Durban 4 Day Big 5 overnight Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve, Emdoneni Cat Rehab centre and St Lucia Wetlands ( Isimangeliso Wetland Park) – 29th April to the 2nd May 2014.

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Durban 4 Day Big 5 overnight Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve, Emdoneni Cat Rehab centre and St Lucia Wetlands ( Isimangeliso Wetland Park) – 29th April to the 2nd May 2014.

Day 1: Durban Big 5 Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi Game reserve

 

On this Durban Big 5 Overnight Safari Tour we began just outside of Durban.

 

On Route to the Big 5 Hluhluwe umfolozi game reserve I covered most of the major history of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal and South Africa before covering Hluhluwe Umfolozi History and Early Zulu History.

 

Before we entered the game reserve we stopped at Emdoneni an endangered cat rehabilitation centre where clients can interact with cheetah and other Cats hands on. It is a great additive to the usual Durban Day Safari Tour or Durban Overnight Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve.

Bazil with the Cheetahs at Emdoneni cat rehab centre on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve 

Bazil with the Cheetahs at Emdoneni cat rehab centre on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

Bazil with the Cheetahs at Emdoneni cat rehab centre on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

 Juvenile Serval at Emdoneni cat rehab centre on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve 

Juvenile Serval at Emdoneni cat rehab centre on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

Juvenile Serval at Emdoneni cat rehab centre on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

 

We arrived at Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve at about 12:00 at the Memorial gate where we entered this majestic, scenic game reserve for our Durban Big 5 Safari Tour. Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve is 960 square kilometres in size, home to the Big 5 and the beginning of our Durban Big 5 Safari Tour.

 

Our Safari sightings began immediately as we stumbled across two White Rhinos, a herd of Buffalo, Giraffe and a Huge Herd of Elephant. This was making our Durban 4 Day Safari Tour experience very interesting… We still had 3 days of Safari to go and had seen 3 of the Big 5 already!

 

One of our first sightings on our Durban Big 5 Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi was these Buffalo mud wallowing. The Second of the Big 5 we saw after the Rhinos.

Herd of Buffalo mud wallowing on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve 

Herd of Buffalo mud wallowing on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

Herd of Buffalo mud wallowing on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

We also came across this young Bull Elephant Dust Bathing on the first drive of our 4 Day Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve. This was now the 3rd of the Big 5 for this Safari Tour!

Young Bull Elephant take a Dust Bath on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve
Young Bull Elephant take a Dust Bath on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

Young Bull Elephant take a Dust Bath on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

 

We made our way to Hilltop camp where we would be spending 3 nights and had lunch before checking into the camp and heading back out for another Safari Tour game drive in Hluhluwe game reserve.

 

We had a few good sightings but it was quieter than it was in the morning. We did see some Buffalo, White Rhino with her calf and a few other animals.

Nile Crocodile hides under a Rock on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve
Nile Crocodile hides under a Rock on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

Nile Crocodile hides under a Rock on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

 

This Crocodile with at one point had a Terrapin on his back was a great experience for the clients on this Big 5 Safari Tour from Durban. Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve was really keeping us occupied!

 

Time was moving by fast and we decided to call it a day after the sun set and head back to Hilltop camp for the night. Hilltop camps dinner was great and we went to bed for some shut eye.

On Day 1 of 5 days to have already found 3 of the Big 5 on a Hluhluwe umfolozi safari tour was brilliant!

Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tours are really pumping at the moment and some brilliant sightings of the Big 5.

 

Day 2: Durban Big 5 Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi Game reserve

 

We left Hilltop camp at 7:40am and headed straight down south to the Umfolozi section to look for Cats. We were lucky and saw Elephants again (1st of Big 5 for this day)on about 4 different occasions, Rhino Crossing the road in front of us(second of the Big 5 for this day), a Journey of Giraffe, Baboons, Zebras, Wildebeest, Impala, Nyala, Kudu, Warthog, Buffalo(the 3rd of the Big 5 on this days Safari) and even a Lioness which was not the 4th of the Big 5 to be seen on our Safari Tour from Durban to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve.

Always good to see one of the Big 5 but the Lion was a real bonus.

Elephant Eye on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

Elephant Eye on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

Elephant Eye on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

 

When last did you look into the eye of an elephant? If you contact me we can try and make this happen for you with Tim Brown ToursHighly rated on TripAdvisor.

 White Rhinos Cross the road in front of us on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve 

White Rhinos Cross the road in front of us on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

White Rhinos Cross the road in front of us on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

 

The Safari heated up and we saw these White Rhinos Cross the road in front of us on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour.

Chacma Baboon holds her child close on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve 
Chacma Baboon holds her child close on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

Chacma Baboon holds her child close on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

These Baboons we so cute playing and grooming each other on our Safari Tour right on and next to the main road.

