Elephant Plains Safari: A Bully Hyena Matriarch …

News from Villiers:

(Images from back of Villiers’ Camera)

It was freezing this morning – the coldest so far, but luckily there was no wind and we were able to bake a little in the sun.

The cold as always drove many of the predators into hiding … but the scavengers were out! We found a group of Spotted Hyenas shortly after we left the Lodge. Our tracker, Justice, spotted some entrails of an impala on the ground. He identified that there had been a scuffle as the leafy disturbance clearly showed him what had happened. He showed us how the drag marks crossed the road and led us to seven Spotted Hyenas.

There were a few adult hyenas with a few youngsters and they were really busy with the remains of an impala. Just a bit of skin, horns, and bone were left, but the hyenas enjoyed these to the full.

The dominant female of the hyena clan was in charge – looking as though she has swallowed a large wrecking ball. Her massive bulging stomach led us to conclude that she is heavily pregnant – but no!


The guides told us that she always looks like that – never thinner! Probably because as the boss lady she always gets to the food first and eats her fill – and more! She was very aggressive with the other hyenas, continually chasing them away … until she got rid of them, picked up the carcass and walked off with it!

We searched for leopard, but no luck in the cold. But there was a magnificent, large Kudu Bull that came up from the river, some entertaining Dwarf Mongooses soaking up the sun on a termite mound, and some squirrels that stuck to the sunny side of the trees. All the birds seemed to be out and also sunning themselves in the warming run rays.


The group are preparing to leave Elephant Plains after a hearty brunch while Niel and I will welcome to the new group in time for lunch …