Durban safari tour – 5-7 June 2015
After collecting my clients from Durban for their Durban overnight safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, we headed up to the Cat rehabilitation center outside of Hluhluwe were we would begin our first day of Durban safari tour.
It was here that we interacted with 4 endangered species of cat, Serval, Caracal, African Wild cat and Cheetah! The Cheetah was the big attraction and the Cheetah cubs and Serval were very playful.
Our day had only just begun but we were expecting a good one. The weather was cool and there was a cold winter breeze blowing but the sun was still shining on our Durban safari tour.
We enjoyed the African Wild Cats and then entered into the enclosure with the Caracal, I managed to get a great shot of one of the Caracal in the tree!
Durban safari tour; Caracal in Tree
We moved on to the Cheetah brothers and interacted with them before making our way into the enclosure with the Cheetah cubs. This was great and my clients really enjoyed this experience.
Next was the Serval which are always so interactive that it makes the tour so worth it.
We then began the 20 minute drive to the gate of Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, Africa’s Oldest proclaimed protected area and home the the Big 5! Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve is a great place to do a safari and is only 2.5 hours from Durban!
Before we could even cross over the electric fence we found a sounder of Warthogs laying around and enjoying the sun on this cool winters day.
Durban safari tour; Warthogs
It was not long before we managed to find some Giraffe and this was a great sighting and a good start to our Durban safari tour.
The Giraffe female that we first found was actually chewing a bone which is very normal but people do not always know why. It is to grind off some bone to get calcium into their diet.
Durban safari tour; Giraffe chews bone
Video : Durban safari tour – Giraffe chews on a bone
We then continued and made our way to Hilltop camp with very little else to be seen in the middle of the day which is very normal especially when it is so dry during our winter.
We got to Hilltop camp and had some lunch before checking in and getting settled in the rooms. At 15:30 we headed back out to continue our safari from Durban to see what animals we could find.
We had a good start spotting some Giraffe and Zebra as well as Kudu and Nyala. It was not long after this we managed to find a lovely herd of Buffalo which after 15 minuted of waiting crossed the road in front of us!
Durban safari tour; Buffalo and calf
The next item on the list was Rhino and we got an mother and a 3 year old calf before having a real luck sighting of a mother Rhino and a baby only a couple months old. He was so cute!
Durban safari tour; Rhino and calf
I was heading into the area I knew we could have a chance of spotting the African Wild dog but I was not sure we would be so lucky on this safari from Durban. I was very wrong and thankfully I chose the right road! We found the Wild dogs on the road and it was clear they were keen on hunting so we stayed with them.
Durban safari tour; Wild dogs
All of a sudden they shot off into the bush and as we watched, 2 Wild dogs spotted a Red Duiker and bolted after it. It could not believe it as the whole park followed and caught up. The African wild dogs brought down the Duiker 5 meters from the road and we got to head all the noises as they quickly ripped apart the animal and fed just as fast. In a couple minuted they were chewing on the bones and the rest was gone!
Video: Durban safari tour – Wild Dogs kill Red Duiker
It was so fast that we hardly had time to take in what had happened so close to us and the road!
Video: Durban safari tour – Wild dogs fight over Duiker leg
After all the excitement calm returned to the bush and the sun had set on what had been an amazing first day on our 3 day safari tour in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
We now only had the formalities of dinner before a well deserved rest.
Day 2: Durban safari tour
If we thought day 1 was amazing on our Durban safari tour we had another great day coming! We headed out after breakfast and spotted a few things but nothing much until out the corner of my eye laying 10 -15 meters from the road was two male Lions! They were so beautiful and just cuddling up to one another it was amazing to watch them.
We spend some thing with them and with the other vehicles arriving they got annoyed and moved further into the bush but we had see them so perfectly we were so excited at this point!
