Visiting far away hyenas

We’re arrived in Addis Ababa after an 11 hour bus ride across the Rift Valley. I’ve come to realise that Ethiopians have a mortal fear of fresh air. In any vehicle, be it minibus, taxi or coach, people open the windows while they’re sitting in the vehicle, waiting for it to set off. But as soon as it starts up and makes any kind of discernible movement, the people, as a one, close all the windows lest any kind of cool breeze enter the vehicle and threaten their lives. Hence, the optimum, inside, travelling temperature for an Ethiopian transport vehicle is 40 degrees centigrade.
In three days time, we’re off to Kenya to take up an invitation to visit the hyena research project in the Masai Mara. These guys are not hack anthropologists, hanging around garbage dumps, they’re professionals with things like dart guns, radio collars and funding. So I’m keen to see some hyenas running at speed across the open savannah, in pursuit of some unfortunate ungulate, rather than slipping over in a drainage ditch in search of a bone.
Also, I can’t promise that I’ll be coming back with any amazing photos. All I have is my point-and-shoot camera and I’m not so sure the Masai Mara hyenas will be as accommodating as the Harar hyenas and stick their noses in the lens. Though you never know your luck. One German motorcycle tourist, riding across the Sudan, stopped to take some photos of a hyena in the distance. The hyena, quite graciously, came closer for some more detailed photos. Then it came closer… and closer. The Sudanese authorities found the abandoned motorcycle, (with seat half eaten) and the rider’s torn clothing and only managed to put the pieces of the puzzle together after they processed the film in the camera.


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