It has been a dream to show off Durban and KwaZulu-Natal to the world.
Battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal – Anglo Zulu, Rorkes Drift, Isandlwana and Blood River
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve, Cat Rehabilitation and St Lucia iSimangaliso Wetland Park – Budget Package
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve, Cat Rehabilitation and St Lucia iSimangaliso Wetland Park – Standard Package
uKhlahlamba Drakensberg Hiking and Sightseeing Tour
Battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal – Anglo Zulu, Rorkes Drift, Isandlwana and Blood River
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve, Cat Rehabilitation and St Lucia iSimangaliso Wetland Park – Budget Package
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve, Cat Rehabilitation and St Lucia iSimangaliso Wetland Park – Standard Package
uKhlahlamba Drakensberg Hiking and Sightseeing Tour
Our Durban tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve began in Durban where I met my clients and we made our way to the Cat rehabilitation to interact with Cheetah hands on.
Once we had experienced this amazing place we headed into Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve only 20 minutes away.
It was a hot day and the mercury crept up to 35 degrees, this of course meant game viewing was a little quiet at the start until the afternoon.
We stopped at a view point however overlooking the Hluhluwe river and spotted three different species the Buffalo, Nyala and Baboons.
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 in Durban city and this was where we would begin our Durban 3 day overnight safari tour. After the general introductions the 5 of us began this amazing 3 day safari from Durban.
I began some free flowing conversation about the History of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa which is always worth a listen, well I think so!
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.
The clients always love this part of the tour and it add so much more to the whole safari experience from Durban.
After we finished at the Cat rehabilitation center we drove 20 minutes to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and entered at the Memorial gate.
It was here we entered and within a few minutes we spotted Baboons near the road and some crossing.
Our safari from Durban had truly began and it was not long before we spotted even more animals! We spotted first a single bull Elephant and by watching him we found a herd of Elephant walking from a drainage line through a dip onto the open plain!
After enjoying these Elephants we continued and spotted some Giraffe which we were all excited about as it is one of the big animals that clients always want to see. We spotted a baby with a mother and a couple other female Giraffe.
We were on our way up to Hilltop camp where we would be staying for the 2 nights and it was not easy to get there as we kept seeing animals which of course we were not complaining about. We had another sighting of a small breeding herd of Elephant and it was great.
We eventually made it up to camp and settled in for some lunch most of us having the Bunny chow before heading to the rooms for a short while. I them met my clients and 3 of the 4 did the open vehicle game drive leaving myself and Jan to spend about 1 hour doing our own Ferrari safari(fast one).
We headed out and with the cloud building up it was a little dark but we still spotted a herd of Elephant on the hill near the camp.
The lighting on one Elephant was amazing and after enjoying the view we continued seeing almost nothing except Nyala as it was so dark and windy. We then got back onto the main road and had some amazing luck as we found a lone African wild dog the most endangered carnivore in Africa.
The picture was not good as it was so dark and he was running down the road so I made a video clip in the hope that it would work out better.
It was now time to get back to camp and wait on the others arrival from there evening open vehicle safari. I was glad to hear when they got back that the did see African Wild dog so we all had seen the same things.
It was time for dinner and we all enjoyed what we wanted off the menu and then headed off to bed after a long but great safari from Durban. Day 2 of our safari I was sure would be just as good as day 1.
We met for a 7am breakfast before departing the lodge at 07:30. We would be heading into the Umfolozi section to see if we could get lucky with cats and any other animals.
Our first sighting was of Rhino which was not a good as I hoped but as I always say a Rhino is a Rhino!
We enjoyed the Rhino mother and calf for while before continuing our safari from Durban. It was interesting as we managed to spot some great animal behaviour a bit later on when we found a White backed Vulture breaking a twig and then flying into a tree with it clearly looking to build a nest. This you don’t see often!
As we continued further south we found a dazzle of Zebra and got some to cross the road in front of us before finding some Giraffe just before the Umfolozi river.
At the river itself we managed to spot some Elephants up stream just on the edge of the river and they were not really doing much except flapping their ears to cool off. It was already 27 degrees and this is our winter.
Driving on with our safari from Durban we were enjoying the views when we found 5 Buffalo bulls resting near to the road and just chewing the cud. It was a great site and they completely ignored us as normal.
