The three-day two-night stay at Thornhill Safari Lodge was loaded with activities.  The evening of the day I arrived was scheduled for a night safari.

About 4pm a driver picked up the five guests who were going on this safari for the drive to the Timbavati Game Reserve.  The Timbavati reserve is adjacent to Kruger National Park and the Sabi Sands Reserve.  The Timbavati reserve is renowned as one of the best reserves in South Africa.

At Timbavati we transferred to vehicles we would use for the safari.  20170704_152518_resized

The vehicle has three rows of seats mounted above the bed of the truck.  The height of the seats affords good views but also exposes passengers to the wind.  The guide lowered the front and rear flaps for the 20-minute drive to the area where we conducted the safari.

The night safari started just before dusk.  That is a good time for nature viewing as some of the nocturnal animals are becoming active and the animals that prefer daylight are present as well.  Predators also are active at this time of day.  Dusk is also a good time for photography with the sun close to the horizon.

Impala and waterbuck
Two wildebeests were having a battle.  For territory, mates, who knows?  It lasted, on and off, for more than 10 minutes while we were present.

For whatever reason, there weren’t many animals to be seen.  It was still fun searching for them and admiring the scenery.  Even at speeds of 30km/hr or less the wind chill was noticeable. 20170608_160624_resized

Despite the fact that there were elephants and lions about, we stopped for snacks and beverages in the bush.

The guide set up a small repast at the side of the track.
It was getting cold as the sun went down.

After the food and drink we resumed our drive in the dark. 20170608_174451_resized

I had wondered about how a safari would work after dark.  Well, the guide used a spotlight.  He swept it back and forth in front of the vehicle.

Sweeping a light back and forth across the road to find animals.

If he happened to catch an animal in his sweeps the eyes were clearly visible.     20170608_192643

Water Buffalo


We drove around in the reserve for about an hour after nightfall scanning the roadside for any signs of activity.  The night safari was kind of like visiting a haunted house.  I never knew what was going to pop up unexpectedly out of the dark.  Tour operators should run haunted night safaris with ghost stories and fake lions jumping out of the bushes.

Other posts from my South African trip:

Pictorial Trip Report — Robben Island (Mandela Prison) Tour, Cape Town, South Africa

Climbing Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

Trip Report – Cape of Good Hope and Cape Peninsula Tour, Part 1

Trip Report – Cape of Good Hope and Cape Peninsula Tour, Part 2

Cage Diving with Great White Sharks – Dyer Island (Shark Alley) Gansbaai, South Africa

Review – The Westin Cape Town, South Africa

Priority Pass Lounge Review – Bidvest Premier Lounge Domestic Terminal Cape Town, South Africa (CPT)

Trip Report – South African Express Airways DeHavilland Dash 8 Series Q400 Turboprop, Cape Town, South Africa (CPT) to Hoedspruit, South Africa (HDS)

Thornhill Safari Lodge, Guernsey Nature Reserve, Hoedspruit, South Africa