Discussing the aardvark and pangolins, City suddenly stopped, reversed and showed us … a pangolin.
It was a much smaller creature than the aardvark and partly hidden in the grass. We watched it for a while although it was difficult to see, until it went behind a bush and we drove on.
We turned along a road where City thought the lions were, but although he said he could smell their kill, we didn’t see them. What we did see was a whole herd of impala eyes in the spotlights, seeming for all the world like the lights of a city.
We told City about the saddlebill and Kori bustard we had seen the previous day and elicited another WOW from him.
Someone commented on the sudden chill in the air as we were driving and he told us that this happens when you move into an area with a different vegetation type.
There were eyes again to the left – two porcupines,
but being the shy creatures they are, they didn’t stick around and we had just a glimpse of them. Several times during the drive we had a scrub hare ahead of us in the road, not realising that if he were to hop to the side we would not follow him. One of them kept going for a long while, thwarting all efforts for us to slip past him. Then a small spotted genet did the same thing, but at the same time giving us a good view of his tail end.
I found it rather odd to see stuff like zebra, giraffe and kudu at night, being used to only seeing them in daylight. You wonder whether spotlights on them would assist a predator were he watching. A bushbaby’s moving red eyes surprised us as he jumped from one tree to the next, very agile in the dark.
Suddenly City stopped again, reversed, and asked for the spotlight to be shone on the bush to our right. We looked and looked, then he pointed out a small green chameleon, asleep, and looking just like one of the leaves.
How he saw that I don’t know, but then he knows to look out for the things we don’t even think of.
We flushed a bird from the road ahead, a Mozambique nightjar, which also flew ahead for quite a way before veering off. We saw a few more, as well as a couple more genets, impala and wildebeeste.
Back on the S28 heading south, suddenly a crashing noise in the undergrowth – maybe it was a black rhino? One of those would have been good to see. A little further along and a civet crossed the road ahead of us.
He didn’t stick around either, but we got a good view of him before he disappeared into the undergrowth.
Getting closer to CB two hippos out of the water, lots more impala and then, quite near the camp, an ellie standing in the road browsing from a bush. He didn’t seem to mind our lights nor that we passed quite close to him.
So we came to the end of the most amazing night drive I have ever been on. It started with a high, and carried on giving us the most wonderful sightings – aardvark, leopard, pangolin, porcupine, genet, civet……. Just WOW. Thank you, City, for a fantastic evening.