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
We have had some great success on our recent African safaris from Durban over the past couple of months. These sightings range from animals on the road crossing in front of our vehicle, Elephants sleeping, Cheetah hunting, Wild Dogs hunting on the road, Leopard sleeping, Black Rhino browsing, Wildebeest drinking, Lion drinking and happy clients on safari!
I had two different pick ups for this 3 day Durban safari tour one in Durban and the other in Umhlanga. Once I collected my client and we got chatting I knew we would have a good safari!
Our first day was near floor-less as we achieved so much in the first day. We began covering some of the interesting history of the area of Durban and KwaZulu Natal before arriving at the cat rehabilitation center near Hluhluwe.
Our tour around the rehab was great!
We entered the enclosures with all 4 of the endangered species of Cat; Serval, Caracal, African Wild Cat and Cheetah.
The above picture of a Serval is lovely and these cats are very interactive so when we go into the enclosure it is always a great time watching them.
Our Durban safari continued and we entered with then Cheetah cubs which were also very interactive.
This Cheetah cub was so interested with watching her sister playing with a rope on the end of a stick that even her soccer ball was not distraction enough!
We finished up with the cats and moved on into Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for the Durban safari side of our 3 day Safari tour. This Big 5 game reserve near Durban is malaria free and is probably the biggest hidden secret in the area.
Our first sighting was of Warthogs and as it was the first animal we saw we spent some time with them before continuing our safari and then spotting some Zebra not too far from the road.
We made our way to Hilltop camp where we would be spending the two nights and had some lunch before checking in and settling into the rooms for half an hour.
Then we headed back out to continue our Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. We spotted a huge herd of Buffalo on the road so we spent a good 15 minutes with them while they all crossed and then only continued on.
We were making our way toward the Hluhluwe river when we spotted both Rhino and Elephants. All we could do was wait to see what would happen and good job we did as the Elephants came to the road and we got them to cross in front of us.
The Rhinos at this point were near to the road as well so we managed to get a decent photo of them before moving onward to see what else we could find.
We heard that Lions had been seen at 3pm but it was already 5pm so I knew the chances of finding them was not very high. When on a Durban safari or any safari you always have hope and we tried our best at first without success but then as the sun set we spotted them making their way to the road following a herd of Buffalo.
The Lions then began to hunt the Buffalo which made things hard on me as I was caught up with the ethical battle of keeping the lights on the Lions so we could see them but also not wanting to give the Lions away to the Buffalo which would end there chances of a successful hunt.
What a great start to our Durban 3 day safari tour, the Lions attempted the hunt and in the darkness we heard the growling and Buffalo bellowing when we turned the lights one there was only dust and the Lions had not been able to hold on to their dinner. The lucky Buffalo kept walking away and we left the lions to try again.
We made our way back to the lodge and settled in for some dinner and a chat about how amazing our day was having seen 4 of the Big 5 on the first day of our Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
We even did a spot of star gazing before we were all very tired and we headed off to bed.
We began our day with high hopes of seeing lots of animals and hopefully more Lions but you just never know what will show up for you on these safaris from Durban.
After breakfast we headed South in the game reserve and it was like the luck from day one had never left as we kept up the tempo and saw lots of animals.
Our major concern was finding Giraffe which we managed to knock on the head after just 30 minutes of driving!
We also spotted lots of general game like Zebra, Impala, Warthog, Wildebeest and we must have spent about 45 minutes in one spot as all these amazing animals came to a watering hole to drink.
After watching these Rhinos drinking and getting spooked by the Zebra which came in for a drink we managed to see the female Rhino sharpening her horn so that she would have it ready for any poachers that tried to mess with her and remove her horn!
Our 3 day safari from Durban was really turning out to be a great time and we just kept getting great luck and being in the right places at the right times.
We waited longer at the watering hole as a herd of Wildebeest came down and had a drink during this time we also spotted some great bird life. The best was a Malachite King fisher!
We then continued on to the Umfolozi river and I could not believe our luck as all of a sudden we spotted Lions running in the river bed. The only issue was they were running away because there was a bush walk that had not seen them and were having there walk in the river bed. This made it exciting and after a very short time we lost visual of the Lions so we continued with our Safari in Umfolozi.
I did get a picture but I felt it wasn’t good enough to go up on the blog and if you read on your will see why.
We drop through at this time of the year what looked like a desert as the place was so dry but we did spot more Rhino, Giraffe and other animals before we got to another section of the river and you would not believe it but there was Lions here!
The picture was not the best but I still figured I would use it. We then continued to a “hide” which is a hut overlooking a watering hole. It was here we spotted a wide variety of animals and birds before moving on back up to get some lunch.
