I think the main reason for not walking the path at night is the risk of snakes! And yes, if there is an animal near the fence - like an elephant - you may upset them with your torch before you see them and have a nasty experience.
This is so true.
Stay away from fences even in the day time.
I was walking around the camp alone at Bateleur lunch time, hot as anything and decided to tip toe into the hide over the water hole. There to my amazement was a huge elephant he was just enormous rotund and fat, big in all proportions. The hide is very close but at an elevation still you feel quite vulnerable, and of course privileged tingling with excitement.
This elephant was remarkable in that the lower maybe one quarter of its trunk was missing, all healed up (maybe a snare or lion something when he was a baby) he was in wonderful condition though, tip top.
Anyway he had a good drink by lowering himself down then eventually ambled off.
So did I and as I was leaving the hide steps I notice a well worn path up to the left along the fence. It was slightly more elevated than the hide even so I though fantastic I can watch the elephant as he leaves over the bush tops. The fence corner in fact. So I scrambled up the short bank and as I lifted my head the fence corner in front of my nose there was the elephant right in front of me. Literally on the other side of the fence like a nose hair away. He had scrambled up the bank his side and was moving down the side of the fence I couldn't see thats what he had done because of the thick bushes.
We both got such a fright, he screamed something terrible and swayed sideways from the fence ears flashing wildly, same time I slide on my belly back down the fence.
Yeesh that was a fright. We both reached exactly the same point at exactly the same time.
Nice elephant wow and Im always looking for him when ever Im in the Kruger but never seen him again. Think we would recognise each other after that.
I even went back up the bank to watch him go. There is a small bench there but I wouldn't advise anyone to sit on it for very long.