I have had the privilege of conducing many night drives on Kololo as well as the new night drives on Welgevonden. Every night has been unique in its own way, whether it’s seeing 4 hyenas on a single kololo night drive, or simply spending time with the Southern pride of lions, watching them stalk in the dead of night, or playfully biting and pawing at each other after a successful hunt and full bellies in Welgevonden.
Impressive Night Sightings
These Night drives hold a lot more than just lions and hyenas, there’s a whole other type of life that emerges when the sun has set. Some of these include our smaller cats and dogs like the jackal busy romping through the thick grass after some rabbits and hares, or a protein fuelled Gym enthusiast like the honey badger, trotting around as he owns the place, lifting heavy rocks, digging holes and causing chaos as they were built to do. We have been lucky enough to spot many African civet cat, serval, and bush babies galore, as well as our night birds like the numerous owls that fly around to the nightjars that lay in the road to absorb some last minute escaping heat as the night gets colder.
The mood on a Night Drive
The mood that gets set on a night drive is one of pure loneliness, being out at night means that you are one of the few vehicles active at that time, this means there are no sighting updates, therefore there is more excitement when scouring the mountain tops and scanning the open plains, looking for those characteristic big Green eyes of the largest African predator. When all the lights are off and we stop for hot chocolate under the starry African night sky, a sense of calmness takes over in the midst of the excitement and adrenaline, as you feel yourself being correctly placed in the universe as you look up at the vastness above. Its eerily quiet when the engine is off and the hot chocolate steaming, until, a massive roar being given out merely a few metres from the vehicle, and the jackals calling and howling, with the nightjars chirping and the elephants rumbling, suddenly you’re no longer alone, sitting next to the king of the jungle while he calls out his territory, or having a drink next to the largest land mammal in the world, all in all a most humbling experience and a Must do when visiting this beautiful reserve.