As the sky slowly turns into a dull, golden spectacle, an eerie silence settles over the wilderness. Suddenly, a violent thunder like noise erupts, defiling the silence. And almost immediately, the golden light is swallowed up into a black darkness that envelopes the sky for miles. Like a scene ripped right off a horror movie, 8 million straw coloured fruit bats fill the sky, their wings flapping frantically as each of them clambers for a branch.
Said to be the largest congregation of mammals in Africa, possibly even the world, the fruit bat migration to Zambia’s Kansaka National Park is one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth. Every November and December, the fruit bats migrate to Kansaka National Park, Zambia’s only privately managed park, and feast on abundant seasonal fruit, much to the delight of snakes and crocodiles found in the park, that eagerly wait below the trees for an unlucky bat to fall.
The straw coloured fruit bats are a migratory species that live in colonies of thousands and even millions and are known to travel great distances. Their range encompasses the tropical belt of Africa. Surprisingly, this amazing display of nature is one that has been kept very low key in the past and has only gotten some publicity in the recent years. However, such an extraordinary spectacle can only be kept off the radar for so long — and today the fruit bat migration is getting more and more attention. The migration has been filmed by the National Geographic and has also been featured on the BBC’s nature documentary, Life. However, the mystery of where the fruit bats come from and disappear to, still remains the hairy little mammals secret.**
Some info from BBC wildlife magazine. Pictures from Kasanka Trust where you can stay in November and December to witness this natural wonder.