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Hippo ‘closes’ with young Hyena when approaching and waking it

Our Tuesday sighting somewhat sums up how bizarre the wildlife of the South Luangwa National Park has been at the moment.

Shenton Safaris’ has had a host of weird and wonderful sightings this season already. We have had gripping hunting, we have had distressing kills, we have had mating and we have had cubs, pups, and calves. But, up until this moment, we have not hyenas and hippos frolicking and kissing.

Our head guide, Patrick arrives on the khaki-coloured sandy banks of the beautiful Luangwa River. The sun, a giant orange marble in the sky, rises behind Patrick’s back while the golden lights reflects off the steep glowing bank.

All consumed in its slumber, Patrick spots a solo juvenile hyena with a young hippo edging ever closer. As the distance between the pair lessens, the hippo becomes ever more inquisitive and eventually awakens the sleepy hyena. The two are in close quarters, very close quarters- it seems odd.

Patricks turns the key in his ignition and as his vehicle’s engine cuts off, only the sounds of the African bush accompanies him. Soon enough the games commence, the hippo and hyena begin by smelling each other from a distance before the gap between their very different noses lessens more and more until their snouts are touching.

Scents identified, the hyena approves so much it rolls onto it’s back in utter glee, whilst the hippo exposes it’s canines almost as if it is smiling and laughing. The two play happily for quite some time before the hyena gets up and sprints off with an expression that cannot mean anything other than utter bliss.

We don’t believe we need to say much more about this fascinating new friendship, the pictures speak for themselves.

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