After spending time in the Hide we made our way back to where we had seen the second lot of Lions in the river bed and it was here that we spotted a huge herd of Buffalo drinking. The Lions just watched them from the safety of being up stream.
This was a great sighting on our Durban safari tour and we made our way back to the area where we had seen the previous pride of Lion that had been chased by the people on foot. It was here that we spotted them resting in the dry river bed. There was two big males and some Lionesses and cubs!
This had been an amazing day seeing the Lions 4 times and seeing 3 of the big 5 before lunch. We still had not seen Elephant the whole morning and now it was lunch time so we saved that one of the Big 5 for a big later.
Lunch was great at the Centenary center before we began the drive back up to hilltop camp. On route we got our Elephants in fact 3 or 4 different Elephant sightings! This meant we had 4 of the Big 5 today as well!
Our next stop would be back at camp where we would have an hours rest before heading out on the evening night safari from 5pm – 8pm.
Dinner was great as usual and we headed off for a good nights rest.
I met my client just before 7am to collect their luggage and get them down for some breakfast. It was a relaxed time as when you do they same tour regularly you get into such a routine of doing things that it just flows. Just after 07:30 we were already on the road and at this stage I asked one of the ladies “what would you like to see today” she said to me ” the African wild dog would be nice”.
I knew where to look but had no idea if we would be so luck to find the most endangered carnivore in Africa but we did! I could not believe our luck and nor could my clients!
We watched the dogs jumping up and down in the long grass and running all over the place for about half an hour before we lost visual and began to make our way out of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. It had been an amazing 3 days with some amazing sightings for a 3 day safari from Durban.
Our next stop would be St Lucia or Isimangaliso Wetland park to take a 2 hour boat cruise to view Hippos and Crocodiles.
Our first look from the Jetty we spotted a pod of Hippos and when we got going we made our way to them to enjoy nature. They all ran into the water but it was lovely to see them.
Further up stream of the world heritage site of Isimangaliso Wetland park we found Crocodiles, Fish eagles, Herons, Kingfishers and lots and lots of Hippos. Wow what a safari up St Lucia estuary.
We then had a very interesting sighting of a Hippos chewing at a Buoy on a barge boat. This or though exciting for the clients go me very concerned as this behaviour could be very dangerous in the future as the Hippo playing with the boat will show others that they can do the same and this could increase attacks on boats.
I did however made a video for you to see this interesting behaviour.
Our cruise ended and we made our way into St Lucia town for some lunch which was great. After lunch we took a drive to the estuary mouth and then began our trip back to Durban after a very successful 3 days safari from Durban.
My clients were happy and so was I.
I met my clients at 4 different hotels and 4 of my 5 clients had just ran and completed the Comrades Ultra Marathon the day before. This Marathon is no ordinary feat and I was surprised to not see them crawling on the ground and only limping a little!
We drove to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve from Durban to begin our Durban day safari in the hope of finding as many animals as we could. On route I covered a lot of the history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa to entertain my clients before we arrive at 09:30 a Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
Our Durban day safari started great and in a few minutes we found a Leopard tortoise on the road, we made sure he got to the other side before continuing on with our safari.
It was not that many more minutes when we spotted some Baboons on the road during our safari from Durban. This really was a treat as Baboon are so similar to humans that the fascinate us a lot so it always makes for interesting viewing.
15 minutes later we spotted the most beautiful dazzle of Zebra and then got to watch two of them cross the road in front of us. We thought this was great but little did we know that just up the road was another dazzle of Zebra and some Wildebeest. On the opposite side of the road was more Zebra and some Rhino which were coming to drink water at a watering hole next to the road. Wow this was looking like being a great Durban day safari.
The Rhinos were amazing as they were very tentative to come and drink water and the Zebra got spooked and this made the Rhinos nervous and they ran too. A safari is a journey so we waited to see what would happen and eventually the Rhinos had a drink of water and a mere 15 meters from our vehicle.
Once we let the Rhinos we continued with our day safari from Durban and got down the the Umfolozi river where we got lucky and found 2 bull Elephants feeding on the reeds. We enjoyed then for a while and at the same area on the other side of the river we spotted an old Buffalo bull resting in the water.
This old male Buffalo was one of the males which was no longer able to keep up with the speed that the breeding herd moves at hence he was on him own waiting to be taken by Lions.
As we continued with our Durban day safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve we took a couple of rest stops to stretch the legs. The Comrades runners were definitely feeling very stiff from the day before.
We had great luck further on when we found a crash of Rhinos in fact there was 3 crashes and they were not to far from each other. The best part was watching a mother with a new born baby.
We now needed to try and find some Giraffe and it was probably getting more on my nerves than my client but I knew they wanted to see them so we just kept going trying to find them.
On route we found a lone Wildebeest male and also stopped to look over the Umfolozi river.
