Written, and photographs, by Chris Jek
I was driving on a dirt track along the Sabie River in the Kruger National Park on an early May morning. Sightings had been quite poor since we left Skukuza Rest Camp two hours before, but driving on this loop away from the main tarred road was quite pleasant as there was absolutely no other vehicle around.
I was focusing on the track when I heard my co-pilot screaming, “Stop! An animal here, on the left side. Greyish animal”.
I stopped, reversed and could not believe my luck. A honey badger was standing on a tree stump, about 15 meters away from me. It was staring at us with no fear.
I switched the engine off to avoid vibrations, put a beanbag on the car door, and started to take some pictures.
I was happy to get this quite unusual face-to-face encounter when I suddenly saw bees in the viewfinder, as the honey badger started scratching the tree with its long and impressive claws.
The honey badger was busy visiting a wild beehive! The honey badger did not care at all about me. It was entirely focused on retrieving the honey and the brood from the hive.
I could see the bees attacking it furiously but it was completely indifferent to their stings.
The entire action lasted for seven minutes, and no other car arrived during this time.
After it had its sweet breakfast, the honey badger stared at me again and then disappeared into the bush, leaving me amazed and fascinated by the incredible piece of luck I had to be exactly at the right place at the right time!