It has been a dream to show off Durban and KwaZulu-Natal to the world.
Battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal – Anglo Zulu, Rorkes Drift, Isandlwana and Blood River
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve, Cat Rehabilitation and St Lucia iSimangaliso Wetland Park – Budget Package
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve, Cat Rehabilitation and St Lucia iSimangaliso Wetland Park – Standard Package
uKhlahlamba Drakensberg Hiking and Sightseeing Tour
Battlefields of KwaZulu-Natal – Anglo Zulu, Rorkes Drift, Isandlwana and Blood River
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve, Cat Rehabilitation and St Lucia iSimangaliso Wetland Park – Budget Package
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 Game Reserve, Cat Rehabilitation and St Lucia iSimangaliso Wetland Park – Standard Package
uKhlahlamba Drakensberg Hiking and Sightseeing Tour
I met my clients down in Durban near the harbour and it was here where we began our Durban 2 day safari to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve is the oldest national park in Africa and home to the Big 5, Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant!
Seeing the Big 5 is not the only attraction in on a Hluhluwe safari as we also have beautiful scenery and other animals like Giraffe and Zebra to mention a few.
We started at the Cat Rehabilitation center to interact with 4 endangered species of Cat namely the Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and African Wild Cat.
Here my client really had a blast as they loved cats.
We also got to interact with the Cheetah cubs on our Durban safari tour before we made our way into Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to see how many of the Big 5 we could spot in the 2 days.
Our game drive began very well and we spotted some Impala, Buffalo and Zebra before reaching Hilltop camp in Hluhluwe.
The Buffalo were a little further away but we managed one or two decent pictures of them before making our way to Hilltop camp for some lunch.
After lunch I check us in and got my clients to their room for 20 minuted before we headed back out onto Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to see if we could find more of the Big 5.
It was not long before we spotted a crash of three Rhino next to the road! This was awesome as we waiting and watched and we actually had them get quite close to us before they moved around us and we decided to let them enjoy their dry grass.
Our Big 5 safari from Durban was hotting up and we headed to the Hluhluwe river to see if we could find more animals down there. We did, We actually got out at a view sight and watched Rhino, Buffalo and Baboons in the river bed feeding, drinking and grooming! It was a great sight and it had a lovely view of the area!
We continued on and found more Buffalo, Nyala and Rhino before we had to start to make our way back so that my clients could catch the evening open vehicle safari from Hilltop camp.
As usual this would mean we would begin to see more animals to halt our progress, which I was not complaining about!
We had an awesome sighting of Elephant near to the road feeding and moving quickly over the area we were in. This was not the 3rd of the Big 5 that we had seen today!
After this amazing Elephant sighting we had to rush off to Hilltop camp but before we could get there my clients threw down a challenge and I accepted their challenge! It was to try find Giraffe and would you believe it we did! It was amazing, we spent another 2 minutes watching them before we could eventually get going to Hilltop camp for the evening safari tour.
Finally we arrived and we still had time to have a washroom break before the night safari! I would arrange dinner and my clients would be back at 8am for it. In the mean time I could get this work done on the Blog post and some emails that needed attending too.
Day two would hopefully be as good as the first and we were hoping to find a cat or two.
We met for a quick breakfast before a final 3 hour safari drive. It was one of those days when you just cannot believe your luck and when you seem to get almost everything you wanted.
I actually wanted to find the African Wild Dogs and Lions and within 30 minute I had located the Wild Dogs walking back to their den sight. The best part of this was we were the only vehicle the whole time to see them.
They had fat little bellies which meant they had fed and were going to give meet to the expectant mother.
We also came across all the usual suspects like the Rhino, Buffalo, Warthog, Impala, Nyala and Zebra before in the quest to find lions we hit the jackpot. We came round a bend in the road and in the long grass I spotted 3 heads poking up it was Lions! After a few seconds we spotted another 3 Lions resting on full view on the bank near by.
This was not the end of the action as a Big Buffalo bull walked straight into the resting Lions and I had the camera ready for the action! It was great as it was the day time the Lions knew it would be stupid to try take the Buffalo down when he can see them in case they get injured. An injury in the African bush can mean death!
