Night drives are offered at both Mpila and Hilltop campsites. They can be a bit expensive and do tend to book up quickly so I would recommend you book your place when you check in.
I have been on night drives a few times and not had much success in seeing animals, despite having heard many stories of the great sights that await one after dark – so I guess, with everything in a game park – you could get there five minutes too early or five minutes too late!
It is an experience, so I do recommend going at least once. You all pile into the back of a truck, fitted with seats down either side. Although the truck is open at the back, there is usually canopy overhead - to keep off the rain! Whoever sits in the two front seats (left and right) is in charge of manning the spotlights that are trained into the bush on either side of the road. When the light reflects off an animal’s eyes, they glow in the dark and it is those glowing pin-pricks that can indicate game in the bush.
Dress Code: I would recommend you bring along a think blanket to cover your knees, and a jacket to keep off the night chill. As the open backed trucks start to move through the park, the wind picks up and if you are not nicely wrapped up, it could be an uncomfortable hour or two!
I love watching the sun go down over Africa. Mpila camp is situated on a hill overlooking the rest of the game reserve...Lying on a blanket outside your cottage, listening to the snorting of distant beasts, the high pitched squeak of bats exchanging swoops with the birds heading home...mmm - you can't beat it!
On our last stay at Mpila camp, we were all outside taking in the sunset when a buffalo staggered past - right in front of us - a few minutes later, seven zebra crossed our path, after them came warthog and the inevitable herd of impalas! You don't need to go far to check out the animals! That night, we watched hyena stalk the camp in search of braai bones: what a sight!
A high powered torch is very handy for animal spotting after dark! The hyenas are usually the first to come...you hear their whoops in the night before you see their glowing eyes reflecting back at you as you scan your torches up and down the bush in front of your cottage.
Stay safely indoors, or on the stoep at the very least, and flash your torch into the bushes as the night falls...you will be amazed at the number of glowing eyes looking straight back at you :)