South African Safari 26-29 July 2015
We began our South African safari near Durban where I collected my client who were out for a Baptist conference here in Durban, South Africa!
As it was a slightly larger group than I usually take on Safaris from Durban I rented a 13 seat vehicle and trailer.
Once we got all the luggage in we headed off to Hluhluwe Imfolozi and Hilltop camp for our 3 nights there and to enjoy nature at its best.
On route I covered as much history of Durban, KwaZulu Natal and South Africa as possible over the microphone and in no time it seemed we had arrived at the gate into Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve, my second home.
Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve as a deep history which you can read about on the link over the words Hluhluwe….
It is well known for having saved Rhino from extincting in the 1940’s and 50’s.
On route to Hilltop camp we spotted one of these amazing Rhinos the White Rhino before having the most amazing Black Rhino sight I have had in a long time. This male Black Rhino walked down a slope and crossed the road in front of us and was super relaxed for a Black Rhino. I was amazed and we were all super happy.
Video: Black Rhino crosses road in front of us during our Durban safari
What a special moment! We then arrived at Hilltop camp and checked in getting clients and luggage to the rooms which did take a little but of time as it was dark.
We then met for dinner before a good nights sleep.
Day 2: South African safari from Durban
Day two began at 06:30 am and we made our way into the northern section of Hluhluwe game reserve. We had luck right off the bat as we found Elephants near to the road and all down in the valley and up on the hills near the camp.
South African safari; Elephant
We also had some amazing luck with Rhino as we got one posing very nicely for us all during our South African safari in Hluhluwe Imfolozi game reserve.
South African safari; Rhino standing
We were trying our best for the African wild dogs but hear they had made there way over the river after feeding on an Nyala and taken their puppies with them. So we continued and up the road found a huge herd of Buffalo in fact we must has seen about 6 herds of Buffalo….
South African safari; Buffalo
I love the above Buffalo picture even though it is not sharp it has character with the flies and the dust. We also managed to spot some Zebra on our South African safari which was great as the sunlight really hit them nicely.
South African safari; Zebra
The one Zebra looks like she is laughing at us… As we continues our 4 day safari tour in Hluhluwe we also found Giraffe but they were far away and I knew we would get them later. So we continued back to camp for breakfast before heading out to the Cat rehabilitation center.
The Cat rehabilitation center was amazing and my clients loved it as they got to interact with Cheetah hands on and Serval.
South African safari; Cheetah at emdoneni
The next picture was of the Cheetah cub which is 3-4 months old and the clients got to play with him, he is very cute and playful. Wow what a South African safari this was turning out to be from Durban!
South African safari; Cheetah cub at cat rehabilitation center
We then made our way back to the gate and just stopped for some food and fuel. We then got back to camp as some of the group we doing the evening open vehicle safari and other we coming with me.
Those that came with me were treated to a few things, the first was a Southern Tree Agama.
South African safari; Southern Tree Agama
We also found some Vultures in a tree among the usual things like the Elephants, Rhino, Buffalo, Zebra and even a Wildebeest.
South African safari; White Backed Vultures
We then had great fortune and found the Giraffe we had been looking for near to the road so it was great for photos excepting the light was beginning to fade. Either way it was fantastic and our success continued during our Safari from Durban in South Africa.
South African safari; Giraffe
We tried one more time for cats and dogs with no luck, but we had an amazing sighting for a rare specie the Bush Pig which you usually only see at night. It was now dusk and the video I made came out decently but not very well.
Video: Bush Pig out at dusk
We still had one more shot of the day and it was of the sun going down and the planets Venus and Jupiter! The night sky had cleared from the previous night was was looking great with so many stars out.
We had a great day on safari from Durban.
South African safari; Sunset, Venus and Jupiter
It was now time to wait for the others to get back and at 8pm we all had a great dinner. The food at Hilltop camp is always lovely. We were all very tired and headed off to bed as we would meet the next day fairly early at 7am for breakfast.
Day 3: South African safari from Durban
We began the day in the hope of finding cats but sadly we battled for them through the day!
This did not bother us much as we found many other species of animals from Elephant to Mongooses.
We were wanting to see more Giraffe on this African Safari and we did.
South African safari; Giraffe
My clients were very happy with the Giraffe and after a short while we spotted a bull Elephant which crossed the road in front of us and fed next to the road to I made a video of this.
South African safari; Elephant crosses road
Video: Elephants near the road on Hluhluwe safari
We slowly made our way down to the Umfolozi river and before we got there we spotted a Rhino bull which decided to sit down and then have a rest by lying down.
It was an amazing sighting as I managed to shoot the sequence of events.
South African safari; Rhino 1
South African safari; Rhino 2
South African safari; Rhino 3
After the Rhino went to sleep we made our way over the Umfolozi river which was in full force after the heavy rain we had had a couple days before! It was great to see this river flowing so well during our Durban safari in South Africa.
South African safari; Umfolozi river in flow
We continued and tried to get as far south as we could but time was also running out as I was unable to travel very fast in the 13 seat vehicle.
Things were quiet and we decided to stop at Bhejane hide hide and see what animals would come to us but sadly it was only birds.
We did however see Terrapins on the bank of the watering hole.
South African safari; Terrapins
Once of the best sighting at the watering hole was this African Hoopoe which was searching for food and maybe had a nest in this dead tree next to the watering hole.
South African safari; African Hoopoe
We the made our way to the Centenary center for some lunch and then had a look around the curio shop. As we were a group of 12 it took longer than we thought and we needed to rush back to Hilltop camp to get back for the clients who were doing the evening open vehicle safari and to load up most of the luggage into the trailer, Thank you Jason for your help!
We arrived back and sorted everything out before meeting for dinner. We had to wait for the 4 clients that went on the open vehicle game drive but it was a good wait.
As we stood at the bar we noticed that Prince Harry was in the restaurant enjoying dinner we could not believe our luck to see such a character. We waited on the others and told them but did not want to bother the young prince as others were doing and we sat to enjoy our meal having had a great day.
Day 4: South African safari from Durban
We began our forth day with a very early start at 05:45 and left Hilltop camp by 6am for St Lucia or Isimangaliso Wetland park for our 2 hour boat cruise viewing Hippos and crocodiles.
We arrived 10 minuted early and had a great 2 hour on the boat seeing lots of Hippos, Crocodiles, Mangroves and birds.
South African safari; Crocodile at St Lucia
We had unbelievable sightings of Hippos both in the water and on land during our African safari from Durban.
South African safari; Hippos out the water
St Lucia estuary is the largest esturine system in Southern Africa and home to 4 of the Big 5 the 5 most dangerous animals to hunt on foot.
South African safari; Hippos playing
We were lucky to catch these two baby Hippos playing in the estuary while we were on the boat tour of St Lucia we also had amazing Bird sightings of Pink Backed Pelicans, African Fish Eagles to Black winged stilts.
South African safari; Pink backed Pelican in flight
As the boat cruise drew to an end we had one more sighting and that was of a Bull Shark swimming in the St Lucia Estuary! They have been stuck here since 2007 when the estuary closed naturally to the ocean due to a lack of rainfall.
Video: Bull Shark in St Lucia estuary, South Africa
We finished up our cruise and began our way back to Durban International or King Shaka International airport stopping along the way for some food and coffee.
We arrived on time for the clients that would be catching there flights out of Durban and I took two of the clients after the safari to the Hilton Hotel in Durban. It had been an amazing tour having just missed out on the cats!
We all enjoyed it and would have many memories to take back home with us.