Durban day tour – Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve 8th March 2015
We began our Durban day tour in Kloof where I collected a group of 4 clients before heading down into Durban city to collect another couple from the Elangeni. Once all were aboard and introduced to one another we began the 2.5 hour drive up to the game reserve of Hluhluwe Imfolozi.
On route as normal I tried to cover as much of the history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa as possible and also opened the floor to questions. It is always amazing to get everyone’s perspective on South Africa and Durban and a lot of the time clients do not expect to see such a well developed City or country. I always hear how wonderful our roads are as well as the infrastructure. One of the major things my clients tell me is how green it is!
Being our Summer time going now into Autumn this is still the time of the year we have the majority of our rainfall in KwaZulu Natal. Our tours in KwaZulu Natal are always amazing even when we have times where the animals choose not to show up.
We finally arrived at Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve at I think 09:30 and after getting the entrance pass we headed into the national park to be greeted by some Warthogs with piglets. They were covered with mud and this one mother was rubbing herself on one of the bridge crossings.
Durban day tour; Warthog
After watching these Warthogs for a while we continued with our Durban day safari tour to see what else we could find! It was a matter of a minute and we spotted some Baboons and Buffalo in the distance. We decided to wait and watch the Baboons as they were getting closer to the road, every so often we had one run across the road in front of us but I was to slow to get a photo of that.
Durban day tour; Baboon
After the Baboons we spotted some Zebra and Buffalo that were closer to the road. We even got some Zebras crossing in front of us which is always great to see. While we were watching all of this and I was explaining about some of these amazing animals we spotted a Giraffe in the distance which was great to see but didn’t make for a good photo; we could have to wait!
So far it had all been rush and the sightings on our Durban day tour had been thick and fast!
Durban day tour; Buffalo and Zebra
We continued on but within another few minutes we spotted Nyala one of the man types of antelope we have in Africa and then it was a beautiful bird a European Roller! Wow this was turning out to be a great Durban day safari.
Durban day tour; European Roller
This had been an amazing start to our Durban day tour but I knew the day was still long and we had more chances of seeing better or more sightings of the Big 5 and others. At this point we had seen out of the Big 5; Buffalo and Rhino. The Rhino had been in the thickets so I chose to return later to see if we could get them more in the open.
The craze continued as I headed to the Hluhluwe River to look for Elephants but before we could get there we saw more Giraffe. Then at the Hluhluwe river itself we hit the Jackpot! A Lioness walking in clear view down at the river and we just watched here. Every so often she would turn back to see if anything was following her. It became clear when I looked back at the photos that she had swollen nipples meaning she had cubs she was feeding. She walked cautiously up to some Buffalo in the river and then crawled away into the thickets behind the reeds. This was not the 3rd time in 2 weeks I has seen Lions here and clearly now in my mind it was because she had a den sight.
Very exciting stuff for us and we were all pumped up with the luck we were having! Not 3 of the Big 5 we had seen!
Durban day tour; Lioness
Fortune had favored us and we continued to another section of the Hluhluwe river to find Elephant. Again we managed to spot more Nyala antelope and even a crocodile in the river before finally spotting our Elephant at a designated view sight. As the Elephant was in the river and 50 meters away it was safe for us to get out and watch him feeding on the grasses growing in the ever drying up river!
What a great Durban day tour this had been so far! This was not the 4th of the Big 5 and we were on a role!
Durban day tour; Elephant in Hluhluwe river
At this view sight I took picture for my clients of them with the Elephant behind them and I hope they don’t mind me putting their photo up on this blog post. It is always nice to show how if you respect nature you can have a chance to take photos like this on a Durban day tour.
Durban day tour; Ed, Daniela, Sarah and Cathy with the Elephant
After spending some time with the Elephant we shot back to where the Rhinos were from earlier and we were lucky as they were sleeping in the open under a tree in the shade. The best part of this was that their was 3 Giraffe that walked right past the Rhinos which meant the Rhinos got up to have their photo taken. This was a great sighting and we were all smiles!
Durban day tour; Giraffe and Rhinos
The temperatures were rising and it was 33 degrees, it got a little worrying as we headed up to Hilltop camp for lunch and the temperature crept up to 38 degrees. It luckily came down and while we were having lunch it dropped off to about 32 degrees.
Lunch was great apart from the waiter forgetting one of our orders, he tried to make amends by bringing out some ice cream in the mean time which was a nice touch but obviously was a little random. All in all we were very happy with the day and the lunch went down a treat.
We finished up later than I was hoping but what can you do. We continued on our merry way and tried a new area of the game reserve to see if we could find some Lions that had been seen in the morning. Sadly the animals we did see were very far away as it was so hot. We found Rhinos sleeping in the shade, Nyala, Zebra and Rhino.
We also spotted a lovely little crocodile in one of the streams.
Durban day tour; Crocodile
We kept trying and as we exited the eastern gate we spotted two Elephant Bulls just drinking water from a mud wallow. As we had the safety of the gate we were also able to get out for better photographs and this was not the second time we had seen Elephants on foot on a Durban day tour! In fact we had not seen Elephants the whole day from the vehicle.
Durban day tour; Elephants drinking
I also used this opportunity to get the clients a good photo of themselves with the Elephants. This had been a great gesture by nature to show up as we were about to leave, it was 4pm and we had struggled after lunch. Over all it had been an amazing Durban day tour and we had seen so much including 4 of the Big 5 which for a day tour was exceptional.
Durban day tour; Jason and Luma with the Elephants
It had be a great day and now it was time to hit that long road back to Durban and then Kloof. We had a little rain on the way back to the city but we were fortunate that the whole safari had been a hot sunny day!
Another brilliant day safari tour with Tim Brown Tours.