We stopped for a rest room break and here we enjoyed watching some warthogs. We then went through a very frustrating patch where we spotted lots on Impala, warthogs and animals in the distance but nothing close. I got word that Lions had been seen earlier in the morning so I decided to give it a bash and see if we could relocate them. We were successful and it was an amazing sighting as we watched a Lioness and her sub adult male cub resting with each other clearly fat and full from eating something!
Wow what a great day it had just turned out to be on our safari from Durban! We then watch the adult Lioness get up and walk away from her cub and I managed to get this on video before the male gave us a lovely glance.
We must have spend 30 minuted with these lovely Lions before beginning the long drive to the luncheon stop at the Centenary center, home of Operation Rhino which brought back the White Rhinos from Extinction.
The drive back was very quiet until we got to the Umfolozi river and spotted more Elephants.
Before we could get to lunch we spotted some Giraffe with a huge herd of Impalas which at this stage we were a little tired of seeing. The Giraffe male came very close to the road showing us his 45cm long tongue as he ate the acacia tree leaves.
We stopped for lunch and had a great meal before a look around the Museum and the curio shop respectively. Once all were done we began the hour long drive back to Hilltop camp to book the clients on the evening open vehicle game drive. Our safari from Durban had gone really well today and we met again just before the evening game drive and then at 8pm for some dinner.
The next day would be again a 7am start with some breakfast and checking out before some game drive time and then heading on to St Lucia -Isimangeliso Wetland park for our 2 hour boat cruise to view Hippos and crocodiles.
We managed to finally get a great sighting of Rhino and we had 3 of them together on the road and in an open area which was very exciting. We watched them doing their thing and then moved on to find Buffalo and some Zebra before we needed to make our way out of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to go to St Lucia.
We were super lucky when we were at St Lucia and apart from the lots of Hippos and a Crocodile we saw we managed to spot the elusive Bull Shark which is found in the St Lucia Estuary.
Our Hippos sightings were very good and we managed to get some out of the water and one which was feeding on the reeds near the bank of St Lucia estuary.
After a great 3 days of Safari from Durban it was time to grab some lunch and chat about how amazing a safari we had and then make our way back to Durban city.
My clients were sad to leave the Nature behind but I am sure they will be back in the future to see it all again. Africa has a way of pulling at your heart strings!
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.
We began our 2 day safari tour from Durban in the big city where I collected my clients from their hotel. We drove for an hour and a half before a pit stop and in this time I covered some of the major history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa.
When we continued I covered a bit more and then we arrived at the Cat rehabilitation centre in Hluhluwe called Emdoneni. Here we took a guided tour around the rehab and interacted with 4 endangered species of cat namely the African wild cat, Serval, Caracal and Cheetah.
It seemed the cats were quite relaxed today and all of them were resting even though it was only 29 degrees.
The Serval were great fun as well until one of the other clients there left the gate open between enclosures and Gerry had a hard time of trying to get one of the cats back.
We then departed the Cat rehab centre and made our way the last 20 minutes to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve the oldest protected area in Africa.
Here we entered and had immediate luck in spotting Buffalo and Zebra.
The Buffalo were crossing the road and some in a mud wallow so we watched them for a while before moving on with our Durban safari tour.
Then one of my clients spotted something on a hill under a tree and we looked to see what it was and it was a pair of Giraffe resting in the shade of a tree. It was a great spotting!
We moved on to get to Hilltop camp for some lunch and had one move very cool sighting of a huge herd of Buffalo in the mud and some Vultures feeding off a carcass.
This was an amazing start to our 2 day Durban safari tour.
We then made our way round to Hilltop camp and my clients were blown away by the view as it is really beautiful. After some good food and a quick check in I got my clients to their room for a rest before we would meet again at 4pm for a game drive to see what else we could find.
At 4pm we headed back out and half an hour where it was very quiet. The great thing was this was to change fast!
We spotted some Elephants on a hill in the distance and we watched them for a short while before we continued on our Durban safari tour.
Next we spotted a White Rhino which was heading towards the road so with a bit of time he crossed and marked his territory on the road in front of us. It was great to see him do this.
As we continued we spotted a Nile Crocodile at the rivers edge after we were looking for a monitor Lizard.
The next amazing sighting was of an African fish eagle in flight usually a pain to get a good photo of but I got it and was pretty happy with the photo.
