There has been some concern after our first post “Lion vs. hyena” that at Etali we don’t like hyenas. Nothing could be further from the truth! Recently guests at Etali Safari Lodge managed to see all three of our resident hyena species in the Madikwe during their stay.
The Etali team managed to get videos of all three including a video of a very special visit from a bathing brown hyena to the Etali waterhole. We thought we’d take the time to shed some light on the misunderstood and fascinating family hyeanidae!
Brown hyena takes a bath at the Etali waterhole!
by Marcel Aucamp
Guests are always surprised by the abundance of wildlife at the Etali waterhole. Recently Etali host Marcel Aucamp captured this brown hyena taking a bit of a bath from our main deck. It is common practice from this hyena species to wallow in water in order to cool down during the heat of the day. The shaggy long haired coat of the brown hyena acts as a sponge, soaking up the water and keeping the hyena cool.
Aardwolf spotted during a night drive at Etali Safari Lodge
by Evan Vermuelen
While driving on the northern border of Madikwe, Etali head ranger Evan Vermuelen stumbled upon a lone aardwolf. Unlike his bigger hyena cousins the aardwolf does not hunt large mammals, but rather subsists on a primarily insectivorous diet of termites. After a wonderful half an hour of viewing the aardwolf, it lay down to rest so he left the aardwolf in peace and continued on the drive.
Spotted hyena has a meal (not for the squeamish!)
by Evan Vermuelen
On another night drive, five minutes after stopping for sundowners, Evan heard a distinctive noise nearby. After acquiring permission to explore off-road he found this spotted hyena that had just taken down a young blue wildebeest. Spotted hyena are not only excellent hunters but also fascinating carnivores with complex social structures similar to that of primates like baboons. Shortly after this video was taken the hyena proceeded to fetch the rest of it’s clan to enjoy the meal!
All three of these hyena species are common in the Madikwe Game Reserve, with the elusive nocturnal aardwolf being the most difficult to find. Surprisingly these species represent 75% of the entire hyena family with only the striped hyena, native to northern Africa and the Indian subcontinent, missing. We hope you enjoyed our ode to hyeanidae and that you will join us to get to know these guys a bit better!