Durban day safari tour – 15th December 2014
We began our Durban day safari tour in the city of Durban where I collected my 3 clients, one of which was in South Africa for his wedding but lives in the UK and the other two who were from Saudi Arabia. It was a great mix of friends and I got to practice my Arabic which I seemed to remember from my 5 months living in the UAE all those years ago when I worked for one of the Sheikhs in his palace breading birds, vaccinating animals and building enclosures…
A Durban day safari is always special as it is a rushed tour of the game reserve but you just never know what you will see in those 6 hours of being in the game reserve of Hluhluwe Imfolozi. Each Durban day safari tour is different from the next not only on animals seen or quality of sightings but also the clients make the day safari special.
We spent the first few hours chatting about the history of KwaZulu Natal, Durban and South Africa. This is always fun but this time was more so because Fahad had to translate to Achmed from my English to Arabic. This was honestly great fun and what was so amazing was that Fahad could remember all that I had said in English! I was very impressed!
The next part to our Durban day safari tour was to enter at the Nyalazi gate of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to begin our actual “Safari”. The word “safari” is one which is very often overlooked but it is actually a Swahili word meaning “a journey”. MaShalah! Amazing!
As we entered the gate I was actually a little surprised to see no animals near the gate or for the first couple of kilometers. We have had some heavy rains a week ago which has filled the mud wallows, rivers and streams. This is not always a good thing for a Durban day safari tour as animals then have more freedom in their movements and can travel further from the permanent water sources for food!
We however have to take what we are dealt and get on with it. So as I say our Durban day safari started very slowly and then we saw some Warthogs near to the road. The first was a big male but I did not get a great picture but later we spotted two mothers with 3 piglets.
Warthog piglets seen on our Durban day safari tour
As we continued our Durban day safari in the famous Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve we spotted a female Wildebeest. Now females are not usually on their own unless they are giving birth or are spending that first week getting to know their baby before returning to the herd.
We heard her calling to her baby but we could not spot the young one, this could be that is was nervous and laying flat in the thickets or that it had been killed by predators… Who knows…
Wildebeest seen on our Durban day safari tour
We continued our Durban day Safari tour and found Impalas more Warthogs as well as Rhinos and Zebra in the distance. I was beginning to think we would see a Rhino close!
I was obviously wrong and we got a great sighting of an Elephant close to the road feeding and relaxed. I noticed he wanted to cross so I moved back and allowed him to cross the road in front of us. This was a great sighting for my guests as it was close up Africa!
Elephant bull crosses the road on our Durban day safari tour
KwaZulu Natal our province is really a place which is not so well advertised meaning that we do not have to share this beauty with that many people which when you are on a Durban day safari tour, means its that much more special!
Our next major sighting was of large herd of Impalas and their lambs, being the birthing season it is always nice to see the new babies!
Impalas with their lambs on our Durban day safari tour
We continued further down south and after crossing the Umfolozi river and seeing it flowing so strong I was really happy for the animals, they have waited so long for the rains!
We kept going deeper and deeper into the African bush and found more Elephants and lots of their dung on the road. We made our way around to another section on a dirt road which overlooks the Umfolozi river and we spotted some Buffalo resting in the river.
Three Buffalo bulls resting in the Umfolozi river on our Durban day safari tour
These old Buffalo bulls had found a safe spot to rest where the Lions would battle to get to them in a rush and where they could see any predators coming from all angles! Our Durban day safari tour was starting to get better and betters.
We enjoyed this view point before looping around another stretch of road where we found our first Giraffe. This was actually a bit of a relief as ever body else we spoke to said it had been very quiet. This first male Giraffe led us to another and we watched him feed for a few minutes before moving on.
Giraffe male seen on our Durban day safari tour
Moving along now as time was flying we spotted more animals and it was a Dazzle of Zebra right next to the road! What luck we had found! This was turning out to be a better Durban day safari than I was first thinking it would be after the start we had!
Zebras seen on our Durban day safari tour
We also spotted a few Vultures one of which has a palatial tag which is something which scientists are using to work out distances these amazing birds travel. Some Vultures have been know to travel 200 km in a day just to get to an area where this is food for them. It is important that when we see these tags we report the sighting of the bird.
White backed Vulture with a patatial tag on its wing seen during our 1 day Durban safari tour
We were not behind scheduled but its never a problem, we too a rest room break as some real toilets in the game reserve and moved on back to the river where we spotted another Bull Elephant and finally 3 Rhinos close to the road. This was not really making our Durban day safari tour!
Rhino mother and calf seen on our Durban day safari tour
At this point we began our journey or shall I say Safari back up to the Centenary center for some lunch. On route we kept finding animals which meant our lunch was a lot later than usual but we did have snack packs which helps keep everyone going!
We spotted some Kudu with Impalas near to the road which looked lovely.
Kudu male and some Impalas seen on our 1 day Durban safari tour
We found a monkey running along the road with a few others in the bushes playing around which was very cool to see and we still had not got to lunch yet… Not a problem we all agreed and continued on our merry way.
Vervet monkey sticks his tongue out at us during our Durban day safari tour
Our last sighting that we stopped for before a late lunch was one of an old Buffalo bull which was very slow in moving toward a mud wallow. He looked a big worse for ware but that life I am afraid! Their was a Rhino near by also in the mud, but this was the closest African Buffalo we had seen all day on our Durban day safari tour.
Old Buffalo bull seen during our Durban day safari tour
We finally made it to the luncheon stop after what had been a very long stint in the African bush but it was also very successful as we had seen 3 of the Big 5, and a whole lot of other animals.
I had my usual a Burger before we got stuck in the curio shop which was my fault as Achmed could not make his mind up over what he was to buy for his friends and family…
By the time we got away it was already after 15:30 and we made our way to the gate where we were greeted by a Bull Elephant which had broken the drain and was drinking the runoff water. It was brilliant! We got out by the safety of the building and I got a great group photo of the lads to take home with them.
Hussein, Achmed and Fahad posing with a male Elephant drinking water behind them
What a great Durban day safari tour, we had been blessed with great sighting and I with great guests. We now had to begin the long 3 hour drive back to Durban city where I would return my clients.