Durban 3 Day budget safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

1

Durban 3 Day budget safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve 6th – 8th December 2014

 

I met my client in Durban where we would begin our 3 day Durban safari tour to the Big 5 game reserve of Hluhluwe Imfolozi also visiting Emdoneni and St Lucia Isimangeliso wetland park.

I was luck to have a group of friends and between the information I gave them on the area they asked questions and enjoyed some good chatter among themselves.

Our first stop would be Emdoneni where we would enjoy interaction with 4 endangered species of Cat including the Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and African Wild Cat.

 

Baby Cheetah at Emdoneni cat rehabilitation center during our 3 Day Durban Safari Tour

Baby Cheetah at Emdoneni cat rehabilitation center during our 3 Day Durban Safari Tour

Baby Cheetah at Emdoneni cat rehabilitation center during our 3 Day Durban Safari Tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were lucky as we got to enjoy the 2 month old Cheetah cubs that have been brought in from breeding when they mature. We also got to interact with the 6 and half year old male Cheetahs which are part of the tour.

 

Cheetah at Emdoneni cat rehabilitation center on our Durban Safari Tour

Cheetah at Emdoneni cat rehabilitation center on our Durban Safari Tour

Cheetah at Emdoneni cat rehabilitation center on our Durban Safari Tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After enjoying these big Cats it was time to see more of the smaller cats so we entered into the Serval camp. One of the Serval got hold of a venomous snake a Vine snake and began to play with it!

 

Serval with a Vine snake in its mouth at Emdoneni cat rehabilitation center

Serval with a Vine snake in its mouth at Emdoneni cat rehabilitation center

Serval with a Vine snake in its mouth at Emdoneni cat rehabilitation center

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had enjoyed our time at Emdoneni and we moved on to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve the oldest game reserve in Africa! It took up just 20 minutes to get their and we entered the national park to see what animals we could find before lunch.

 

Our first sighting in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve was some Warthogs with babies and a young male and female were pushing each other around!

 

Warthog tussel on our Durban safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Warthog tussel on our Durban safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Warthog tussel on our Durban safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was a matter of minutes and we found the first of our Big 5 animals the Rhino! What was extra special is they crossed the road in front of our vehicle. This was very exciting especially for the clients. Our Durban safari tour had clearly begun!

 

 Rhino crosses the road on our Safari tour from Durban

Rhino crosses the road on our Safari tour from Durban

Rhino crosses the road on our Safari tour from Durban

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After a great sighting we continued up to the camp for lunch but before we could get there we found some Nyala near the road, I was lucky to get this decent picture of one of the males.

 

Nyala male seen on our Durban safari tour of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Nyala male seen on our Durban safari tour of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Nyala male seen on our Durban safari tour of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before we could get up to Hilltop camp we checked some alarm calling from the Baboons with no luck of a predator but word had it that the Lions had been seen in that area and were hiding up on the hills.

 

Baboon seen on our Durban 3 day safari tour

Baboon seen on our Durban 3 day safari tour

Baboon seen on our Durban 3 day safari tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was time for some lunch and we arrived at Hilltop camp in Hluhluwe to enjoy it. I checked my clients into their rooms and while they enjoyed a drink off loaded their luggage as well. We met an hour later at 15:30 to continue our Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari tour.

 

After we got back out on the reserve we had already seen good sightings of Rhino and Buffalo so  we looked to see if we could add to the collection of Big 5 animals we had found.

 

I stopped at a view sight and checked the area was safe before inviting the clients to join me. Down in the Hluhluwe river was a couple of herds of Elephants. It was a beautiful sight and we got great photos as the view is also spectacular even without the animals.

 

Herd of Elephants chase some Nyalas on our Durban safari tour of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Herd of Elephants chase some Nyalas on our Durban safari tour of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Herd of Elephants chase some Nyalas on our Durban safari tour of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also had the Male Nyala feeding and the Elephants decided to chase them away so they could have the food to themselves. It was a great sighting to see these Elephants chase the Nyala and some Elephants were chasing each other. What a special day it had been on Safari near Durban.

