Isimangaliso wetland park Archives - Tim Brown Tours
  • 27th May 2016

    Our Durban safari tour began in the city where I collected my clients and we made our way towards the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve my favorite protected area in Africa.

  • 4th Dec 2015

    We began our St Lucia Wetlands tour later than normal at 10:30 am in Durban and made our way up to St Lucia aka Isimangaliso Wetland park. I had been collecting my clients off the cruise ship the Oceana Nautica in Durban and we began our trek to St Lucia stopping for lunch on the road.

  • 1st Dec 2015

    We began our St Lucia wetlands tour in Durban where I collected my clients and we ventured in KwaZulu Natal my favourite province to tour!

    I covered the history of the area and tried to ensure my clients felt that they understood South Africa and its people from many perspectives. 

    We arrived in St Lucia wetlands or as its known now as Isimangaliso wetland park and began a 2 hour boat cruise on the St Lucia estuary which is a World heritage site and home to 4 of the big 5 as well as Hippos, Crocodiles and Sharks to name but a few.

    I am truly blessed to live in such an amazing country and honoured to show off what we have to clients from all over the world.

  • 28th Nov 2015

    We began our 4 day Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve safari in Durban on the 23rd November 2015 and made our way to a Cat rehabilitation center to interact with Cheetah hands on.

    This project releases and breeds endangered wild cats in order to increase the numbers in the wild in game reserves like Hluhluwe Imfolozi.

    I covered the usual history of Durban and KwaZulu Natal before we arrived in Hluhluwe and our tour began.

  • 18th Nov 2015

    It was to be quite an interesting African overnight safari tour! Right from the outset my clients which were arriving on a cruise ship were forced into being late due to bad weather off the coast and this could have been a big problem had we had other clients on the same tour. Fortunately it was just this couple and we could be very flexible enabling what turned out to be a great African overnight safari tour.

    We departed Durban a little later and decided to skip visiting the Cat rehabilitation center to give us more time in the game reserve of Hluhluwe Imfolozi.

  • 14th Sep 2015

    I met my clients in Durban for our 3 day safari to the Big 5 Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and we began our safari. I covered some of the major history of South Africa, KwaZulu Natal and Durban before we stopped for coffee and to stretch our legs.

    Once we were done we made our way to the Cat rehabilitation center where we interacted with Cheetah and three other species of endangered or threatened cats.

  • 6th Aug 2015

    Big 5 safari from Durban for 2 days

     

    I met my clients in Durban for their Big 5 safari just outside Durban to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve which is world famous for its Rhino breeding success through the 1950’s.

    We are truly blessed to have such an amazing Big 5 game reserve near Durban which in my opinion is just as good if not better than Kruger national park.

     

    Kruger National park may be bigger but it is not as scenic as Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve one of the main features all my clients point out!

     

    As usual I covered the History of KwaZulu Natal, South Africa on route to the Hluhluwe Imfolozi national park as well as anything we saw through Zululand.

     

    As we got further into Zululand we stopped at a Cat rehabilitation center to enjoy some interaction with 4 species of endangered cats, the most exciting being Cheetah!

    My client of course loved it being big cat fans.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Serval

    Big 5 safari Durban; Serval

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Servals are very relaxed and also great to interact with so the above picture if of one of the Serval we interacted with. All this cats are here for either breeding or interaction due to some issue which prevents them from being released into the wild. The idea is to try and get as many of them back to the wild where they belong if not they are used as an educational tool to highlight there situation.

     

     

    We then left and arrived in Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 game reserve not 3 hours from Durban and began our 2 day safari tour.

    Our first sighting was of Nyala and Warthogs.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Warthog

    Big 5 safari Durban; Warthog

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I was a little concerned as it had been a bit quiet in the national park in the past few days but that would not stop us having good sightings!

