Durban safari 18-19th September 2015
We began our Durban safari in the city of Durban where I collected my four clients for what was to be a very successful 2 days of safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
On route we chatted about the interesting history of the area as well as the crops and population groups. Before you knew it we were at the Cat rehabilitation centre for the 10:30 tour for interaction with Cheetah. We would also see Caracal, Serval and African wild cat.
The Cheetah was great fun and the one male was stalking Wildebeest up the fence line. Sadly for the Cheetah the Wildebeest was safe on the other side of the fence.
Durban safari; Cheetah stalks wildebeest
We continued from the Cheetah project and made our way into the Big 5 Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve to begin our Safari side of the trip.
It was am amazing start as I managed to spot a big bull Elephant in the distance on a road so we raced around to meeting him head on! He was in Musth which means his is at his sexual peak and had 6x the normal levels of testosterone running through his body! A scary problem which makes him potentially more aggressive. I therefore needed to sum up him mood quickly before getting closer. We had a blast with this Elephant!
Video: Durban safari tour; Elephant walks down road towards us
Durban safari; Elephant walks down road
If we thought that this was all we would get from this lovely Elephant we were wrong. With the amount of space and respect we gave him we pulled off the road and allowed us closer so we could enjoy him feeling off Marula tree bark. The display was one we will all never forget!
Remember it is always safer and better to go with a Durban guide who is qualified in these areas. It is important to understand the animals behaviour and you need more than just a crash course in Guiding to know these things. To many people come on there own get lost of get there car shoved off the road by an Elephant! A guide will save you a lot a embarrassment and in some cases your life! Always make sure your Durban guide is experienced and qualified!
Video: Durban safaris; Elephant feeding on a Marula tree in Hluhluwe
This sighting as you can see from the Videos was truly amazing and to be honest it set the tone for the rest of the 2 day Durban safari tour. We were already more relaxed as we have been battling for good Elephant sighting this past couple weeks and now we could truly enjoy our time in Hluhluwe Imfolozi big 5 game reserve.
We began to make our way to Hilltop camp on route spotting Zebra and Rhino as well as two old Buffalo bulls in the distance. As we neared the camp we spotted some Samango monkeys and two Purple crested Turacos.
Durban safari; Purple crested Turaco
We arrived at Hilltop camp and I bumped into some friends and so did my clients as there was a big conference in Durban which clearly meant that some people had come out a day or two earlier to indulge in a safari experience!
I got word of Lions and told my clients we need to have lunch and we can go to the room later, they all agreed and after lunch we flew down south and we blessed with an amazing sighting of two Lions. One was feeding on a Buffalo calf they had killed and the other was laying in the open!
Durban safari; Lion
This appeared to be two young Lions which probably had left there mother recently as the last time I saw them she was around. These two were about 18 months to two years old.
Durban safari; Lion feeding on Buffalo calf
In the above picture you can clearly see it is a Buffalo calf and you can see the claw gripping into the animal so that the Lion can feed more easily. Wow, what a great Durban safari tour! Watch the Video below.
Video: Mini safari Durban; Lion feeds on Buffalo
We decided that we now had to go after almost half an hour with these amazing creatures, we need to get back to camp to get settled before my clients would attempt the evening open vehicle game drive.
No sooner had we left I said to my clients “We haven’t yet seen Rhinos close” and a Rhino mother and calf appeared on the road, stayed for 2 minutes and then ran off into the bush! At this point I was actually feeling high, like “your wish is my command…” it was so funny!
Durban safari; Rhino
We arrived back at camp and got settled before meeting at 16:45 for the 17:00 open vehicle game drive. The excitement would not give in and there was an Elephant in front of the lodge so we all went out to look at him for 5 minutes.
Amazing how our 2 day Durban safari tour just kept producing animals. I was beginning to think this will not keep up into day two.
Later my clients returned from game drive cold and looking forward to the dinner.
After dinner it was time for bed and we would meet for 7am the following day for breakfast before going in search of the Giraffe we hadn’t get seen.
Day 2: Durban mini safari tour
After collecting luggage we enjoyed the lovely view from Hilltop camp and some great breakfast.
We then checked out and went in search of the Giraffe.
It wasn’t 15 minuted and we had found a journey of 6 Giraffe near the road. We spend almost 45 minutes with them as they fed and go closer to the road and eventually crossed in front of us. Nothing like patience.
Durban safari; Giraffe
We were now satisfied and took it easy stopping along the way to look at view point over the river but I remembered we hadn’t seem Buffalo close so I think I murmured those words to the clients and after a short while it came to be. We found a large herd of Buffalo right next to the road! This was an unbelievable mini safari from Durban!
Durban safari; Buffalo cow
We stopped again at another view sight and now it seemed as if we were being followed by other vehicles so we didn’t stay long. We headed off and had a great sighting mostly to our selves of a Rhino bull which began in the distance and by waiting for him he crossed the road in front of us and scent marked. Wow what a great sighting we had of another of the big 5. We seem already 4 of the Big 5 in just two days having seen 4 of the big 5 on day one and 3 of the big 5 on day two again!
Durban safari; Rhino
Video: Durban safari tour; Rhino marks territory with urine
As we continued to the gate of Hluhluwe Imfolozi big 5 game reserve we realized what an amazing mini safari from Durban we had just experienced! It was unbelievable and we still had to go to Isimangaliso wetland park for the St Lucia boat cruise to view Hippos and crocodiles which would be amazing as well.
It was an hours drive to St Lucia and most of my clients to the opportunity to rest up and before you knew it we had arrived. We got ourselves down to the jetty and I still have no idea how the rain held off but it did and we had an amazing time with some of the best photos of Hippos I have ever taken.
Durban safari; Hippos play fighting
Video: Isimangaliso Wetland park, St Lucia; Hippos play fighting
The dull light and cooler weather seemed to work in our favour and some how we manage to spot Crocodile who usually dislike this weather. We had a number of Herons and King Fishers as well.
Durban safari; Crocodile
To try and sum up this two day Durban safari is very difficult as words are not enough so I am glad I got some pictures and video clips to share the experience with you all. It was amazing in every aspect and a true reflection as to what we have in the amazing country of ours. I know my clients will never forget it and I am sure they will be back for more of the same in the future.
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