Durban 5 day tour – Historical, Cultural and Nature 25th Feb – 1st March 2015
We began our 5 Day Durban tour in Umhlanga and made our way to Eshowe where the Fort Nongqayi is positioned. The Nongqayi were the Zululand police for the British and were based at the fort in 1883 when it was built.
Durban 5 Day Tour; Fort Nongqayi
It was also in this area of Eshowe that the Norwegian missionaries assisted the great king of the Zulu Nation, King Mpande who was estimated to weigh in at 250 KG’s. He was so big that he became ill and Rev. Shroeder built this wheel chair for the king.
Durban 5 Day Tour; King Mpandes wheel chair
The history in this area continues as near by in Empangeni in 1893 the first Zulu Priest was ordained Ndlela.
Durban 5 Day Tour; First Zulu Priest
This next image is of a monument inscription wishing peace, blessings and unity over our beautiful country and memory of those that fought and died in the 1879 war of Isandlwana, the 1906 Mbambatha rebellion and 1883 Zulu force at Fort Nongqayi.
Durban 5 Day Tour; Monument in Eshowe
We then finished up at Eshowe and moved on to Shakaland where we had some lunch and a rest before beginning our tour of Shakaland. We first watched a short 10 minute clip of the movie Shaka Zulu filmed in 1984. We then moved on to the Isivivane where if a Zulu warrior was killed his body would be covered in stones as people passed in respect for the dead.
At this point we moved up into the Zulu Cultural village at Shakaland and watched the Zulu Beer being brewed before tasting it.
Durban 5 Day Tour; Zulu beer tasting
We also saw a short demonstration on how King Shaka’s tactics changed the history of the Zulu nation.
Durban 5 Day Tour; Zulu weapon display
It was time for a rest before the 6pm Marimba playing at the bar and then the 18:30 Zulu dancing and singing which was spectacular.
Durban 5 Day Tour; Zulu Dancing
After the Zulu dancing we made our way through for dinner and waited for the chief to taste the food to make sure it was safe to eat and then we all tucked in to the great meal.
We had some good conversation and then we headed off to bed for a well deserved rest.
Day 2: Durban 5 day tour – Historical, Cultural and Nature
We began our day at 8am with some breakfast before we watched the Zulu ladies being “shela(ed)” down by the river. This is basically where the young men meet the girls and try to get them to love them.
As we left them and moved up into the Zulu village we began with a demonstration of Zulu stick fighting which of course I had to get involved in!
Durban 5 Day Tour; Stick fighting with the Zulus
Next was the Zulu spear throwing also one of the things that I need to improve on but at least I give it a go and see what I can do. It was great fun and some of us had a go. David one of my clients used to be a javelin thrower and he did a great job!
Durban 5 Day Tour; Spear throwing with the Zulus
Next we watched how the Spears were made and got a demonstration on the use of all the traditional Zulu weapons. We then moved on to the Sangoma and Inyangas hut. It is important to understand that a Sangoma is a fortune teller and not a witch doctor as many people say, an Inyanga in a medicine man like a western doctor but used natural products for his medicine.
Durban 5 Day Tour; Sangoma and Nyanga
It was now time to head into Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to make our way to Hilltop camp for lunch and check in. We saw very few animals; this was fine as we had 3 nights here.
We arrived had lunch, checking in and had a 45 minute rest before departing for Emdoneni cat rehabilitation centre.
True to form and Murphys Law at every turn there were animals which made it hard to get out of the game reserve to get to the Cat Tour.
First we saw Elephant heading down to a mud wallow.
Durban 5 Day Tour; Bull Elephant walks down to mud wallow
Next was a huge herd of Buffalos as well as Rhino, Zebra and Impala.
We stopped for the Buffalos and saw two males having a tussle.
Durban 5 Day Tour; Buffalo Bulls fighting
As we continued we spotted some Rhino and the one Male came to the road so we waited for him to cross in front of us.
