Hyena

Hyena

There are four hyena species: spotted hyena, brown hyena, striped hyena, and aardwolf. The spotted hyena is a common and wide-spread predator that is seen in most safari areas. Unfortunately, hyenas have been unfairly vilified by many, but they are a fascinating animal and skilled hunter that live in complex social groups.

Jane Goodall, the world famous expert in studying chimpanzees, in fact, has commented that if she could choose any species to study she would select spotted hyenas because they are so unique and interesting.

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Best Places to See Hyena on Safari

Spotted hyena den
Spotted hyena den.
Spotted hyenas are the most common of the hyena species and can be seen on safari in many of the iconic safari destinations across the continent. Some of the highest densities and most interesting areas to see spotted hyena are Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti National Park in Tanzania, Masai Mara in Kenya, and the Savute area of Chobe National Park in Botswana.

While there is less diversity of iconic safari species in the remote Liuwa Plains National Park in Zambia, it is one of the best places to observe spotted hyena. With only a small population of lions in the park, the hyenas reign supreme. Their population size and clan numbers result in higher hunting rates than regions where hyenas can more readily scavenge or steal from other predators. With the ongoing research of the Zambia Carnivore Programme in partnership with the exclusive King Lewanika Camp, it can be nearly guaranteed to observe a variety of hyena behavior from hunting to social dynamics.

Brown hyena are only found between the Kalahari and Namib Deserts. It helps to plan a visit that allows for night safaris to increase the chance of encountering this nocturnal animal while it is active.

Aardwolves are a very difficult species to encounter on safari. There are two subspecies on the African continent.  They prefer an arid climate with grasslands that allow them to avoid interaction with civilization. Unlike their hyena relatives, aardwolves are insectivores. They have been reported in Ethiopia, Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda, Egypt, Angola, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and Namibia.

The striped hyena can be found from northeast Africa into the Middle East and Asia, and further north into Siberia.

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