Safari from Durban, South Africa to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park
I met my clients in Durban for their 3 day safari tour to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park in South Africa. It is the oldest preserve in Africa and home to the Big 5 the 5 most dangerous animals to hunt on foot. Obviously we were here for ecotourism as Hunting is not an option in a National park like Hluhluwe Imfolozi.
We began at the Cat rehabilitation center in Hluhluwe and enjoyed the experience of interacting with some of the Cats including African wild cat, Serval and Cheetah adults and cubs. The Caracal we do not touch as they are together for mating which can make them potentially more aggressive.
I was lucky enough to have done some back to back Durban safari tours so I was feeling the way the Cheetah in the picture was looking.
Safari from Durban in South Africa; Inside the mouth of a Cheetah
My clients also got to interact with the Cheetah hands on which is always an amazing experience and they enjoyed it just as much as every other client I have take has. This is a must in you are in the area and wish to do a Durban safari tour be it and overnight safari tour or just a day safari tour.
Safari from Durban in South Africa; Touching a Cheetah
Next it was time to head into the World famous Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve for our safari tour from Durban. It wasn’t long before we spotted some animals and they were the Buffalo, Zebra and Impala oh and Warthogs.
The Buffalo were a bit for off so I didn’t photograph them but the Zebra really posed for us and this made for a great start to our Safari from Durban.
Safari from Durban in South Africa; Zebra near the road
After the dazzle of Zebra we continued and spotted a Black Rhino which was really lucky. The only problem was that he kept going behind the bushes and was already so far away that the picture was really bad. A black Rhino is rare so I decided to put the picture up anyway.
Safari from Durban in South Africa; Black Rhino too far away
We then made our way to the camp where we settled in for lunch and checked in. Again I heard from my clients that they had seen all the complaints about Hilltop camp and the roads but they were surprised that it was nothing like what some of the reviews say.
After checking in we had a short rest before heading back out to see what animals we could find. It started really quiet and then I got word of Lions in the area we were heading into. As always when you are trying to get somewhere you end up seeing so many things which hinders your progress! It was still good as we got this calf Rhino with his mother near to the road.
Safari from Durban in South Africa; Rhino calf
We also found Nyala and Buffalo but we continued and there they were, a pride of Lions in the distance sitting in the dried up Hluhluwe river. At first it was a far sighting then we found another spot where we could see them a little better. The photos were not great but it was good enough and very special to see a couple of the Lions sitting on a rock. We also had a Rhino come and drink while we were watching the Lions.
Safari from Durban in South Africa; Lions in the Hluhluwe River bed
We then returned to the view sight where we had a look at the view. Down in the river bed was 4 Rhinos having a little go at each other so my clients watched this through the binoculars and I took a couple photos for them.
Safari from Durban in South Africa; My clients looking at Rhino in the Hluhluwe river
It had been a good day. When you see Lions on the first day it helps and makes things easier for the rest of the tour. We continued back up to the camp for some dinner and on route spotted a crash of 6 Rhino. It was a lovely sighting and this really capped off the day for us on safari in Africa.
Day 2: Safari from Durban, South Africa to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park
We began day two at 6am when the gates opened and were hoping to find Elephants and Giraffe. It was strange as we saw lots of evidence that they were around but did not find them near to the road.
As we then continued we heard that the African Wild dogs were in the area but there was no sign of them so after waiting around for 20 minute I decided to take a dirt road perpendicular to where we were and we found the wild dogs. It was awesome as one crossed the road in front of us before joining the rest all with full bellies.
Safari from Durban in South Africa; African Wild dogs
After enjoying the African wild dogs we continued and found Rhino in the distance as well as Zebra close to the vehicle. We had lots of Nyala sightings that we just gave up stopping unless it was a clear shot. It had been a quiet morning safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve but we had seen the most endangered carnivore in Africa so we were not unhappy at all.
Safari from Durban in South Africa; Zebra
We were getting closer to Hilltop camp where we would be having our breakfast and we finally spotted a giraffe male near to the road. He was great posing for us and walking next to us. They are such amazing creatures full of character.
Safari from Durban in South Africa; Giraffe
Once we returned we enjoyed the breakfast and took some time out from the Safari and rested until after lunch when we headed back out again to see what we could find. We actually we desperate for Elephant but nature has a strange was of leveling you and showing you that even though we are the most successful animal we still cannot have everything our way. This is still a good thing.
