June 5: The ‘Saviour Porcupine’

When I used to go on lots of game drives years ago as a tourist, sometimes they weren’t awesome. Maybe the guide was useless, or it was really cold. Maybe we’d watched a sleeping lion twitch its ear for an hour and a half, or seen nothing but owls. But I could always sit back and smile because I knew my sweet ‘Saviour Porcupine’ was coming.

Oh dear. Why on earth did I ever call it a ‘Saviour Porcupine’? Because I was (am) a dork and I suppose that’s exactly what it was– a Saviour Porcupine. There’s really no other way of putting it. No matter where the drive was, or how bad (or good) it was, it always ended with a guaranteed glimpse of a porcupine, which saved the whole night and always made me super-happy, like hot chocolate with mini marshmallows.  And it always happened.  I recall only one night drive when the Saviour Porcupine never came. I remember how confusing it was for me. I wrote a very long rant about it. Much longer than this one.

(And as if the whole concept isn’t embarrassing enough, over the years ‘Saviour Porcupine’ has worked its way into use in my every day life. “Oooh that Springhare was my saviour porcupine tonight” or “Oooh those cookies are my saviour porcupine”. I believe it even made an appearance in my Masters thesis. Ouch.)

Now that I go on night drives every night, I know that the Saviour Porcupine doesn’t exist. It turns out that I was spoiled. Just a really jammy girl who, by coincidence, managed to see a disproportionate number of porcupines.

You have to be really, really lucky to see a porcupine at all.

So now i’ve learned never to take special moments with porcupines for granted.  A porcupine is one of the most fantastic things you can see in Africa, and we saw one tonight. Love.


This is definitely not tonight’s porcupine (which was really far away and unphotographable). I saw this one in a campsite last year…

Tonight’s Night Drive Sightings:

African Wild Cat
Cape Fox
Bat Eared Fox
Spotted Eagle Owl

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