Then in the distance we saw a huge herd of Elephant down in the river drinking. We still had not found our Giraffe and I now knew we would be having a late lunch which everyone seemed happy to do.
We continued and found more Elephants and got them to cross the road in front of us before we continued with our Durban day safari.
The race was now really one as I knew my client would be hungry after such a big run the day before. Luckily I finally spotted some Giraffe near enough to the road and we could relax and enjoy them before making our way back for lunch.
I decided to check on our way back one of the picnic sites which overlooks the river for Lions which were seen there the day before. We were in luck and with a bit of guidance we all were able to see these amazing animals with there cubs laying down by the waters edge. Wow, what a cherry on the top for our day safari from Durban!
We were no so happy and could no believe our luck that we drove past Rhinos, Zebras and even Giraffe near the luncheon stop in order to get some well deserved food.
Lunch was amazing and we all tucked in to what we ordered before a quick look around the curio shop. It was already 3pm and we had 4 drop offs to do so we began to make our way to the gate very satisfied with our day. After exiting we still had one more sighting and that was of a Bull Elephant on one side of the road and a herd of Elephant on the other side. It was special and we departed for Umhlanga and Durban.
It had been a great Durban day safari!
We began our Durban day safari at the Hilton hotel in Durban city where I collected 3 of my clients and then we went to Umhlanga to collect another.
After collection I began with the briefing of how the day would run and I decided to try the Umfolozi section of the game reserve as the bush had got thick recently with the rain we had.
I covered as much of the history of Durban KwaZulu Natal and South Africa before the politics of our country took over the major chatting points of the day. This was not surprising after the recent state of the nation address we had.
We have an amazing country and the scenery changes constantly over short distances which always makes it interesting to look at as we make our way to the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve the oldest in Africa.
We arrived at Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve at 09:30 for the beginning of our Durban day safari tour.
After covering the basic history of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve we entered on the national road and before we could make our way to the actual gate we spotted an Elephant bull. This was a good sign for how the day would pan out for us on our Durban day safari tour.
After getting to the gate we got our entrance pass and went on in the umfolozi section of the game reserve and found some Zebras which we waited for to cross the road in front of us this meant that we got a real Zebra crossing. Always a good laugh!
We continued down towards the Umfolozi river as I had heard there was Lions in the area at 6am so we though we could try to find them. Before we got there we spotted some Impalas, Buffalo in the distance and then another Elephant bull close to the road. We watched him for a short while before getting to the river and it was clear Lions were there as there was a couple of vehicle looking onto the banks of the river.
We battled to spot them lying under some bushes in the shade as it was already 36 degrees, but we did see them as we maneuvered the vehicle into the best position we could.
As we looked closely we found a Lioness with 2 little cubs but the twigs were all in the way but hey we were not complaining! Seeing a Lion on Durban day safari tour in the middle of the day is very hard!
We looked down the river as we had just been staring at these Lions for so long and we spotted some Buffalo in fact a large herd of Buffalo. They were resting in the river and enjoying the water on such a hot day. During the day it got up to 42 degrees before dropping to 25 degrees on the drive home!
We left the Lions and Buffalo to see if we could find more amazing animals and after a quick rest room break we did find more Impala and the we got lucky with a Mother White Rhino and calf resting in the shade. Wow this was a beautiful sighting on our Durban day safari tour.
We moved on feeling really good after seeing 3 of the 4 of the Big 5 already!
As we continued our Durban day safari tour we came across lots more animal but the best of all was the journey of Giraffe and Zebra all together near the road we also saw some Kudu here.
This male Giraffe on the left actually tested the female on the right for mating readiness before enjoying some food and resting in the shade. It was starting to get really hot and we had to turn on the air-conditioner before moving on. We then began a drive down to the White Umfolozi river where before we got there we spotted a Wildebeest.
At the Umfolozi river we stopped at a view point where you can get out of your vehicle and enjoy the view. Its a beautiful spot and we spotted a lot of Vultures, Wholly necked stork, European White Storks, Buffalo and Elephants.
It was a great place for a photo and we all enjoyed our time down there.
We began a long loop before heading back up to the Centenary center of lunch. The loop was very quiet as it was so hot and dry. We just kept going and chatted about other things until we found more animals.
On route to lunch we stopped at the Black Umfolozi river and could not see our Lions anymore but we did find more Elephant feeding on the reeds in the river.
Moving on we saw more Zebra and then down the road to the lunch stop I could not believe our luck as we spotted something orange in a big tree! It was Lions and a different pride. One of my clients was in Chobe where he was told that, Chobe is the only place in the world you find tree climbing Lions.
It was amazing but also hard to make them all out, we did see 4 Lions there. What a great Durban day safari tour this had been!
