Between the shipwreck

Durban, South Africa

I waited breathlessly one eye focused on the water and one eye focused on my camera screen. Wondering where this graceful creature would break through the water into the air and thrill us all with it’s perfectly executed somersault. I missed the shot but was given the opportunity to view this lovely bottle-nosed dolphin in action on the replay screen.

I felt like a kid all over again sitting on the stairs at uShaka Marine World in Durban watching the Dolphin show. These graceful creatures always seem to entertain through their displays of speed, high jumps and sometimes squeaky noises. It was also fantastic to see Gambit – the oldest Dolphin in the park and the largest bottle-nosed dolphin in captivity to perform his tricks and it was weird to think that some 20 odd years previously I had watched the very same Dolphin in action.

uShaka Marine world is the the sea world of South Africa. Centered around a 1920s recreated shipwreck it brings together a number of things to do from visiting the huge aquarium, snorkeling the in the lagoon, taking wild water rides to sampling tasty cuisine next to the Shark tank. I was fascinated with the perfectly reconstructed shipwreck and how it magically contained all those marine animals you are only lucky to see in the wild.

The park is well laid out and gives you information on the marine life and how you can best preserve them through looking after your environment. This is doubly emphasized by the big recycling bank at the entrance where you can throw away all your rubbish in the correct bins.

The water rides where not working the day I arrived but with so many other things to see and do it did not matter too much. Anyway with the beach right on the door step, you could always venture off for a swim in the warm Indian ocean and return to the park for more action.

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Wildlife of Hluhluwe & iMfolozi

iMfolozi and Hluhluwe Game Reserve, South Africa

I had not visited the Hluhluwe (pronounced ‘shoeshloee’) game reserve since I was a little child. All I could remember from memory was that it was very hilly and filled with Giraffe. It is amazing what your mind can retain and for the most part the game reserve is hilly and it does have lots of giraffe but how I did not remember the abundance of rhinos is beyond me.

Hluhluwe-iMfolozi game reserve lies in the heart of Zululand, South Africa. It is one of the oldest game reserves in the country and is well known for its conservation of the white Rhino. The reserve is set in two the Hluhluwe part which is the hilliest part of the reserve and the iMfolozi section which is flatter and makes it easier for wildlife spotting.

I travelled with my family from outside Durban just for the day. Yip it was a long drive but well worth it in photographs and admiring the beautiful wildlife in their own habitat. It took us about 2.5 hours driving to get there. For the most part we travelled along the main coastal road before turning towards the Mtubatuba village which is some 48kms from the central Nyalazi gate. It was a slow drive along these parts as you drive through remote villages and you need to keep an eye out for the goats wandering across the roads.

The Big Five are said to be around but we were only lucky enough to spot Elephants, Buffalo and Rhino but I guess 3 out of 5 is not too bad. I enjoyed the lazy drive around the game reserve and was very intrigued to follow a big Secretary bird while it strutted it stuff in the bush and looked for food in the form of snakes by stomping on the dry shrubs.

We took a break from driving half way through the day to have some lunch at the Mlipa camp site. Even while having a picnic lunch you can be entertained by families of warthog walking through the camp or by watching the hard working dung beetles roll their supplies down the hill.

Our day ended off by looking at the rolling hills from the Hilltop camp and wondering how that Rhino managed to make its way up the hill so fast…