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Brown Hyena
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Brown Hyena

Where to see Brown Hyena in Botswana

This largely solitary scavenger is one of the more elusive and little-known of Africa’s carnivores. Shaggier than its spotted cousin, it occurs only in the arid southwest of the continent.


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Quick facts about Brown Hyena

Scientific name: Parahyaena brunnea Habitat: Semi-desert & savannah
IUCN status: Near Threatened Adult weight: 37–43kg

The brown hyena is a highly resourceful predator. Adapted to surviving in the arid Kalahari and Namib deserts, it scavenges on carcasses left by other predators but will also feed on insects, rodents, desert melons and – along the Namibian coast – abandoned seal pups.

Slightly smaller than the spotted hyena, you can distinguish a brown hyena by its pointed ears and shaggy brown coat, which it erects to intimidate other predators from their kills – even leopards.

Though generally seen alone, brown hyenas live in extended family clans, with all members cooperating to raise cubs. They are most active after dark, and cover great distances during their nightly foraging.


30–50km2

Foraging range

< 10,000

Estimated population

30cm

Length of neck hairs

4–6

Average clan size

The top camps for seeing brown hyena in Botswana

Based on 13 reports by our travellers since Aug 2018, visitors at these camps in Botswana have the best chances of sighting brown hyena.


Best chances to see

Good chances to see

Some sightings

No sightings yet

Top 10 camps for brown hyena

% of travellers who saw brown hyena

Top 10 camps for brown hyena

% of travellers who saw brown hyena

Where to see brown hyenas in Africa

The brown hyena is much harder to see than the spotted hyena, due both to its restricted range and retiring nature. You will need to visit the Kalahari, Namibia or northwest South Africa.


Top tips for viewing brown hyena

Brown hyenas are most numerous in the Central Kalahari Game Reserve (Botswana), the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park (Botswana/South Africa) and the coastal and northern desert regions of Namibia. You may also see them in northern South Africa, notably in the Madikwe and Pilanesberg reserves. In general, brown hyenas avoid areas with high populations of lion or spotted hyena.

Wherever they occur, however, these shy animals take some finding. They are largely nocturnal and much less vocal than spotted hyenas. They also tend to forage alone.

The best sightings often come at a known den, at dawn or dusk, where the animals have become habituated to human observers. It’s always worth asking your guide.

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Our best Botswana holidays for brown hyena sightings

Based on our travellers' reports, these ideas for Botswana safaris are likely to give the best brown hyena sightings


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Pygmy Mouse Self-drive Safari

18 days • 10 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

A truly epic southern African self-drive safari adventure from Namibia’s mountains and deserts, along the lush Caprivi Strip to Botswana and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe staying at luxury lodges throughout.

US$4,790 - US$6,650 per person

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Wild Dog Safari

13 days • 5 locations
KASANE AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

An in-depth discovery of northern Botswana’s wilderness, from Chobe and the private Kwando Reserve to the Moremi and iconic Okavango Delta with a great variety of activities and wildlife.

US$9,180 - US$15,600 per person

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Black-footed Cat Safari

14 days • 6 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

Combine three of southern Africa's most iconic destinations in this exciting and varied safari. Discover the world's oldest desert in Namibia, seek iconic wildlife in Botswana and gaze in wonder at Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

US$11,080 - US$19,510 per person

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Mopane Squirrel Safari

6 days • 2 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

Visit two wildlife-rich private reserves in an exploration of the Okavango and Kwando regions. Sister-camps Splash and Lagoon camp provide a range of immersive activities, and their long-stay discounts make for an excellent-value safari.

US$4,660 - US$8,320 per person

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Pangolin safari

8 days • 3 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

Three relaxed, local feeling camps in pristine settings – the Kwando Reserve and Okavango Delta. Guided by a driver and tracker at each, this a great trip for spotting Botswana’s top predators.

US$6,200 - US$11,040 per person

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Rock Hare Self-drive Safari

20 days • 12 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

An in-depth look to Namibia including from the Namib Desert to Victoria Falls and everything in between. This three-week self-drive adventure includes unrivalled mix of environments and great value.

US$4,630 - US$5,920 per person

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African Jacana Safari

7 days • 3 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO MAUN AIRPORT

An adventurous introduction to Botswana blending prolific wildlife, incredible landscapes and varied activities staying at relaxed camps in the Chobe Enclave, a community-owned reserve bordering the Moremi, and Makgadikgadi Pans.

US$6,140 - US$8,110 per person

View all holidays to Botswana

More information about brown hyena in our other destinations

Click here for detailed information about brown hyena in other countries, including the places for sighting brown hyena.


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