Discover the magic of the golden hour in Africa

Experience the fascinating safari in Africa in harmony with the sun. Enjoy the golden hour for unforgettable animal sightings and breathtaking moments.


The sun as a compass

The sun travels every day from east to west across the firmament, dictating the rhythm of the day for the inhabitants of our planet. The safari industry has also adopted this journey and tailored its activities such as game drives or bush walks to the rhythm of the sun.

Activities are scheduled for early morning and late afternoon to give you the best chance of spotting animals and collecting long-lasting memories on your safari. In the morning, the nocturnal animals of the African bush give way to the diurnal residents - in the afternoon, the same game begins, but in reverse. During the hottest part of the day, around noon, there is an opportunity to relax and perhaps catch up on some sleep.


Nature in magical light

As the sun slowly descends towards the horizon on its journey across the celestial sphere, the second round of the safari day begins. This time of day is a photographer's favourite. While it is still relatively warm at the beginning of the drive (depending on the season and weather conditions), you'll notice a change in lighting after about an hour. The evening sun bathes the African bush in a warm, golden light. The so-called "Golden Hour" has begun. Among photographers, the term refers to the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset. These hours offer photography enthusiasts a particularly advantageous light atmosphere that creates a warm atmosphere and soft shadows in pictures. The light is less intense and more diffuse, resulting in richer colours and softer contrasts.

But even non-photographers can enjoy this hour. The landscape slowly transforms into a red-golden light, and it seems as if all colors are becoming more intense and vibrant. The animals appear more majestic, and even the scents of the plants are highlighted. It's as if the world wants to show itself from its best side once again and remind us what a privilege it is to walk upon it before it casts its night enchantment upon us.


Evening encounters at the waterhole

Guided by the evening sun and the approaching darkness of the night, the water-dependent and diurnal animals make one last trip to the water resources before preparing for the night. Here, with a bit of luck, there is the opportunity to observe the interaction of different species and gain fascinating insights into their life forms. Which species prefers to drink alone? Which species dominate the waterhole? Which species don’t care at all who else takes some life-sustaining sips of the cool water?

The sun continues its journey across the firmament, unaffected by our fascination with this golden hour, and moves closer and closer to the horizon. The sky transforms into a spectrum of different colors. With a cooling or warming drink, depending on the season, the time of sunset invites you to reflect on the day and become aware of the importance of conservation and preservation of these precious habitats. Meanwhile, the sky takes on a deep orange color, and the occasional clouds glow in bright shades of red. The purple mixes with the orange-red, and the clouds quickly reveal a magical, violet hue. The pink nuances add a romantic atmosphere to the evening sky.


Magical moments in the dark

Meanwhile, the songs of diurnal birds grow quieter, and they are replaced in the sky by bats. Dusk sets in, and you may already hear the first nocturnal or more active creatures calling out, so the wilderness knows who is now taking over the stage. This allows for a brief pause to listen attentively to the "nothing." Do you hear the soft "WhooopWhooop" of the hyena in the background? Or the call of one of the nightjar species?

With the darkness, our adrenaline levels rise again, and so does the excitement of what you might still see. The headlights of the safari vehicle dance on the otherwise black path, while the guide simultaneously scans for glowing eyes and movements with his spotlight. Now is the chance to encounter not only nightjars sitting on the road but also a porcupine or other rare animals such as an Aardvark, an Aardwolf, a Genet, or a Civet . Often, you'll see nocturnal Bush or Spring Hares darting away in the spotlight.


Highlights in the African night sky

Even if you don't see many nocturnal animals, there is still a breath-taking spectacle at night that should not be missed: when the silver streak on the horizon has disappeared and the moon appears in the east, you should look up at the sky again. With very little light pollution in the wilderness, you have a great view of the starry sky and the glittering band of the Milky Way. Amidst the sea of stars, you'll find the various star constellations of the southern hemisphere. If you're traveling in winter, you're lucky to see the constellation of Scorpius or the guiding constellation of the Southern Cross. While in summer, you'll see the constellation of Orion in the night sky. Legend has it that Scorpius still hunts Orion and that these two constellations will never be seen together. With a bit of luck, you'll see one or more meteorites streaking across the firmament and can wish for another great day in the African wilderness.

If this text has also invited you to dream or if you want to evoke or even create more memories, then we recommend taking a look at our African adventures here.

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