Just because the sun has set on a game drive doesn’t mean Africa goes into slumber. In fact, that’s when things get interesting. The leopards emerge from the dense bush to hunt and the shyer nocturnal critters show their true colours. Robin Pope Safaris offers night game drives so guests can see the darker side of South Luangwa “after hours”.
Night game drives provide a different perspective to their day-time equivalent. Your senses have to be on high alert as your guide manoeuvres the game vehicle into the night, surveying the bushveld with a spotlight in hand. Timing is everything.
Seasoned safari guide, Bertram, has a real knack for showing guests Luangwa after dark. With the stars and his trusty spotlight as his source of guiding light, he finds the most incredible sightings. Here’s a story about one of them:
“Just as everyone was half way through their sundowner drinks, the sun had set and the baboons started barking. The dilemma – do we wait and finish our drinks knowing that what could be a leopard may have moved off or do we take our drinks with us and scurry to find the truth? Neither option was taken. The drinks were quickly finished, everything was packed up, and off we went. It is always important on night drives to be prepared to react to all of these noises, as with just a spotlight it can be very difficult to find what you’re looking for. Once again, closely following the sounds, we carefully came around the corner with the spotlight and caught a fleeting glimpse of a spotty tail. Everyone got their cameras out, held their breath and before long the leopard came around the branch in the tree and down to the ground to give us a good show.”
Another Robin Pope Safaris guide, Victor, spoiled guests to a lucky sighting of the nocturnal aardvark. Mike Mol from Sydney, Australia was visiting the Luangwa Valley for a few weeks and staying at Luangwa River Camp. He had just about seen it all during the day and would never have guessed that the rarest sighting of them all would unfold before him just after dark.
“We had just come from an excellent leopard sighting after leaving our sundowner stop. We chanced upon an amazing sight of an aardvark coming out of the spine combretum bushes along Katete River. I immediately told my guide Victor to stop the vehicle and snapped a few images just in case it would move off, which of course it did as soon as we restarted the land cruiser. We searched along the riverbank to try to get another glimpse of this rarely seen creature, but no luck. It was still a spectacular encounter which Victor, Sam the spotter, and I will never forget.”
With guides like Bertram and Victor at the helm, you can expect the unexpected and be rest assured knowing you’ve experienced the best of the night time wonders of a safari after dark.