When staying at a private safari lodge, the bulk of your game viewing will be done on safari drives. These take place in the early morning and late afternoon, as many of the animals everyone wants to see (notably the predators) are most active around dawn and dusk. In the morning you’ll be wakened by a call from your ranger, who will then be waiting for you with coffee or tea before you get into the safari drive vehicle. You may stop during the morning drive for more coffee! After a drive of around three hours, you’ll be returned to the lodge for a massive breakfast. Your time is then yours to do as you please until mid/late afternoon. Usually lunch will be served (although sometimes not during their winter) and you may have the chance to go on a bush walk. Then you meet your ranger again for afternoon tea before heading off on your evening drive. You’ll stop for sundowner drinks, and the last hour or so of your drive will be in the dark, using a spotlight to try and spot some of the nocturnal creatures. Upon your return its time for a gorgeous dinner before retiring to bed in order to be as fresh as possible when that morning call comes! Drive times are determined by dawn and dusk. So in their summer, morning drive starts very early and the evening drive starts quite late, allowing for a big chunk of free time in the middle of the day. In their winter, these times get compressed as the day is shorter – hence some lodges skipping lunch during the winter months. When out on drive your ranger (and his tracker in those reserves where they are used) will use his skills and experience of the bush, plus information from other rangers out on game drives, to pinpoint the best game viewing. He (or she!) will also provide a running commentary on the animals you are seeing – it is truly amazing how much information they are able to pass on. If you particularly want to see certain animals, do let your ranger know and he’ll try to oblige wherever possible, although much is dependent on the animals cooperating, and of course the wishes of the other guests in your safari drive vehicle (unless you have paid for a private vehicle). In a public reserve like Hluhluwe-Imfolozi, safari drives are operated by the parks board twice a day and can be booked on to when you arrive.