There is so much that goes into a Morning Game Drive. The Guides are up preparing their Game Viewers, tea, coffee and rusks all before the first wake-up call, and long before the sun comes up.
For guests, it’s a matter of pulling yourself out of an impossibly soft bed, getting dressed in the icy chill of winter and making sure you’re awake enough to take in every moment about to unfold.
Why then, do so many people brave the dark chill of winter to experience an Early Morning Game Drive? The reason is really quite simple – morning game drives are unlike any others.
After a cup of coffee jolts you to life, you’re climbing into a Game Viewer, pulling on a poncho for warmth, and feeling the crisp air slightly sting your face as your vehicle roars to life. At moments like this, it truly feels like the bustle of the engine is the only sound for miles. The excitement of what you could see starts to mound as your eyes adjust, looking carefully into the dark space around you.
Slowly but surely, the sky changes colour, from indigo to cobalt blue and the expanse of land around you becomes more visible. It is then that you will start to see the crepuscular animals of the wild. The ones that come out in the hours between light and dark. Barn Owls, Shrub Hares, Bats – all bringing with them, secrets of what happened during the dead of night. Often, you will see the aftermath of a kill, Jackals circling the perimeter, nervously looking into Game Viewer lights as they suss out their opportunity for breakfast.
At once, you will turn a corner and realise that the sunrise is upon you. Far in the distance, you will see magnificent shades of pink, orange and crimson – the kind that no photograph does justice. In the midst of this, a spectacular sighting will appear from the thicket – the vehicle goes silent to take in this moment. The silence and calm of nature is overwhelming. You forget that your face is prickling from the chill of winter, or that you have been sitting with your hands nestled between your legs to keep them warm.
You listen – there is no noise. Only the sound of two birds, being woken up by the sun. Now, a cheetah slinks in front of your Game Viewer and you can hear the crunch of dry grass beneath his padded feet.
On Morning Game Drive, it is the stillness that makes them magical. You feel as though all of Africa is beginning to arise from a deep slumber. The absence of bright sun, the sheer beauty of the sunrise, the silence from all those in the Game Viewer slowly waking up with nature, and of course, the sense that there is truly no better way to greet the day.