The Buffalo made the Lions move and even in the second video gave them a grunt and stomp!
Just when you think things could not get any better we found on our trip out of Hluhluwe a mother and bay Rhino. The baby was running around as is he/she had drank some energy drink or something as eventually mom had to tell the baby off from playing hide and seen with here. It was and awesome sighting!
This was a super safari experience in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and we were so happy with the day to this point! We spent some time then with some Giraffe before make our way to St Lucia – Isimangaliso Wetland park for lunch and our 2 hour boat cruise to view Hippos and Crocodiles.
We had some lunch in St Lucia a restful town and the hopped on the boat. Again you never know what you will get on these cruises and we had seen 4 of the Big 5 in Hluhluwe Imfolozi in 24 hours and now wanted see how our luck would be here.
We began with Crocodile.
I them decided to save my pictures for the one moment I knew would come and even though we saw lots of Hippos the light and reflection was not the best. We spotted a African Fish Eagle with a fish it had caught so I snapped that picture.
It was now time for me to capture the moment we all had been waiting for! A Hippos raised itself out of the water and marked his territory before giving us the best pose you could get the mouth wide open! Wow this was a great Durban overnight safari!
Between the African Wild dogs the most endangered carnivore in Africa, the Lions who should have been sleeping and now this Hippo raising himself out of the water to display to us, I felt like we were in the Jungle Book!
It had been an amazing two days on Safari from Durban and we all returned to Durban with big smiles on our faces! Mr Luck as we called Cahel one of my clients had maybe brought some extra luck to my usual luck… Thanks mate!
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 Safari at our famous harbour where the Holland America ship docked and our 13 clients got off for a guided Safari.
We ended up going to St Lucia first where we got on board the boat for the estuary cruise to view Hippos and Crocodiles.
It was a great 2 hours on the St Lucia estuary and after we had docked we got back on the vehicle to head to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 Game reserve. Before we left though, we took a picture of a sign in St Lucia.
When we arrived at Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve we spotted a mother Rhino and her calf. We were in a rush to get to the lodge to check in and get the clients onto there evening open vehicle game drive.
Our next sighting was Warthog with her piglets and some Buffalo. All of these lovely sighting were going to make us late so we just stopped for a quick photo before moving on.
After we arrived at camp we quickly checked in and got the clients off the Holland America ship, onto the open vehicles for there night drive. As this was happening a storm was brewing and I was thinking “here we go..”
The rain eventually came and one of the vehicles came back early so we began dinner early while waiting for the others who came back drenched.
We got some entertainment as the staff came out and did some dancing and singing for us. It was great and then it was time for bed.
I was on wake up call duty and was up at 4am for 04:15 wake up calls. We got the clients down in time for there 5am open vehicle game drive before I headed to the conference centre to catch up on work.
They client got back just before 08:30 and we all had breakfast before checking out and heading to Emdoneni Cat rehabilitation center.
There was some drama to follow:
We first spotted some Zebra near the road as we made our Safari out.
As we continued our Safari from Durban we spotted a huge herd of Buffalo on the hill which we stopped to photograph.
It was at this point that we ended up with a Musth Bull Elephant on the road with a little are in front of us and a mini bus behind us. This Elephant was a little bit disturbed by all the noises of the vehicles and he came onto the road. Our driver tried to reverse his bus with the trailer at the back not very well.
At this point the little car in front decided to rev his engine and make a dart for it he only encouraged the Bull Elephant onto the road and frustrated him further.
It was at this point I instructed our diver to turn the engine off as we had no where to go and the diesel engine was just going to stress the Elephant out even more.
Unfortunately it was too late and the Elephant decided to touch our vehicle with his trunk and tusk. At least he did minimal damage…
We had lots to talk about on the drive to emdoneni.
When we got to Emdoneni cat rehab centre we enjoyed some interaction with the big cats and at the end the new cheetah cubs that have been brought in for breeding came out to play.
This was there first major interaction with a large group of humans so no touching was aloud. They were so beautiful and this really made our Durban Safari extra special, oh and the Elephant!
