Durban safari tour for Oceana Nautica clients 18-19th December 2014
I met my clients in Richards Bay as they arrived on the Oceana Nautica cruise ship which was travelling for 30 days.
It is always great to have these ships coming into our harbors in South Africa and docking overnight as we can spend an overnight safari tour showing off the amazing area we have to them.
I collected a group of Americans which If I can remember booked this tour about a year ago. After all that back and forth communication finally they were here and I could take them on the safari they so badly wanted to do.
We departed Richards Bay and made our way for the first part of our Safari which was to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve where I had sub hired an open game viewer and would be taking my clients on an open safari tour experience.
It was an absolute scorcher of a day in the mid 30’s and we had 4 hours to enjoy the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve before returning the vehicle and heading to St Lucia – Isimangeliso Wetland park.
Our first major sighting was of some Rhinos and Warthogs together as well as some Impala.
Rhinos and Warthogs in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve
We had a great sighting eventually of some Zebras near to the road, all our previous sightings they had been far away from the road and with the heat haze this made it hard for good photographs.
Zebra in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve
It was such a hot day and it was so humid as well which meant all the animals were hiding in the thickets and not often near to the road, this meant my eyes were working overtime to try and spot animals but we still were successful. Gratefully I spotted some Buffaloes tucked away in a mud wallow in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
African Buffalo seen in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve
Our next sighting was of some Nyala near the road but also at a mud wallow! It really was they day when all the animals needed cover, mud and water! These were some beautiful female Nyalas.
Nyala in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve
We began to make our way around to Hilltop camp for some lunch and before we could get their we spotted some lovely Elephants feeding in the reeds of the Hluhluwe river. They were loving the grass and even one of the babies rolled around a bit in the mud.
I made a video clip of these Elephants so you can experience some of what we did with about these amazing creatures.
Elephants in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve
Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve – Video of Elephants, learning about their cooling mechanism!
We stopped up at Hilltop camp for a good lunch before continuing on to see what other animals we could find. Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve being a Big 5 game reserve, we had already managed to spot 3 of the Big 5 and were only missing the Cats which is common during the middle of the day and they are nocturnal and rest in the day.
We were running a little late so on our way out we didn’t stop for long periods to view animals but we did see a lot.
African Buffalo in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve
This old male Buffalo was part of a Bachelor herd and he gave us the beady eye while chewing on some grass. Its was around the same time we spotted another herd of Elephant they were parallel to the road. It was great fun as one of the young males was displaying to us and trying to make himself look bigger by opening his ears.
Herd of Elephants in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve
I made a video of this so you can learn and experience some of the scenes and feelings we got to experience.
Elephants walking near the road on our Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
It was at this point that we exited the game reserve of Hluhluwe Imfolozi and made our way to St Lucia to Amazulu Lodge. Once we got settled into our rooms which was about 45 minuted we headed out into the town and had a lovely dinner at Ocean Sizzler.
We needed to be back at 8pm as we were to be picked up and taken on a night drive on the Eastern Shores of the Isimangeliso Wetland park or St Lucia Wetlands. This area is known for it Leopard and I tried with the spotlight to see what I could find. The closest I came was hearing a Leopard calling! Sadly by the time every one heard what I was saying and kept quiet to listen he/she stopped calling and we continued on.
The Stars were amazing this night and we stopped for some hot chocolate and enjoyed the stars. I managed also this drive to spot a Hyena, Porcupine, Buffalo, Zebra, Duiker, Reedbuck, Waterbuck and a couple other animals.
It was a wonderful experience to be out till after 11pm in the African bush!
We returned to the lodge for some sleep and had to leave at 05:30 the next morning to get the Open vehicle game viewer at Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for 7am. We got their just in time and I took the clients on their last 4 hours of safari time.
Our Safari tour began with a bang as we spotted some Buffalo near the road.
Buffalo seen on our Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve
After spending a little time with these Buffalo we stopped at a herd of Impala an this was very interesting as they were so full of energy, the babies were jumping around and having a great time. They must have just drank their milk.
Impala jumping around on day two of our Durban safari tour.
Our next sighting was of some Rhino which were sleeping and they got up while we were watching them to start their day. We were lucky to see them getting up and stretching their necks almost yawning.
White Rhino waking up on our Durban safari to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve
We continued on and we spotted a Black Bellied Bustard, which is also a bird the Arab Falconers use to train their Falcons to hunt. This is a beautiful large bird.
Our Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve safari tour was really turning out great.
Black Bellied Bustard see in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve on our Durban safari tour
We continued on to a picnic sight to have breakfast as we were all getting hungry. We spotted a Fish Eagle siting up in one of the trees and some Nyala on the river banks of the Hluhluwe River.
I managed to get the Oceana Nautica group to pose for a photo to prove they were on a real African Safari.
My group off the Ocean Nautica ship on Safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve
We then left the picnic spot and found more interesting things like, Zebra, Rhino and Buffalo before we stopped at a Dung beetle! I explained to my client about this amazing creature and what it does, how it does it and why it does it.
Video of Dung beetle rolling a dung ball
We still had only seen Giraffe from the picnic site and finally once we got back to the main road we spotted two Giraffe on the road and they crossed in front of us. A mother and her baby. It was lovely to see them on this Safari for the Oceana Nautica cruise ship.
Giraffe in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve on our Durban safari tour
We now had to make a pit stop to stretch the legs and drain the bladders before we got going again and made our way towards the gate. On route we had one final hurrah as we spotted two bull Elephants. This one had broken one of his tusks off.
Bull Elephant on our Durban safari tour for Oceana Nautica clients
We exited the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve and made our way the 3.5 hours back to Durban docks where I would be dropping off my clients back with their cruise ship the Oceana Nautica.
On route the door was open to any final questions and as everyone was so tired some of the clients nodded off to the sound of other talking. It had been a real experience for all of us and we had all enjoyed the time spent together with nature. I am sure we all came away with a better appreciation of Africa and Nature after this Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for the clients off the Ocean Nautica ship.