Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5, 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
After meeting my clients in Durban at the Quarters Hotel on Florida Road we began the Journey to the Big 5 Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve covering the History of Durban, KwaZulu-Natal and Hluhluwe Umfolozi.
We stopped along the way at Emdoneni Cat rehabilitation centre where the clients were able to interact hands on with 4 endangered Wild Cats the Cheetah, Serval, Caracal and African Wild Cat!
We were lucky on this Durban Day Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi as the Caracal and Servals were very interactive.
African Wild Cat on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
Caracal on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
Cheetah on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
Serval on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
After enjoying these cats and getting educated on the plight we continued to Hluhluwe Umfolozi Game reserve; Africa’s Oldest proclaimed national park established in 1895.
The Flora and Fauna in Hluhluwe Umfolozi is remarkable and I knew the clients would enjoy it.
Upon entering Hluhluwe Umfolozi for our Safari tour we got lucky with some Giraffes near the gate. As we went further up the road we spotted some Buffalo in the valley before spotting a Crowned eagle sitting on a Sycamore Fig Tree while the Trumpeter Hornbills cried there displeasure.
Crowned eagle on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
Giraffe as we came in gate on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
On the opposite side of the road was an old male Buffalo which just lay down in the grass looking very tired and old.
We continued on towards Hilltop Camp for some lunch and to check in to the resort.
After a great Lunch and 30 minutes of rest we headed back out onto the game reserve of Hluhluwe Umfolozi on our Safari Tour and came across a herd of Buffalo crossing the road. We were actually looking for Elephants but they were to far away we could only hear them trumpet in the distance.
Buffalo after lunch on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
Our Durban Safari Tour continued and we spotted some Rhino in the long grass, we were patient and we found them coming closer to the road which made for a great photo.
White Rhino after lunch on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
We moved on to a view point where we spotted some Hippos standing in the shallow water feeding on the reeds at about 16:30 and a Big Crocodile on the bank. Our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour was really building up.
Hippos after lunch on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
Big crocodile on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
We continued and spotted more Rhinos and Loads of Giraffe all over the place it was frustrating at the light was fading and I needed to drop on of my clients off at the Memorial gate. After doing this we returned to Hilltop camp in the Hluhluwe Section of the reserve.
So far on Day 1 of our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour we had seen 2 of the Big5, Rhino and Buffalo. This left me with a great challenge the next day!
After some great steaks at Hilltop camps restaurant we headed to bed after a brief looking at the stars. We had an early morning the next day a 6am start.
Day 2: Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5, 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
We woke early long before the sun was up and began our day from Hilltop camp driving down into the Umfolozi section of Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve to try find Lions. We took with us packed breakfasts and our Durban Safari Tour began!
We sped down south and saw a few giraffe before we struck gold and got a young male Lion crossing the road in front of us. It happened so fast by I did get a photo after he lay down in the thickets 30 meters off the road.
Young skinny Lion on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
We were all so happy now that we had knocked the Lion on the head so to speak. After this we moved on and spotted a Wildebeest and Impalas near the road. I heard a sound and turned the engine off, It was a Hyena calling announcing his presence. Sadly he was to far away to be seen but it added to the experience of our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour.
We made our way down to the Black Umfolozi river where we spotted hyena tracks and a Lioness in the distance down stream which was in a bad way. She could have been attacked by a big male and was looking worse for wear!
Sick Lioness awaits her fate on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
As we left that area we were so happy having found lions twice on our morning Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour from Hilltop camp.
We could not have asked for a better start to the day. Then we reached Mpila camp in Umfolozi and spotted some vervet monkeys and Impala before continuing down towards Mphafa hide where we were luck enough to see Zebra, Nyala and Impala drinking. Durban Day Safaris to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve are amazing and we had 3 of them back to back!
Vervet Monkey stares at me on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
Mphafa hide Nyalas and Impala drink water on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
Zebras Drink at Mphafa hide on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
After this we continued our Safari Tour of Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve and found Warthogs, loads of Impala even a Kudu and more Zebra and Wildebeest before we spotted a large Journey of Giraffe near the White Umfolozi river. Durban City had certainly become a distant memory for us at this point!
