is an incident of blood, guts and munching. Generally our nocturnal
tours are fairly passive. Loads of information, fantastic sights -
all spotlit for the benefit of our guests and generally just happy,
especially the hot chocolate time when it is a chance to hop off our
vehicle and feel the night. Stars are often spectacular. So just a
great gelling moment with mother earth and nature.
But it was when the 'game changer' arrived things rapidly escalated to death, crunching bones and the smell of bile, barely meters from a very quiet group of guests. And as I mentioned, most of our sightings are benign. This event started off in a very benign manner. Two hyena pups playing with each other. Nipping at each others ankles in the manner they do! Behind them, only a short distance away I noticed the flashing eyes of other larger hyena that seemed to be busy with something a little more serious.
After moving closer, we discovered they had cornered an injured waterbuck that had no intention of giving up and becoming a hyena take away. We watched this stale mate as two hyenas only became frustrated with their lack of bite power to kill and consume their quarry. After twenty minutes I suggested we head for other areas of the Park and return to see if these two bone crunching nocturnal monsters had any success. Hardly 500 meters down the road we encountered the 'game changer'! A large female hyena was heading towards this stale mate with nerve racking intensity! We turned and followed her.
As she arrived at the waterbuck stale mate, she immediately greeted the other two adult hyenas and they started with the end. Sadly the end took over fifteen long minutes of bellowing and struggling before the waterbuck's eyes dimmed and it passed into the world of peace and quiet. Their strategy was to distract the waterbuck from all sides. Every now and again they would dash in and deliver a bone crunching bite to the rear of the waterbuck. The wounded male slashed at them with well aimed horns, repeatedly making contact with the hyenas on their heads, but it was about persistence and the smell of blood and victory that won out this day, at night. Sadly the hyenas devoured the waterbuck for fifteen minutes before it died. Thereafter it was a case of a massive dissection of intestines, liver, lungs and heart until bloodied to their chests the hyenas rested and we departed.
We needed something stronger than a cup of hot chocolate and there was little to say. When we stopped 3kms for our hot beverage break, we passed two pups heading with speed towards the killing field. Truly remarkable the 'bush telegraph'. There was no doubt that they knew the exact location of the kill.
Coffee, tea and hot chocolate were welcome treats.
Hasta la vista!
The Knait Whrydah