We then had to head back to Durban so it was back to the final questions on the few hours back to the Holland America Ship.
Our clients were great as they were so interested in the History that it made it easy for me to cover it in a structured manor.
We arrived back just before dark and that evening the Holland America Ship Sailed down to Port Elizabeth.
I collected my clients from a couple of different stops in the Durban area and after a briefing of the itinerary of the 2 day Durban Safari Tour we began our 3 hour drive to Emdoneni cat rehabilitation centre. (Hluhluwe)
On route I covered some of the major history of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa and some issues and concerns we have in South Africa moving forward as a democratic country. This is always a bit on “Sitting on the fence” but you learn how to get your point across over the years.
When we arrived at Emdoneni we began a lovely tour of the Cat rehabilitation centre to discover that the 2 new cheetah cubs will soon be available for interaction with the public. They will be used for breeding purposes and will not be released back into the wild.
We began with the African wild Cats which is almost a disappointment but this only makes it that much more special when you see the Caracal, Serval and the Cheetah.
The Cheetahs were a little agitated this day which was very unusual but we all had some time to interact with them before moving on to the Serval cats in another enclosure.
We always need to keep in mind that the cats we interact with will never be added back to the wild due to hand rearing etc and are merely being used as ambassadors for there specie in educating us on there plight in the wild.
After this part of our Durban Safari Tour we headed on to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. In 20 Minutes we were there and we entered the gate and very quickly saw 3 new born Impalas with there mothers. They would have only been 3 days old. Very exciting!
I didn’t take any great photos as they were so far away and lying down.
As we continued we hit the jackpot with a Crash of Rhino and herd of Buffalo resting and feeding next to one another.
After spending some quality time watching these amazing animals we continued on and found a warthog and a herd of Elephant in the distance. We were lucky as not far from there we got another Elephant closer to the road and then nailed 2 male Elephants crossing the road which was great for such a short time into a Durban Safari Tour.
After spending some time with the Elephants we moved on to the lodge for a late lunch and checked into the rooms. At 16:15 we headed back out with the luxury of an extra hour on the reserve due to the 1st November time changes for summer!
As we entered Hilltop camp we came across and endangered forest monkey, the Samango monkey. He was just posing in the tree for us.
I first wanted to follow up on the African wild dogs that we seen in the morning but they had not become active and were not visible from the roads, so we continued on and found a huge herd of Buffalo on and next to the road.
After enjoying the moans and groans of the Buffalo herd and all the odd stares we continued on to find a lovely herd of Elephant with some young babies. Unfortunately the mothers with the small babies kept moving away but the others hung around for a while.
After watching a young Elephant suckling and having a section of the herd cross the road in front of us we continued to the Hluhluwe river. We again spotted more Elephants and some down by the river.
We stopped at a view sight to see what we could spot and as the Elephants were a safe distance away we could enjoy them away from the noise and comfort of a vehicle. We just listened to the sounds of nature and feeding Elephants, one was even wallowing in the river.
Again another animal to add to the list was a Nile Crocodile basking on the river bank.
The sun was setting but that was not it for the day. As we continued on in low light we spotted a Red Duiker, Grey Duiker, Nyala, Zebra in the distance and even a Large spotted Genet.
As we drove back into the camp at 7pm I was so happy as in the tree as we drove in was a Thick Tailed Bush Baby which I haven’t seen so clearly for a while. Sadly no picture.
It was now time for dinner and we would need an early night due to a 04:45 start the next day on the open vehicle safari tour.
It had been a great Durban Safari Tour so far and we were hoping for much the same the following day.
At Dinner the staff got up and did some singing and dancing for us which my guests really enjoyed. This sort of this just adds that little bit extra touch to a stay in the African Bush. Very special experience.
It was time for bed.
We got up bright and early and I made sure the clients were awake and on the open vehicle game drive for 5am which I knew they would enjoy. If the just saw the same animals it would still have been an experience to be in an open vehicle in the African Bush.
They returned at 8am and we settled in for some breakfast.