    We spotted Giraffe and Zebra in the distance so I made our way closer and we had the most amazing sighting where we had a troop of Baboons, Zebra, Giraffe and Rhino cross the road in front of us! It was amazing so at this point we had see the first of the Big 5 animals the Rhino but it seemed like we had seem so much more which we had!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Rhino

    Big 5 safari Durban; Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Rhino crossing road on our African safari


     

     

     

    I made a good video of the Rhino crossing and then later got a great photo of a male Giraffe near to the road.

    It had been a great start and it was time to head to Hilltop camp for some lunch, check in and head back out for more animals.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Giraffe

    Big 5 safari Durban; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We enjoyed the Giraffe for a while and moved on to Hilltop camp for some lunch.

    We were as quick as we could be as my clients also wanted to do the open vehicle safari at 5pm-8pm with the lodge which meant for me I needed to find as many animals as possible in the afternoon.

     

    Our first sighting in the afternoon as some Nyala and then some Baboons all over the road grooming themselves.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Baboon

    Big 5 safari Durban; Baboon

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We tried to check all the view points over the Hluhluwe river to see if we could add to our Big 5 list with Elephant but we had no luck. We did find a few Red Duiker and one new born which was very cute, sadly I missed the photo so got the adult instead.

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Red Duiker

    Big 5 safari Durban; Red Duiker

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was time to begin our way back to Hilltop camp but before we could get there we managed to add lots more Rhino and a herd of Buffalo to our Big 5 safari list.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Buffalo

    Big 5 safari Durban; Buffalo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We had now seen 2 of the Big 5 on our safari from Durban and the clients got on to the evening game drive before we met again at 8pm for dinner. I was surprised as when they returned they had not been too luck so had not added any more of the Big 5 to the list which meant I had huge stress to find Cats and Elephants the other 2 major ones of the Big 5 were were missing. The Leopard which would be the 5th of the Big 5 we try and think of it as a bonus as we see it so rarely.

     

    After a great dinner it was time for bed and we were all exhausted after a long day.

     

     

     

     

     

    Day 2: Big 5 safari from Durban

     

     

    We met before 7am and got all luggage in the vehicle before having a quick breakfast and making our way as far down south in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve as the 3.5-4 hours we had would allow us.

     

    This would be a pure crazy day as we just had such luck!

    As we had our way down south we ignored Rhino, Buffalo in the distance and most other things it the quest to find Elephant and Cats.

    We did have to stop for this sighting of Giraffe and Zebra though!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Zebra and Giraffe

    Big 5 safari Durban; Zebra and Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We didn’t have to continue much further before we spotted our Elephants but they were far away and it did not make for the best picture. Minutes after we spotted another 2 Elephant and then another 2! Again pretty far away but we now had 3 of the Big 5 on our Durban safari.

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Elephants

    Big 5 safari Durban; Elephants

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As we continued on we headed over the Umfolozi river and saw nothing but on the other side I bumped into a friend of mine Marumo who is involved in research. She said that 10 minutes before there was Lions in the river bed. I though we may as well turn back and check from a view point and there they all were all 14 of these amazing Lions! We were all so excited.

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Lion mom and cubs

    Big 5 safari Durban; Lion mom and cubs

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Lions in Imfolozi game reserve


     

     

     

    We now had 4 of the Big 5 on our Durban safari and were very happy with that. I had to put up another picture with a couple of big males in it to share with you all.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Lions

    Big 5 safari Durban; Lions

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We must have spent 15-20 minuted watching them and knew we still needed to try find Elephants closer but I think in our hearts we were all content having seen 4 of the Big 5 during our Safari from Durban.

     

     

    We battled and only found everything else except the Elephants close. We got one good sighting of Zebra though!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Zebra

    Big 5 safari Durban; Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We made our way to the gate to head to St Lucia estuary for our 2 hour boat cruise to see Hippos and Crocodiles as well as some Bird Life. It was an hour drive and we said farewell to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Big 5 game reserve and hello to Isimangaliso Wetland park.

     

    We stopped for some lunch in St Lucia town which was lovely before the boat cruise on the St Lucia estuary.

