Bats in or near Kruger in South Africa

Fruit bats roost Skukuza Camp in Kruger National Park/ By Zypresse Ulrike Loehr

Even in South Africa, where they’ve got some of the best wildlife-viewing on the planet, tourists and locals are still entertained by their bats. Ngwenya Lodge, which backs up against Kruger National Park, has built a number of bat houses. In Kruger itself Skukuza Camp has a roost for fruit bats.

“We have put up a number of bat houses on the property that are mostly occupied by Angolan and Little Freetail bats,” Brian Whiting, a director of the lodge told me in an email. “Some may be occupied by Giant yellow house bats,”

They don’t do tours, but they don’t need to since they’ve already figured out what time the bats leave their roost at different times of year.

The lodge also gets Wahlberg’s epauletted fruit bats, but those don’t live in houses. One study in Kruger showed they especially liked fig and sycamore trees. In Kruger many sleep “under the eaves of the shop,” Siyabona South Africa says.

Bats Gauteng & Northern Regions Bat Interest Group says South Africa has 56 bat species, including four fruit bats. Fruit bats (also known as flying foxes) are the ones tourists like me would be most interested in because they’re huge. South Africans have been building shed-sized bat houses for 50 years, hoping to wipe out mosquitoes and the malaria they carry.

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