After the morning open vehicle Safari my clients returned after a great experience and saw the same animals that we had already seen on our first day. Its always nice to have the open vehicle experience if possible and to see animals with out the windows on a Durban Safari.
We then had some breakfast and I popped out to see if I could locate any giraffe as the client were getting there bags ready before we left the lodge. I was lucky and located some Giraffe to show them after we left the lodge.
After enjoying our first journey of Giraffe we headed down South to see what else we could find on our way out of the game reserve of Hluhluwe Imfolozi.
We found more Warthogs with tiny babies and more giraffe.
Our Safari continued and we had a special sighting of a Female Baboon with a baby who was grooming the little one! It was a great sight to behold.
Durban Safaris can be very special and are well worth taking a guided Tour of the area to maximize the experience.
It was time to depart the famous Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. We began the one hour drive to St Lucia estuary in Isimangeliso Wetland park.
The clients took the opportunity to rest before the boat cruise to see Hippos and crocodiles.
Our first sighting at St Lucia was some Hippos and this lovely Crocodile.
As we continued up stream we spotted some beautiful pods of Hippos and were so lucky as on pod kept yawning so we could see the perfect Hippo Shot.
Our Safari Tour from Durban was coming to an end but we did stop in the town of St Lucia for some lunch before I drove my clients back to the big city of Durban.
Our Durban 3 Day Safari to the Big 5 – Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve began in Durban city where I met my clients at the Blue Waters Hotel.
Huhluwe Imfolozi game has amazing Flora and Fauna and is a very diverse game reserve. The seasons have an huge effect on this protected National Park and this time of the year is really dry and baron with almost no water except in the river systems. The National park of Hluhluwe Imfolozi is home to the Big 5: Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant. Being only 3 hours from Durban it is a must visit with a Guide if you are in the area!
As we drove up from Durban I educated the clients from Hong Kong on the history of Durban and KwaZulu-Natal as well as the history behind the national park.
It took us around 3 hours to get to the Nyalazi gate into the Umfolozi section of this Big 5 game reserve and we began our Hluhluwe Imfolozi Safari Tour.
The fires were a problem and we no doubt effecting game viewing but we still did very well and managed to find 3 of the Big 5 before lunch. Our first sighting was of this male Elephant near the gate.
We did try to find the cats but it was just too hot in as the southern section of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. We saw: Giraffe, Nyala, Buffalo, Rhino, Warthogs, Impala amongst other things like a slender mongoose.
After a while we decided to head back to the home of Operation Rhino – Centenary centre to have some lunch and a rest. My clients also bought a few things at the curio shop before we departed to Memorial gate to get to Emdoneni Cat Rehabilitation centre before 4pm.
We made it just in time to check in and then begin the feeding session. Basically there are two tours a day and the second in the afternoon is when they feed the cats cuts of meat mostly chicken or wild meats. We got to interact with 3 of the 4 different species of endangered wild cat namely: African Wild cat, Serval and the Cheetah.
After spending a good hour and a half with these amazing cats we returned to our rooms before dinner at 7pm.
Dinner was a lovely affair as there was a fire burning outside the restaurant and music playing inside making the atmosphere very pleasant.
I had chatted with my clients and we had made the decision to get breakfast packs and get up early to be at the Gate of Hluhluwe when it opened at 6am.
It was now time for some rest and we went to bed with alarms set very early!
At 05:30 we departed Emdoneni lodge for the Memorial gate which is the Northern gate into Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. We had immediate success and I knew today would be a good day!
We first spotted Zebra and Rhino within 20 minutes and then a large herd of Buffalo before 5 Rhinos greeted us on the main road before moving into the bush.
As we continues past all the burned sections from the run away Veld fire a couple days before we enjoyed the mist in the valleys and took a few photos. We also had some brilliant luck, as I was driving a herd a branch crack and stopped as I knew it sounded like Elephant. I was right and out of the misty thickets came a small herd of Elephant and crossed the road right in front of us!
We continued on to find another 2 herds of Elephant and a bachelor herd, Giraffe and Zebra amongst other species. It was turning out to be a great day of Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
As we made our way closer to the White Umfolozi river we spotted a large male White Rhino sleeping and after watching him for 2 minutes he jumped to alert and posed for a great photo.
