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Night Drive

The day we had a Big 4 sighting…

By Black Rhino, Elephant, Game Drive, Hippo, Leopard, Manyoni Private Game Reserve, Night Drive, Rhino River Lodge, White Rhino

It all started with a great black rhino sighting on our morning drive. It was a big bull, and he came right up to the vehicle to investigate us. I had to ask him very nicely to move away before switching on the vehicles ignition and getting ready to move off. He kindly obliged and moved off slowly, turning back at us every so often and just to check to see if we were still there. From there, we moved accross to Zen Zulu (our neighbours who we dropped fences with about 4 months ago) where they have these great open plains that the white Rhino love to graze. To our surprise, the open fields were full of Buffalo! There were about 3 different breeding herds and about 200 Buffalo in total, just grazing out in the open along with about 18 white Rhino scattered out amoungst them! After sitting with the Buffalo we moved off and spent some time with Giraffe, Zebra, Wildebeest, and quite a few Warthog with their new little piglets, we called it a day and headed back home to camp. What a busy morning!

That afternoon we headed out again, kind of thinking that the morning drive was pretty much it, and it would be hard to top. My radio cackled to life, and I got a call saying that there were some Elephant out on the open plains where we had seen the buffalo and white Rhino’s that morning. Off we went, although I wasn’t so convinced we would be able to see them as our breeding herd of Elephant is not the most social and they move pretty fast! Well, we never saw the breeding herd, but we did manage to find a solitary bull Elephant just wondering around seemingly aimless. We caught up to him where he was just standing around in an open field where he promptly fell asleep on his feet without a care in the world! Every now and then he would shift positions and rest a different leg, or flop his big heavy trunk over a tusk. His eyes were closed and I swear if we were any closer we would have been able to hear him snore. After leaving the old guy in his slumber, we went across to the dam where our resident Hippo hang out. In the evenings they are a bit more active than usual, just before they go out grazing. They were playing with each other and chasing each other, and just generally bonding.

On our way home that evening we bought out the spotlights and we did a bit of a night drive hoping to catch a few nocturnal creatures heading out for the night. On the main road, not even a kilometre from camp, one of the guests who was with me asked me to stop because he had seen some eyes. I reversed a bit and shone my spotlight over to where he was shining, and lo and behold, sitting right on the main road was the Little Leopard! We watched her for some time as she moved into a herd of Impala (they knew she was around as they all started alarm calling) and then slumped down into the grass. We pulled up in our vehicles next to her and watched her while she groomed herself and lazed around for a bit. We left her like that and called it an evening – we prefer to leave a sighting the same way as we arrive on the sighting, with as little disturbance to the animals natural behaviour as possible. 
That was the day we had a Big 4 sighting!