When night falls on the savannah plains, it’s a whole other wild affair. When the sun goes down, a whole different set of animals gets into the action, and it’s on a night game drives or guided night walks that you can catch the wild nocturnal action.
Big cat sightings are the most popular on night drives, especially the shy leopards, Kidepo Cheetahs, aardvarks, and the indisputable lions. These cats typically become active in the last hours of the day, pouncing on prey that would be unsuspecting in the dying light. When on safari in an area that allows for night drives, if you find lions or a leopard at the end of the day, you can stick with them into the darkness and potentially witness the high drama of the hunt.
Leopards, like most predators, are opportunistic, taking advantage of the night cover and other factors such as limited water resources during the dry season to find their meals in the night. Also, early morning during the first hours of daylight, guides can scout the aftermaths as predators are still feasting on a pre-dawn kill.
A night drive in the African bush also gets you close to unusual and unique animals with their queer-looking faces, like the aardvark, the shining eyes of the bush baby, the rare, the whimsical spotted hyena, and the pottos nocturnal primate.
The night walks in Uganda may perhaps capture your inner nocturnal self. There’s something indistinctive about the chirping sound of crickets, strange night noises coming from the thickets, and night howlers. Silent stillness in the middle of the jungle becomes loud with distant footsteps of wandering warthogs and perhaps the ominous sounds of trees crashing from the trunk of a lonesome bull elephant. Night walks and game drives in Uganda are something you should consider adding to your safari itinerary.
Where in Uganda is the best place for a night game drives & walks?
Uganda Wildlife Authority allows night game drives and guided night walks in designated places in some Uganda National Parks, including Lake Mburo National Park, Queen Elizabeth National Park, Murchison Falls National Park, Kidepo Valley, and Kibale National Parks.
Night Drives at Lake Mburo National Park
Lake Mburo National Park, Uganda’s smallest savannah park, offers guided night game drives and night walks, setting out at 18:00 and lasting three to four hours. Most night drives at Mburo head out to scout for the mysterious leopard (the highest population in the country), but it is also a great time to spot nocturnals like bushbaby, hippo, and potato monkey.
Night Drives in Murchison
Murchison Falls National Park, in northern Uganda, is also a great destination to take night game drives to watch nocturnal action on the plains. Guided by armed rangers, night drives set out for the dark plains at about 19:00 and stayed for two hours.
On the Murchison plains at night, you may spot out the nightcrawlers like hyenas, lions, leopards, civets, genets, porcupines, bushbabies, nightjar, hippos. Additionally, the Murchison late-night open plains under the starlight are to-die-for.
Night Drive in Queen Elizabeth
Night game drives in Queen Elizabeth National Park set out at sunset to scout the Mweya Peninsula. Although most night drives in Queen would set out to find the elusive leopard, expect to catch sight of the famous savannah players lounging about the night like the night grazing hippos, elephants, large herds of buffalo, and other nocturnal favorites.
Kidepo Valley National Park
Narus Valley is the only place you’ll catch the bolt-action of cheetah early night hunts. Guenther’s dik-dik, reedbuck, lions, leopards, aardvarks, hyenas, and hunting dogs all lie low under the starlight in the Narus valley. Carry a bright spotlight, and you’re sure to sight a pair of reflective eyes.
Guided Night Walks in Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary
Walk among the only wild White rhinos in Uganda and torch out Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary’s spooky nocturnals on a guided night walk. Located en-route to Murchison Falls National Park, the sanctuary has surprising night dwellers like mystical Leopards, aardvark, and the elusive shoebill. Set out from Amuka lodge from 20.00 and take a guided walk under the dark skyline for at least one or two hours.
Guided Night Walks in Kibale Forest
Kibale Forest, famous for its primate species, is an excellent destination for night walks. The ancient rainforest harbors some of the weirdest that are of great interest to brave adventurers who dare walk under its thick canopy.
When darkness falls onto the jungle, chimpanzee troops and most primates hit the nest. However, nightcrawlers like potto monkeys, bushbabies, nightjar, cricket, and tree hyrax, with their chilling shriek, civet, and serval cat, take their turns to rule the night forest streets.
Guided forest walks set out at 19:00 hours through the dark trails to find these night entertainers and could last for one to two hours. The best activities to get in touch with your inner fears and wear your spooky heart.
What do You Need For These Night Adventures
Most of all, you should blend in with your surroundings wearing dull, dark clothing and avoid reflective, shouting colors on night game drives and walks. The main reason nocturnal animals like the dark is to prevent day walkers and everything that comes with the light.
Of course, you’re going to need a spotlight: not your phone’s flashlight, but something bigger and shooting to a single position. Your guide can hire you one or get one from UWA check-in offices. Night game drive vehicles usually have powerful spotlights. However, carry one to point to places the vehicle may not quickly turn to flash.
Insect repellent is a great idea. You’ll need to protect yourself from the nagging night bugs, especially the deadly mosquitos.
Keeping warm goes without saying. Nights get chilly in Uganda, and you’ll need a sweater or warm jacket to avoid freezing in the dark.
What’s The Price
Uganda Wildlife Authority $30 per person per night game drive for private vehicles and $40 UWA vehicles. The night game drives price applies to foreign non-residents and foreign residents. East African Residents pay 50,000 Uganda Shillings for a private vehicle and 40,000 Uganda Shillings for the UWA vehicle.
The age limit for the night experiences in Uganda is 15+ years.
Whether you’re staking out for a night hunt on a night game drive or taking a night walk to appreciate the lack of ambient light and witness star-studded skies bursting through the darkness, night adventures are a perfect addition to your Uganda safari itinerary.
Encounter Africa Safaris will be fortunate to host you for the night. As you have the good fortune to sit in the company of lions with the lights shut off as their roars penetrate the darkness and reverberate through your body, you will realize that Uganda is so much more than just what you see and that after dark is a vital part of the safari experience.
Email our local consultants at firstname.lastname@example.org to start planning your night game drive safari in Uganda.
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