What to Expect on a Durban Safari, Multi-Day Tour

Embarking on a multi-day Durban safari tour is a thrilling adventure that immerses you in the breathtaking landscapes and diverse wildlife of South Africa. But before booking your bucket-list safari adventure, you will likely have a lot of questions, so here is what you can expect on the Durban Safari Multi-Day Tour.

Check out our safari tour page for a full list of tours we offer.

The Index

The Game Reserves You Visit

There are a few game reserves we visit, but on the whole the big one and probably the most popular is the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve.

Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve

It’s the oldest proclaimed game reserve in Africa and home to the big 5. The reserve is 960 square km in size and is made up of two separate game reserves. It’s a 2,5 hour drive from Durban to the reserve and there are 3 separate gates to enter the park.

We spend more time in this game reserve than any other; one of the reasons being that it’s quiet – recently (Jan 2024) we spent 45 minutes with a price of lion on a kill without any other vehicle arriving!

Eastern Shores, iSimangaliso

Another favourite reserve of ours but it can get busy and so you have to get there early or risk waiting in the queue. The reserve is home to the big 5 though they don’t often come down as far south as the Eastern Shores reserve.

Night game drives in Eastern shores is also really productive with leopard and hyena being spotted pretty frequently. It’s also here that you access the turtle tours as well.

Mkuze Game Reserve

We probably don’t get here as much as we’d like as it’s a bit further on from Hluhluwe Imfolozi. Mkuze is amazing for birding and much quieter than most game reserves. The reserve is well known for it’s wild dog research. Mkuze has great accommodation but it is self-catering; typically we’ll go into Mkuze as a day visit rather than stay over.

Back to the top.

Sites and Experiences You Can Expect on Your Durban Safari

Being an a safari means experiencing more than just driving about looking at animals; we here at Durban Safaris and Tours do our very best to make sure you experience it all with fun and memorable activities.

Sorry for interrupting your reading, but if you go this far then you’re probably looking at booking a safari right? Well I offer a couple of standard packages you may be interested in, have a look at my safari page for more info.

Safari Game Drives

The whole point of a safari is checking out the animals right; and so you’ll be enjoying a number of game drives. We utilise both our own closed vehicles and open safari vehicles.

Typically we do at least 2 game drives a day, an early morning game drive and a late afternoon game drive. Thing is though, because we want you to experience the very best on our Durban safari, we are really flexible and will happily game drive the entire day if you are up for it!

Game Walks

Almost all the camps we stay at will offer game walks – this is not something we ourselves offer, but we are more than happy to book for you with the camps. Game walks are a fantastic way to appreciate the smaller things on a safari, from trees to grasses, insects and reptiles, the kinda things you wont always see and be able to appreciate on the back of a safari vehicle.

St Lucia Estuary Cruise

The St Lucia estuary is situated in iSimangaliso (Zulu for “place of wonder”) and is well known throughout South Africa as being the best place to spot hippo, crocodile and is a birding paradise for those itching to add to their life lists. It’s here that you will get to enjoy a 2 hour estuary cruise and on some tours, a night game drive.

Whaling Trip

Many don’t realise this but the east coast of South Africa is probably one of the best places in South Africa to spot whales! Every year, humpbacked whales and other species migrate south to the cape and often they are so close to the shore you can spot them easily.

We can arrange a closer view though with a whale tour from St Lucia. The whaling season starts around June and runs to around October. Operators need a special permit to be able to get you closer and there are a number of rules in place to ensure the whales aren’t stressed by our presence. This is an amazing opportunity not to be missed!

Turtle Tours

Much like the whales, the turtle season is limited and so booking ahead is really important. This tours are also late night affairs and so it’s much better to stay overnight in St Lucia where the tours depart from.

Again operators of these tours need special permits and there are rules to ensure the turtles aren’t stressed by our presence. An amazing experience for sure!

Emdoneni Cheetah Project

This ongoing project has expanded beyond the care of the cheetah and now looks after caracal, serval and African wild cat as well. Here you will get a 90 minute or so tour of the facility and learn more about what the organisation does. Great opportunity for very close up experiences and photography!

Bayete Elephant Experience

I’m not sure anyone could get any closer to a wild African elephant than on this elephant experience. Rambo and Rachel are two elephant rescued from poaching and culling missions and now live their best lives on the Bayete Zulu reserve. And every day, knowing treats are available, they make their way to the boma and graciously allow visitors to pose. It’s an amazing experience for sure!

False Bay Walk

False Bay in iSimangaliso (not to be confused with the one in the Cape) offers a unique experience of walking through sand forest that is home to a bewildering array of bird life as well as antelope and hippo and crocodile. There’s no swimming in the lake of course, but the walks here are just amazing!

Back to the top.

Your Accommodation Options

Accommodation on Durban Safari tours are simple, perhaps even rustic, but they are comfortable and perfect for your needs.

While in the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve we typically stay in one of two camps in the park, Hilltop Camp or Mpila Camp.

Hilltop Camp

Did you know that the Hluhluwe Imfoloz Game Reserve is the oldest proclaimed game reserve in South Africa? And very aptly, Hilltop Camp is the oldest camp in Kwazulu-Natal.

Hilltop is located on the summit of a heavily forested hill and offers great views around the camp. We stay there not only because of the hills, but it has a great restaurant as well as other modern amenities.

Although the camp is fenced off, you still find zebra, impala and nyala wondering around which is always a novel experience when enjoying your early morning coffee – and there are always monkeys about which is always fun!