After this the weirdest thing happened, I spotted an old giraffe male and every time he blinked tears would come out of his eye! I know Giraffe cannot cry so this must have been a result of the smoke or and eye infection.
Amazing stuff! I tried to take a picture but the tears fell so fast so I could only show the wet eye and a tear drop on the eyelash.
We made it down to Bhejane hide a hut which you can sit inside which overlooks a waterhole. This is an ideal spot as there is no other water in the immediate area. We had great luck as when we arrived 7 different species were at the Watering hole including: Elephant, Buffalo (2 of the Big 5), Zebra, Warthog, Nyala, Impala and Wildebeest. By the time I had taken a photo with my camera I could only get 3 species which is still amazing!
After we were done there we made our way around to find the Lions and lucky for us we were in luck and we spotted 3 Lioness on a ridge. What made this even better was that they got up and walked close to our vehicle to begin stalking Wildebeest. Of course a convoy of cars formed and kindly blocked the Lionesses path across the road so we left them to sort themselves out. It was a brilliant sighting though!
After we left the Lions we headed up to the centenary center for lunch. On route we spotted Giraffe, Buffalo, Baboons, Elephant and Rhino.
We settled in to have some lunch and then looked around the museum before we departed for Emdoneni lodge where we would also be staying the second night.
We all were very tired after a 9 hour Safari stint in the African Bush.
After a rest it was time for dinner and bed.
We began the final Durban day Safari with breakfast before we entered at memorial gate to find a pleasant surprise! Lions and Hyenas.
The whole reason was not so apparent as the Lions had made a kill of a Giraffe and the grass was so long that we could not see them or the kill until later on. What made it apparent was that a Journey of Giraffe approached and got very close to the Lionesses to see who they had killed! Very exciting!
The next thing when the Giraffe got close to the Lioness was very interesting as the Lioness moved away from the carcass and from the giraffes which were eyeing her up. Life over limb hey! Even a Lion has to be careful of the big feet of a Giraffe, a kick to the jaw could case the Lions death!
We continued out of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and with that it was the end of the the Bush Safari Experience, now it would be time for a Boat Safari Experience at St Lucia-Isimangeliso Wetland Park.
The boat cruise was 2 hours long and very enjoyable with great sightings of Hippos and Crocodile.
After St Lucia Estuarys Tour we heading into the Town for some lunch at The Ocean Sizzler and we all had some fish as its fresh being a coastal Town.
Then it was time to say good bye to the Safari from Durban and head back to the big city. We arrived back just after 6pm very happy after the 3 Days of Safari Touring in KwaZulu-Natal.
Our Durban overnight Safari to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve began in Umhlanga near Durban city where I met my clients.
On route to Huhluwe Imfolozi game reserve 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 is incredible and very interesting.The National park of Hluhluwe Imfolozi is home to the Big 5, Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant. Being only 3 hours from Durban it is a must visit with a Guide if you are in the area!
After a quick two and a half hours drive to Nyalazi gate we entered the Big 5 game reserve and we began our Hluhluwe Imfolozi Safari Tour.
I wasn’t sure what to expect as it was already hot at 28 degrees Celsius and this was winter. We headed south to try and find the big cats as the southern section of Hluhluwe Imfolozi is flatter and dryer. This turned out to be a good idea as we spotted Elephants, Rhino, Buffalo and Lions out of the Big 5. This wasn’t all as we saw Zebra, Giraffe, Nyala, Warthogs, Impala and a whole array of birdlife.
White Rhino rests on our Durban Safari from Durban
The Lion sighting was the most special as we worked so hard to find them and eventually we spotted them. The best part was we had the sighting to ourselves as the Male Lion wondered around looking at us and then a Lioness got up too and walked around before disappearing behind the grass.
After all of this excitement we headed back up north to the Centenary centre for some lunch, it was already 2pm but we had done so well we didn’t worry about that.
Our Safari from Durban had just begun as we headed up to Hilltop camp and realised that half the game reserve was burning down… Luckily the team at Hilltop camp had got control of the situation had the fire was being attended too.