     

    Our cruise went very well we saw Hippos galore, Crocodiles, Birds and even a baby Hippo new born and its mother out the water.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Hippo mom and baby

    Big 5 safari Durban; Hippo mom and baby

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I was really fortunate to have filmed this and it was amazing watching the young Hippo head into the water with its mother and have her display by opening her mouth.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Hippo mother and baby on the shore run to the water

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We had a great look at couple of Crocodiles which was great and after seeing 4 of the Big 5 on our Durban safari to see Hippos and Crocodiles is always a treat!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Big 5 safari Durban; Crocodile

    Big 5 safari Durban; Crocodile

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    One of my favorite pictures from the St Lucia boat cruise was the this one below where I managed to have the good fortune of lining up 2 or 4 Hippos heads in a row.

     

    We had a great 2 hours at St Lucia on the boat and it was not time to head back to Durban and say goodbye after sharing some great memories.

     

    If you wish to do the same tour as described above please click on this link below:

     

     

    Durban 2 day Big 5 safari tour

     

     

  • 2nd Aug 2015

    Safari near Durban – 29th July to 1st August 2015

     

     

    I met my clients in Durban, a family for their 3 day Durban safari tour. We got all the luggage aboard and began making our way to the cat rehabilitation center near Hluhluwe.

    It would be here that our safari near Durban would begin and we would interact with Cheetah, Serval and African wild cat hands on.

    As usual I covered the general History side of Durban and answered any questions they had.

     

    It is always amazing to see these cats and to learn about them and why they are so endangered.

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Cheetah at Rehabilitation center

    Safari near Durban; Cheetah at Rehabilitation center

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After we left the cat rehabilitation center we made our way to the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for our 2 nights at Hilltop camp where Prince Harry was staying. I think my guests were amazed when they saw him at dinner the first night. If Hilltop camp is good enough for Prince Harry it is should be good enough for my clients and of course it always is.

     

     

    Before we got to the camp we did see some great animals.

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Male Nyala demonstrates philo-erection

    Safari near Durban; Male Nyala demonstrates philo-erection

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Philo- Erection is when the hair on the male antelope in this case a Male Nyala stands up which make him look bigger and that the other males. The idea is to be the biggest so you can take over a harem of females for yourself.

    Next we spotted some Buffalo and Zebra together down in a dip on our Safari near Durban.

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Buffalo and Zebra

    Safari near Durban; Buffalo and Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We then arrived at Hilltop camp and had some lunch before checking in and settling into the rooms for 45 minutes. It was then time for us to get out and see what other animals we could find. I was a little concerned as it was still only 15:15 and pretty warm still so I said to my client not to expect many animals for the first hour.

     

    Well when ever you say something like that on a safari you can expect something good to happen and boy did something great happen.

     

    I spotted something that I knew was a big cat but as she was running in the valley I could not make out if she was a Lion or Leopard I was hoping for the latter but didn’t really care as a cat is a cat!

     

    It turned out to be a Lioness and she was looking to hunt some Nyala in broad daylight! It was amazing. We raced down to meet here and she was beautiful, she posed for us on a rock and then crossed the road in front of us.

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Lioness on rock

    Safari near Durban; Lioness on rock

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Lion on rock in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve


    We then got her staring at the Nyala and she made her way off the rock and crossed the road in front of us! It was amazing and such a great spot of luck and good fortune. The best part of this sighting was we had her to our selves.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Lioness sits on rock

    Safari near Durban; Lioness sits on rock

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Lion crosses road in middle of day in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve


     

    We were very lucky and had now just experience something that would normally only be seen a night in broad daylight.

    We decided to leave here as we lost visual and made our way to the Hluhluwe River to see if we could find Elephants. We had no luck but did find Rhino which was amazing.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Rhino

    Safari near Durban; Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    In fact our Rhino sightings were very good this day I will not give a number but we saw a good amount of them. We then tried for Giraffe and Buffalo and got the Buffalo all around the vehicle on one of the road but the sun was setting so the light was not good for a photo. We did however enjoy watching them!

