Anyone who has visited the Kruger National Park for a night drive or an evening drive will agree that a Kruger Park safari at this time of day is once in a lifetime experience that you won’t soon forget.
When the sun dips low in the Kruger National Park and night falls, another, more magical side of the park comes alive. Dusk is the hour that the nocturnal hunters start stretching their limbs,waking up after a lazy day in the African heat. The haunting owl calls start-up and the hyenas start their laughter. Hippos leave their pools to go grazing and burrowers leave their dens for the dinner. And let’s not forget the singing of the jackal which fills the night.
Nocturnal Animals of the Kruger
A study of the trees will reveal several eyes staring back at you. The Bush Baby is surely the cutest of the night animals and is frequently seen going about their night time activities in the trees. These remarkable animals have amazing jumping abilities.
The largest of the rodents in South Africa is the Porcupine, whihc is another nocturnal creature you might be lucky enough to see. Porcupines normally mate for life and the pair can have up to six burrows that they move their young around in as a defence against predators. Although porcupines live in pairs, they forage alone so it is more than likely that you will only see one and not a couple.
Lions hunt in prides so if you lucky you will see either a kill or a pride of lions feasting after the kill. At a lion kill you are more than likely going to find hyena hanging around trying to get a bite to eat. Although Hyena can do their own hunting they prefer to scavenge from the other hunters. Leopard typically drags their kill up a tree to enjoy their meal in peace so be sure to keep looking to the trees.
African Civets are similar to Genets with their striped and spotted coats. African Civets are larger than Genets and where African Civets are found on the ground, Genets are more likely to be spotted in trees. African Civets produce a sharp musk liquid from their pineal glands that were used as a perfume before the synthetic musk was produced.
Aardvarks are a very rare sighting even though they are common throughout the Kruger National Park. This strange looking animal comes out at night to feast on ants or termites. Aardvarks are solitary animals and only pair up to mate where after the male leaves and the females will bring up their young on their own.
Another animal that feasts on ants and termites is the Aardwolf. They can also be seen eating other insects that are around at night.
A huge highlight of being in the Kruger National Park at night is the night sky. On a clear night, without any city lights around, you will be awestruck at the amount of bright stars you will see. It will truly make you aware of the enormity of the universe. Looking up you will be able to see millions of stars. The San people have a story about how the Milky Way came to be. It is told that a young girl needed a visible path and so took ashes from a fire and threw them together with some bits of edible root into the sky. And when you gaze at the heavens, it is a story that is so easy to believe.