We actually then spotted a Lioness down by the river but she was a flat cat so we moved on after a while and decided to return later when the sun was on its way down. Before we got back we spotted our Elephants again a bit closer and relocated Giraffe from the morning.
What a great Durban safari tour this was turning out to be! We also spotted some Baboons grooming themselves on the road and they looked so funny as they cleaned each other!
It was time to return to our Lions and we got there just before it was to dark for photos and saw them actually 4 of them resting now with their heads up looking at us every so often.
This really was a special day in Africa on a Durban safari tour.
On route back to the lodge in the dark we spotted a Hyena which was on the road and was huge it must have been a female as they are much bigger than males. Unfortunately the photos didn’t come out in the dark so we just headed back to camp where we settled in for some dinner and a well deserved rest.
We began our second day with some lovely breakfast before checking out and heading to an area we had not been to yet.
On route to the south we found some great sights one of which was these Rhinos on our Durban safari tour.
I almost forgot this amazing sighting of a Half Collared Kingfisher which we saw at one of the river crossing as we were trying so hard to find a monitor lizard for one of my clients Miska.
The picture came out beautifully on this Durban safari tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
Next was a great sighting of Zebra in an open plain with two young fouls which were relaxing with their mothers feeding on the grass. It was great to watch them as they were eating the tops of the grass which is exactly what these amazing creatures do.
Seeing Zebras on our Durban safari tours is always great as it is one of the animals that clients love to see.
We then moved on spotting some Impala and Nyala before finding some amazing Giraffe, they were close to the road and after 10 minuted the actually crossed the road so we could enjoy their beauty. They are such graceful animals and everyone of my client had them at the top of their list to see on a Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari tour.
We continued down into the Umfolozi section of the game reserve and found that their was Lions in a tree just near the gate. The only problem was the distance it was so far that even in a full zoom on my good little camera it was not easy to see!
Hluhluwe has these tree climbing Lions which are amazing it is not common behaviour for adult lions to climb trees.
It was not time to depart Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and begin the hour long trip to St Lucia wetland – Isimangeliso wetland park east of the game reserve. Isimangeliso wetland park is more than 3 x the size of Hluhluwe Imfolozi. It is huge!
When we arrived we popped into the town so that one of my clients could buy a new camera and also to do a spot of shopping at the craft markets.
After we were done we got onto the Santa Lucia boat and cruised the estuary to view hundreds of Hippos and a couple of Crocodiles. This is always a hit with the clients on our Durban safari tours.
One of the best sightings for me was this Giant Kingfisher siting in a White Mangrove tree on the shoreline! They are such large birds and feed almost entirely on fish.
So this was not the end of what had been an amazing 2 day Durban safari tour and we only had to have some lunch in St Lucia town before heading the 2.5 hours back to Durban where I dropped my happy clients off at their hotel.
Durban safari tours are always best done with a qualified guide as you will see a lot more than in you were to go on your own and your guide will unwrap the intricate history and culture to you during your time.
Safaris from Durban are amazing, join Tim Brown Tours on your next trip to South Africa for an unforgettable experience!
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.
We began our Durban day safari at one of the Durban Beach front hotel where I collected my clients from. After a briefing of the days itinerary we began our 3 hours drive from Durban city to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. If you are looking for a Safari near Durban, Hluhluwe Imfolozi is the place to go as it is also a Big 5 game reserve. The term “Big 5” comes from hunters which historically named the 5 most dangerous animals to hunt on foot. Today on our Safaris we still call these animals the “Big 5” as they are some of the most sort after animals to see on a Durban Safari Tour.
After a short stop I continued to talk about the history of Durban and KwaZulu-Natal to the clients which is all part of a Tour guides job an very important in making sure our clients always leave having learned something and experienced nature.
We arrived at Hluhluwe Imfolozi with the promise of Lions on a kill near the gate, sadly the Lions had dragged the carcass into some thick bush and we saw nothing.
As we continued we spotted some Buffalo of a hill near where the Lions had been spotted in the morning.
We continued on to look for more animals and had great luck is spotting a mother White Rhino and her calf, the best part was the calf walked over to a territorial males dung midden and defecated on top of it. He however did not break it up with his feet meaning he was showing submission so he could walk through to drink water safely.
We also came across some Vervet Monkeys and Baboons in the next half an hour which were very playful. Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve is a great place to do a Safari near Durban.
