Hluhluwe “Big 5” game reserve safari
Our Hluhluwe “Big 5” game reserve safari from Durban began in the city where I collected my clients. It was to be a Hluhluwe game reserve safari to remember!
Our day began at 06:30 and we made our way to the world famous Hluhluwe game reserve and the Umfolozi game reserve in the south. After covering the major history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa we arrived at Hluhluwe game reserve and it was only 09:30. As it was a cool day I was really hoping we would find cats but as nature has it, you have to be at the right place at the right time.
Our Hluhluwe game reserve safari began at Nyalazi gate and we got a tip off on Lions for the lady at the gate. That was very sweet of her, she could have just said nothing!
We drove only 1 kilometer and found a young male Lion literally 5 meters off the road. It was so exciting we could hardly contain ourselves but we managed and enjoyed him for 10 minutes before spotting his brother on the other side. We were very luck as the first one we found crossed the road to his brother then they both crossed over one in front of us before it started to rain.
They them moved for the riverbed and we moved off as well. Wow what a start to a Durban day safari in Hluhluwe game reserve.
Hluhluwe game reserve; Young male Lion
Video: Hluhluwe “Big 5” game reserve; Young male Lions on our safari from Durban
We left the Hluhluwe game reserve and entered the Umfolozi game reserve in the south in the hope we would find Elephant and a few other species.
We were now spotting things far off but to be honest the Lions had really kept our hopes up for the day and it was the best way to start a safari from Durban.
After the Lions we spotted Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo in the distance making it already 4 of the Big 5 that we had seen in this single day!
Umfolozi game reserve; Buffalo
We crossed over the Umfolozi river or shall we say dry riverbed after the lack of rainfall we have had in the past 8 years… We didn’t spend to much time watching this old male Buffalo before we spotted some Baboons walkinging down the road and near the road.
Umfolozi game reserve; Baboon
It was now time to get a far down south as we could to give our selves a chance. I spoke with a couple of guiding mates through the day in passing and the both said, “Its quiet”. They were not wrong but we had luck on our side and kept chipping away and finding animals. I must say I had a great group that really helped me spotting, it is always important to remember the guide can only look in one direction at a time…
We then found some Giraffe it was a mother and her baby which was laying down resting in the shade.
Umfolozi game reserve; Giraffe
African safaris are so rewarding if you have the patients to take in your surroundings when in a game reserve like Hluhluwe Imfolozi.
We were not thinking Rhino! and boy did we get luck when we spotted a mother Rhino and her tiny calf of about 6 months or less.
This was one of the best sighting I have had of a baby Rhino in over 10 years! This little fella lay down on the road in front of us and waiting for his mom to cross over. They he got up and lay back down on the other side of the road! It was brilliant and I was so glad that I documented it on our African safari in Hluhluwe and Umfolozi game reserve.
Umfolozi game reserve; Rhino calf sleeping in the road
Video: Hluhluwe game reserve; Rhino calf rests on road in front of us
After this amazing sighting on our African safari in Hluhluwe game reserve we thought we couldn’t possibly have any more luck. This was wrong on me to thing and a we came around a corner in the road we spotted a Leopard which is supposed to be nocturnal about 30 meters off the road. As Leopards do they do not stick around and as we stopped the vehicle he held his pose and the scuttled off into the thick but back to the river.
It was a very sweet sighting for me as it have been a 6 month drought since my last Leopard sighting but I have made a silly mistake which I actually will never regret but may actually use again in the future now.
I have said to my guests after the Lions sighting that if we were to see a Leopard I would buy everyone lunch as it is so rare to see them and in the day time, damn near impossible!
We had no chance for photos but our African safari in Hluhluwe game reserve had been completed and the Big 5 had been achieved for the second time in 5 years for me on a day safari from Durban.
We were all stoked and could not believed our luck but we still wanted the Elephant closer. As we headed back from lunch we spotted Giraffe, Wildebeest, Impala and even Nyala. Eventually as we crossed back over the Umfolozi river we spotted Elephant but it was a 60 second sighting and he was gone!
We stopped for lunch and I said to my clients that I was sure that Elephant will be waiting at the gate for us.
We decided after lunch to continued till 15:30 before making our way back to the gate and with all the road works I got a puncture! We that is life and with the help of one of my clients I changed it and we were up and going in 15-20 minutes.
What did this day not have?
We got to the gate to get cleaned up and depart and this is what was waiting for us!
Umfolozi game reserve; Elephant
Wow what a day in the African bush under the African sun, Rain, wind and with the big 5! We could not really have wished for a better day on our African safari from Durban!
We all were very tired and made our way back to Durban with big 5 smiles one our faces!
The Big 5 in one drive! Legendary safari with Tim Brown Tours!