Durban 5 Day Tour; Rhino crossing road
When you see so many animals you really appreciate being on a Durban safari tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
Finally we got to the gate and made our way to the Cat rehab centre which was 25 minutes away.
We began the tour with the African wild cat then the Caracal and we got to see this kitten feeding.
Durban 5 Day Tour; Caracal kitten
Next was a visit to the Cheetah males and for the first time we didn’t interact with them so we could interact with the 5-6 month old Cheetah cubs in their new enclosure.
This was interesting as for them it was new and they we still very interested in the Zebra and other cats in the other enclosures.
We then visited the Serval and got to see one high up in the tree and interact with some on the ground.
Durban 5 Day Tour; Serval in tree
We then made our way back to the gate in Hluhluwe and back up to Hilltop camp seeing 3 of the Big 5 in the process just now cats. This had been a great second day and first day in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
We went straight through for dinner and then bed. What a great day in Africa on our 5 day Durban safari tour.
Day 3: Durban 5 day tour – Historical, Cultural and Nature
Day 3 of our Safari tour in Hluhlwue Imfolozi game reserve began early for my client who went on the 5am early morning game drive safari. I stayed behind to do some work and when they returned they had seen a couple new things; one of those being Giraffe.
We then sat down to a buffet breakfast and then took a rest until I got work of Lions near the road in a tree. This could only be the Tree climbing lions of Hluhluwe and I knocked on the clients’ room door to ask if they would like to come and see. They of course agreed.
We began the long 30 minute drive to get to them and hoped they would stay in the tree. On route we spotted a Rhino in the mud wallow which quickly got up and crossed the road in front of us.
Durban 5 Day Tour; Rhino crossing road
We then found some Giraffe and Zebras near the road too and we enjoyed them before rushing off to the Lions.
Durban 5 Day Tour; Giraffe and Zebra
The Lions were actually really easy to see as they were 5 meters off the road in a Marula tree. They we not going anywhere soon, one was a young male and the other a Lioness.
Durban 5 Day Tour; Tree climbing Lions of Hluhluwe
This is unusual behaviour for lions as they do not have a locking mechanism in the wrist like Leopards do which enables them to come down the tree safely. This pride of tree climbing Lions is a young pride and they have just adapted to climbing well.
Durban 5 Day Tour; Tree climbing Lions of Hluhluwe picture two
Video of Hluhluwe tree climbing Lions:
We shot off back to Hilltop camp and rested until 4pm when I met my clients again for a 3 hour safari.
Our first major sighting was a huge herd of Elephant on the other side of the Hluhluwe river which were playing and feeding all at the same time. One of these Elephants was lying down and rubbing on the river bank. What amazing scenes on our Durban safari tour.
Durban 5 Day Tour; Elephants on river bank
Next was some Buffalo drinking, watching them for a short while we decided to move on to see if our Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari could bring us any more luck.
Durban 5 Day Tour; Buffalo drinking
We were lucky as we spotted a male Rhino which had just come out of the mud and it was rubbing himself on a tree which had been pushed over by an Elephant. I decided to make a video of this for your benefit!
Durban 5 Day Tour; Rhino rubbing himself
Video of Rhino Rubbing himself of tree Trunk:
We made our way down to one of the Picnic sights where I new a male Nyala had got stuck in the mud. When we arrived there were 6 African Wild dogs visible in the river bed sleeping and the carcass was finished! After watching them for a while we saw the puppies all almost adult now wake up and walk around. Tim Brown Tours really can be amazing!
Durban 5 Day Tour; African Wild dogs
We then made our way around to the other side of the north section with out to much luck. It then began to rain and was getting very dark so we made our way back to the lodge for some dinner.
After dinner it was bed and we would be up early to head out at 6am to see what we could find.