After enjoying these lively characters playing and drinking we also had the good fortune of spotting some Giraffe on our Durban day safari tour. There a a fair number of them but I chose only one picture of this mother and calf.
We decided to stop of some lunch and take a break from all the Safari Driving. We had lunch at Hilltop camp one of my favorite places as they have an amazing view over the Hluhluwe section of the reserve. This view can make a Durban day Safari that much more special when you mix in all the different animals we see as well.
After lunch we had to make a decision as to where to look for animals, we chose to head towards the gate in the east where Elephant had been see earlier in the day.
We continued to tick animals off the Safari list like Warthog, Impala, Nyala, Wildebeest and Zebra.
We were very lucky again to see more Giraffe and then Rhino resting near the road a mother with her calf. Its sightings like this which really make a Durban day Safari so special and is a sight for sore eyes!
We were now running out of time and still had no luck with Elephant which was starting to frustrate me a lot… This sadly can happen when the weather is colder but you just have to remember it is not a Zoo and the animals will either show up or not, it is in there hands not ours…
Close to the game we spotted a variety of animals Nyala, Impala and Warthogs before checking the Umfolozi river for any signs of Lions. We did find tracks of Lions from the morning but no luck with seeing any.
It was time to begin our 3 hour trek back to Durban after yet another satisfying Durban Day Safari to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
We were all fairly happy apart from not having found Elephant which we usually do on a Durban Day Safari, unfortunately that is the way the cookie crumbles…
The clients all fell asleep on the way home as they had a bit of jet-lag and two of the kids had a chess game the next day in Durban of the World Chess youth Championships.
We arrived back well after dark and some tired bodies left my vehicle. Still this had been a good Safari from Durban.
It was a beautiful winter day when I collected my clients from a Durban hotel. They would be spending 4 Days with me but the first 3 days would be a 3 day Big 5 Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve situated near Durban. My clients were from Washington DC and out for a holiday after a business trip to our city of Durban.
It is common to find travelers visiting Durban for conferences and business and then realising that there is so much to do here in Durban. Sadly Durban is not as well advertised as Cape Town, Joburg or Kruger National Park. Those are the usual places people have heard of an visit!
After covering some of the history of our amazing country, South Africa and City of Durban it was time to look at the History around the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and the Cat rehabilitation centre we would first be visiting.
Emdoneni Cat rehabilitation centre opened its doors in the early 1990’s to help endangered cats like Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and African Wild Cat increase there numbers. At this stage no success with Cheetah but plenty with the other endangered cats.
I am pleased to say that Tim Brown Tours supports this project by bringing our clients their as the entrance fee’s go to the aid of these amazing cats.
Once we had spent some time with these majestic cats we headed on into the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve which is only 20 minutes away from Emdoneni.
Upon entering through Memorial gate into this World Famous and historical game reserve, being the oldest in Africa we had immediate success. We spotted: Rhino, Buffalo, Zebra, Nyala and Warthogs in a matter on 10 minutes.
Most of these sightings were not brilliant but still were great. We moved on to Hilltop camp where we had some lunch and checked in before getting back onto the reserve to see what other animals we could find.
After spending some time driving around and watching animals from far, we decided to stop at a view point to look over the Hluhluwe River. He we spotted this large crocodile.
We continued on with our Durban Big 5 Safari and an old Buffalo bull feeding near to the road. This was the best sighting we had to this point of a Buffalo.
After enjoying this Buffalo feed we continued a short distance before we spotted a mother Rhino and her calf. We spent some good time watching them and witnessed the baby eating its mothers dung and suckling. The eating of mother dung in White Rhino is common as the babies do not have the enzymes in there stomach to digest the grass naturally. They therefore have to eat mothers dung to get the enzymes into there intestine to digest the grass they are feeding on.
We made our way back to the main road and we lucky enough to have a sighting on Lions on a Rocky hill, sadly it was not the best sighting but a Lion is a Lion in my book! Our Durban Big 5 Safari had started to get really exciting with 3 of the Big 5 Spotted on the first day.
We made our way round to find some Giraffe which we did and then had to turn back to get to our lodge before curfew. Over all our Durban Safari Today had been great for a start and with a 6am start the next day we would hopefully find more exciting Big 5 species and general game.
We then met for some star gazing and then dinner which was lovely as always before some sleep. It is fine if the mind goes on safari at night but the body must rest to keep fresh for the next day’s safari.