    We needed to get back to camp so we hurried along and got to near Hilltop camp and spotted a Elephant in the dark which was very hard to photograph but we did anyway.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Elephant

    Safari near Durban; Elephant

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We got back to camp and settled in for some dinner at 7pm it wasn’t long after this that Prince Harry arrived with his Body Guards and walked past us to go and eat in a secluded area as people had been trying to get photos of the poor guy…

    It was still amazing to see a prince at the lodge I always bring my clients too.

     

    After dinner we headed to bed and it was a Blue moon it looked amazing.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Day 2: Safari near Durban

     

     

    We began day two of our Safari from Durban in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve with breakfast and then headed down south in the game reserve.

    We did very well and spotted lots of Giraffe and even Lion tracks from the night before.

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Giraffe

    Safari near Durban; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was one of those mornings when everything seemed to be working well for us and we even had the most amazing Rhino sighting, one which I have been waiting for, for years!

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Rhino

    Safari near Durban; Rhinos

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Rhino marks his territory and does flehmen grimace


     

     

     

    After this unbelievable sighting we made our way further south and found some Zebra and Impala together before spotting some Kudu and Warthogs.

    The Zebra and Impala crossed the road in front of us which was great.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Zebra crossing

    Safari near Durban; Zebra crossing

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Funnily enough the clouds then began to gather as we entered the Umfolozi section and it began to rain a little. This was very odd at the forecast did not predict this. We still had great sightings and as we continued our safari near Durban we found more Giraffe in the rain.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Journey of Giraffe

    Safari near Durban; Journey of Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We then went through a very lean patch or so it seemed it might of been because we were so focused on looking for Elephant the be drove past Rhino, Baboons, Wildebeest, Nyala, Kudu, Zebra and more Giraffe…

    We almost got the Elephant and I got a puncture which I then needed to stop for to change the wheel and continue on. It took some time as these new vehicles are so much more complicated than the old cars we used to have.

     

    The temperature was dropping and we made our way back to the Centenary center for some lunch which we really needed but before we could get there we had an amazing sighting of a Rhino mother and calf.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Rhino mother and calf

    Safari near Durban; Rhino mother and calf

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Rhino mother and calf cross the road


     

     

     

     

    We still had one more good sighting of something new before we got to the Centenary center for lunch and that was of some Vultures and a Crow feeding off an old Buffalo carcass.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; White Backed Vultures on old Buffalo carcass

    Safari near Durban; White Backed Vultures on old Buffalo carcass

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We eventually sat down for some lunch and discussed the evening game drive and the clients decided they would brave the cold weather to see what they could see on the open vehicle.

    When I got back to camp I had to fix the puncture and change the wheels back around before getting to some computer work.

    I had an earlier dinner and would be meeting my clients the following morning for breakfast and luggage collection.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Day 3: Safari near Durban

     

     

    We began day 3 just before 7am with a luggage collection and breakfast at Hilltop camp before checking out and completing our final 3 hours of safari near Durban.

     

    During the safari we had some great luck and we had been looking for more Elephants and we got them down at the Hluhluwe river from a view point.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Elephants drinking

    Safari near Durban; Elephants drinking

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We watched the Elephant for about 10-15 minutes as they finished drinking they walked along the rivers edge and we enjoyed the calling from the Matriarch getting the herd to follow her.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Elephants walking in the Hluhluwe river bed

    Safari near Durban; Elephants walking in the Hluhluwe river bed

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This is always a good time to make a video so I got the camera running so I could share this moment with the followers of Tim Brown Tours or just Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Elephants walking in riverbed Hluhluwe game reserve

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We continued on with our safari near Durban and found Rhino and had an excellent sighting of Buffalo on the road. It was perfect as we had seen them on the road before but it was to dark to get pictures.

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Buffalo bull

    Safari near Durban; Buffalo bull

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It was not time to see what else we could find before leaving Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for St Lucia estuary for our 2 hour Hippo and Crocodile boat cruise.

