Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

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Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve 20 – 22 December 2014

 

I met my clients in Durban where we began our 3 Day Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

We started early so we could get to the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve early and then got to Emdoneni cat rehabilitation center where we would be spending the 2 nights.

I covered the usual history of Durban and KwaZulu Natal before the obligatory rest stop an hour and a half into the Durban safari tour.

Within 3 hours we had arrived at Nyalazi gate and began with our Safari tour from Durban.

Within minutes we spotted our first animals and it was Vultures on a nest.

 

Vultures on a nest in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve during our Durban safari tour

Vultures on a nest in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve during our Durban safari tour

Vultures on a nest in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve during our Durban safari tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we continued we realised that the rivers were full of water from the recent rains and this meant that animals would have plenty of water not needing to rely on the rivers. This could have made things harder for us but we still did very well on this 3 Day Durban safari tour.

We continued down south and managed to get some great photos of Rhinos in a mud wallow and some walking near to the road, I made a video of this!

 

Durban safari tour, White Rhino and calf in a mud wallow

Durban safari tour, White Rhino and calf in a mud wallow

Durban safari tour, White Rhino and calf in a mud wallow

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Video of Rhino mother and calf on our Durban safari tour of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve:

 

This had been an amazing sighting and we continued on finding some Zebras and Water buck near to the road and we tried hard to find new and exciting animals for my clients Safari tour. 

 

Waterbuck seen on our Durban big 5 safari tour

Waterbuck seen on our Durban big 5 safari tour

Waterbuck seen on our Durban big 5 safari tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Having enjoyed these lovely animals we were lucky enough to come across a huge herd of Elephants in fact two herds of Elephants. We spend time with both herd of Elephant. The one herd we watched a huge female and her young cross the road to a mud wallow, play and move off. The second herd had a huge musth Bull who was their to mate with the females and strangely 3 or so other Big males not in Musth!

Eventually the walked towards the road and away from the shady patch they were occupying.

 

Herd of Elephants approach on our Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Herd of Elephants approach on our Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Herd of Elephants approach on our Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I also decided to video these Elephants approaching us to cross the road so you could all benefit from the experience we had! We were lucky as it is not every Durban Safari tour that Elephants will get this close but understanding their behaviour is so important to allowing them so close. If you do not have a guide with you do not allow Elephants this close to you!

 

Video of Elephants Approaching our vehicle in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserves during our Durban Safari  tour.


After this excitement we moved off to another area where we found some monkeys and vultures but no sign of any cats at this stage. We began to make our way back up for lunch and at the Umfolozi river we had a lovely sighting of some Baboons and a Bush Buck.

 

Bush buck and Baboon on our Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Bush buck and Baboon on our Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Bush buck and Baboon on our Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We had also had an interesting sighting of a Zebra which had been attacked as his left hind quarter had been cut open but although it looked bad I have seen these injuries heal many time before. At the same stage on our Durban safari tour we spotted Impalas and a Wildebeest male together for safety and due to shared habitat.

 

Wildebeest seen on our Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Wildebeest seen on our Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Wildebeest seen on our Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was now time for some lunch so we completed the loop and got back to the centenary center for some food and a rest. It had been a great start to our Durban Safari tour and we still had the afternoon Cat tour at the rehabilitation center.

It took us an hour to get to the lodge and we arrived just after 4pm and 20 minuted before the tour.

I checked us in and go luggage to the rooms before joining my clients on the cat tour at Emdoneni.

 

Cheetah cub at emdoneni rehabilitation center on our Durban safari tour

Cheetah cub at emdoneni rehabilitation center on our Durban safari tour

Cheetah cub at emdoneni rehabilitation center on our Durban safari tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This cute little Cheetah cub was bought here so that in the future they can breed! We have a big problem with in breeding and a small gene pool so it is important to find new Cheetah to breed and send back to the wild.

My client enjoyed the interaction with the adult cheetah during this part of our Durban safari tour.

 

My clients with a cheetah on our Durban safari tour

My clients with a cheetah on our Durban safari tour

My clients with a cheetah on our Durban safari tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was not time to see the feeding of the Caracals and this also gives them the chance to stretch their muscles as they will leap over 3 meters high to catch their food.

 

Video of Caracal jumping for its food on our Durban Safari tour at Emdoneni.

 

This was great to see and our next stop was the Serval which are very interactive and interesting cats.

 

Serval seen on our Durban safari tour at emdoneni lodge

Serval seen on our Durban safari tour at emdoneni lodge

Serval seen on our Durban safari tour at emdoneni lodge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our day was now almost complete excepting to have some dinner and arrange the breakfast packs for the following days Safari tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.

 

We had a lovely buffet dinner and were all in bed early as we left at 04:40 to get to the gate of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for 5am.

 

Day 2: Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

 

We entered into the Hluhluwe section of the game reserve and had some luck early on as we spotted a herd of Buffalo near the road soon after arriving through the gate.

 

Herd of Buffalo seen on Day 2 on our Durban safari tour

Herd of Buffalo seen on Day 2 on our Durban safari tour

Herd of Buffalo seen on Day 2 on our Durban safari tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We made our way around to the Hluhluwe river and we got out at a safe view sight to enjoy the view. We we lucky that we spotted some Nyala males and also heard the monkeys alarm calling but after 15 minutes of waiting we saw nothing predator like!

