the Bhejane hide where I knew there was water and we would see something down here. Fortunately the gamble paid off and we spotted lots of Animals at the watering hole.
Our Durban day safari was coming together now with 3 antelope species together in one photo and we even got a great set of Photos with Zebra drinking. They were a bit skittish but that is normal for Zerba.
It was now time to try and see if we could some how locate this Cheetah again but it would not be easy. On route however we managed to find some beautiful Giraffe on 2 occasions near to the road.
We then hit the jackpot and finally had some really good luck and found this female Cheetah on a kill with here youg cub! Our Durban day safari was not kind of complete!
The mother Cheetah had killed a young female Nyala and stashed it near to a tree only 5 meters off the road in clear view of us. She was super relaxed with us but very concerned about the chance of predators stealing her kill and was looking around as well as getting up to make sure she and her cub were safe!
Lions will kill Cheetah as they are competition for food!
After what was a splendid sighting we let others have a look and moved on for what would be a very late lunch at 3pm! Wow, but we had had and amazing day and the Cheetah on a kill capped the day off.
Lunch was lovely and we had very little time after lunch to find any more animals but before we could exit the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve we did find more Elephants and Giraffe!
Wow what an amazing Durban day safari we had!
We made our way back to Durban very happy with how our Safari from Durban had gone!
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!
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.
Our 3 day safari from Durban began with two different pick ups on in Kloof, West of Durban city and the other in Warner beach, South of Durban.
After I had all my clients aboard we began the 3 hour journey (Safari) to the Cat rehabilitation centre where we would learn more about endangered African cats hands on!
I covered the usual history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and how each population group came to be in the area during the 3 hours we had on the road.
We arrived 15 minutes early for the Cat tour and in this time rested before a very exciting time seeing these amazing endangered African cats.
We first began with the African Wild cat then the Caracal before visiting the Cheetah for some hands on experience and then the Servals.
We also got to interact with Rain one of the new Cheetah cubs. We actually got to have here run around us playing with a soccer ball before she got interested in the male Cheetahs in the next enclosure.
We then made our way to the world famous Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and it was here we really began our safari from Durban.
We really had a good start with some Zebra and Warthog near the gate, as we continued we spotted some Buffalo in the distance and then a few Giraffe one of which with patients we were able to get to cross the road in front of us.
It was now time to make our way to Hilltop camp and it was time for a lovely lunch before I got word of Lions down south so I made the crazy call of rushing off down there to see if we could get lucky on our Durban safari and see them.
We rushed and spotted a lovely male Rhino which I had to stop for as he was about to mark his territory and this was amazing as I filmed it!
We continued on and then as we got to where the Lions were we heard they had just crossed the road and were heading up the hill on the other side. We rushed to get some look at them but all we really could see was bums and they were far away!
I did make a video just to show you that we saw them and took a picture at full zoom which was terrible but a Lion is a Lion and that’s that!
We were I think actually depressed at this point but we some how managed to find a huge herd of Elephant on our Durban safari and I saw they were moving fast to get to water so we waited for almost an hour in total for then to come out of the bushes into the open for us.
Finally they did and the sighting was amazing!
They even in the video crossed the road in front of us there was about 150 Elephants in total which was really special to see so many!
We also had another great experience with these Elephants and that was of them drinking which we had hoped we would see. It was really amazing as the one baby was also drinking from its mother at the same time as she was drinking water.
After an amazing experience we began the safari back to camp and we saw about 8 Rhinos on the way before we got back and I checked the clients into there rooms safely. Here they rested for a short while and then we met for dinner.
The other half of the group I was driving on this 3 day safari a colleague of mine was taking and we all met at dinner so it was very exciting for us all.
Dinner was amazing with the great selection at Hilltop camp and then I had to go to bed as after the Zulu dancing the staff did for us my eyes could stay open no longer.
Day 2 would be a new adventure in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
We began day 2 of our 3 day safari from Durban with breakfast and then headed down south to try our best at finding these Lions.
As we got down South we spotted a lovely dazzle of Zebra which were right next to the road and posing for us so this was a real African safari moment!
We moved on from them and found more Rhino to add to our list as well as lots of Impala the McDonalds of the bush!
This was a dominant male which was spraying urine to mark his territory.
As we crossed over the Umfolozi river I was hoping to see some big animals but instead we saw some Storks and a Nile Crocodile.
He was just resting on the sand and we saw him again later that day when we drove back past him during our Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
As we passed through Mpila camp we stopped for a break and after this we managed to find some Giraffe near the road. We spent some time watching them as they were feeding and moving around. We then left them and continued our Durban safari.
We then spotted a Leopard Tortoise crossing the road. We seemed to have great luck with animals crossing the road on this Safari from Durban. This little fella also had his tongue out of his mouth at us!