On route to Hilltop camp we spotted more Rhinos, Giraffe and Zebra. Even the Baboons we out playing today! Our trip from Durban was well worth it!
We arrived at Hilltop camp and checked in to the lodge before an hour rest. At 16:30 we continued our Durban Safari and as we left we spotted a Black Rhino right outside the gate to Hilltop camp.
I couldn’t believe it!
We the moved on to do a Safari down by the river and it was here we spotted a mother and calf White Rhino near the road.
As the sun began to set the Night Jars came out and we spotted one on the road. It also stayed long enough for its photo to be taken.
It was amazing driving back to camp at dark as the fires we still smouldering and the glow looked incredible. We turned off the engine and listened to the sounds of the night. We even herd Elephants nearby breaking trees. It had been such an exciting Days Safari from Durban.
Sunset in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve
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.
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.
Dinner was great and we retired for the night. The following day we would look for more Elephants.
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 at 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.
Buffalo cow stares us down in Hluhluwe on our Safari Trip from Durban
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.
The boat cruise was amazing as usual and it was even better as we had a small group on board the boat. We had fantastic sightings of Hippos out of the water and Crocodiles. I also got a great photo of an African Fish Eagle.
Crocodile at St Lucia Estuary Isimangeliso Wetland park during our Big 5 Safari Tour from Durban
Pod of Hippos resting on the St Lucia Estuarys bank on our Tour from Durban
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!
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!
We began our Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve in Durban City where I collected my Clients some of which had run the Comrades South Africa’s major Ultra marathon from Pietermaritzburg to Durban.
I covered the usual things like the history of the area we were entering into and of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal. The history of Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve is always interesting as well as the Flora and Fauna in Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve.
We made good time and our first stop was a Cat rehabilitation centre outside Hluhluwe Town where you can interact with 4 different species of Cat, namely; Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and African Wild Cat.
The clients were lucky to get the photo taken with these majestic cats. This is always a good start to a 3 Day Durban Safari Tour because even the Big 5 Game reserve of Hluhluwe Umfolozi can at times cause problems with finding big cats, This Tour was not the case though!
After the Cat rehab centre we entered at Memorial gate duly named as there is a grave next to the gate and we began our Hluhluwe Umfolozi safari Tour.
We had immediate success as we got a Zebra crossing the road in front of the vehicle.
We continued a mere 200 meters before we found Elephants and Buffalo crossing the road too. It was like the animals can out especially for us in the heat of the day.
We must have had some good Ora for our Durban Safari Tour to be going so well.
First was the Buffalo crossing…
After the Buffalo had crossed we drove another 150 Meters and there was a second herd of Elephant crossing the road to the other side so we drove around and waiting on a dirt road for them to come around and the walked in front of us a second time! A great Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour…
We eventually got to Hilltop camp (Hluhluwe) where we began to settle in by having some lunch and checking in. After a great lunch and 40 odd minutes in the rooms we headed back out until gate closure at 6pm.
Our Day’s Safari Tour started with a female Giraffe with what looked like a broken leg and I could feel the mood drop in the vehicle after I said its nature and we don’t interfere. I wish that was always the case…
Our Hluhluwe Umfolozi safari tour continued and we headed out to the Hluhluwe River where we got out at a view site to look over the river at some Buffalo and we also spotted Hippos and a crocodile in the River. This was great! Durban Safari Tours are amazing if you are patient and lucky like we were.
Our Safari Tour continued and we spotted some Nyala females coming to the road and we adjusted the vehicle so they would cross in front of us. Later we also spotted a male Nyala on the Tour in Hluhluwe Section.
As our Hluhluwe Umfolozi safari tour continued we found an amazing sight! A big male white Rhino mud wallowing and then as he got out he rubbed himself for about 20 minutes on a rock which was once a sign. His rubbing became so elaborate that I had got myself some great pictures. See below what a great Rhino, What a great Durban Safari Tour.
