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Brown Hyena
Asset 8

Brown Hyena

Where to see Brown Hyena in Zimbabwe

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 Zimbabwe

Based on 8 reports by our travellers since Jul 2018, visitors at these camps in Zimbabwe 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 Zimbabwe holidays for brown hyena sightings

Based on our travellers' reports, these ideas for Zimbabwe 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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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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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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Side-striped Jackal Safari

6 days • 2 locations
VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

Get an in-depth experience of Zimbabwe’s colossal Hwange National Park, staying at two experience-focused camps with excellent guiding in contrasting areas. An adventurous safari for the real enthusiast.

US$3,180 - US$4,220 per person

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Ground Hornbill Safari

9 days • 3 locations
VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT TO BULAWAYO AIRPORT

Two authentic wilderness camps in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park, renowned for their guiding and excellent walking safari, before some culture, a little luxury and rhino tracking in nearby Matobo.

US$4,890 - US$6,820 per person

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Lion Safari

7 days • 2 locations
VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

The classic Expert Africa Zimbabwe safari. Combining two of our favourite independent camps, each run by celebrated guides, exciting game drives, world-class walks and canoeing in premier wildlife watching destinations.

US$5,910 - US$7,690 per person

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Sable Self-drive Safari

12 days • 7 locations
WINDHOEK AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

A great value southern African self-drive adventure from Namibia along the Caprivi Strip to Botswana and Zimbabwe, combining otherworldly landscapes, unforgettable wildlife spectacles, rarely visited places and ending at Victoria Falls.

US$2,860 - US$3,900 per person

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Leopard Safari

13 days • 4 locations
VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT TO CAPE TOWN AIRPORT

Victoria Falls, Botswana and Cape Town – a classic southern African itinerary combining luxury, wilderness, safari and culture. We can't think of a better way to spend two weeks.

US$8,050 - US$11,010 per person

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Great Egret Safari

12 days • 4 locations
MAUN AIRPORT TO VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT

A wonderfully varied adventure to Botswana and Zimbabwe combining three fantastic safari areas, a luxury river cruise and the mighty Victoria Falls.

US$7,170 - US$11,560 per person

View all holidays to Zimbabwe

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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