We got into the area where Lion had been seen but sadly they had moved off and we were left looking at Wildebeest, Impala, Kudu and Buffalo. We actually had a great sighting of Buffalo a huge herd near the road.
We stopped for lunch at the Centenary center where we also looked at some curios and then we spotted an animal I am very familiar with! It is one of those South African children with no children present! It was a new and interesting sighting as this Homo Sapien climbed up upon the back of the brace Black Rhino Statue at the Centenary centre and pretended to ride the Rhino like a bicycle!
I was very interested in this strange but new sighting for us. Lol
All jokes aside we them began to make our way back to Hilltop camp to have a little rest before the evening game drive safari. Before we could get there though we found a few bull Elephants and a herd of Elephant near the road.
We then arrived back at Hilltop camp and had about 1.5 hours before we would meet again for the evening open vehicle game drive. I was really hoping my clients would get to see these pesky Lions which had caused me so much stress during the 2 days to date.
A couple of my clients went through for an early dinner as did I, We then went to bed and the others came through later for some food.
We began our morning game drive safari at 6am in the hope that we would find these Lions again and a little bit closer. I was really happy to hear that my clients has seen the lions on the evening night drive.
This sort of relieved some of the pressure off my shoulders but only 4 of my 6 clients had take the game drive and seen the lions, this meant I had to find them.
After this amazing sun rise we continued and found a mother Rhino and calf with a Big male who was interested in her. She showed here displeasure and he shifted off but not before we got a photo of him crossing the road in front of us.
As we cruised around we stopped at one of the view points over the Hluhluwe river and I spotted something moving in the distance at another view point. I looked with my binoculars and it was lions. I literally told everyone to hold on as they were moving away from the river and we rushed around to where they were and luck for us we got to see them crossing and heading up a path. If we were 5 minutes later we would have seen nothing! I was really happy!
We then continued our 3 day Durban safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and tried to see what else we could find. We were luck as not much further along we spotted a Rhino drinking water and later a Buffalo bull full of Red billed Ox peckers on his back crossing the road in front of us.
Moving along we spotted Giraffe in the distance more Rhino, Buffalo and Impala. We had really been spoiled on this 3 day Durban safari tour that we were complaining we hadn’t seen a really good quality Elephant sighting since day one.
It wasn’t long and we spotted a Giraffe with a Little baby which was new for us and the a big Buffalo bull approached them it was interested to watch as the mother Giraffe just stared a him and he walked around them with not a bother in the world.
It was not time to head back to the lodge for some breakfast and then check out before a final dash down to St Lucia – Isimangeliso Weland Park to view Hippos and crocodiles from a boat. It was a lovely 2 hour boat cruise and at St Lucia we saw some really interesting things on this final stretch of our Durban safari tour.
First we spotted a Big Crocodile and caught an African Fish eagle in flight which was amazing!
We then had a couple of really interesting sighting. The first was of two Bull Buffaloes from the Eastern shores of Isimangeliso Wetland park which were walking in the estuary and the came across a crocodile which they approached and it just swam off before getting trampled on. I made a video of it below:
As we continued up stream we found lots of pods of Hippos and one was very interesting as his upper canines were growing out the side of the mouth instead of in the mouth! This was interesting and shows that even with some disability you can survive and be a big male.
After a great cruise on lake St Lucia we made our way into the town not before getting a group photo to remember the 3 days we had spent on safari together.
It was now time for some lunch and we enjoyed some seafood, steak and a few other bits and pieces. It was lovely and a great way to end the 3 days of our Durban safari tour.
It was now just a 2.5 hour drive back to Durban (Umhlanga) where I was dropping off my clients for a rest before a bit wedding. If you wish to be a part of one of these Durban safari tours contact Tim Brown – [email protected]
I met a couple of my clients in Durban city and the other in Durban north for their Durban 2 day safari to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve home of the Big 5 and many other species of animals.
It was a lovely hot day and we drove first to the cat rehabilitation center near Hluhluwe to interact with Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and African Wild cat.
It was pretty good as this time we got to interact with the adult cheetah and the new cubs of 6 months old.
The Serval were the most playful and I was lucky to have one take a liking to my boot.
Another one of these amazing cats poses so beautifully for me so I snapped away. It is always interesting and amazing to see how these creatures have special adaptations to live and hunt in different areas.
After spending some time with these cats our Durban 2 day safari moved on to the world famous Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve home to the Big 5 just not a well advertised as Kruger National park.
We began Giraffe and with a little patients we managed to get one to cross the road in front of us.
It was one of those hot days and they had just adjusted the gate times to 6am opening to 6pm closing which meant we needed to work really hard in the afternoon after lunch to find as many animals as possible.
