Spooky nights at Sasaab

This Halloween let us take you on a midnight journey around our safari camps and lodges. Nothing beats the excitement of snuggling down in bed and listening to the weird and wonderful sounds of the night-time bush on safari. Many guests are surprised at how vocal the nocturnal wildlife is, as well as how challenging it can be to identify which animal is making each sound.

The African bush comes alive at night with a chorus of strange and bewildering sounds

Curious rock hyrax at Sasaab

One of the most eerie noises of the midnight bush comes from one of our smallest creatures. High-pitched and shrilling, the calls of this animal are not unlike what one would imagine the blood-curdling scream of a departing soul to be! Suffice to say, it can be quite frightening to hear. When guests discover the source of the shrieks come from a creature which is not dissimilar to an over-sized Guinea pig in appearance, it always causes a relieved giggle. We’re talking about a hyrax; a small, harmless, herbivorous mammal. We have two types in Kenya: the rock hyrax, found in abundance at Sasaab, as well as the tree hyrax, heard by guests of Sala’s Camp and Solio Lodge.

Leopard sightings at Sasaab

Frequently heard by guests of Sasaab is a nocturnal call which can be one of the most puzzling to figure out for first-time safari goers. This species is elusive and secretive, so likes to keep sound to a minimum. However, when they are vocal, it is their low, long-distance ‘sawing’ roar which is most iconic. The sound is best described as hoarse and rasping. It is a bit like how one might imagine a handsaw cutting though a tree trunk to sound. This is the tune of the leopard.

The low-pitched roar of a male lion can be heard 8 kilometres across the savannah

Caught in the act – a big sneeze or a massive roar?

Another big cat’s roar that is different to how many guests imagine is that of a lion. These kings of the savannah have a huge variation of vocalisations, but the sound heard regularly by guests of Solio Lodge and Sala’s Camp as they slumber is the deep, grunting roar of a male lion. It is the loudest of all the big cats’ calls, up to 114 decibels at close range (like a live rock concert). A low-pitched, strained sort of grunt, it is a show of power to frighten off other lions (and sleeping safari goers in their beds!) No need to worry though, as a lion’s roar can travel eight kilometres so it’s unlikely to be anywhere close by.

Poised and ready for action in the Masai Mara

If we had to pick a single sound from our nocturnal soundtrack that captures the African night-time bush, then one stands out above the rest. Melodious and perhaps a little haunting, it is a night-time song that sparks feelings of excitement and anticipation at being out in the wild. We’re talking about the long-distanced, whooping call of the spotted hyena. Also known as the ‘laughing hyena’ for their distinctly human-like chattering cackle, the spotted hyena is the largest and noisiest of all four hyena species. They have twelve distinct vocalisations which they use to communicate, but it’s their night-time howl which really encapsulates the atmosphere of the African wilderness. Beginning low and ending on a high note, it’s darkly musical and, in our opinion, is nature’s perfect lullaby to drift off to.

After dark provides peaceful moments to tune-in to the many sounds of the night-time bush. A safari is an immersive experience for all the senses

There are so many more nocturnal sounds to experience at each of our properties. From the signature night-time chorus of bell frogs and the bellowing brawls of hippos at Sala’s Camp, to the trumpeting of elephants and the alarm calls of baboons at Sasaab. Not to mention the lyrical tunes of a huge array of nocturnal birdlife, including the African scops owl, Pearl-spotted owlet, Verreaux’s Eagle Owl and nightjars. Every night is Halloween night on safari.

For a truly immersive experience, Sasaab offers fly-camping expeditions to bring you even closer to the nocturnal wildlife. If you’d like to experience the sounds, sights and smells of the African bush then get in touch by emailing info@thesafaricollection to start planning your safari now.