Journey of Giraffe on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
Warthog rests on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
Bush Zebra Crossing on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
We came across a crash of Rhino resting in a open area before checking back on our injured Lioness which got up and hobbled along before sitting down again in the river on a sand bank. I think that tonight is the night that the call of the Hyenas will carry her name…!
Giving our pathetic Lioness a final glance we had to push on and not let the inevitable consume our minds. We were quickly cheered up as I spotted some Elephants on the hills which was great as being patient for the whole day we were rewarded. After a few minutes we continued to lunch at Centenary centre, At this point I had been driving for 6 hours and was pretty shattered!
Lunch at the home of Operation Rhino which brought back the Rhinos from extinction in the 1950’s and 1960’s was special. You always feel humbled to know that Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve saved Rhinos from a definite extinction 60 years ago. We should all be indebted to them for this miracle!
On completion of lunch we shot off on our final stretch to Hilltop camp on what had already been a fantastic Hluhluwe Umfolozi Safari Tour in this amazing Big5 game reserve.
We again spotted Elephants on a ridge still a little far for good photos but as we came closer to Hilltop camp we nailed these Ellies! We got a Large herd of about 25 individuals with lots of tiny babies crossing the road in front of us. They were on a mission to get to water down at the mansiya river. What a 3 Day Safari Tour this was turning out to be!
Herd of Elephant walk towards the road on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
Elephant mother and baby cross road on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
After an 8 hour Safari Tour of Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve we arrived back at Hilltop camp, collected the tickets for the evening game drive and I showed my clients were we had been they were amazed at home far we had travelled.
After a rest for the clients I collected them and took them to the Open vehicle for there Evening – Night Safari game drive. I’m sure they would enjoy this even though it would be a bit cold…
It was time for dinner and bed…
Day 3: Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5, 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
We had a sleep in till 6am and met just before 7am to pack the car and get some breakfast before a final 3 hour Safari Tour of Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve.
After this we would head to Isimangeliso wetland park for a 2 hour boat cruise on the Estuary of St Lucia.
We departed after breakfast and made our way to try and relocate the herds of Elephant we had spotted the day before crossing to get a drink from the river. It was 5 minutes and we spotted the on there way back feeding in the thickets. As my clients loved Elephants we spend lots of time with the Elephant waiting on then. Eventually after 40 minutes we drop off and spotted another large herd of Elephant near the road and we waited for then to cross in front of us. We the spotted an old Big male who seems to have some sort of polio in his back left leg(old hop along we called him).
Big bull ellie old hop along and 2 other males face off on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
The sighting got crazier as 2 younger but still big males were challenged by old hop along and we had a great time reversing to give the 3 of them space!
There was a 3rd herd of Elephant making its way to the road and we let them cross they has some really tiny babies and this made our day!
What a final Day Safari Tour! We also stopped next to a large male who put his trunk up to smell us and my pour clients got such a fright but he was only smelling us nothing malicious.
I could not believe what this day Safari Tour had brought us! After about over an hour and a half we decided to leave and see what else we could find. We also spotted giraffe, Buffalo and Baboon another favourite with my clients. We even found a Southern Egg Eater Snake in a pile of Elephant Dung!
Southern Brown Egg eater in some Elephant Dung on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
We had to head on to the gate to make our way to St Lucia – Isimangeliso Wetand Park. All of a sudden the wind picked up and was blowing the vehicle around a bit. We arrived in St Lucia and were disappointed that all boat cruises had been cancelled due to the strong winds.
We made the most of this and had some great seafood and pizza in St Lucia Town. Then we headed down to the board walk and did the walk to the Indian ocean and spotted 2 hippos grazing out of the water and a crocodile on a grassy patch in the middle of the Estuary.
Hippos graze in the day with the Indian ocean behind them on our Hluhluwe Umfolozi Big 5 and 3 Day Safari Tour from Durban
Along the walk I tried to cover things like the mangrove swamps and crabs which would have been covered on the boat had the weather played ball with us!
After enjoying St Lucia – Isimangeliso wetland park we continued back to Durban City (actually Umhlanga) reminiscing on what the 3rd Day of our Durban Safari Tour to Hluhluwe Umfolozi game reserve had brought us.
An amazing time, just incredible Days of Safari Touring!