Tracy Lee Stark

By Tracy Lee Stark

Photographer and Multimedia Producer

Watch: Aardvark tries to outrun hyena in an epic chase

It’s rare to see a brown hyena, and even more so to see an aardvark on open plains during daylight. That’s exactly what made this sighting extra spectacular.

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An aardvark was out unusually early in the day, and a passing brown hyena thought it would be an easy catch, but he was wrong.

This sighting was captured by Etienne, the Content Creator for the Greater Mabula Private Game Reserve, on the game reserve itself on an open plain known as the TPA plains, which is usually where the lodge hosts their champagne breakfasts underneath the 100-year-old Wild Fig Tree.

“We had initially gone to the open plain to admire the iconic Wild Fig Tree is estimated to be over 100 years old. As we approached the plain, we got a call on the game drive radio that they had spotted an aardvark foraging on the open plain.

“It was already a magical sighting to witness a relaxed aardvark bumbling about the plain in the daytime. As we were admiring the aardvark, our guide, Andrew noticed a brown hyena approaching the plains.

“To have a sighting of just witnessing these two incredibly rare and usually nocturnal animals during the day was an unforgettable moment,” they told

“We had never imagined that the sighting would get even more unbelievable with the interaction of the brown hyena trying to hunt the aardvark.

“At first, we thought that the brown hyena had spotted something else that it had begun to chase —perhaps an antelope or smaller animal like a scrub hare that we couldn’t see — it was only once the aardvark began running that we realised that the brown hyena was actually targeting the aardvark.

“The feelings of pure astonishment, amazement, and disbelief were overwhelming! We had never imagined that an aardvark was able to run so quickly and to see it escape into its burrow was a moment of absolute awe. After the rush of adrenaline of the brown hyena nearly managed to get a grip on the aardvark a couple of times, it was simply breath-taking to watch the aardvark manage to escape into one of its burrows that the brown hyena could not access despite its initial efforts.”

As if things could not get worse for the brown hyena, it was then chased by the herd of wildebeest that was watching it nearby! The sighting ended with the brown hyena dashing its way off of the plains, most likely in search of another meal. Though they waited for some time on the plain, the aardvark did not emerge out of its burrow.

This sighting of the interaction between the brown hyena and the aardvark was exceptionally rare.

“On the Greater Mabula Private Game Reserve, we are fortunate enough to spot brown hyena and aardvark on a regular basis, but never had we witnessed the two species interacting before.

“It’s amazing to now be able to firmly say that the aardvark is one of the potential prey species of the brown hyenas in this area. It was also fascinating to see the predator-prey interaction between the brown hyena and wildebeest as the herd grouped together to chase the brown hyena off the plain.”

It’s in these exceptionally rare sightings that you truly appreciate the complexity and beauty of wildlife and the bush, so to really just advise anyone who is lucky enough to witness something like this to soak in everything that they are witnessing — and to of course have their camera always ready because you never know what you might see out on safari

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