Durban safari tour; Lions
Durban safari tour; Lion standing
Video: Lions seen on our Durban safari tour
It wasn’t much longer and we got some Zebra crossing the road in front of us! By this point we had also seen Rhino, Buffalo and Elephant but they were not the best of sightings. This meant in under 2 hours we had seen 4 of the Big 5 on our Durban safari tour.
Durban safari tour; Zebra crossing
Video: Zebra crossing on our Durban safari tour
We continued our Durban safari tour and got to a big body of water which I was hoping to find some animals at. We didn’t see much but the Impala we saw were really interesting as the males were Rutting!
We got one male trying to smash the other and I even got a video of it!
Durban safari tour; Impala clashing heads
Video: Impala rutting in Hluhluwe Imfolozi on our Durban safari tour
We made our way down to a lovely hide in the South west of the Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve. It was here that we would find a good sighting of the Elephants as there is water.
When we arrived we saw, 2 of the Big 5. Elephant and Buffalo at the hide as well as Warthogs, Nyala, Impala, Wildebeest and some bird life.
Durban safari tour; Elephants play fighting
These Buffalo were also at the mud wallow but waiting for the Elephants to finish drinking water before they took there turn…
Durban safari tour; Herd of Buffalo
Video – Durban safari tour – Animals at Bhejane hide in Umfolozi
The above video just gives some perspective as to what the watering hole looks like when it is so full of animals it is like an oasis in the middle of a very dry part of the Umfolozi section of the game reserve.
We also spotted three antelope species drinking next to one another which was also so amazing to see.
Durban safari tour; Wildebeest, Impala and Nyala drinking together
After we had seen all of these amazing animals we made our way back to the Centenary Center for lunch and then managed to relocate the one of the Lions we had found in the morning!
We then drove up to Hilltop camp where my clients had about an hours rest before heading on the open vehicle game drive and then had dinner.
Day 3: Durban safari tour
The next day we met just before 7am for luggage collection and breakfast before it was time for our final game safari drive before heading to St Lucia – Isimangeliso Wetland park for the 2 hour Hippo and Crocodile boat cruise.
Our last morning safari was brilliant and we managed to recap some of the amazing animals we had see in the previous two days.
First was the Rhinos crossing the road in front of us on our Durban safari tour.
Durban safari tour; Rhino cross the road
Video: Rhino cross the road on our Durban safari tour
We didn’t have to continue our African safari much further before we found a herd of Elephants next to the road breaking trees and feeding off them! It was amazing as one female was right next to us and broke the Buffalo thorn 3 times to get what she wanted which was just a little bark!
Video: Elephant breaks tree on our Durban safari tour
Durban safari tour; Elephant
I could not resist this amazing sighting and had to make a second video!
Elephant breaks tree and feeds during our Durban safari tour
It was now time to move on and see what else we could find. We tried to relocate on the Lions from the day before with no luck as they seemed to have walked up another road and we didn’t have time to go to investigate further.
It was time to head to St Lucia – Isimangeliso Wetland park and it was here we began a 2 hour boat cruise viewing Hippos and Crocodiles before we had some lunch. We had some luck not only with the Hippos but with some Bird Life. We actually found the elusive African Finfoot which is the first time I had seen it on this stretch of the Estuary at St Lucia.
Durban safari tour; African Finfoot at St lucia estuary
Further down stream we managed to find a lovely sizable Crocodile.
Durban safari tour; Crocodile at St Lucia estuary
We had some amazing sightings of Hippos in the water and out on the shore one of the better sightings you can see in the picture below and the video of am Hippos resting his head on another Hippo while a small Crocodile was a meter away from his back foot.
Durban safari tour; Hippos at St Lucia
Video: Hippo and crocodile meters from each other during St Lucia tour
It had been an amazing 3 day safari from Durban in which we had seen 4 of the Big 5 and the most endangered carnivore in Africa kill a Duiker 5 meters from the road! It was just super special and it was down day 3 and time for lunch.
After a great lunch we made our way back to Durban where I returned my clients safely to their hotel.