On Wednesday morning this past week I got a urgent phone call at 7am from my good friend and colleague Tim Brown, owner and operator of “Tim Brown Tours“. It seems he had an emergency and required my assistance on an overnight tour of the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve and the St.Lucia Estuary. In record time I was on the road to collect first Tim and then his clients for the trip.
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve
After collecting the clients, we headed directly for the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve, which is about 3 hours outside of Durban. We traveled directly to Memorial Gate in the north of the park (the Hluhluwe section) where after a short game drive, we spotted two Elephant in two separate sections!
What made the the short drive even more exciting was that on entering the park, we spied a very young White Rhino, naturally this roused a chorus of “ahhh so sweet” in the tour bus.
Nearby were some Impala with their young as well, but I think the little Rhino took the prize!
Later that very same afternoon, we headed out for a late afternoon game drive and within 200m or so of the Hilltop camp, came across a small pride of Lion (a female with 2 males). They had made a kill of what looked like Warthog and by the time we had arrived, there was precious little left of the kill.
That meant that that after a some total of about 5 hours, we had already spotted 4 of the Big-5!
Our early morning game drive got underway with an Bull Elephant being one of the first animals being spotted. We had picked up signs he was in the vicinity with droppings and branches scattered about as well as his big footprints. Turns out he was nearer than we expected; I drove past a thicket behind which the Elephant was standing, giving my colleague Tim a bit of a fright as the Elephant suddenly appeared a meter or 2 away (sorry Tim!).
Other sightings included Vulture (where the Lion kill was), Giraffe, Nyala, Waterbuck (so close to the road and about 6 of them together!), a Nile Crocodile, a Reedbuck, Zebra, Impala, Bushbuck, Vervet Monkeys, Baboons as well as Samango Monkeys, not forgetting a Hyena and Warthog. I’m sure I forgotten a few others though, it was that type of a tour, Hluhluwe was teeming!
Finally our time at Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve was at an end so we started off on our way to St.Lucia Estuary about 90 min away. The game reserve didn’t let us go with out a farewell though, we stopped for a herd of breeding Elephant about 30 strong as they crossed the road ahead of us. We did have a bit of a laugh as the grassy bank they were traveling along was wet and they slipped and slid down the hill!
We arrived at the estuary under somewhat dreary skies, the day having started overcast and as much as the sun threatened to burst through, it stayed overcast.
This sometimes is a bit of a blessing at often the severe sun reflecting off the water can get a bit much if you don’t have sunglasses on (I forgot mine!).
All in all this was a fantastic two day tour, I’m pleased I could help Tim out and at the same time get to spend a bit of time on one my favorite places in the country, the Hluhluwe Imfoloz Game Reserve!