Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Night Drive from Olifants

The last to arrive, we took our seats near the back of the truck filled with a dozen other tourists, mostly white. With spotlights in hand, we headed out into the bush in search of nightlife.

Unlike our first night drive, there were few animals about but the ones that were made the trek worthwhile.

Springhare. Imagine a squirrel mixed with a kangaroo and you've got a springhare. They are a type of rabbit (thus, the "hare" part) and they use their tail like a spring to leap forward. They make lovely little arcs as they bound across the night savanna, the black spots on the end of their tails acting as a sort of bouncing "." to underscore their trail. In one field, we spotted dozens of springhare jumping in every which direction, causing me let out a little gleeful giggle like a schoolgirl and Josh to smile over at his silly wife.

Hippos. Hippos come out at night to munch on trees and fill their very round bellies. According to our guide, hippos are very territorial in water, but not so much on land. Good thing, because hippos kill more people each year than lions (Josh Fact, accuracy unknown). We were fortunate to spy multiple hippos on this venture and get mauled by none.

Spotted Eagle Owl. Petite little owl with bright yellow eyes and an inquisitive stare, this owl (like most owls) perches on tree branches and absolutely hates it when you shine a bright light in its eyes. What a shocker. Still, shine our lights we did. And the owl blessed us by swiveling its head back and forth and glaring as us like we were such pests.