We enjoyed a great lunch and the curio shop before we headed back out feeling really good after seeing 4 of the Big 5 and Lions twice! What a day!
It was now time to see what else we could find before heading back to Durban. We managed to find Elephants again and the best was this large tusked Elephant right near the road which was really relaxed and we left him cross in front of us! this was lovely!
We were getting closer to the gate and we heard and alarm call from a male Baboon but after closer inspection e was just calling the Troop together as there was another Troop of Baboons near by.
They were up and down the fig trees feeding as the temperature was cooling down.
Durban day safari tour; Baboon
It was now time to end the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve safari tour after what had been an amazing day!
We all enjoyed our Durban day safari tour and now began the long 3 hours back to Durban.
We stopped once along the way and then the rain came down to cool us all down before we got stuck into some good chats about politics and other interesting things.
We arrived before 7pm back in Umhlanga and then Durban city with smiles on our faces. What a great Durban day safari tour!
I met my clients in Durban where we began our 3 Day Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
We started early so we could get to the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve early and then got to Emdoneni cat rehabilitation center where we would be spending the 2 nights.
I covered the usual history of Durban and KwaZulu Natal before the obligatory rest stop an hour and a half into the Durban safari tour.
Within 3 hours we had arrived at Nyalazi gate and began with our Safari tour from Durban.
Within minutes we spotted our first animals and it was Vultures on a nest.
As we continued we realised that the rivers were full of water from the recent rains and this meant that animals would have plenty of water not needing to rely on the rivers. This could have made things harder for us but we still did very well on this 3 Day Durban safari tour.
We continued down south and managed to get some great photos of Rhinos in a mud wallow and some walking near to the road, I made a video of this!
This had been an amazing sighting and we continued on finding some Zebras and Water buck near to the road and we tried hard to find new and exciting animals for my clients Safari tour.
Having enjoyed these lovely animals we were lucky enough to come across a huge herd of Elephants in fact two herds of Elephants. We spend time with both herd of Elephant. The one herd we watched a huge female and her young cross the road to a mud wallow, play and move off. The second herd had a huge musth Bull who was their to mate with the females and strangely 3 or so other Big males not in Musth!
Eventually the walked towards the road and away from the shady patch they were occupying.
I also decided to video these Elephants approaching us to cross the road so you could all benefit from the experience we had! We were lucky as it is not every Durban Safari tour that Elephants will get this close but understanding their behaviour is so important to allowing them so close. If you do not have a guide with you do not allow Elephants this close to you!
After this excitement we moved off to another area where we found some monkeys and vultures but no sign of any cats at this stage. We began to make our way back up for lunch and at the Umfolozi river we had a lovely sighting of some Baboons and a Bush Buck.
We had also had an interesting sighting of a Zebra which had been attacked as his left hind quarter had been cut open but although it looked bad I have seen these injuries heal many time before. At the same stage on our Durban safari tour we spotted Impalas and a Wildebeest male together for safety and due to shared habitat.
It was now time for some lunch so we completed the loop and got back to the centenary center for some food and a rest. It had been a great start to our Durban Safari tour and we still had the afternoon Cat tour at the rehabilitation center.
It took us an hour to get to the lodge and we arrived just after 4pm and 20 minuted before the tour.
I checked us in and go luggage to the rooms before joining my clients on the cat tour at Emdoneni.
This cute little Cheetah cub was bought here so that in the future they can breed! We have a big problem with in breeding and a small gene pool so it is important to find new Cheetah to breed and send back to the wild.
My client enjoyed the interaction with the adult cheetah during this part of our Durban safari tour.
It was not time to see the feeding of the Caracals and this also gives them the chance to stretch their muscles as they will leap over 3 meters high to catch their food.
This was great to see and our next stop was the Serval which are very interactive and interesting cats.
Our day was now almost complete excepting to have some dinner and arrange the breakfast packs for the following days Safari tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
We had a lovely buffet dinner and were all in bed early as we left at 04:40 to get to the gate of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for 5am.
We entered into the Hluhluwe section of the game reserve and had some luck early on as we spotted a herd of Buffalo near the road soon after arriving through the gate.
We made our way around to the Hluhluwe river and we got out at a safe view sight to enjoy the view. We we lucky that we spotted some Nyala males and also heard the monkeys alarm calling but after 15 minutes of waiting we saw nothing predator like!
Our Durban safari tour continued on as we made our way around to Hilltop camp for a cup of coffee and a look at the lodge and its view. It was lovely and hot this day so we did not stay very long and we wanted to make the most of the day while it was not killer hot!
I was being put under some pressure as we had not yet seen Giraffe and I was fortunate enough to then spot some in the distance. This was only the beginning of some really good Giraffe sightings. Our next sighting they were on the road!
