Nature Tourism

Animal Sounds & Night Sounds

This course is offered during ADVANCED NATURE GUIDING, but also separate as a short course.

Most of us, who are fortunate enough to be in the bush, could hear a myriad of sounds at night, and we don’t even pay attention to it. It could be that we don’t know the majority of the sounds we hear, or it could be that we are not sensitized to listening at the night sounds any more.

Overseas guests are normally very much attuned to all new sounds, and they might confront you  with questions like “what sound is that...? what sound is this...?  Would you be able to answer their questions?!

Now, even experienced guides might sometimes have problems. A group of guests once asked a field guide friend of Kjeld, when they heard the sound of a Yellow-fronted Tinkerbird, ‘what animal makes that sound?’ – the guide didn’t know, and said it sounds like a bicycle pump to him. On another occasion a group of German tourists were on a game trail on a private game ranch, when they heard an impala ram making rutting sounds.  They got a big fright when the field guide, not knowing what it was, said he thinks it is a lion.

We are going to train you to listen to and identify a great variety of animal sounds, diurnal and nocturnal – through a variety of cassettes and CD’s with animal sounds, but also in practice with the real animals calling.

At some stage Kjeld did a lot of training of nature guides in a very mountainous area in Mpumalanga. He often took the learners out for star grazing, but also for night sounds. Sometimes they would just sit absolutely quiet, in an elevated spot in the topography. Often they would hear leopards call at various locations, and sometimes they heard when a male and female leopard closing up to each other in order to mate, calling every few minutes  – when they eventually meet up, they would hear the “raw” growls uttered in the mating process. Other nights they might hear kudus bark, mountain reedbuck whistle alarms, impalas snort or a klipspringer’s alarms, which usually indicates a predator close-by. The next day they would try and find the locations where the sounds were made, and try and track the animals. It has always been interesting experiences as well as real eye-openers to the learners.