I have to admit, that regardless of how many times I visit the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve, whether it be a day tour, overnight tour or longer, I get ridiculously excited when I get to the gate. Part of the excitement I believe is the fact that pretty soon, my clients, whomever they are, are about to see wild African animals in the beautiful African landscape.

White Rhino Grazing

Durban Day Safari Tour

It’s the sight of a clients awe struck face the first time a big Elephant saunters by, or a Giraffe gazes at us from nearby whilst chewing away on Acacia leaves that keeps me doing this fantastic job. I absolutely love it.

Of course though, there are days when the sightings aren’t that great, and I do feel under a little extra pressure to find an Elephant or Lion, or even a Buffalo that’s closer than a mile away. The fact is, the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve is not a zoo, the animals are free to roam throughout the parks 960km2. Of course for me, it makes the time spent in the park even more interesting, something about the “hunt” I guess.

zebra at the hluhluwe imfolozi game reserve

From Durban to the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve

My very last tour was a little like that. I collected my clients from the Hilton Hotel in Durban and after the usual 2,5 hour drive to the park we arrived at the gate in high spirits. After a few photo’s of my clients at the gate of the park, we entered and not 2 minutes later I bumped into a colleague who told me a sighting not 10 minutes away.

Turns out a Lion pride had made a kill early in the morning so I sped off hoping for something. The kill was easy to find thanks to some vultures and a string of cars parked opposite the kill! On stopping though I was told by a motorist, that the pride had left and only a lone female was about.

We stopped for a short while, but honestly those Zebra bones were picked as clean as possible, I didn’t believe the Lions would be back any time soon, and quite honestly they were in all likelihood in the deep bush snoozing (as you do after any big meal)!

elephant at the hluhluwe imfolozi game reserve

So off we went in search of more game. We came across a gorgeous male Giraffe right next to the road soon after leaving the Lion kill and I think this made up for the disappointment of not spotting Lion. This Giraffe was so relaxed (chillaxed?) that he stood posing for pictures not 3 meters away from the car; just fantastic.

Nyala, Impala and Waterbuck

From there we spotted Elephant (on a ridge some distance away) and quite a number of Nyala, Impala and even some Waterbuck. Lunch was next and so I headed to Hilltop camp where we sat outside on the terrace and watched 3 Nyala graze a few meters away while we ate our lunch.

After lunch I headed out on a mission to find Elephant a bit closer than the love one we had spotted earlier in the day. Unfortunately it was not to be. So when it came to time to leave, we had to console ourselves with the fact that even a bad day in the bush is far better than a day in the office!

The fact is though, not every day can be a good one. But to be out in the African veld, to smell and hear, to feel the wind and the sun, well that’s not too many things that can be better than that!


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Country and Coastal Touring are registered tour operators and tour guides. We offer a number of pre-planned day tours, overnight tours and extended tours. We are based in the city of Durban, South Africa.