I was taken on a night drive at Little Ruckomechi in Mana Pools while staying there. Honest Siyawareva was my guide, and I was grateful when the sun went down, and temperatures cooled after the hot day.
We left late afternoon, and found a spot on the side of the Zambezi River to enjoy a cold beer as the sun dropped behind the hills of Zambia across the river. This was just after we had spotted a leopard (read about it in this blog), and so our spirits were soaring. It’s hard to beat the feeling of a cold beer in your hand, watching the sun go down over an African wilderness, having just spent half an hour with a leopard.
On the night drive back to camp, Honest used a red torch to find and illuminate a variety of animals. (The red light is far less intrusive than a white torch. Most mammals – other than primates – have something called a tapetum lucidum, essentially reflective crystals at the back of their eyeballs, which reflects light back onto their retinas, effectively doubling or even tripling the light that enters their eyes. That’s why most wild animals of Africa have much better night vision than we do. But they are effectively blinded when white spotlights are used.)
Using the red spot light, we spotted a small-spotted genet (sorry, couldn’t resist). This is definitely one of the prettier small predators. Then, just was we got near to camp, a bull elephant stood in our way. Because the bush was thick, we couldn’t get round him, so we just waited, and waited…and waited. Eventually, he moved off, but there’s no rushing a bull elephant!