It was a bit of an overcast and dreary start to our 3 day Safari Tour to the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve. Durban and northern Natal desperately needs the rain at the moment so the promise of a downpour wasn’t unwelcome. So it was under the very heavy overcast skies that I collected my client Enrique from the Hilton Hotel in Durban and headed north towards Emdoneni, our first stop on our 3 day Safari Tour.
Hluhluwe Imfolozi 3 Day Safari Tour
There’s so much to do and see in KwaZulu-Natal, and being that this is Africa, most of the experiences are to do with wildlife. Our first stop was the Emdoneni Cheetah Rehabilitation Center. As per usual on the 2,5 hour drive to Emdoneni, I chatted to Enrique quite a great deal about the history of South Africa, the Zulu people, Natal and of course Durban.
I’ve been to Emdoneni a countless number of times but I still enjoy every visit. I accompanied Enrique around the center, learning a great deal about African Wild Cat, Serval, Caracal and of course Cheetah.
Being that the Cheetah are the star attractions, we posed alongside Moyo for pictures. Interestingly Moyo was in a bit of a “mood” thanks in part to the weather; much like domestic cats, Cheetah aren’t great fans of being wet!
After surviving the Cheetah pictures unscathed, we left the centre after the 60 min tour (it was a small group) and headed straight into the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve.
Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve
The game reserve is actually made up of two fairly distinct areas, the northern section which is the Hluhluwe area, and the southern section which is the Imfolozi area.
We entered the park through the northern gate (Memorial Gate) and right off the bat hit it lucky with a huge White Rhino crossing the road in front of us. Male Rhino’s can reach a weight of about 3 tonnes, so they are incredibly intimidating up close and personal; thank goodness for being inside the vehicle.
We continued on and before we broke for lunch, we had already spotted Bufallo and Nyala, as well as Impala. Not bad for just 2 hours in the park. We broke off for lunch and decided to rest a bit before Enrique joined a evening game drive.
We decided to spend the day in the southern part of the park, the Imfolozi section. After a very hearty breakfast we left Hilltop Camp and soon found ourselves opposite a crash of 6 White Rhino! From this point onwards our luck just got better.
Lion at a Giraffe Kill
On our way towards the south we encountered loads of Impala, some Zebra and a few African Buffalo. The bird life was also pretty good, Glossy Starlings, Blue Chested Waxbills and plenty more.
After a comfort break just before Mpila Camp we headed towards a fairly remote part of the park and here struck gold! A giraffe carcass with three really big male Lions lay within 5 meters of the road!
Lions killing Giraffe is not unusual, but in the same vein, it’s not exactly usual either. The remains of the Giraffe carcass didn’t appear to me to be of an old Giraffe. The Lions were sated though, and all three sleep off a rather large lunch in the shade of the nearby Acacia’s. Naturally Vultures kept a rather vigilant watch nearby as they patiently waited their turn at the dinner table.
After spending quite a bit of time at the kill site, we decided to see if we could find some Elephant. The area is very very dry at the moment, so I got it into my head that we would find Elephant at one of the nearby hides where water is pumped into a mud hole.
Elephant Bathing at a Waterhole
And what a hunch it turned out to be! As we entered the hide and set ourselves up, in came the first of what we would eventually total as 60 Elephant! Was great to see Elephant calves though just diving into the mud, seems that regardless of species, kids just cannot pass an opportunity to play in the mud! Check out the video I posted here.
Finally though the afternoon was coming to an end so we headed back to Hilltop Camp and our accommodation (and much needed food). We spotted a pletora of diferent animals on the way back to camp; Nyala, Elephant, Rhino, Impala, Warthog, Giraffe, a huge Monitor Lizard as well as bewildering number of bird life. A great way to finish off our 2nd day.
Our final day started with Enrique enjoying an ealry morning game drive, and from his report back, it was very fruitful. Elephant and giraffe were spotted as well as Nyala, Impala and a few other species. He also mentioned that the sounds of the bush waking up was incredible as well.
St.Lucia Estuary Cruise
After breakfast it was time to leave for the St.Lucia estuary cruise. The cruise is 2 hours long and we had great sightings of hippo, crocodile, waterbuck and bufallo, there was even a shark swimming by! And the birdlife just as spectacular; Fish Eagle, Wooly Necked Storks, Giant Kingfisher, Malachite Kingfisher and Pied Kingfishers were just the tip of the iceberg.
Finally though it was time to head back to Durban where Enrique was the following day due to fly to Kruger National Park where hopefully he’ll get to spot the elusive Leopard.
Hluhluwe Imfolozi 3 Day 2 Night Safari Tour from Durban
If you would like more information about this tour or any of the other tours we offer, just fill in the form below and we’ll get back to you. Country and Coastal Touring are registered tour operators and tour guides based in the city of Durban, South Africa.