As we continued we also spotted some Zebra on the road so we also had a real Zebra crossing!
It was now time to begin our journey out of the game reserve for some lunch as it was already 11am and we had been going since 5am. So after a breakfast stop in the reserve we went straight up the main road. Once we passed Hilltop camp we spotted a huge bull Elephant so we waited for him as he was moving to the road.
Finally we made it back to Emdoneni and we could have a rest and some lunch. A couple hours later we went out again for 2 and a half hours to see if we could get lucky with cats. The closest we came was the same vultures from the morning but we did have some amazing sightings. These Rhinos were amazing!
The next amazing sighting was this Buffalo Bull with the sun in his eye which lit up his body! He looked amazing.
We also came across some baboons which were playing and grooming one another this was quite amazing at times to see the funny positions they would get into!
The sun was now beginning to set on our Durban safari tour day two so we took a final spin around before we had to leave, the sunset was beautiful and we spotted a nocturnal animal! I did not get a good photo but it is below. A Bush Pig!
It was now time to end the day and have some dinner and true to form the food was great and then we all needed some shut eye after a fantastic 2 days. The next day would be a quick spin around the game reserve and then St Lucia for a 2 hour boat cruise to view Hippos and crocodiles!
After a lovely breakfast and check out we headed into Umfolozi game reserve for the final few hours of Safari.
We were only looking for cats and came very close on two occasions with no luck. We all were very frustrated as even though you are aware it is nature you trust that God will provide the sighting but it was not to be!
We headed out a little dejected but knew in 1 hours time we would be relaxing on a boat viewing Hippos and Crocodiles.
When we arrived in St Lucia we got on board and enjoyed a cup of coffee or a drink before spotting Hippos mating! This made the day all better for me!
Amazing to see such a sacred act! We then spotted a big crocodile resting on the sand bank of the Estuary and saw loads more Hippos!
We then got to see young Hippos play fighting and after waiting a few minutes or more I finally got the photo I wanted, this Hippos with its mouth open!
We then headed into St Lucia town after an amazing cruise and had some lunch before making our way out of St Lucia! I was expecting it to be the usual exit from St Lucia but no! Their was a huge Hippo known as Scar Face due to all the scars he has from being attacked by more dominant males. He was huge and out the water walking the streets to get to the grazing areas. This is odd as they normally do this at night!
Wow this had turned into an amazing Durban Safari tour and I can only thank the animals for showing themselves!
We began the long 3 hour journey back to Durban where I said my farewells and got home to my wife for the festive season!
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.
I met my clients in Durban and thought this would be a fairly normal Durban Day Safari Tour but I was totally wrong.
You can never predict nature and today was a day I was really happy about that!
Our Durban Safari Tour began and strangely rather slowly.
We saw the usual suspects, Warthogs, Rhino, Zebra and Wildebeest before getting to the Umfolozi river crossing. It was here that the day turned into an amazing day. It was a day of firsts.
My clients were told by some one in Johannesburg that Durban doesn’t have the Big 5. Well that is wrong but even my client would not believe what happened.
We started with some Bull Elephants next to the road which was great for a Durban day Safari tour.
As we drove onto the bridge of the Umfolozi river we spotted 3 of the Big 5 and I got a picture of all three in one photograph.
This was incredible!
The Buffalo’s were in the river with an Elephant and on the hills was a Rhino.
We continued up and as I looked back down the river on the distant sand bank was a pride of Lions resting. Wow what as Durban Safari Tour!
Next we spotted a giraffe; at this point after the slow start I was really happy and excited about seeing Giraffe for my clients.
We headed pasted one of the camps and onto the dirt roads, it was here that I spotted some Rhinos in the mud wallow which was really close to us. Very exciting Safari!
I had heard that there had been a Cheetah spotted with her 3 young cubs but I didn’t want to rush their as I knew they could very easily have moved.
On our way down there out of the corner of my eye I spotted the first Leopard I had seen in 6 months. I was so excited I think I may have cursed which I apologised for!
She was a beautiful female and she slinked off into the bushes after a couple of snap shots were taken.
At this point adrenaline was pumping and I felt like anything was possible we had already seen all 5 of the Big 5 the 5 most dangerous animals to hunt on foot! What an incredible Durban Day Safari Tour.
We made our way down to the cheetah and there were 5 cars there so we got in and out fast its never fun sharing a sighting with other vehicles…
This cheetah was so beautiful and so where her cubs.
We moved off pretty quickly and went back the same way we had come and just thought maybe we would find out Leopard again. I really though there was no chance!
I was pleasantly surprised as I found her 5 meters from the road resting in the shade.
I could not believe our luck this time we were calmer and got a great photo.