 

Hluhluwe river seen from a view sight in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Hluhluwe river seen from a view sight in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Hluhluwe river seen from a view sight in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Durban safari tour continued on as we made our way around to Hilltop camp for a cup of coffee and a look at the lodge and its view. It was lovely and hot this day so we did not stay very long and we wanted to make the most of the day while it was not killer hot!

I was being put under some pressure as we had not yet seen Giraffe and I was fortunate enough to then spot some in the distance. This was only the beginning of  some really good Giraffe sightings. Our next sighting they were on the road!

 

Giraffe seen on day 2 of our Durban safari tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Giraffe seen on day 2 of our Durban safari tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Giraffe seen on day 2 of our Durban safari tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We were then lucky and I made a video of these Giraffe crossing the road.

 

As we continued we also spotted some Zebra on the road so we also had a real Zebra crossing!

 

Zebra pose on day 2 of our 3 Day Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Zebra pose on day 2 of our 3 Day Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Zebra pose on day 2 of our 3 Day Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was now time to begin our journey out of the game reserve for some lunch as it was already 11am and we had been going since 5am. So after a breakfast stop in the reserve we went straight up the main road. Once we passed Hilltop camp we spotted a huge bull Elephant so we waited for him as he was moving to the road.

 

Elephant bull on day 2 of our Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Elephant bull on day 2 of our Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Elephant bull on day 2 of our Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Finally we made it back to Emdoneni and we could have a rest and some lunch. A couple hours later we went out again for 2 and a half hours to see if we could get lucky with cats. The closest we came was the same vultures from the morning but we did have some amazing sightings. These Rhinos were amazing!

 

Rhinos feeding on the afternoon of the second day of our Durban safari tour

Rhinos feeding on the afternoon of the second day of our Durban safari tour

Rhinos feeding on the afternoon of the second day of our Durban safari tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The next amazing sighting was this Buffalo Bull with the sun in his eye which lit up his body! He looked amazing.

 

Buffalo bull poses on our Durban safari tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Buffalo bull poses on our Durban safari tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Buffalo bull poses on our Durban safari tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also came across some baboons which were playing and grooming one another this was quite amazing at times to see the funny positions they would get into!

 

Baboon gets groomed on our Durban safari tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Baboon gets groomed on our Durban safari tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

Baboon gets groomed on our Durban safari tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The sun was now beginning to set on our Durban safari tour day two so we took a final spin around before we had to leave, the sunset was beautiful and we spotted a nocturnal animal! I did not get a good photo but it is below. A Bush Pig!

 

Sunset on day two of our Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari tour

Sunset on day two of our Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari tour

Sunset on day two of our Hluhluwe Imfolozi safari tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bush Pig seen on the evening of day two on our Durban safari tour

Bush Pig seen on the evening of day two on our Durban safari tour

Bush Pig seen on the evening of day two on our Durban safari tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It was now time to end the day and have some dinner and true to form the food was great and then we all needed some shut eye after a fantastic 2 days. The next day would be a quick spin around the game reserve and then St Lucia for a 2 hour boat cruise to view Hippos and crocodiles!

 

Day 3: Durban safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve

 

After a lovely breakfast and check out we headed into Umfolozi game reserve for the final few hours of Safari.

We were only looking for cats and came very close on two occasions with no luck. We all were very frustrated as even though you are aware it is nature you trust that God will provide the sighting but it was not to be!

We headed out a little dejected but knew in 1 hours time we would be relaxing on a boat viewing Hippos and Crocodiles.

When we arrived in St Lucia we got on board and enjoyed a cup of coffee or a drink before spotting Hippos mating! This made the day all better for me!

 

Video of Hippos Mating on our Durban Safari tour to St Lucia Estuary.

 

Amazing to see such a sacred act! We then spotted a big crocodile resting on the sand bank of the Estuary and saw loads more Hippos!

 

Crocodile at St Lucia estuary on our Durban safari tour

Crocodile at St Lucia estuary on our Durban safari tour

Crocodile at St Lucia estuary on our Durban safari tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We then got to see young Hippos play fighting and after waiting a few minutes or more I finally got the photo I wanted, this Hippos with its mouth open!

 

Hippos in the estuary of St Lucia with mouth open on our Durban safari tour

Hippos in the estuary of St Lucia with mouth open on our Durban safari tour

Hippos in the estuary of St Lucia with mouth open on our Durban safari tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We then headed into St Lucia town after an amazing cruise and had some lunch before making our way out of St Lucia! I was expecting it to be the usual exit from St Lucia but no! Their was a huge Hippo known as Scar Face due to all the scars he has from being attacked by more dominant males.  He was huge and out the water walking the streets to get to the grazing areas. This is odd as they normally do this at night!

 

Hippo on the streets of St Lucia during the day on our Durban safari tour

Hippo on the streets of St Lucia during the day on our Durban safari tour

Hippo on the streets of St Lucia during the day on our Durban safari tour

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Wow this had turned into an amazing Durban Safari tour and I can only thank the animals for showing themselves!

We began the long 3 hour journey back to Durban where I said my farewells and got home to my wife for the festive season!