I met my clients on Day 2 at 6am and we departed for a full day safari, we would be heading down south into the reserve to see what we could find.
Our Safari from Durban had already been very successful but we hadn’t yet seen Elephants and of course seeing an Elephant is a big thing on a Safari as it is one of the Big 5.
We had a quiet start with lots of Zebra and Giraffe. Our first major sighting was a male Giraffe near to the road in the Umfolozi section of the game reserve.
We also had great luck as I spotted a Hyena crossing the road and walking through the bushes into the scrub. This was really exciting for us all.
As we continued our Big 5 Durban Safari we came across a lovely sighting of a mother Rhino and her calf near the road. We had seen the same the day before but this was a much closer sighting and very enjoyable.
As we continued with our safari we came across more Giraffe and Rhino before we stopped at a “Hide” to see what animals came to drink. A “Hide” is a hut which overlooks a watering hole where people are supposed to sit in silence and see what animals come down to drink.
We were lucky as we got to see Zebra, Nyala and Warthogs come and drink in half an hour.
As we left the hide and continued our Safari we spotted some Wildebeest and we got them to cross the road in front of us. We were luck enough to also have a real Zebra crossing!
The Zebras are in great condition even though we have had a hard winter with fires and little good grass for grazing in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
As we began the long journey back to the luncheon stop we found our first Elephant in the Umfolozi River feeding on the reeds. We enjoyed him for a while and a small Water Monitor lizard before continuing on.
We stopped for lunch at midday and enjoyed some good food before continuing to look for Elephants we were in luck on this Safari from Durban!
Near the gate we spotted one Bull Elephant and then another two Bull Elephants. Now two out of these three Elephants had 5 legs! I will let you think about it!
These three Elephant Bulls came together and began to drink water near the gate. We got out to the safety of the main building to watch them and we also spotted Giraffe and Zebra in the same area.
The Elephants actually got into some great positions to use there flexible trunks to reach the water in this drain and I got a great photo.
It had now been 8 hours of Safari and it was time to make our way back to the camp for a rest before dinner.
What a great second day on our Big 5 Durban Safari to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
It was now time for bed as we needed some rest, the 3rd day of our Durban Safari would entail: Breakfast, checkout, 3 hour Hluhluwe imfolozi Safari and a 2 hour boat Cruise at St Lucia- Isimangeliso Wetland Park.
We began just before 7am and came through for some breakfast before checking out and starting our last 3 hour Big 5 Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
The 3 hours were great and we basically recapped on animals seen already. Unfortunately we did not find any more cats so we had to be happy with the one sighting of these amazing creatures.
One of our first sightings was this herd of Buffalos; I got a picture of the one young female.
As we continued we found a couple of Elephants that crossed the road and disappeared into the thickets before we could get a decent photo. We headed down towards the Umfolozi river via Seme and MaQanda on route we found Rhino and some Nyalas with new born babies. The one male was already checking to see if the female was ready for mating.
As we got closer to the Umfolozi River we spotted lots of Giraffe and Zebra.
It was now time to turn back to the Nyalazi gate and end the Big 5 Safari part of our Tour. We departed and headed to St Lucia Estuary – Isimageliso Wetland Park for our 2 hour Hippo and Crocodile boat Tour.
It was windy but we saw loads of Hippos and a few Crocodiles including Fish Eagles.
As we continued up the Estuary of St Lucia we soon spotted this Fish Eagle in a Tree scouting out for fish.
It was really only at the top of the Estuary that we got the best sightings of Hippos and we even got some Hippos out the water on the sand bank.
After we finished with the 2 hour boat Tour we headed into St Lucia town and had some lunch before departing for Durban City.
Durban is almost 3 hours away from St Lucia and we were already tired so we stopped a couple times along the way to freshen up.
Our 3 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour had been really successful and we all enjoyed the amazing sights from the Stars at night to the animals in the day. Not to mention the Hyena calling at night near Hilltop camp.
If you are interested in this or one of our other Durban Safaris or Durban Tours contact me through the online booking form of inquiry form and I will try to make you Safari/Tour just as exciting!
Our Durban Safari to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve began in Durban city where I met my clients.