After this I was so stoked at what we had seen that I though we could find anything even Lions that had moved away from the road… We spotted more Buffalo and Elephant before I got to this area. It was now dark and we had no chance unless these Lions came onto the road so we continued in the process driving right along side and Elephant in the dark. We moved past him and got back to Hilltop camp (Hluhluwe) after an amazing Day Safari from Durban. We arrived back at camp spot on 6pm and took a rest before dinner.
At dinner I think we were all tired and we rushed our meal down and then headed to bed after a great Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour from Durban.
Day 2 of our 3 Day overnight Big 5 Safari Tour from Durban to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve, Cat rehab and St Lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 3rd to 5th June 2014.
The next morning we slept in till 6am and met for a 7 am breakfast before heading down into the Umfolozi section of the Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve to continue our Durban Safari Tour.
We rushed down to save time and only stopped momentarily to look at a young Bull Elephant before a rest room break at Mpila Camp (umfolozi).
After this and a chat with a mate who told me that there were no cats where I was wanting to search, I decided to try another area and bang we came round a bend to a couple cars stopped and a pride of 4 Lions had killed a Wildebeest which the had wrapped around a tree next to the road. The Lions we hiding a big but after 20 minutes of waiting the showed themselves but did not feed on the carcass.
We were so lucky to see these Big cats on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour! We continued and saw a warthog, impala and Zebra only 50 meters from the Lions.
We decided to head to a “Hide” which is a secure area over looking a water point where you can sit quietly and watch what ever comes by. We saw a male Nyala who was beautiful come and drink.
Our Safari Tour of Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve was really going well but became quiet for a while at the sun baked down at 35 degrees Celsius(so much for winter).
We continued our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour and spotted some Living Wildebeest, Giraffe, Warthogs and loads of Impalas.
We also stopped to look at a Zebra and her foul near the road.
Lunch was beckoning so we made our way to Centenary centre home of operation Rhino in the 1950s and had some food there. The girls got cause up in the curio shop and there food got cold which was a great laugh…
We had to leave and continue our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour and we moved back into the Hluhluwe Section of the reserve where we found 2 male Elephants crossing the road again!
Arriving back we got the tickets for the evening game drive and took a rest before that would take place from 5pm – 8pm.
When my clients returned at 8pm they were cold and hadn’t seen too many new things except Genets and Owls.
It was time for a warm dinner and bed.
Day 3 of our 3 Day overnight Big 5 Safari Tour from Durban to Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve, Cat rehab and St Lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 3rd to 5th June 2014.
We got up at 6am and met before 7am to pack the bags into the vehicle before heading off to have some breakfast at Hilltop camps restaurant.
After breakfast we quickly checked out and made our way out onto the reserve for our last 3 hours of Safari Touring before we would depart for St Lucia – Isimangeliso Wetland Park.
We had some good luck with this big male Elephant right next to the road dust bathing. He wasn’t the least bit interested in us.
After this great sighting we continued to as many view sights overlooking the river as possible it turned out to be a good choice as we came across a Big Elephant bull crossing the Hluhluwe River.
Durban Safari Tours really can be a treat!
Before we left for Isimangeliso Wetland Park the clients wanted to see Giraffe one more time and we nailed it! We got this beautiful old male which slowly walked closer to the road and with a bit of vehicle manipulation we got it to cross in front of us.
After enjoying the Giraffe and spotting a few more species it was time to end our 3rd Day Safari Tour in Hluhluwe Umfolozi and head to Isimangeliso wetland park for a 2 hour boat cruise on the St Lucia Estuary.
We arrived and had to wait for a group of students to arrive which were 30 minutes late(African Time-lol) Once we got going it was a real Safari Tour treat as we spotted Water Monitor Lizards mating as well as Fish eagles! I was so frustrated with myself as I left my camera in the car! So sorry no pictures on that you will just have to trust me!
After the Safari Tour on the Boat at St Lucia Estuary we headed into St Lucia town to get some lunch at Ocean Sizzler which was great as always. They do the best food and the best portions for your money!
We then had to begin the long trip back to Durban and the rain decided it was going to fall which slowed us down a bit. All in all it was a great Hluhluwe Umfolozi safari Tour.
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.