We however found another male Giraffe which looks like he could have been the same male from in the morning as well as Rhino in the distance.
Safari from Durban in South Africa; Giraffe crossing road
As we continued we spotted a whole troop of Baboon and some Nyala males having a joust with one another. The Baboons we really great and one mother had a tiny baby with her as she sat in the tree watching us. Our safari from Durban in South Africa was really great and its moments like these you remember how great they are!
Safari from Durban in South Africa; Chacma Baboon and baby
I was feeling a little frustrated that we still hadn’t found Elephants but it was just one of those things, life is all about timing and we had seen such amazing other animals we could not really be sad.
We still tried, and then we saw Buffalo below Hilltop camp.
Safari from Durban in South Africa; Buffalo
After this it began to rain heavier and we still tried for another 35 minuted for Elephant with no luck. We did however enjoy a spectacular rainbow which was not only going a full semi circle but was a double rainbow. It was so beautiful we could not even capture the beauty in a picture but we tried. Our safari was coming to an end and we spotted a Baboon on the road outside Hilltop camp. The best part was that he walked right next to us and was inline with the rainbow. People always say there is a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow but this was a Baboon at the end of our Rainbow!
Safari from Durban in South Africa; Baboon at end of Rainbow
We got back to camp and then I got the client onto the open vehicle safari that would hopefully find then Elephant but if not I would have to in the last hour and a half we would have the following day.
I went off to do the blog post I writing now and we would meet the next day for breakfast and check out.
Day 3: Safari from Durban, South Africa to Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park
Day 3 of our Safari from Durban began with luggage collection and then a great breakfast before the final pressure took shape realizing that in the 2 days prior we had not seen Elephant. This was not normal for me so my blood pressure was so high I had a headache.
I rushed off to try and maximize the 1.5 hours we had left to find an Elephant or 3 and thankfully the Elephant Gods looked down on us favorably and we found a Bull Elephant right next to the road it was great as he was relaxed and feeding away!
Safari from Durban in South Africa; Elephant feeding
We then had this great sighting of a Big bull Elephant coming down the tar road towards us. He looked angry but it was just the angle of the road which gave him the loping walk down towards us. At first I couldn’t tell as I was holding the camera trying to get the video for the clients.
Video of Elephant walking down the road towards us.
At this point the adrenaline was pumping and we were shaking with excitement as we were only 5 minutes from the gate and having to leave the game reserve. We had such great sighting in the last 1.5 hours of our Durban safari that we could not believe it. We even spotted this male Rhino with and Impala in front of him.
Safari from Durban in South Africa; Rhino and Impala
We then were pumped up and seconds later a we saw a mother Rhino near the road and I figured she and her calf would cross the road in front of us so I waited and bang! That is what the did and at some rate of knots!
Video of mother Rhino and Calf running across road in front of us.
It was not time to exit and make our way to St Lucia Isimangeliso Wetland park which is South Africa’s first world heritage site and has great biodiversity and we had great sightings!
We boarded a 10 am, 2 hour Hippos and Crocodile boat tour in inside 5 minutes we had seen both!
Safari from Durban in South Africa; Crocodiles
These two crocodile were actually laying on top of one another but my picture was really out of focus so I have to settle for this one after the one Crocodile moved to the water.
Next it was pod upon pod of Hippos that we saw, one of the best being a large group up stream.
Safari from Durban in South Africa; Hippos
We had a lot more sightings including a Giant Kingfisher catching a fish, a Saddle Billed Stork as well as a Goliath Heron. The best was yet to come as on our sail back to the jetty I spotted a Shark not one but 2 shark fins, we stopped and watched and saw them swimming around a bit. They could have been mating or hunting fish together. I was so excited I got the picture and even a video. Please excuse the South Africans making all the noise in the back ground!
Safari from Durban in South Africa; Saddle billed stork and Zambezi Shark
Video of Zambezi Sharks swimming in St Lucia estuary – Isimangeliso Wetland Park
My work was done and we returned to St Lucia town for some lunch and then headed back to the Airport where my clients would be heading back home. It has turned out to be a great Durban overnight safari with us having seen 45 of the Big 5 and Wild Dogs in Hluhluwe Imfolozi oh and Black Rhino. At St Lucia the special was the Zambezi sharks the first time I have successfully filmed them in the St Lucia estuary.