    We tried for Giraffe and more Elephant with out much luck but did see more Zebra, Nyala, Waterbuck, Warthog and Buffalo before we departed.

     

    It was a 1 hour drive to St Lucia or Isimangaliso Wetland park as it is now known and we arrived, had some lunch and got to the boat for the wonderful 2 hour boat cruise.

    It is a guarantee to see Hippos and we usually see Crocodiles. This day we saw about 6-8 Crocodiles and 100 Hippos a least.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Crocodiles at St Lucia estuary

    Safari near Durban; Crocodiles at St Lucia estuary

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Hippos were mostly near the shore and some on the land as well so apart from the light being a bit bright it was great for us to photograph them.

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Safari near Durban; Hippo at St Lucia estuary

    Safari near Durban; Hippo at St Lucia estuary

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We ended out boat cruise at St Lucia and began our journey back to Durban, it had been a great 3 day safari from Durban and the highlight was the Lioness and the Elephant for sure!

    If you would like to join a Tim Brown Tour or Safari like this 3 day Safari click the link below:

     

     

     

    Durban 3 day safari tour package

     

     

  • 18th Jul 2015

    Durban day tour – St Lucia estuary – 17th July 2015

     

     

    We began our Durban day tour in Durban city. After introductions and a briefing on how the day would run we headed up to St Lucia 2.5 hour away up the North coast of KwaZulu Natal. St Lucia is South Africa’s first world heritage site and is a one of a kind place.

    At St Lucia you can come across, Hippos, Crocodiles and Zambezi Sharks! Where in the world can you get this combination?

    This is not all, seasonally Whales frequent the coastline and well as Sea Turtles to lay their eggs on the shoreline. If this wasn’t enough surrounding St Lucia is Isimangaliso wetland park a 30032 Hectare game reserve home to four of the Big five!

     

    If you are ever in the Durban area this is right up there as one of the best places to visit  and can be done in a day tour from Durban with Tim Brown Tours.

     

    Back to the day itself!

     

    After covering a lot of the History of Durban and KwaZulu Natal   we stopped for a coffee and toilet break before the final hour to St Lucia, Isimangaliso Wetland park.

    After arriving and enjoying some of the warning signs that St Lucia has about Hippos crossing at night we visited the Crocodile center. These amazing creatures have been around for millions of years with a design that is floor-less however we have noted a decline in recent years in their numbers. This is one of the reasons for the Crocodile center to educate people and to get some of these creatures back to the wild.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day tour; Warning sign on St Lucia estuary beach

    Durban day tour; Warning sign on St Lucia estuary beach

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    I took my clients around the center and told them about the Crocodiles, Hippos and a range of other things. It was then time to head down to the Estuary of St Lucia for our 2 hour boat cruise.

     

    We began and there was Hippos every where what was really good on this day tour was that we also saw a lot of Crocodiles which in not a guarantee.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day tour; Big pod of Hippo

    Durban day tour; Big pod of Hippo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    It is only due to the fact that boat have traversed these rich waters of St Lucia for many years that we have the privilege of viewing the amazing dangerous animals so close without incident. The Hippos in this sections of 8 kilometers of river are used to the boats and this enables us to enjoy amazing sightings of them. We always have to remember that Hippos are wild animals and kill around about 3000 people per year in Africa!

     

     

     

     

    Durban day tour; Crocodile hiding

    Durban day tour; Crocodile hiding

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The above picture was a Crocodile we found near the shoreline of St Lucia and it was so well hidden in the long grass! So lovely to see it though! We did see better Crocodiles but this picture just looked amazing.

     

    As we continued up stream we came across a wide range of Bird life which is something else St Lucia estuary has to offer visitors. St Lucia is am idea place for birders to come and spot special birds they do not see every day.

    We spotted this Goliath Heron fishing near the shoreline, this is the tallest heron in the world!

