Spotted hyenas are a rare occurrence in Kapama. They are extremely shy animals and if they are sighted, it is usually a quick run across the road. My guests had been with us for two nights already and had been extremely lucky – they had seen the whole Big Five, as well as cheetahs and hippos playing with each other. However, they kept asking about the hyena so I told them it is extremely rare to see them but we will nevertheless try.

So we set out on our afternoon game drive in an area where most of the hyena sightings are. The first bit of the drive was extremely quiet as we only saw some plains game – impala, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest, etc. As the sun started setting we decided to stop for some drinks. So I went to a nearby dam with a nice view of the sunset.

After about half an hour, we only had an hour left of our game drive. So my tracker and I decided to check an old hyena den (maybe we would get lucky). As we moved into the den sight, there they were – two hyena pups, about six months old, playing with each other in the open. Struck by their curiosity, they looked at the vehicle and started approaching.

I was so surprised at how brave these pups were without their mother around. But they approached nevertheless. After having an amazing encounter with these hyena pups coming up to the vehicle, they had satisfied their sense of curiosity and moved off. They stopped in the open in front of the vehicle and started playing.

This was definitely worth the wait and worth the quietness of the beginning of the drive. To top off the night, we saw a spotted eagle owl catch and eat a snake. This was one of the top experiences that I have had here at Kapama as a guide.

Kim (KC) – Kapama River Lodge

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