2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

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2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

After meeting my clients in Durban at Tekweni Backpackers off Florida Road we began the Journey to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve covering the History of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal and Hluhluwe Umfolozi.

We stopped along the way at Emdoneni Cat rehabilitation center where the clients were able to interact hands on with 4 endangered Wild Cats the Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and African Wild Cat!

I was lucky to have the Serval take to my boots on this Durban Safari Tour and eventually needed to put somebody else’s boot in my boots place to get away.

Serval get hold of my boot at Emdoneni on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

Serval get hold of my boot at Emdoneni on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

Serval get hold of my boot at Emdoneni on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

Cheetah at Emdoneni on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

Cheetah at Emdoneni on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

Cheetah at Emdoneni on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

After enjoying these cats and getting educated on the plight we continued to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve; Africa’s Oldest proclaimed national park established in 1895.

The Flora and Fauna in Hluhluwe Umfolozi is remarkable and I knew the clients would enjoy it.

Upon entering Hluhluwe Umfolozi for our Safari tour we spotted some Buffalo and Impala but that was really all the luck we had! In fairness it was the middle of the day an you can expect the animals to be resting more during these times.

We continued on to Hilltop camp and stopped there for lunch with a view and to check in. We had only 2 days on this Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour that we rushed back out 30 minutes after checking in to maximise our time in the game reserve.

Before we could exit the gates we spotted these Samango monkey’s which are an endangered forest monkey which you usually find in coastal forests and in select areas like the forest around Hilltop camp.

Samango Monkeys on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

Samango Monkeys on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

Samango Monkeys on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

Our luck really picked up as I spotted Elephants down in the valley so we made our way down there and had brilliant sightings of a large herd of Elephant!

Elephant bull cools himself on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014
Elephant bull cools himself on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

Elephant bull cools himself on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

After leaving these Elephants we continued our Durban Safari Tour to the Northern parts of the reserve. We were lucky that at a view point we spotted some Hippos out of the water down in the Hluhluwe River.

Hippos out the water on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014
Hippos out the water on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

Hippos out the water on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

After watching these Hippos for a few minutes we drove off to try and find some Rhino, We actually found more Elephants and had a vehicle which was adamant he wanted the sighting to himself so we reversed and turn to go another way. We again were at the right place at the right time as we found some Rhinos and Buffalos on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve Tour.

Buffalo Bull on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014
Buffalo Bull on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

Buffalo Bull on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

This big Male gave us a weird gaze which chewing his grass! Our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour was really hotting up as we spotted Giraffe in the distance and had some amazing photos as it was the full moon on Friday the 13th and as the sun set behind the mountains the moon rose in the East!

Marula tree at sunset on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

Marula tree at sunset on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

Marula tree at sunset on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

 

The Moon on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

The Moon on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

The sun had now set on our first day safari tour from Durban and as the moon rose we had beautiful stars starting to appear.

We drove back to Hilltop camp and it was Friday night! Braai night so we enjoyed some braai’d meat the South African way and the staff came out and to sing and dance for us.

It was time for bed but before bed some star gazing.

Day 2: Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

We got up really early and left the camp by 6am to try find the Big Cats as luck would have it we found 2 Lionesses on the road walking together before they cut off into the thick bush before anybody else could see them!

Lionesess walking down the road on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

Lionesess walking down the road on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

Lionesess walking down the road on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

Sadly for us these were two Lionesses which had been collared by the research team to monitor there movements I was so glad it was still dark otherwise they look like big dogs. This was an error by the research team which has yet to be rectified as these two Lionesses we collared in different sections of the reserve and then joined up with each other and have been together ever since.

We continued on, on our 2nd day safari tour of Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve and found some more Elephant, Rhino, Zebra and Giraffe.

Giraffe male on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

Giraffe male on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

Giraffe male on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

After watching this giraffe feed we continued down south to look for more lions sadly we did not find anymore Lions but came across some other amazing animals along the way in Umfolozi.

White Rhino Bull on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014
White Rhino Bull on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

White Rhino Bull on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

We found this Big male Rhino making his way to his latrine before we continued on to Bhejane hide and found a large herd of Wildebeest drinking at the watering hole. The great thing about this was that there was Lion tracks in the parking lot which I pointed out to my clients.

Herd of Wildebeest drinking at Bhejane hide on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014
Herd of Wildebeest drinking at Bhejane hide on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

Herd of Wildebeest drinking at Bhejane hide on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

Our Hluhluwe Umfolozi safari tour was really turning out to be a great 2 days!

We needed to get to St Lucia Isimangeliso wetland park by 12 o’clock so we need to do some rally driving to get there as we had traveled so far to get to Bhejane hide.

We arrived in St Lucia Isimangeliso wetland park actually early which meant the clients could look at the curios and gift for friend etc. Isimangeliso wetland park is South Africas 1st World heritage site and the Drakensberg which is also in the Province of KwaZulu-Natal is the second.

We boarded the Santa Lucia boat for our 2 hour Estuary cruise and even I was surprised at how many Hippos were out the water! It was brilliant. First though we spotted an African Fish eagle and a Monitor Lizard.

Fish Eagle on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

Fish Eagle on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

Fish Eagle on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

Water monitor Lizard on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

Water monitor Lizard on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

Water monitor Lizard on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

As the boat made its way up the Estuary of St Lucia we spotted the large pods of Hippos on our Durban Safari Tour.

Pod of Hippos on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014
Pod of Hippos on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

Pod of Hippos on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

St Lucia in my experience is even better than the Zambezi river far more Hippos down here! What a great place to spend a few hours on a Durban Safari Tour.

The next thing we saw was more Crocodiles resting on the sand banks of the St Lucia estuary.

Nile Crocodiles on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014
Nile Crocodiles on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

Nile Crocodiles on our 2 Day Big5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve and St lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park 13th to 14th June 2014

Once the boat cruise was concluded we headed into the town of St Lucia for some lunch. The town was filled with Bikers so we had to got to a different restaurant which was still nice.

Our 3 Day Durban Safari Tour was coming to an end and we departed from St Lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park and made our way back to Durban all of us feeling really happy with the rushed 2 day Safari Tour of Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve and St Lucia.