     

     

     

     

    Durban day tour; Goliath Heron

    Durban day tour; Goliath Heron

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    A bit later on we managed to spot some Hippos on the shore and two of them had a little fight with one another. It was one of those moment you don’t expect so you miss most of it when you get you camera ready but it was amazing!

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day tour; Hippos fighting

    Durban day tour; Hippos fighting

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    As we continued our Durban day tour we spotted more birds and I am sure birders would always be happy to see this one, the Giant Kingfisher! If you are interest we can offer birding tours of KwaZulu Natal from Durban.

     

     

     

     

    Durban day tour; Giant Kingfisher

    Durban day tour; Giant Kingfisher

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We began our way back to the jetty and on route spotted more Hippos and Crocodiles and had a special sighting of baby Hippos out the water on the shore resting. It is always amazing to see this but even more special when it is babies so I had to also make a little video.

     

     

     

    Durban day tour; Baby Hippos out the water

    Durban day tour; Baby Hippos out the water

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Hippo babies at St Lucia wetlands during our Durban day tour

     

     

     

     

     

    We almost got to the dock and we spotted some Pink backed Pelicans which we don’t see very often this far up the estuary so it was a real treat. If we had birder on this Durban day tour they would have loved to see these birds. Maybe will have to start a KwaZulu Natal birding tour.

     

     

     

     

    Video: Pink backed Pelicans at St Lucia estuary during our Durban day tour

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    After docking the boat at the St Lucia jetty we made our way into St Lucia town to enjoy the vibe of this beach resort at the back end of school holidays. We stopped for some lunch which was great and then made our way to the Estuary board walk where we would walk down onto the estuary beach and enjoy the views as well as seeing Maphelane the second highest vegetated sand dune in the world.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban day tour; St Lucia estuary

    Durban day tour; St Lucia estuary

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We continued with our Durban day tour to St Lucia wetlands and got onto the beach and down to the Indian ocean which was looking amazing on this particular day! With Maphelane in the back ground it made for a beautiful picture. This is a special place for me and I love visiting St Lucia, maybe you should too!

     

    Join the St Lucia day tour from Durban click here!

     

     

     

  • 15th Jun 2015

    Durban safaris – 3 day tour 12 -14th June 2015

     

    I had two different pick ups for this 3 day Durban safari tour one in Durban and the other in Umhlanga. Once I collected my client and we got chatting I knew we would have a good safari!

    Our first day was near floor-less as we achieved so much in the first day. We began covering some of the interesting history of the area of Durban and KwaZulu Natal before arriving at the cat rehabilitation center near Hluhluwe.

    Our tour around the rehab was great!

    We entered the enclosures with all 4 of the endangered species of Cat; Serval, Caracal, African Wild Cat and Cheetah.

     

     

     

     

    Durban safaris; Serval

    Durban safaris; Serval

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The above picture of a Serval is lovely and these cats are very interactive so when we go into the enclosure it is always a great time watching them.

    Our Durban safari continued and we entered with then Cheetah cubs which were also very interactive.

     

     

     

     

    Durban safaris; Cheetah cub

     

    Durban safaris; Cheetah cub

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This Cheetah cub was so interested with watching her sister playing with a rope on the end of a stick that even her soccer ball was not distraction enough!

     

    We finished up with the cats and moved on into Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for the Durban safari side of our 3 day Safari tour. This Big 5 game reserve near Durban is malaria free and is probably the biggest hidden secret in the area.

     

    Our first sighting was of Warthogs and as it was the first animal we saw we spent some time with them before continuing our safari and then spotting some Zebra not too far from the road.

     

     

     

     

    Durban safaris; Zebra

    Durban safaris; Zebra

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We made our way to Hilltop camp where we would be spending the two nights and had some lunch before checking in and settling into the rooms for half an hour.

    Then we headed back out to continue our Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. We spotted a huge herd of Buffalo on the road so we spent a good 15 minutes with them while they all crossed and then only continued on.

