Tag Archives: Brown Hyena

A day in Pilanesberg: Hour 4

Mankwe Dam, a large man-made impoundment that holds water throughout the year and that’s a veritable magnet for wildlife, is located in the heart of the Pilanesberg National Park. On its banks you’ll find the Mankwe Hide, very popular with photographers and recently rebuilt after being destroyed in a veld fire. That is where we are headed next.

Back in the hide’s parking area this southern masked weaver is enjoying a bath in a small puddle- as if he is too scared to go swimming in the big pool on the other side!

Almost immediately after driving out of the parking area at the hide, we come across a pair of lions – our second lion sighting of the day and less than 200 steps from where we were standing outside our vehicle just a few seconds ago! Luckily, being a mating pair, their attentions are focused on satisfying other base instincts than finding food. Our day just keeps getting better!

Leaving the lions to their honeymoon, we head north along Kgabo Drive and take a left into Tlou. Along the way we add further to our list of birds seen, including this rufous-naped lark singing its lungs out from a prominent perch.

Rufous-naped Lark

Just as we get to the junction of Tlou and Thuthlwa drives we find another brown hyena, walking quite purposefully away from an old elephant carcass with a large chunk of bone in its jaws. We follow alongside until it disappears into a thicket, its destination remaining a mystery to us but we like to think that it is headed to a den with hungry youngsters waiting.

If you’d like to follow along as we explore the Pilanesberg, a map may come in handy (for a large format version click here)

Mankwe Hide to Tlou Drive

If you need to catch up on our drive through the Pilanesberg National Park, you can read all the previous posts here.

To be continued tomorrow.

A day in Pilanesberg: Hour 2

We pick up our recollections of our day trip through Pilanesberg National Park at the the junction of Kwalata Road and Mankwe Way which was, on the 28th of August 2020, the scene of a deadly battle between two elephant bulls. Sadly Mavuso – a dominant bull that was brought to Pilanesberg National Park from the Kruger National Park back in 1999 and estimated to be around the mid-50’s in age – was killed in the fight. We were fortunate to have seen the gentle giant during a previous visit in November 2018.

Pilanesberg’s late tusker Mavuso, seen in November 2018

Mavuso’s massive carcass has been a magnet for scavengers since the unfortunate end to the fight, and it is amazing to think that even now six weeks later there’s still ample carrion available to attract the attention of black-backed jackals and brown hyenas. Apart from quickly popping in at the Fish Eagle Picnic Site for a body-break and a freshly made mug of coffee we spend almost an hour at the carcass watching the fascinating interaction between the scavengers. The pictures are gory, but trust me when I say that the smell is even more so!

If you’d like to follow along as we explore the Pilanesberg, a map may come in handy (for a large format version click here)

Kwalata to Fish Eagle and back

If you need to catch up on our drive through the Pilanesberg National Park, you can read yesterday’s post covering the stretch from Kwa Maritane Gate to Kwalata Road here.

To be continued tomorrow.