 Giraffe poses on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve 
Giraffe poses on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

Giraffe poses on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

 

This Giraffe was part of a massive Journey of Giraffe about 20 individuals which were on the move crossing the road again in front of us. Brilliant Safari experience.

The highly endangered White Headed Vulture on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

The highly endangered White Headed Vulture on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

The highly endangered White Headed Vulture on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

 

This was one of my Best moments of the day as a White headed Vulture is one of only about 30 breeding pairs in South Africa. The are so endangered and only found in protected areas like Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve. We were lucky to see one on our Durban 4 Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve.

We continued down South and stopped at a view sight looking over the Umfolozi river and spotted a Lioness on the Sand bank. She got up and started to move towards the reeds. A great sighting on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi 4 Day Safari Tour.

Lioness on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve 

Lioness on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

Lioness on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

 

After we had left the Lioness we spotted some Wildebeest and Zebra that were keeping there eye on the Lioness over 300 meters away!

Blue Wildebeest on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve
Blue Wildebeest on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

Blue Wildebeest on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

 Dazzle of Zebra pose on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve 
Dazzle of Zebra pose on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

Dazzle of Zebra pose on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

 

We headed from here back up to the Centenary centre home of Operation Rhino in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Here we had a look around the Museum, shop and grabbed a bite to eat.

Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve has been good to us today and we have really seen so much, 4 out of the Big 5 so far on this Durban 4 Day Safari Tour.

We returned to Hilltop camp for a rest and some dinner before a good rest.

 

Day 3: Durban Big 5 Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi Game reserve

 

We headed through for a breakfast at Hilltop camp restaurant and then pushed to get down South for these Lions. We were lucky that there had been a report of 2 Lionesses on the other side of the river bank of the Black Umfolozi River. We made it there on time and saw then resting in the open on the opposite bank.

Lionesses resting on the sand bank of the Umfolozi River on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

Lionesses resting on the sand bank of the Umfolozi River on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

Lionesses resting on the sand bank of the Umfolozi River on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

 

We were so lucky as we continued on we spotted another Lioness in the river bed at a different location and later on a Cheetah which was lying in the shade under the trees. Our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 Safari Tour has really heated up at this point!

 Cheetah rests very close to a big Lioness on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

Cheetah rests very close to a big Lioness on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

Cheetah rests very close to a big Lioness on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

 

We also spotted 4 of the Big 5 on this day on our Durban Safari Tour; Lion, Buffalo, Rhino and Elephant. Even Cheetah which was a real bonus.

Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve really is a hidden Gem so close to Durban city. Join us for a Durban Day Safari Tour or Hluhluwe Umfolozi Overnight Safari Tour.

As were continued we spotted and Elephant drinking in the dry river bed by digging the sand away to get to the fresh water below. This top view was great.

Top view of an Elephant bull drinking from a dry river bed on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve
Top view of an Elephant bull drinking from a dry river bed on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

Top view of an Elephant bull drinking from a dry river bed on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

 

On our drive out on our morning Safari Tour before we reached the first sighting of Lions for this day “May Day” we spotted a beautiful male giraffe walking down the road towards us.

Giraffe walking in the road on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve
Giraffe walking in the road on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

Giraffe walking in the road on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

 

We then returned for a late lunch and rested before dinner and bed at Hilltop camp.

 

Day 4: Durban Big 5 Safari Tour to Hluhluwe umfolozi Game reserve

 

On our final Day of this Durban Safari Tour we had our breakfast before heading out onto the reserve. Having see what we wanted to see we kept to the northern section and spotted Elephant, Buffalo, Rhino, Giraffe, Zebra and a few other beautiful animals.

 

We also spotted this Crested Guinea fowl which you don’t see very often the more common one is the Helmeted Guinea Fowl.

 Crested Guineafowl on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

Crested Guineafowl on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

Crested Guineafowl on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve

 

We continued on and our time began to expire so we headed out so we could get to St Lucia or Isimangeliso Wetland Park as it is known now.

 

When we got there we did a 2 hour long boat cruise at this world heritage site and viewed loads of hippos a couple of Crocodiles and some great birdlife.

 Hippo on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve and St Lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park

Hippo on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve and St Lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park

Hippo on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve and St Lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park

 

The views were also great on the Lake St Lucia so I took a picture with Maphelane the Worlds second largest vegetated sand dunes at about 180 meters above sea level.

 The view of the Estuary and Maphelane on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve and St Lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park

The view of the Estuary and Maphelane on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve and St Lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park

The view of the Estuary and Maphelane on our 4 Day Big 5 Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve and St Lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park

 

We all had a really good time and now it was time to head back to Durban with my clients and reminisce about the whole Safari Experience. Some of my favourite moments were the Lions we saw as well as the White Headed Vulture.

 

If you would like a Big 5 Safari experience like this contact Tim Brown Tours and we can make this a reality for you.