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safaris; Buffalo

    Durban safaris; Buffalo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video – Durban safaris; Buffalo crossing the road in Hluhluwe

     

    We were making our way toward the Hluhluwe river when we spotted both Rhino and Elephants. All we could do was wait to see what would happen and good job we did as the Elephants came to the road and we got them to cross in front of us.

     

     

     

     

    Durban safaris; Elephant

     

     

    Durban safaris; Elephant

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The Rhinos at this point were near to the road as well so we managed to get a decent photo of them before moving onward to see what else we could find.

     

     

     

     

    Durban safaris; Rhino

    Durban safaris; Rhino

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We heard that Lions had been seen at 3pm but it was already 5pm so I knew the chances of finding them was not very high. When on a Durban safari or any safari you always have hope and we tried our best at first without success but then as the sun set we spotted them making their way to the road following a herd of Buffalo.

    The Lions then began to hunt the Buffalo which made things hard on me as I was caught up with the ethical battle of keeping the lights on the Lions so we could see them but also not wanting to give the Lions away to the Buffalo which would end there chances of a successful hunt.

     

     

     

     

    Durban safaris; Lioness

    Durban safaris; Lioness

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video – Durban safaris; Lions cross road at night to hunt Buffalo

     

    What a great start to our Durban 3 day safari tour, the Lions attempted the hunt and in the darkness we heard the growling and Buffalo bellowing when we turned the lights one there was only dust and the Lions had not been able to hold on to their dinner. The lucky Buffalo kept walking away and we left the lions to try again.

     

     

    We made our way back to the lodge and settled in for some dinner and a chat about how amazing our day was having seen 4 of the Big 5 on the first day of our Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

     

    We even did a spot of star gazing before we were all very tired and we headed off to bed.

     

     

    Day 2: Durban safaris; our 3 day safari tour

     

     

     

    We began our day with high hopes of seeing lots of animals and hopefully more Lions but you just never know what will show up for you on these safaris from Durban.

    After breakfast we headed South in the game reserve and it was like the luck from day one had never left as we kept up the tempo and saw lots of animals.

     

    Our major concern was finding Giraffe which we managed to knock on the head after just 30 minutes of driving!

     

     

     

     

    Durban safaris; Giraffe

    Durban safaris; Giraffe

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Safari in South Africa; Giraffe crossing road


    We also spotted lots of general game like Zebra, Impala, Warthog, Wildebeest and we must have spent about 45 minutes in one spot as all these amazing animals came to a watering hole to drink.

     

     

     

     

    Durban safaris; Rhino reflection

    Durban safaris; Rhino reflection

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Durban safari tour; Rhino get spooked by Zebra at mud wallow


    After watching these Rhinos drinking and getting spooked by the Zebra which came in for a drink we managed to see the female Rhino sharpening her horn so that she would have it ready for any poachers that tried to mess with her and remove her horn!

     

     

     

     

    Video: African safari; Rhino sharpens her horn waiting for poachers!


     

    Our 3 day safari from Durban was really turning out to be a great time and we just kept getting great luck and being in the right places at the right times.

    We waited longer at the watering hole as a herd of Wildebeest came down and had a drink during this time we also spotted some great bird life. The best was a Malachite King fisher!

     

     

     

     

    Durban safaris; Wildebeest drinking

    Durban safaris; Wildebeest drinking

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Safari from Durban; Wildebeest drinking in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve


     

    We then continued on to the Umfolozi river and I could not believe our luck as all of a sudden we spotted Lions running in the river bed. The only issue was they were running away because there was a bush walk that had not seen them and were having there walk in the river bed. This made it exciting and after a very short time we lost visual of the Lions so we continued with our Safari in Umfolozi.

     

    I did get a picture but I felt it wasn’t good enough to go up on the blog and if you read on your will see why.

     

    We drop through at this time of the year what looked like a desert as the place was so dry but we did spot more Rhino, Giraffe and other animals before we got to another section of the river and you would not believe it but there was Lions here!

