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  • Writer's pictureJulian Brookstein

Hyenas of Camp Chitubu

Updated: Dec 29, 2022

Camp Chitubu already providing incredible sightings and we haven’t opened yet!!

I went into Hwange National Park yesterday as I had to meet the team drilling our new borehole for Camp Chitubu. We hit fantastic water, so we are very pleased with that. After spending time at camp, one of the staff told me that there had been Vultures active in an area close to camp for a couple of days. Immediately I knew I was going for a walk!

I headed off from camp in the general direction I had been told to go. I walked for a bit, zig-zagging back and forth looking for any signs, but nothing. Then I heard a Hyena whooping, not too far ahead towards a dry riverbed.

It was now about 11 am, not common at all to hear a Hyena calling middle of the day or any predators really for that matter. I headed for the noise through the mopane. As I was getting closer to the river bed the bush was getting thicker so I slowed up and started listening hard. It wasn’t long before heard the telltale noise of vultures screeching when squabbling at a kill site. It was not far ahead but I couldn’t see them. I moved forward slowly, stopping to listen often. Then I got a glimpse of a Vulture landing ahead, it was close about fifteen metres. I got down low and moved forward. I reached the riverbed and then I saw movement. A hyena and vultures followed by a second Hyena. Then I realised I could see the tusk of an Elephant. They were feeding on a dead elephant. They were on the other side of the riverbed about ten metres away, they hadn’t seen me yet. I got lower and started filming the scene on my phone.

Hyena have a noise that they make to communicate in close quarters, it's very hard to describe. It's like low pitch repetitive grunt. I hear this noise to my right, I slowly look around and see Hyena staring at me through the thick mopane, he turns and trots off. He has alerted to rest of the clan and they scatter from the carcass. Very quickly two black-backed Jackals I hadn’t seen yet see the opportunity and race into the carcass to feed, one of them chasing a Vulture and then the other jackal. It's not long before a couple of the Hyenas come back in and the Jackals bolt. Another scout comes forward and starts to walk across the riverbed toward me. That grunt again and they all bolt.

Once they have all gone, I walk down into the riverbed. These Hyena have been here for days feeding on this Elephant. It's a perfect spot, there is still water holding in the riverbed and great shade. There are just Hyena tracks everywhere!

I cannot wait for Camp Chitubu to open and to start guiding here in the next few months.


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