I realised she wanted to not be seen by anyone and she moved away from us so I turned off the engine to not stress her out and she walked across the road in front of us. This was just crazy exciting for me and I am sure for my clients.
At this point we were so happy we began to head back to our luncheon stop at the Centenary center. Our Durban Day Safari Tour could not have been any better!
We spotted some Baboons on our way to lunch and got another great photo of what had been a brilliant Durban Safari for us all.
After lunch my guest had a look around the curio shop and for the first time in my life my guests said to me. Tim we feel we are satisfied and we can head back to Durban!
To be very honest they were right and more driving could not have rendered any more results except nothing as it was already so hot at 36 degrees.
We were out of the game reserve at 14:30 and back in Durban at 17:30 about 1.5 hours earlier than normal. It had been a real special day and even I do not have words to describe this amazing and wonderful Durban Day Safari. This type of experience sometimes only happens once in a life time!
If you wish to be as lucky or half as lucky join me Tim Brown Tours for a Durban Day Safari or Durban Tour and I will try to make you day safari tour just as special.
We began the first day of our 5 Day Tour experience of KwaZulu-Natal in Eshowe at Fort Nonqgayi and the surrounding Museums.
Fort Nonqgayi was first built in 1883 by the British and was used as a stable and offices as the area of Eshowe became the capital of Zululand in those days.
Fort Nonqgayi was never attacked probably because it was deep in Malaria and Sleeping sickness country as well as being on a Hill surrounded by thick vegetation.
Nonqgayi was the name given to the Zulu “Soldiers” manning the Fort and assisting the British in their take over of Zululand which really began on the 11th of December 1878 with the Ultimatum which was handed to the Zulus.
With in Fort Nonqgayi today there is a lot of Historical things to look at. The Fort contains furniture and pictures of the famous John Dunn the only western man to ever become a Chief in the Zulu Nation.
There is also Bead work, the structure of a traditional Zulu hut as well as the original wheel Chair that the Norwegian missionaries constructed for the immobile King Mpande! Mpande Suffered with his health and obesity and was the only one of his fathers sons to die of “Natural Causes”.
Where the stables used to be there is again a wide range of artefacts but the most interesting to me is this image below which is a copy of the cup which was presented to King Cetswayo the son of Mpande KaSenzangakhona by queen Victoria of England in 1882.
There is also a recent addition to the museum grounds a church build to commemorate the work a Norwegian missionary did in Eshowe – Bishop or Reverend Schreuder.
Honestly I have never been to a better museum if you are in any way interested in Zulu Culture. It is amazing!
We departed and had some time to kill so I took my clients to the Dlinza forest board walk it was incredible. Apart from the views and the call of nature we spotted a Narina Trogan Male which is such a rare forest bird that it felt like I had just seen a Leopard! I could not believe our luck and I got a great photo. This was only the second time in my life to see this bird!
We exited Dlinza forest and I have to admit I took a wrong turn and I ended up taking my clients on a lovely scenic route through rural Zululand. All the kids were happy lots of people were fetching water and when we got back to the main road we continued to Shakaland.
We Checked in at Shakaland and had some lovely lunch before we began the first part of our Tour at Shakaland.
We began with a short clip of the moved “Shaka Zulu” to wet the taste buds before heading to a depiction of and Umuzi or a Traditional Zulu Village so we could learn the structure of it. We then visited an Isivivane (pile of stones used as a burial stop during battle. You are meant to pick up a stone, spit on it and throw it on the pile of rocks if it stays up you will have good luck if it rolls off you will have bad luck… It’s a bit more complicated than that.
We moved into the real Zulu Cultural village and began with watching how the Zulu make grass sleeping mats, then Zulu Beer (Umqomboti).
After this we saw the ladies demonstrate how to carry the different Zulu Clay pots.
As we moved up into the heart of the Umuzi we met with the Chief who showed us the change in strategy of attack between King Senzangakhona and King Shaka his son.
The next stop was the tasting of the Zulu Beer it was lovely as I didn’t need to drive the rest of the day I felt a sip of 2 % beer would be fine. What and experience for my clients I was thrilled!
We then moved out of the village for a rest before meeting at 6pm for some lovely Marimba playing and then headed back through the village to the main hut for the Zulu Dancing and singing! It was out of this world, what a performance!
It was now time go get some dinner and some sleep as we had another big day coming up.
We began with breakfast at 8am and at 9am we went through to meet Joe for the second part of the Cultural tour. We starting with watching “Ushela” or the wedding proposal.
After the proposal we walked up into the village to watch the young men throwing the spears or Isiphaphas at a target. This is always great as you know you are up next and I naturally volunteered to have a go. I must say I think I did ok.
It was at this point we got to see how the spears were made and then we entered the Sangoma and Nyangas hut.