     

     

     

     

     

    Durban safaris; Lions in walking in river bed

    Durban safaris; Lions in walking in river bed

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    The picture was not the best but I still figured I would use it. We then continued to a “hide” which is a hut overlooking a watering hole. It was here we spotted a wide variety of animals and birds before moving on back up to get some lunch.

     

     

     

     

    Durban safaris; Antelope drinking

    Durban safaris; Antelope drinking

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: African safari; Warthog rubs himself after a mud wallow

     

     


     

    After spending time in the Hide we made our way back to where we had seen the second lot of Lions in the river bed and it was here that we spotted a huge herd of Buffalo drinking. The Lions just watched them from the safety of being up stream.

     

     

     

     

    Durban safaris; Buffalo herd

    Durban safaris; Buffalo herd

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    This was a great sighting on our Durban safari tour and we made our way back to the area where we had seen the previous pride of Lion that had been chased by the people on foot. It was here that we spotted them resting in the dry river bed. There was two big males and some Lionesses and cubs!

     

     

     

     

    Durban safaris; Lions resting in river bed

    Durban safaris; Lions resting in river bed

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Video: Durban safari; Lions in the Umfolozi river


     

     

     

    This had been an amazing day seeing the Lions 4 times and seeing 3 of the big 5 before lunch. We still had not seen Elephant the whole morning and now it was lunch time so we saved that one of the Big 5 for a big later.

     

    Lunch was great at the Centenary center before we began the drive back up to hilltop camp. On route we got our Elephants in fact 3 or 4 different Elephant sightings! This meant we had 4 of the Big 5 today as well!

     

     

     

     

    Durban safaris; Elephant bull

    Durban safaris; Elephant bull

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Our next stop would be back at camp where we would have an hours rest before heading out on the evening night safari from 5pm – 8pm.

     

    Dinner was great as usual and we headed off for a good nights rest.

     

     

     

    Day 3: Durban safaris; 3 day safari tour.

     

     

    I met my client just before 7am to collect their luggage and get them down for some breakfast. It was a relaxed time as when you do they same tour regularly you get into such a routine of doing things that it just flows. Just after 07:30 we were already on the road and at this stage I asked one of the ladies “what would you like to see today” she said to me ” the African wild dog would be nice”.

    I knew where to look but had no idea if we would be so luck to find the most endangered carnivore in Africa but we did! I could not believe our luck and nor could my clients!

     

     

     

     

    Durban safaris; African wild dog

    Durban safaris; African wild dog

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We watched the dogs jumping up and down in the long grass and running all over the place for about half an hour before we lost visual and began to make our way out of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. It had been an amazing 3 days with some amazing sightings for a 3 day safari from Durban.

     

    Our next stop would be St Lucia or Isimangaliso Wetland park to take a 2 hour boat cruise to view Hippos and Crocodiles.

     

     

    Our first look from the Jetty we spotted a pod of Hippos and when we got going we made our way to them to enjoy nature. They all ran into the water but it was lovely to see them.

     

     

     

     

    Durban safaris; baby Hippo

    Durban safaris; baby Hippo

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    Further up stream of the world heritage site of Isimangaliso Wetland park we found Crocodiles, Fish eagles, Herons, Kingfishers and lots and lots of Hippos. Wow what a safari up St Lucia estuary.

     

     

     

     

    Durban safaris; Crocodile

    Durban safaris; Crocodile

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    We then had a very interesting sighting of a Hippos chewing at a Buoy on a barge boat. This or though exciting for the clients go me very concerned as this behaviour could be very dangerous in the future as the Hippo playing with the boat will show others that they can do the same and this could increase attacks on boats.

     

    I did however made a video for you to see this interesting behaviour.

     

     

     

     

    Video: Hippo chewing buoy of boat in St Lucia!

     

     

     

     

     

    Our cruise ended and we made our way into St Lucia town for some lunch which was great. After lunch we took a drive to the estuary mouth and then began our trip back to Durban after a very successful 3 days safari from Durban.

    My clients were happy and so was I.