Durban overnight safaris – 17th -18th May 2015
I met my clients in Durban at the Blue waters hotel which overlooks the ocean of the Durban beach front. Once we got the luggage in the car we began our 2.5 hour drive to the cat rehabilitation center in Hluhluwe for our interaction with 4 species of Cat; Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and African wild cat.
Before we got their though we covered the history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa as it sets up the Durban overnight safari nicely with some back ground of the area.
This 2 day safari from Durban is really exciting as it is really rushed but you will not feel it as everything is so well arranged and tuned that as the client it is still very enjoyable. I always recommend the 3 day safari tour but if you have limited time the 2 day safari tour can be equally as good if luck is on your side.
We were lucky as everything we our way from the traffic to the timing of animals and really it was a spectacular 2 day or safari that even I will not forget for a long time!
At the cat rehabilitation center we had a great tour and the best times were with the Cheetah adults and cubs as well as the Serval one which took a liking to my boots. This is the 3rd time she has done this where is dribbles saliva on my boot and then rubs it with her chin. It is very cute and always part of our overnight safaris from Durban.
Durban overnight safari; Cheetah at cat rehab center
After learning more about the amazing Cheetah we began the interaction and my clients enjoyed this as well and the best part was the interaction with the young cubs which are about 8 months old and very excitable. Once of them got hold of some one jacket and would not let go until I brought across her blanket…
Durban overnight safari; My happy clients with a Cheetah cub
Next we moved to the Serval and the interaction with them as also amazing and as I mentioned the boot incident took place! These tours around the cat rehab are always amazing I mean really! where in the world can you do things like this.
Durban overnight safari; Serval polishing my boots
After the amazing tour at the cat rehabilitation center it was time to head onward to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, Africa’s oldest proclaimed protected area.
We got there in 20 minutes and checked in at the gate before heading into the Hluhluwe section for our Safari. Our first sighting was 2 minutes from the gate and it was of a journey of Giraffe.
Durban overnight safari; Giraffe near the gate
We also spotted Warthogs, Impala, Nyala and sleeping Rhino before I bumped into a mate of mine and he told me their was an Elephant Bull down by the river. So we headed down there and it was a good thing was did as he was drinking and we had him all to ourselves! At the same spot we saw some Vervet monkeys running around.
Durban overnight safari; Elephant shaking his ears
Video – Durban overnight safari – Elephant mud wallowing in Hluhluwe Imfolozi
Before we could get to the camp we actually spotted Baboons on the road and it was great to see them with babies enjoying themselves.
Durban overnight safari; Baboon walking down the road
We then headed off to Hilltop camp on route spotting a large herd of Buffalo on a hill. When we arrived at Hilltop camp we enjoyed the lovely view and some lunch before checking and and heading to the room for a few minutes. It was then time to head out for a couple more hours before one of my clients would be doing the open vehicle safari with the lodge.
This afternoon drive was one I would remember and my clients would cherish for a very long time to come!
We headed out and I nearly went a different direction but due to the limited time I felt we would not get to where I wanted to go and return in time for the game drive.
I was really glad I made that choice.
We had a very exciting start as we got on to one of the dirt road and went around a few bends we spotted 3 Lions walking next to the road. We were so shocked as it was only 4 pm and Lions are not usually active at this time that we could not get the word Lion out our mouths.
I got a couple of pictures before they moved into the bushes but they were not great and you will see why I didn’t bother putting them up.
Next I got a message from another guide friend that Lions we fighting and chasing Buffalo at one of the dams. I raced there but as you can imagine we began to see animals.
We spotted Rhino near to the road and had to stop for a photo.
Durban overnight safari; Rhino
As we continued we then came across a huge herd of Buffalo and one old male crossed in front of us so again we had to stop to watch them.
Durban overnight safari; Buffalo posing
We finally got there and I was disappointed to see nothing there any more except the Buffalo. This sadness did not last long as we then spotted the Lions walking towards the road. The problem was we wanted to photograph the one young male we say laying on a sand bank so we paused for this.
Durban overnight safari; Lion resting on bank
We moved on quickly to get into position for the Lions as the crossed the road, we had already missed two or 3 cross over but I got a short video of the young male crossing and a photo of the Big male Lion.
Video – Durban overnight safari – Young male Lion crossed road in front of us
Durban overnight safari; Lion crosses road in front of us
This had truly been an amazing day and we headed back to the lodge with the biggest smiles you could imagine and feeling really content. I had to tell my clients that in 10 years of guiding I don’t think I have seen 2 prides of Lions in such a short space of time and both either on or that close to the road. It was a special overnight safari from Durban.
We got back an Lyn went on the evening game drive, I got down to some paper work and admin and Lee watch a football match.
We all met again at 8pm for dinner and chatted about the amazing first day of safari we had. My clients had already been to the the Lion park outside Joburg and a national park up there but this safari took the cake!
It was then off to bed and up for a 7am breakfast and check out.
Day 2: Durban overnight safaris – 17th -18th May 2015
We met for breakfast which was lovely and then we headed out onto the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, it was then that our day really began. Oh I forgot about the Baboons outside the window at breakfast.
It was not long before we got what we were hoping for a Giraffe near to the road. In fact he was on the road and was walking down it.
Durban overnight safari; Giraffe walking down the road
We continued with our Durban overnight safari and came across some Banded Mongooses and some Vervet monkeys. Unfortunately the Mongooses all ran away but we were left with some lovely monkeys.
Durban overnight safari; Baby Vervet monkey
We then made our way into an open area where we spotted a huge herd of Buffalo right next to the road at a mud wallow. It was a great sight to see them watching us just as much as we were watching them.
Durban overnight safari; Herd of Buffalo
We then took a toilet break with a view and once we got to looking at the view we spotted 3 of the Big 5, Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo. We also saw Giraffe and Zebra from this hill, its amazing what patience can do!
We continued our overnight safari from Durban and made our way down south hoping to get to the Umfolozi river. On route we spotted some Kudu which was a new one for us and they crossed the road in front of us.
Durban overnight safari; Kudu cows
Next we had an amazing sighting of Elephants fighting, more like a dominance display which was very interesting to watch and not only for us but for a couple other Elephants which walking into the area.
Durban overnight safari; Elephants fighting for dominance
Video – Hluhluwe safari – Elephants fighting on our Durban overnight safari tour
We watched these Elephants for a good while and then we realised we no longer had time to make it to the river which was also fine so we made our way out of the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and onward to St Lucia – Isimangeliso wetland park.
The drive was really nice as we chatted about how amazing the overnight safari from Durban had been but we still had a lot to see and do.
We arrived at St Lucia and had some lunch before our 1pm boat cruise on the St Lucia Estuary. Then we boarded the boat and enjoyed what turned out to be a lovely afternoon watching Hippos play fighting and wallowing around as well as some Crocodiles.
Durban overnight safari; Hippos fighting at St Lucia
Video – St Lucia tour – Hippos play fighting on our Durban safari tour in KwaZulu Natal
This was an amazing time and I didn’t take just one video I took 3 videos that were good enough to go up on this blog post for my clients and their friends.
Video – Durban overnight safaris – Hippos playing in the water at St Lucia
Durban overnight safari; Crocodile at St Lucia
This Crocodile was amazing as he was just sunning himself on the shoreline not far from our boat at all. Next was some amazing big pods of Hippos and the best after the playing in the water was them out of the water!
Durban overnight safari; Hippos on land at St Lucia
Video – Durban safari tour – Hippos on land at St Lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park
This was the final part of our Durban overnight safari tour and the whole way back to Durban we could not believe the luck we had had as well as just the amazing sighting of nature on our safari in Africa!