That was now the end of our cultural tour and we checked out and headed to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for the next part of our tour a 4 day Safari.
We got to Nyalazi gate around midday and at the gate we were greeted with 5 Bachelor Elephant drinking and mud wallowing, some Buffalo Bulls doing the same and a Dazzle of Zebra.
What a start to our Durban Safari.
As we made our way up into the Hluhluwe Section one of my clients spotted a Rhino Laying down next to the road. We stopped and had a great look at a big territorial male Rhino.
We finally got to Hilltop camp for lunch and check in. After a quick lunch we headed back out onto the game reserve and spotted some Zebra near the lodge.
We had to keep our foot on the gas as we had a 16:30 appointment at the cat rehabilitation centre. Once we got to Emdoneni Cat rehab centre, we began our Tour with the feeding of the African wild cats and then the Caracal.
The Caracal can jump over 3 meters and the highest recorded jump is 6 meters.
The next enclosure was the Cheetah were my client got to interact with the Cheetah hands on and experience these amazing creatures.
Next was the Serval which where so beautiful and interactive. We first however fed the adults and only interacted with the younger cats that had been fed earlier.
After we had finished up with this amazing Tour we returned to the game reserve where we found some Buffalo close to the road. Our Safari continued…
Next was a Bull Elephant which was in Musth and was not interested in moving off the road, we waited and followed him along until he decided he would let us past.
We arrived at the camp and I got everyone settled before dinner which was great as usual. At this point it was time for bed after a bit of a sing and dance from the staff for us.
We began our day very early as the clients were booked onto the evening open vehicle game drive (Safari) at 04:50 am.
Once they were all aboard I got some admin work done and at 8am met with them again to see how it went and for breakfast. During the game drive I could not believe my luck as in the camp I spotted a pair of Narina Trogons which was just crazy to see two days in a row!
We all decided on a rest and after lunch we headed back out to see what we could find. I had heard that the Lions were around and being a cool cloudy day we may have a chance of them not seeking dense cover.
We spotted some Rhinos and Elephants in the distance but our main goal was to get to the Lions. We arrived and they were lying on there backs as if they had eaten a big meal.
After this we continued on feeling very lucky indeed. We found a lovely relaxed bull Elephant which made his way towards the road and crossed in front of us for the perfect photo.
The next major sighting as some Giraffe and one Elephant chased the Giraffes a little.
We then decided we would return to the Lions and while we were there a Bull Elephant in Musth walked passed the Lions clearly frustrated and heading for a herd of Elephant on the hill in the distance. We gave him some room but had 3 vehicles behind us so couldn’t really go anywhere as the vehicles in front had moved forward but blocked our way out. This left me trying to push an inexperienced rental car to reverse back to give the Elephant and ourselves more space.
This did not work to well and in the end I had to go with our safety first and I rev’d this Bull to get him to change his line he was walking in. This did the trick and we were able to get by with a few clients and others feeling very stressed. I would not normally do this but when our safety is in jeopardy I will do what I have too.
This is also a lesson to never go to a game reserve without a guide. “Durban” Guides have the experience and knowledge to deal with situations through there experience and studies of animal behaviour. This is the same as me operating on a person but not being a qualified doctor/surgeon!
We made our way back to the lodge and got everyone ready for the evening open vehicle safari Tour which began at 5pm.
I met the group again at 8pm for dinner and then a well deserved rest; we had achieved a huge amount in this day and seen so many wonderful animals.
My clients got on really well and they also agreed to walk to the next morning which meant I could have a little sleep in instead of getting up at 04:30 am.
The next morning I met my clients at 8am and we had some breakfast before relaxing.
After lunch our Durban Safari continued and we headed out after a huge storm had stuck and still were able to do well on the game viewing front.
One of the best sightings we had was a herd of Elephant crossing the road right in front of us, they were very relaxed and just moved on to feed.
As we continued we past a Land Rover that was about to be towed by his friend, every one seemed pretty happy about the whole thing.
We came across a nice Rhino sighting with the Red Billed ox peckers on its back removing ticks.
Later we spotted some Buffalo bulls near the road they always look like judges to me with there horns looking like a judges hair do!
We returned to the camp to cancel the evening game drive as it was raining. We stopped to have a cup of coffee before heading back out in my vehicle to see what else we could find. We did well again with a troop of Baboons. One of which was a real poser!
We also spotted a lovely Dazzle of Zebra before we went to try find some cats. We had no luck this time but were all pretty content.
After this great Safari experience we headed back to camp as the sun was coming down and we settled back in for some dinner.
Every night we had been away we had the staff performing Zulu Dancing and singing, we were very lucky.
Dinner was great as always and it was time for bed and get ready for the final day of our Durban Safari Tour.