We arrived at Hilltop camp after seeing Zebra, Giraffe, Buffalo and Rhino far away. It was time to enjoy some lunch and check in before a short rest and then at 15:30 head back out to see what we could find.
We had some amazing luck as their was Elephants every where! We saw them on hills, down at the river and even crossing the road right in front of us on 3 occasions! Of course we had to set this up and be patient but we were rewarded with great Elephant sightings.
With all of this amazing Elephant action in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve I thought I better make a short video so you can experience a taste of what my clients got to see!
You would think that after seeing all these Elephants on our Durban 2 day safari that we would not have seen much else but this afternoon as a real cracker and we did very well.
We got a Zebra crossing which is the real deal not those silly one painted in the cities!
We continued on to see what else we could find and to our surprise the amazing sightings kept coming! We were very close to seeing a Leopard as we spotted a Leopard Tortoise crossing the road. We watched him and waited till he crossed so we knew he was safe from the cars.
After this sighting we were heading out towards the gate so we could get better sightings of Rhino, We did but had a much better one later on which I will share the picture of. Near the gate we spotted Baboons grooming themselves near some Buffalo. It was really funny to watch them all.
Just in case you were wondering the red ugly bum of the baboon is because she is in season and ready to be mated with. It was very funny because after telling my clients about Baboon mating for fun one quickly hopped up and tried his luck with a female. It was a feeble attempted and she kept walking!
The Buffalo we saw were perfect in the sunlight and our Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari was beginning to take some shape!
The Buffalo picture I chose was lovely as he was peeping at us and munching on some leaves, wow what a great Durban safari!
Next for us was to check for Lions which I had found a couple days before but notices the female was lactating meaning she must have cubs hidden. We have seen her there for 2 weeks now with here sub adult children. We had no luck but got a great sighting of Rhino.
I usually never use picture like this one but it was just so interesting and different with the dust and sun setting behind them that I thought I would use it this time. Hope you like it.
We began the journey or shall I say safari back to the lodge of Hilltop camp where we would have a 30 min rest and have some dinner. It turned out to be a lovely evening and the stars were bright, dinner wasn’t half bad either!
After we had eaten I quickly did some star gazing with the clients. We looked at the Southern cross, Milky way, Orion and Taurus.
It was not time for bed we were all very tired but very happy with how day one of our 2 day Durban safari had gone.
We began day 2 with luggage collection and breakfast before checking out and making the most of our last 3 hour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 game reserve.
One of our first sighting was of a mother Giraffe and her calf.
Once we had finished watching them we continued on to see if we could find Lions we still had no luck on the cat front. We spotted another huge herd of Buffalo on our Durban 2 day safari.
As we continued we spotted some Zebra and Rhino in the distance but really we only had one thing left on our minds and that was those Lions! We did not give up on them and after 1,5 hours of the 3 hours gone we made a bold move and drove very fast down south to see if we could get lucky.
We actually found so many obstacles in our way like other vehicle and animals but we just had to keep our heads down to find these lions.
As we got into the Umfolozi section of the game reserve we came across an Elephant bull so we though 2 minuted with him would be fine before continuing on with our Safari.
Moving along we got stuck in traffic and I was trying my best to get around this car, as I over took it I looked over to the left probably to give the drive the beady eye and spotted 2 Black Rhinos not more than 30 meters from the road. I had no choice but to stop at this is a rare sighting the car behind must have been a bit upset with me until they too saw what we were looking at.
My clients later also looked onto the hills and spotted another 3 Black Rhinos, wow this was amazing stuff!
Notice on the Black Rhinos side the blood this is actually very common with Black Rhino and is a Parasitic infection. In Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve their are only 200 Black Rhino and in 10 minuted we had seen 5 of them.
Just up the road was what we had all been waiting for a pride of at least 9 Lions, 8 of which were visible in a Marula tree. I could not believe our luck, it was my Hluhluwe Tree climbing Lions in Umfolozi!
We spent 20 odd minutes with these amazing cats and then had to depart for St Lucia – Isimangeliso wetland park for our 2 hour boat cruise.
It was an hours drive which felt like 20 minutes after seeing so many amazing animals in the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. We really had been so lucky we were all so happy about our 2 day Durban safari.
We boarded our boat the Santa Lucia and enjoyed an almost private tour of the St Lucia estuary and wetlands. He we saw loads of Hippos and and couple of Crocodiles before we returned at the end of a very enjoyable 2 hour cruise.
My favorite was Hippos feeding off the reeds and which I also made a video of.
We made our way into St Lucia town for some lunch at the Ocean sizzler and then began the 2.5 hour drive back to Durban North and Durban respectively. We were all very happy with the way the 2 day Durban safari went and seemed to all have smiles for what nature put on show for us in the short time!
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.