Night Game Drives

Night drives in National Parks are one of the activities that makes Zambia particularly unique – a privilege our guests enjoy, and which have minimal impact on the wildlife when conducted responsibly, as at any Chiawa Safaris camp.

Finding predators on the move in the cool of the night, such as hyenas, lions and leopards although owls, genets and civets are also welcome, and the occasional aardvark is worthy of celebration.

Typically, a night safari will commence after delicious snacks and cocktails served at sunset overlooking a beauty spot. Our trained trackers or spotters use a red-filtered spotlight (as well as their ears and instincts) to find our quarry with the help of a glint here and a movement there, usually invisible to all but the most experienced eyes.

Night drives at any Chiawa Safaris camp have minimal impact on the wildlife

These red lights do not dazzle or affect the behavior of the nocturnal and diurnal creatures, as the blinding white spotlights employed at other safari camps sadly do. Little do the others realize that the red spotlights also allow our guests to enjoy the most natural behavior and more sightings than the white lights do. Many a time we have been watching a leopard or an aardvark going about their nightly business under our red lights to no effect, and to have them suddenly disappear when another vehicle with a bright white spotlight appears, oblivious to what we were just watching!

If you are concerned about having red-looking photographs, fear not. Our vehicles also carry white spotlights with soft, white filters which allow for natural looking photographs without dazzling the subject. Alternatively, and a better solution, most modern digital cameras such as Canon, Sony and Fuji have customizable white balance that can compensate for the red filter – our guides and camp managers can easily show you how to preset this setting for convenience.

This award-nominated night drive protocol was developed specifically by Grant Cumings and his twice voted “Best in Africa” guiding team at Chiawa Camp – read more about our spotlight protocol here.

The butterfly counts not months but moments, and has time enough.
- Rabindranath Tagore

Nature is the art of God.
- Dante Alghieri

Nature is not a place to visit. It is home.
- Gary Snyder

The forest makes your heart gentle. You become one with it. No place for greed or anger there.
- Pha Pachak

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