We began later this morning at 6am, well I did not sure about the clients but we did meet for a lovely breakfast at 7am before we checked out and hit the road for our final Safari through Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
During this final Safari we found 3 of the Big 5 but didn’t really have too much time to stop as we needed to get to St Lucia for the 10am Estuary cruise.
We also managed to spot some Zebra, Buffalo and Impala as we rushed off to the gate to St Lucia.- Isimangeliso wetland Park.
As we neared St Lucia I briefed my clients on the area which is 3 x the size of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
The boat cruise began at 10am and we had a great time. There was Hippos Galore and we had some very good sightings.
One of the other major features at St Lucia is the Mangroves and they litter the Estuary with there beauty.
We also had a special sighting of a Giant King Fisher which stayed focused on fishing just long enough for us to take a picture.
It had been a great cruise and it was now time to depart and end our 5 Day Natural, Historical and Cultural Tour of KwaZulu Natal from Durban.
We stop on the way back to get some lunch and then later arrived back in the hustle and bustle of the city. This was sad to be back in the city but we had all experienced an amazing 5 days.
If you wish to experience much the same as we did on this tour you can contact Tim Brown Tours to arrange this. We run not only 5 Day Safaris but also Day Tours and Day Safaris from Durban.
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.
We began our Durban Day Safari Tour in Durban North where I collected my clients and we headed up to the game reserve. As usual I cover the History of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa as well as the origins of the population groups we have in South Africa.
When people visit South Africa some tend to forget that if they go it alone they are losing out on local Knowledge and a Tour guide who is qualified in the areas History, Nature and Culture would definitely improve there experience. One needs to remember you may only be in South Africa once in your life so find a local guide to maximize your experience.
It was not long an we were at the Nyalazi gate and before we could even get to the official gate we saw Baboons and a massive herd of Buffalo cross the road in front of us!
We didn’t have to continue much further before we found more animals near the gate including, Zebra, Giraffe and Rhino.
This was turning out to be a great day safari from Durban.
This was a beautiful male Giraffe and close to the road as well. While we were still watching this guy and some Buffalo a White Rhino male appeared on our right, I noticed he wanted to cross the road so I reversed back and let him cross which ended up giving us a great shot of him crossing in front of our vehicle.
It was again a few hundred meters after this that we spotted some Wildebeest and Warthogs with Tiny new borns! They were very cute as they suckled from there mother 5 meters off the road.
It was again a matter of time before we saw an amazing bird flying above us, the Secretary Bird! We had also spotted White Backed Vultures on a nest and in flight.
We continued on and enjoyed some lovely scenery in the Umfolozi section of the game reserve. The client were desperate to see Elephants and it was our luck day as we saw them on 4 or 5 different occasions.
Our first sighting was quite far about 100 meters from the road but if was enough to get the juices going!
There were two Bull Elephant only one visible in the above picture but what was so nice about this was the Wildebeest and Zebra in the foreground. The Elephant was flapping his ears to cool down the blood in the ears as it was already 30 odd degrees. As the day went on it got up to 38 degrees Celsius. A real stinker of a day.
We continued over the Black Umfolozi river where we found more Buffalo and as we got away from the tar road onto dirt we found a Giraffe male hiding in the shade away from the baking sun!
We were also lucky to spot a beautiful male Kudu.
After leaving this Kudu in the shade and spotting more Impala than we could count we finally got more elephants down in the White Umfolozi river playing around to cool off. It was amazing as once we left them we had an amazing close encounter with a Bull Elephant which approached us in a non threatening way. I allowed him close to us before moving as he wanted to also cross the road.
We continued on to stretch the legs at a picnic sight further down the road. This picnic spot has a great view over the river so we looked to see what we could find. There was a Black Rhino resting in the river it wasn’t long and he got up, it was amazing. Black Rhino are very rare and we were very luck to see one! Some South Africans we chatted to said it was the first Black Rhino they have seen in 15 years of coming to the National parks!
After this amazing sighting we began our hour long drive back to the Centenary center for lunch. When we got there we all enjoyed some food before heading back out on safari to see what else we could find. Our time was a bit limited and we only had just over an hour left of safari time before we would need to head back to Durban.
This was not the end of our spectacular day as we had another 2 sightings of Elephants.
Bull Elephant next to the road on our Durban day Safari Tour
This sighting was of two Bull Elephants which we let walk onto the road and we watched them walk down and away from us. Amazing day Safari from Durban.
We still had time for a few more Rhino and Zebra but then we needed to turn back and head back to the big city of Durban. It had however been an great Durban day safari tour.
On Route to Durban we had time for final questions or sleep before arriving after dark to a little rain! Not surprising with the Temperature being so hot during the day.
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.