Day 4: Durban 5 day tour – Historical, Cultural and Nature
We rose up early and headed out just before 6am to see what animals we could find on our 5 day safari tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
Our first major sighting was Elephants on the hills but we had seen so many we continued and found a mother Rhino and calf covered in mud.
Durban 5 Day Tour; Muddy Rhino
As we continued our safari tour we found some Giraffe in the road and Zebras which was great, so we enjoyed them for a while before continuing on.
Durban 5 Day Tour; Giraffe and Zebra
All of a sudden things became very quiet it was like we were chasing ghosts as even the Lions had moved to an area we could not access with out scratching the car. With no success here we found a large herd of Buffalo and it was again the case of well not another Buffalo. This happens after you have seen 100 or more in the 3 days.
We then got lucky with some Baboons on the road and they were grooming each other and one of the males gave us a big yawn which I managed to capture on camera!
Durban 5 Day Tour; Baboon yawning
We then headed to the main road and got two Buffalo bulls crossing the road in front of us. Wow what an amazing Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari tour.
Durban 5 Day Tour; Buffalo crossing
It was time to get back for some coffee and breakfast at Hilltop camp where we were staying and this was lovely.
I then let my clients catch their breath before we met later in the afternoon for another 3 hours safari.
At 4pm we headed out and tried a new area where we spotted 3 of the Big 5, Zebra and Giraffe in the first hour and a half. Our first good sighting was of these Zebra.
Durban 5 Day Tour; Zebra
We continued on and found Giraffe and Rhino before finding a great sighting of an Elephant bull near the road. We were hoping he would cross the road but then a car came from the other side and messed it up for us.
Durban 5 Day Tour; Elephant
I had heard in the morning that the 2 Lions we had seen the day before were still kicking around just another few kilometres down the road. We headed off down their and were luck to spot them. The young male had his head up and this helped us see them otherwise we would have driven past.
Durban 5 Day Tour; Young Lion
We then raced back to get to the lodge in time on route spotting a Puff Adder on the road, Zebra, Elephant and a night Jar.
It had been a great safari tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi and now we headed through for some dinner. Dinner was a buffet and was great the chocolate cake was too tempting and I had to have a piece or two!
It was time for bed and after a good day in the African bush we deserved a sleep.
We would meet at 7am the next morning for breakfast before heading to St Lucia for the 2 hour boat cruise to see Hippos and Crocodiles.
Day 5: Durban 5 day tour – Historical, Cultural and Nature
After meeting for a great breakfast and checking out we made our way to St Lucia South Africa’s first world heritage site. Before we could get there we spotted a Leopard Tortoise in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
Durban 5 Day Tour; Leopard Tortoise
We exited out of the famous Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and took a two hour boat cruise on Lake St Lucia viewing Hippos and crocodiles.
Our boat cruise on St Lucia estuary began at 10am and it was pleasant as it was not to busy and the sun was shining. We had immediate luck with some Hippos and must have seen about 120 Hippos by the end of the boat cruise.
Durban 5 Day Tour; Hippos at St Lucia
At St Lucia we have Mangrove swamps and aside of the Hippos you can also see other things like the amazing African Fish eagle. We were lucky to see one siting in a tree resting and later in flight.
Durban 5 Day Tour; African fish eagle
It was not long until we spotted our first crocodile swimming in the estuary. It is always amazing to see these prehistoric creatures still moving around in our country. We are very lucky to have them in South Africa and if you take a Durban safari tour with Tim Brown Tours you can see them for yourself.
Durban 5 Day Tour; Crocodile at St Lucia
What an amazing cruise on lake St Lucia, its so relaxing to spend time on the boat and its an ideal way to end a Durban overnight tour before heading into the small town of St Lucia for lunch.
We had a lovely meal at Ocean sizzler in St Lucia they always make great food.
At this stage we began our journey back to Durban which took us 2.5 hours, we covered any last questions and before arriving back in the City with some rain about.
This had been a great Durban 5 day tour and we had all enjoyed it.