Durban 3 day safari tour 15-17th January 2015
We began in Umkomaas where I collected my clients after they had been diving the reefs of Aliwal Shoal. It would now be time to do a 3 day Durban safari tour with them and show them the land animals.
We began the almost 4 hour drive up to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve on route covering the history of the area and any questions my clients had.
We stopped at a Cat rehabilitation centre near Hluhluwe for interaction with 4 different species of endangered wild cats, namely Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and African Wild Cat.
Upon arrival we got to interact with tour 3.5 month old Cheetah cubs which will be being used for breeding. My clients loved it!
The cutest things was when it was time for them to leave and they were inside the Land Cruiser which for me is a warped sense of reality as usually they are outside the vehicle and we are inside the vehicles.
Durban 3 day safari tour; Cheetah cubs in game viewer
We then moved on to the African Wild cats the most primitive specie of small cat in the world; all our domestic cats would have had their origins from the African Wild cat.
After spending time with these chaps we moved on to the Caracal and I got a decent photo of one of them.
Durban 3 day safari tour; Caracal stare
In the Caracal enclosure I also spotted a Damsel fly which I managed to get a photo of so I could look it up at a later stage!
Durban 3 day safari tour; Damsel Fly
It was then time to visit and interact with the big male Cheetahs which my clients really enjoyed. I managed to get a nice picture of one of the males while he stayed away from his brother during our interactions with him.
This was turning out to be an exciting Durban safari tour.
Durban 3 day safari tour; Cheetah at Cat rehabilitation center
It was now time to visit the Serval and we managed to get a great shot of one up in the tree snarling at us below.
Durban 3 day safari tour; Serval snarl
After having such a great time with the Cats we decided to head into Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve the oldest game reserve in Africa and home to the Big 5, the Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant.
Upon arrival we covered the usual entrance procedure and did not really see too much before we stopped for lunch. Having said that it was a hot day and it was the middle of it!
We settled into Hilltop camp and had some lunch before checking in and getting luggage to the rooms. At 4pm we headed out and began our Safari to see what we could find. We found loads of herds of Buffalo in the distance so I did not bother with taking those pictures.
We did have a great sighting with some Rhino crossing the road in front of us.
Durban 3 day safari tour; Rhinos cross the road
As we continued we spotted some baboons on the road and got a nice picture during the Durban 3 Day safari tour of this Baboon.
Durban 3 day safari tour; Baboon crosses the road
We found some lovely Giraffe and our first sighting of Giraffe was an old male we later on found a whole journey of about 10 Giraffe. One of these Giraffes decided to stick his tongue out which looked really funny!
Durban 3 day safari tour; Giraffe with her tongue out
At the same spot we found a Dazzle of Zebra which also crossed in front of our car and we managed to get a great photo. Man our Durban 3 day safari tour was turning out to be really good.
Durban 3 day safari tour; Zebra crossing
It was time to prepare for the sunset and the good light we would experience. As my client we keen photographer I took then to one of the highest points in the game reserve and we got out as it was a safe spot and enjoyed the views. I tried my hand at the art of Photography and thought I would advertise myself!
Durban 3 day safari tour; Rolling hills of Hluhluwe
We were not going to move off to another spot for the actual sunset and on the way came across a large herd of Buffalo one of which gave us the stare!
Durban 3 day safari tour; Buffalo at dusk
As we continued we found our way to a lovely spot to view the sun set which had some cloud around it at this point and was not as good as I was hoping but still great to see on one of my Durban safari tours.
Durban 3 day safari tour; Sunset in Hluhluwe
We had to rush back and got in on time at 7pm. Dinner was also booked for 7pm so we just went straight in and enjoyed a meal in the restaurant before heading off to bed to prepare for the 05:30 start the following day.
Day 2 Durban 3 day safari tour
We began day 2 of our Durban safari tour at 05:30 am and took with us our breakfast packs that we got from the lodge.
We headed down south into the Umfolozi section of the game reserve to try and find cats and Elephants.
Within minutes we spotted Zebra, Giraffe and Rhino!
Our first good sighting was of a lovely Giraffe.
Durban safari tour; Giraffe
Moving along we found some amazing Zebra in a large herd which posed so well for us that I had to put the picture up from this safari tour.