 

We continued and found some Buffalo bulls near the road feeding. Before we could get back to camp we also spotted an Elephant playing with one of the signs in the reserve. This meant we had seen 3 of the Big 5 in on day 1 of our Durban safari tour.

 

Buffalo Bull feeding during our Safari tour from Durban

Buffalo Bull feeding during our Safari tour from Durban

Buffalo Bull feeding during our Safari tour from Durban

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tag and your out! Bull Elephant touches the road marker on our Durban 3 day safari tour

Tag and your out! Bull Elephant touches the road marker on our Durban 3 day safari tour

Tag and your out! Bull Elephant touches the road marker on our Durban 3 day safari tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had tried our best this afternoon to find these Lions with out any luck but that is the way it goes sometimes. We decided to head back to camp as it was getting dark and it was almost our curfew time.

Once we got back we settled in for some dinner and some singing and dancing by the staff at Hilltop camp.

It had clouded over so no star gazing this night.

 

Day 2: Durban 3 Day budget safari tour of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. 

 

We had all agreed to have a 7am breakfast and then to spend the day down in the Umfolozi section of the game reserve. So after the buffet breakfast we sped off down south. It turned out to be a good idea to get up later as by the time we left it was no longer misty and raining!

We came across some Impala which are really common but as its the lambing season we saw lots of babies around.

 

Impala lambs on our Safari tour from Durban KwaZulu Natal

Impala lambs on our Safari tour from Durban KwaZulu Natal

Impala lambs on our Safari tour from Durban KwaZulu Natal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After spotting these lovely Impala we found some Warthogs in the road drinking water from the puddles it was really cute as the mother had her three piglets with her. This was a good sign for the rest of the day we hoped.

 

Warthog with her 3 piglets drinking out of the potholes in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Warthog with her 3 piglets drinking out of the potholes in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Warthog with her 3 piglets drinking out of the potholes in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we continued we spotted some Zebras near to the road which was good as we had not seen many Zebra to this point. We watches them feeding on the wet grass before moving closer to the infamous Umfolozi river!

 

Zebra seen on our Safari tour from Durban in KwaZulu Natal

Zebra seen on our Safari tour from Durban in KwaZulu Natal

Zebra seen on our Safari tour from Durban in KwaZulu Natal

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we neared the Umfolozi river, I spotted a Hyena out the corner of my eye, it was so good to see one in the day time! We watched him and followed him until he dissipated into the bush. Unfortunately there was always some grass in front of his face so my picture all were out of focus! 

 

Spotted Hyena seen on our Durban safari tour

Spotted Hyena seen on our Durban safari tour

Spotted Hyena seen on our Durban safari tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were really happy already and I was just hoping we would find some Lions near the river, but I was wrong. Before we made it to the river we spotted a Cheetah – a wild cheetah of which their are only 25 approximately in the whole 96 000 Hectare game reserve of Hluhluwe Imfolozi!

I was really stoked like a fire as she crossed in front of our vehicle and went jogging after some Impala but missed! Wow what as day in the African bush on safari! What could possibly be next!

 

Wild Cheetah in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve on our Durban safari tour

Wild Cheetah in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve on our Durban safari tour

Wild Cheetah in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve on our Durban safari tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we moved on things finally became quieter and their was a slow build up to our next sightings… We did however find one old Buffalo bull in the Umfolozi river. Surprisingly it is really dry for this time of the year which is a little concerning!

 

Buffalo bull in the Black Umfolozi river during our safari tour from Durban

Buffalo bull in the Black Umfolozi river during our safari tour from Durban

Buffalo bull in the Black Umfolozi river during our safari tour from Durban

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The day was warming up and we drove some lovely dirt roads to which were very quiet but we had seen so much already that we just took in the whole experience. By the time we reach the next bit of river frontage we were ready for the next sighting. It was at the White Umfolozi river where we found a huge herd of Elephant and a Giraffe near by! This was great as their is a safe view point overlooking the river that we can get out at and enjoy these amazing animals while standing on our feet as appose to sitting in the vehicle.

 

Herd of Elephants in the Umfolozi river on day 2 of our Durban safari tour

Herd of Elephants in the Umfolozi river on day 2 of our Durban safari tour

Herd of Elephants in the Umfolozi river on day 2 of our Durban safari tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Giraffe seen on our Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Giraffe seen on our Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Giraffe seen on our Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The day was getting long but we had enjoyed such a good time so far that we continued on to see what else we could find.