On route to Huhluwe Imfolozi I covered the usual things like the history of Durban and KwaZulu-Natal as well as the national park. The Flora and Fauna of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve amazing and very interesting, from the Lions to the Ant Lion the National park of Hluhluwe Imfolozi has is all.
Our first stop was the Cat rehabilitation centre outside Hluhluwe Town called Emdoneni where you can interact with 4 different species of Cat; Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and African Wild Cat.
The clients loved this and this is always a good start to a Durban Safari. The Big 5 of Hluhluwe Imfolozi can at times cause problems but mostly the big cats, Lions and Leopards. We were lucky this Safari to find Lions!
We entered at Memorial gate and we began our Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari.
As the day was warm and it was the middle of the Day we didn’t see a huge amount but what we did see was enough to keep us going until lunch.
As we pulled into Hilltop camp we spotted these Baboons feeding away in the camp not bothered at all by use being near to them.
It was time for some lunch and after lunch we checked in and decided to go back out at 3pm to till 6pm to see what animals we could find on our Safari in Hluhluwe.
We drove the Hluhluwe section of the game reserve and found Hippos in the Hluhluwe River as well as some White Rhinos near and even crossing the road.
The view over the Hluhluwe River at any time of the year is spectacular but in winter when we get very little rain it is always nice to see it looking so good.
Durban Safaris are not complete if you do not visit the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve which is Africa’s Oldest and home to Operation Rhino in the 1950’s.
As we continued on we spotted some Giraffe, Buffalo and even an Elephant Bull which had walked over the electric wires into the car park to feed off the Acacia tress. This time of the year being winter the grass is so dry that Elephants turn there attentions to eating more trees, bark and leaves.
It was time to get back to the lodge for some dinner and rest after what was a great day in the African bush on our Durban Safari to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
I had arranged breakfast packs for us for the next morning so we could leave at the crack of Dawn, 6am and get down into the Umfolozi section of the reserve to try and find cats.
The Umfolozi section is a little flatter; it gets less rain and therefore makes it easier for spotting Cats.
Once we got going we spotted a few giraffe which was great.
We had a fairly quiet time of it until we stopped at Bhejane hide. Bhejane hide is a hut which is set up over looking a watering hole where people can observe animals coming to drink water or mud wallow.
We spotted Zebra, Nyala, Wildebeest, Warthog, Impala and Giraffe in the hour we spent there!
This is always a real highlight of a Hluhluwe Imfolozi Safari as you know when its so dry animals have to drinks and anything can come and visit the watering hole.
Once we had absorbed as much as we could we drove off to find lions which I had got word of from a friend of mine. We made our way there and found 2 Lionesses resting on the hill across the other side of the White Umfolozi River.
Being so far away we didn’t spend to long with them and we moved on to get some lunch at the Centenary centre near to the Nyalazi gate.
Here we ate and refreshed ourselves with a spot of curio shopping before heading back to Hilltop camp.
We rested for an hour and a half before going back onto the game reserve to see what else we could find.
Lucky for us our Safari began well with some Buffalo, Rhino and Elephant!
After 2 hours of Safari time we went back to Hilltop camp for some dinner and after dinner I did some star gazing with the clients using my Laser Pointer.
We were all very tired so it was another early night after 10 hours of Safari in the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
After waking up and getting a buffet breakfast we checked out and began our final 3 hour game drive Safari in the reserve.
Our Safari Tour of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve was really going well to this point and now it was the matter of putting the finishing touches on before we headed to Isimangeliso Wetland Park for our St Lucia boat cruise.
We spotted Elephant again and a lovely mother and foul Zebra on a burned section of land.
After spotting a few other species we had to call it a day and leave for St Lucia. Before we could leave though there was a surprise waiting at the gate! 2 Bull Elephants had crossed the road in front of us and made there way to the gate were there was some fresh water from the run off of the drains.
Finally we got going to St Lucia – Isimangeliso Wetland Park.
Our Safari Tour from Durban was not yet complete as we had a 2 hour boat cruise on the World heritage site’s Estuary of St Lucia.
We spotted load off crocodiles and Hippos on this tour and we all enjoyed it!
Lunch was calling after the boat cruise and we went to my favourite restaurant in St Lucia – Ocean Sizzler where we all had fresh fish!
After lunch we had to leave and continue Safari Tour, Sadly for us all it was back to Durban city!
We had all had such a great time in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve on our Safari from Durban and had so many memories to take back with us!
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.