It’s a funny thing getting up at 4h00 am in the morning. This morning Pieter, Herman and myself got ourselves out of bed an hour earlier, in order to share an early morning drive with you (5h00 am CAT). After some coffee, quick bowl of cereal and a few silent nods (merely acknowledgements of the exciting event about to commence) we drove off into a quietly awakening bush.With only a few drives behind my name this was the first time I had experienced a Djuma dawn and the peaceful serenity is what got to me. In between the dazzling opening and ending with the zebra, the beautiful little bee eaters and the slow crossing of the road by the giant African snail the highlight for me was the interaction with the hyenas. Something WE were all delighted to share with you.If I may elaborate…firstly these are the two WE had met yesterday morning and already then I was fascinated by their curiosity and ease of manner. Prior to this I hadn’t spent so much time with these creatures and thus had no concept of their natures. As WE were cruising down Twindams Road, we bumped into to them, on their way to Chela Pan. Here WE joined them for their morning dip. Mom was the only one in the water and the youngster was investigating in the lush green growth on the embankment.Then Herman radioed us with a question from Final Control. It was from Amy and questioned weather hyenas are really as aggressive etc as they are portrayed in the media. Pieter proceeded to answer and explain in the way that only he can and I’m sure we were all left with a new understanding of hyenas. But what then followed was as they say “ the cherry on top” and definitely left me with no doubts. The two hyenas, a wet Mom and a teddy bear faced youngster came and said “hello”. What an experience and one WE shared together.I was literally doing some form of contortionist yoga (WE refer to this as the Jigga Yoga, obviously only practised by the camera people lol) and managed to swing myself and the camera around just in time to see how Mom first sniffed and then came right up to the back wheel – I could have leaned over and stroked them, they were so close. What WE experienced in those brief moments are that these are inquisitive, intelligent creatures that certainly didn’t mean us any harm.

That’s all for now, but isn’t it exciting what WE learn and experience together. I’m sure there are a few of us with dispelled perceptions and a bunch of us that are practising the hyena/giraffe finger walk!!
Lieschen Smith