Up and away before sunrise is now the order of the day and we were on our way bright and early this morning but there was no sunrise to speak of, there was a lot of cloud cover and as a result of that cloud cover it was very mild which is surprising for this time of the year. Autumn has arrived in Mashatu and the trees are turning and when the beautiful morning light hits them all the hues that you associate with autumn, gold, orange and yellow are evident.
Today we headed for the hyena den hoping there might be some babies out and about and in the middle of thick Mopane forest we found the den and the pups. In total there were six cubs but two of them were very small and we only caught a glimpse of them as their mother took them out of one den into another. She picked up each of the cubs in her mouth and carried this small black cub to it’s new den. Graphite advised us that these cubs would be less then four weeks old as their eyes were still closed and as soon as they opened, the cubs would start to walk and would no longer be carried by their mum. The other four cubs were older, two of them just under four months old as they were still mainly black but the spots were just starting to show and the other two cubs were about six months old as they had lost all of their black and were now little hyenas.
We sat with two adults and the four older cubs for a couple of hours and it was such fun watching the antics of the cubs. Hyena cubs are just like little domesticated puppies, playing with each other, annoying their mothers and generally getting up to mischief. It was such a delight to watch.
The rest of the morning drive was quiet but we saw giraffe, zebra, impala and wildebeest before heading back to the lodge for a restful afternoon.
One of the classic photos you see of an African sunset is the outline of a giraffe in the middle of the setting sun and I have often wished that I would be in a position one day to take such a photo. Well it happened on our evening drive tonight. As we stopped for sundowners the giraffes walked across the rise with the setting sun behind them, just hoping the photos do the African scene justice.
Photo is courtesy of Graphite from Fika Futi