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A young playful lioness spotted a brown hyena foraging in the distance and went into hunt mode. It looks grim for the brown hyena, but stay tuned for the ending when this lion gives the hyena the fright of its life.


This unique sighting was captured by 36-year-old Senior trails guide at Sanbona Wildlife Reserve, Jordan Davidson, while on a safari with his guests in the Klein Karoo, Sanbona Wildlife Reserve.

Lion walking up to hyena

Jordan tells the story: “Out in the Klein Karoo on Sanbona Wildlife Reserve we had departed on our morning drive in the hopes of catching the lions awake and walking before they found the shade and flopped down for the day.”

Lioness launches attack on Brown hyena

“One of the guides called in a brown hyena sighting, but with a youngish lioness stalking it. We were a few minutes’ drive away, and my initial thought was that we’re going to miss the action. I took the chance and spoke to my guests and told them the situation. We decided to leave the hippo in a little pan and find the lioness.”


“As we approached the area, we spotted the lioness stalking through the khanna bushes on a deeply eroded channel. Further south along the opposite channel we saw the hyena sniffing, walking, and foraging. It had no idea that the lioness was nearby!”

Brown hyena runs for its life from Lion

“The lioness isn’t part of a pride and lives on her own for the time being. Brown hyenas live in clans but forage and scavenge on their own. They are a very cryptic animal, hardly ever seeing them out and about during the daylight hours. Luckily for us, it was a very cold morning with cloud cover which allowed for this hyena to stay out longer. I was extremely interested in seeing how the hyena was going to defend itself against a lion whose strength is incredible.”

Lioness almost bites Brown hyena

“I quickly managed to pull up alongside to where the hyena was situated and waited. It didn’t take long for the action to unfold.  She launched her attack we were surprised to see that she didn’t finish the kill. But she definitely gave this hyena the fright of its life. She was possibly in a playful mood, or the hyenas’ strange noises put her off, or it could even have been that the long fur allowed the hyena to slip through her claws and confuse her.”

Lioness looks upset after a failed hunt

“Nonetheless it was a fantastic sighting! I have personally been waiting years for this specific encounter to happen.”

“The Klein Karoo where Sanbona is located is unique from a wildlife/habitat point of view. It straddles both the fynbos as well as the succulent Karoo biomes. The landscapes offer a visual feast, with plenty to find, it’s like a living jewelry box with its diversity of succulents. All this coupled with an abundance of animals allows for truly unique encounters that one doesn’t find anywhere else.”

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