Mpila Camp

Mpila Camp is definitely the more rustic camp in the park, and because there is no restaurant, it’s self-catering all the way. Mpila is popular with locals because it’s situated in the southern section of the park and so there is a little less light pollution.

The camp is fenced but only to persuade elephants and giraffe not to enter, pretty much everything else can. Over the years we’ve watched as wild dog, lion, leopard and hyena have strolled through the camp.

We love this camp for it’s rustic feel and the fact that we get to braai (barbecue, it’s a national past-time).


Although it doesn’t happen often, sometimes we can’t get a booking in the Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve and so we book at Bonamanzi. Personally, I love Bonamanzi.

Just 20 minutes from the northern gate of Hluhluwe Imfolozi Game Reserve, Bonamanzi is a reserve in it’s own right with elephant, leopard and loads of antelope roaming about.

The rooms are comfy and welcoming and the restaurant is top rate. Bonamanzi also offers game drives on their property and there are activities for children as well, they get to do their very own game walk!

St Lucia

Often we stay overnight in St Lucia. During specific times of the year there are turtle and whaling tours which are an incredible and unique experience.

St Lucia is kinda a holiday town, it always has been and so there are a number of bed and breakfast options around the town. We have a few favourites that we tend to select, but they are all for the most part 3-star or better.

Back to the top.

Food Options on a Durban Safari Tour

For the most part there are restaurants that you can eat out at during your safari tour. In St Lucia for example, there is everything from steakhouses to sushi.

Vegetarians are well catered for in the restaurants and some go a little further with vegan options as well. I should point out that South Africa is definitely a meat -eating country and so the vegan options aren’t as numerous as other countries.

We do braai (barbecue) on some of our tours, it’s a national past-time and we have cooking shows centred around the art of cooking on open flame. We can easily accommodate all food requirements although it’s best to lets us know when booking ahead of time.

On the whole, when it comes to food, South Africa is no different than most countries and so the food is geared towards European tastes. For those feeling a little more adventurous, we are happy to arrange more local treats such as walky-talkies for you to try!

Back to the top.

The Type of Weather You Can Expect

December to February (summer)

It’s hot this time of year, really hot, and it’s our rainy season as well. Temperatures rise quickly this time of year, reaching 30 degrees Celsius plus by 9am and staying that way until early evening before cooling off. Most nights are spent in 20 degrees Celsius plus.

This time of year is also marked by a lot of rain, especially in the afternoon which will help to cool things down a bit, but it’s still warm.

The humidity can be a major factor for most people this time of year so it’s no wonder every retreats into their air-conditioned rooms or sit below ceiling fans.

Bring along a hat and sunscreen as well as sunglasses.

Dress in layers you can quickly and easily strip off. Bugs can be an issue this time of year as well so some bug spray is a good idea.

March – May (autumn)

March can often be the be the hottest part of the year but then things to cool down as we get closer to May. On the whole morning start getting a little chillier but temperatures will again rise as you get to mid-morning and only really start cooling off late afternoon.

Although there will still be some rain, on the whole it’ll definitely start becoming drier.

Dress in layers, early morning and late afternoon game drives are usually chilly, bring a jacket.

June – August (winter)

Early morning temperatures plummet during winter, though this is a relative term – for us here, early morning and late evening temps drop to 6 degrees Celsius or so and that is enough to want to make a Durbanite move. The sun also rises late now, with most early morning game drives starting in the dark.

On the whole the day does warm up, but never quite enough so we’re all seeking out the sun. Not rain this time of year either. Again, dress in layers and still keep the sunscreen handy as although is cool even cold, the sun can and does burn.

Sept – November (spring)

The best time in South Africa. That cold edge to the weather has started to disappear, grass and flower shoots appearing, lost of antelope babies, and the sun warms you instead of baking you.

The sun starts up earlier in the mornings again, and there is a scent of rain in the air which by this stage, everything desperately needs.

Around this time of year, everyone is starting to haul our their summer dresses and short shorts – it’s a great time to be alive.

The only real problem is that the bugs think so too so it’s time to start packing bug spray again.

Wow! You are still here? Then you definitely should have a look at the different tour packages I offer? In fact, if you make a booking and mention this page, I’ll even offer a discount! Check out my Durban safari page for info on my 1 day safari tours, 2 day and 3 day safari tours from Durban.

Back to the top.

Getting Around on Your Durban Safari

You’re wondering how you get around the city or to the game reserves, or even what vehicles you’ll be experiencing your game drives in while on safari?

We utilise a couple of different vehicles depending on the group size and the activities. But 99% of the time, we use old faithful, our much-loved and extremely capable, Toyota Quantum GL. She is a 10-seater mini-bus built to withstand the rough and tumble roads of South Africa and even the off elephant or rhino nudge.

Sometimes, especially for couple, we tend to use the Toyota Rumiun (we’re definitely Toyota fans, they just keep running no matter what) which is a little more intimate than the big ol’d van for 2 or 3 people.

In the game reserves we tend to stick to our vehicles for the safaris since they offer air-conditioning and comfort (in summer it gets hot here!) and we can keep going throughout the day.

We also have open safari vehicles available as well. There is definitely something magical about being on the back of an open vehicle feeling the wind and the sun and being able to experience all the smells as well!

On all our tours we use a combination of vehicles, depending on what the circumstances dictate, all our guides have a favourite for varying reasons, but at the end of the day it’s about you so we’ll always use the vehicle that gives you the best experience possible.

Back to the top.