Take a listen to the sounds of Kruger at night

Posted by Lauren Dold on 28 October 2021

The excitement doesn’t end when the sun goes down in Kruger National Park. An overnight visit to the Kruger is always exciting, apart from the fact that it means you get to wake up and start another day there, you also get to experience the sounds of the bush at night. For many birds and animals, that’s when the fun begins.

Sometimes the night chorus lulls you gently to sleep and sometimes the sounds wake you up and make your hair stand on end. That is the nature of a night in the wild. Just as a fiery necked nightjar may trill you to sleep, the lone whoo-ooop of a hyena might cut the night and leave you wide awake. Especially while camping, suddenly only a sheet of canvas put up as a form of protection feels totally inadequate the minute a lion roars nearby.

While no two nights will be the same, and the sounds change with the seasons, a couple of familiar favourites can be heard throughout most months of the year in Kruger.

A typical “sawing” of a leopard, often heard in the early hours of the morning.

The roar of a lion, an iconic African sound. Lions roar mostly as a territorial call, particularly when males are indicating their status and whereabouts. Lions and lionesses call to contact and find one another and to communicate with potential mates.

The eerie whoop of a spotted hyena can be heard from over 3km away.

The distinct, deep guttural “grunting” of a Verreaux’s Eagle Owl.

The wailing call of a black backed jackal, which is often immediately responded to by other jackals.

An African barred owlet’s pleasing, purring call, often heard in the evenings in Kruger along with scops and pearl spotted owlets.

If the sounds of the bush send a shiver of excitement down your spine, look out for a story on a Sound Safari at Sausage Tree camp in the December issue of Getaway, on shelves in mid November.

Derek and Sarah Solomon from Hoedspruit in Limpopo, run a totally unique operation in the Greater Kruger. Their Sound Safaris offer guests the chance to “eavesdrop” on the wild. Our meagre human ears miss so much of what really goes on in the bush, but with specialised recording equipment fitted to the front of a game drive vehicle, guests can hear a colony of ants crossing the road, or the flap of a bird’s wing, or the deep internal rumbles of elephants communicating with one another.

Derek and Sarah are extremely knowledgeable and share their insights willingly, and if you’ve ever wondered what hippos sound like underwater, or how why birds sing, a Sound Safari could be the answer to all your questions. For more soundscapes from the African bush, visit:  https://dereksolomon.com/

All clips recorded by Derek and Sarah Solomon, and shared with their permission.


SANParks announces free access week dates for 2021






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