We were lucky to find two Leopard Tortoises and Rhino mother and calf sleeping next to one another.

 

Leopard Tortoises feeding off the road on our Durban safari tour

Leopard Tortoises feeding off the road on our Durban safari tour

Leopard Tortoises feeding off the road on our Durban safari tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mother and baby Rhino sleep at midday in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Mother and baby Rhino sleep at midday in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Mother and baby Rhino sleep at midday in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was almost time for some lunch so we headed back up to the Centenary center and managed to find the cutest little Vervet monkeys. The best picture was this mother and her baby held tight to her chest. It really is such a privilege to be able to do these tours for my clients and I’m sure I enjoy it just as much as they do!.

 

Mom and baby Vervet monkey hold onto each other on our safari tour from Durban

Mom and baby Vervet monkey hold onto each other on our safari tour from Durban

Mom and baby Vervet monkey hold onto each other on our safari tour from Durban

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After we stopped for lunch a little rain came down but not enough to wet the earth, we then made our way back to Hilltop camp and after an hour of rest my client got onto the open vehicle safari and sadly they didn’t see very much.

 

They had some dinner and an early night before day 3 which was to be a bumper day!

 

Day 3 – Durban 3 day budget safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. 

 

We got up at 6am and met for breakfast at 7am after loading the car up with the luggage. We had one thing on our minds and that was Lions! It was our last chance to find Lions before our 12 o clock St Lucia estuary cruise viewing Hippos and Crocodiles.

The day began and we headed down south to the Umfolozi river as this was our best chance for Lions!

On the way we say giraffe.

 

Giraffe resting on the 3rd morning of our Durban Safari Tour

Giraffe resting on the 3rd morning of our Durban Safari Tour

Giraffe resting on the 3rd morning of our Durban Safari Tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Then we got to the Umfolozi river and laying flat in the distance was a pride of lions is was so exciting! We made our way around to a view site to get a better look and I got an amazing video of these Lions. The lions had 5 Buffalo Bulls approach them as they wanted so water and also to get one over the old rivals the Lions! 2 more Buffalos joined the party and they were chased by the Lions one mature male Lion almost got a horn in his leg. This happened twice before we called it a day and went to St Lucia for our boat cruise.

 

Lions chasing Buffalo on our Durban safari tour

Lions chasing Buffalo on our Durban safari tour

Lions chasing Buffalo on our Durban safari tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lions looking on as Buffalo move away from the Umfolozi river during our Durban safari tour

Lions looking on as Buffalo move away from the Umfolozi river during our Durban safari tour

Lions looking on as Buffalo move away from the Umfolozi river during our Durban safari tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video of Lions chasing Buffalo in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve on our Durban Safari tour 

 

 

 

What an amazing Durban 3 day safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve! We were truly blessed with amazing weather and 4 out of the Big 5 + Cheetah and Hyena! We could not have been happier!

 

It was time for a 1 hour drive to St Lucia for our 2 hour Estuary cruise.

When we  got to St Lucia we saw some Crocodiles near the jetty.

 

Crocodiles at St Lucia during our Estuary cruise safari tour

Crocodiles at St Lucia during our Estuary cruise safari tour

Crocodiles at St Lucia during our Estuary cruise safari tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Further up stream we found some lovely pods of Hippos, I waited for the perfect moment and I got a cracking photo!

 

Hippo seen at St Lucia with his mouth open during our Durban safari tour

Hippo seen at St Lucia with his mouth open during our Durban safari tour

Hippo seen at St Lucia with his mouth open during our Durban safari tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This capped of one of the better Durban safari tours I have run for my clients and we stopped off in St Lucia town for some amazing Pizza at Ocean Sizzler!

 

After this we began the 2.5 hours back to King Shaka international airport where I was dropping my clients off, we had all enjoyed the safari tour from Durban and all had smiles and pictures to show for it!

Over all an amazing Durban 3 day budget safari tour with amazing sightings of the Big 5, Cheetah and Hyena!