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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

Brown Hyena takes a bath at the Etali Safari Lodge waterhole, Madikwe.mp4 from Etali Safari Lodge on Vimeo.

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

aardwolf-etali-madikwe.mp4 from Etali Safari Lodge on Vimeo.

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

Spotted hyena has a meal – Etali Safari Lodge – Madikwe.mp4 from Etali Safari Lodge on Vimeo.

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!

Africa Geographic Travel
Etali Safari Lodge

Nestled in the magnificent malaria-free Madikwe Game Reserve, Etali Safari Lodge has earned a reputation for offering our guests a unique and personal African bush experience wherein nature, relaxation and luxury combine to form an unforgettable memory. At Etali we provide guests with an experience beyond the expected. Whether on safari with our expert game rangers, dining on our delicious cuisine, rejuvenating in our spa, or, simply relaxing in our luxurious and comfortable suites.