One of the guides informed me that there was an active hyena den site close to one of the major pans in the more central parts of the Singita Sabi Sand reserve. I decided, as it was a rather cool afternoon, to make my way toward the area and see if I would have the opportunity to spend some time with these interesting characters.
I found the small track that cut straight into the thick bush west of the pan, and headed to where I was told the den was situated. After driving for some time, to my amazement when I rounded the bend there they were, the entire clan, all lying around a large termite mound, which they used as a den site.
The female was suckling her two younger cubs, whilst the third slightly elder cub came forward, inquisitive about my presence. He approached the vehicle, not knowing what to make of this large solid object. I sat there for over an hour, savoring the moment, observing from behind tinted lenses, hyenas in their natural environment. I find people often get the wrong idea about these unusual creatures, often confusing their ungainly appearance with an animal that does nothing but scavenge. My experience with them however is very different and I have witnessed them hunting with incredible efficiency and a galloping grace.
Stay tuned for more of James Suter as he treks through the wilderness of Singita Sabi Sand this week.