Durban safari tour; Zebras
Finally we spotted an Elephant and he was right next to the road so we spent some time with him before moving on and having some great luck in finding a Black Rhino and calf. It is so rare that I was really happy about it.
Durban safari tour; Black Rhino and calf
We made our way down to the White Umfolozi river where we found a lot of Vultures 2 of them being the endangered Lapped faced Vulture. This is always interesting as they are natures clean up team and they were all either sunning themselves or bathing.
Durban safari tour; Vultures
We then made our way down to Bhejane hide and we had some amazing sighting at this watering hole that we ended up spending 2 hours their.
First the Zebra came, then the Elephants and Buffalo. Then we had Impala and Wildebeest with Vervet Monkeys, Monitor Lizard, Warthogs and even more Elephants.
Durban safari tour; Elephant mud wallowing
Durban safari tour; Buffalo, Elephant and Monitor Lizard
Durban safari tour; Wildebeest drinking
Durban safari tour; Vervet monkeys drinking
It was like a zoo as we just had animals keep coming for the 2 hours to the watering hole. This really made our day safari and the quality of these sightings was also amazing.
We had been very lucky and escaped the midday heat. By the time we got back on the road it was 40 degrees and humid like you cannot believe. We decided to revert to air-conditioning before we got to our lunch stop at Centenary center.
On route we spotted an Elephant or 4 and one as I like to say had 5 legs! What an amazing sighting.
Durban safari tour; A 5 legged Elephant
We got up to lunch and also had a look at the curio shop before the long drive back to camp. We arrived back at 3 pm at Hilltop where we sorted out dinner arrangements and the rest of the day. After 9 hours of driving or being out their looking for animals we decided to rest and not go back out as a big storm was on they way and then it hit up.
Good job we did not go out it was a big storm which briefly stopped for us to get down for dinner before it bucketed it down and we got drenched just getting back into the vehicle to go to the rooms.
Day 3: Durban 3 day safari tour
Day 3 of our Durban safari tour went exactly as I wished it to and finally the dream I had on the first night of Lions feeding on a Zebra almost came true.
We began with breakfast and check out before heading down south into Umfolozi as we had 3 hours Safari time left before we would head to St Lucia for the 2 hour boat cruise.
Our first major sighting apart from what we had seen already was Black Rhino mother and calf with a male who was keen on mating with her. She just kept moving away.
Durban safari tours; Black Rhino mother and calf
As we made it down to the Nyalazi gate I spotted 4 Southern ground hornbills and being an endangered bird was really exciting for me.
They were just roaming around as they do looking for grubs, grasshoppers etc
Durban safari tours; Southern ground hornbills
We moved on and to our surprise we spotted Hyenas on a hill munching on a Carcass of a Wildebeest that must have been killed by Lions. This was close enough to my dream on night one so I was really happy until; 2 park field staff walked straight up to the Carcass and removed the tail and the leg!
I could not believe my eyes as I am aware that these items are used by Sangomas (Fortune tellers) in the Zulu Nation for muthi medicine.
We obviously confronted them getting some elaborate story about it being for research. I also reported this and then more stories came out from the management as well as apologies. It is clear the rot always starts at the top I am afraid.
Durban safari tour; Hyenas and vultures feeding on Wildebeest carcass
We moved on and with some great luck spotted a male Lion under some bushes not that far from the Kill we had just seen.
He was really tucked away and this made it really hard for a photograph but a Lion is a Lion as I always say to my clients.
Durban safari tour; Lion yawning
We returned to the Carcass and found the Hyenas back and a few vulture but we needed to continue on and get to St Lucia wetlands for our 2 hour boat cruise. It would be there that we would see Hippos and crocodiles.
The hour drive went smoothly and we drove through the rural communities to St Lucia – Isimangeliso wetland park about an hour away from the gate.
The boat was fairly quiet and it was very pleasant and we cruised in the estuary and enjoyed all the wild life.
Durban safari tour; Crocodile at St Lucia wetlands
We had many great sightings of Hippos which are a guaranteed sighting as St Lucia is the largest estuarine system in Southern Africa.
Durban safari tour; Hippos at St Lucia wetlands
We ended our cruise and had to head straight back to King Shaka International airport as my clients were on a flight out that evening.
We made good time and sadly for my clients their journey had come to an end and they had to head home but not after having a great 3 days with me and diving with Sharks down the coast.