Skukuza Golf Club is making news abroad after golfers at the “world’s wildest course” had to stop play until a “hazard” was cleared away from the third hole. The hazard included two angry lions, 20 hungry hyenas and an unfortunate giraffe. WATCH Videos below.
Early birds about to tee-off at the Skukuza Golf Club in the middle of South Africa’s biggest game reserve – the Kruger National Park – were warned of a feeding frenzy taking place after an early morning kill.
Two hunting lionesses at the 9-hole 18-tee course – which is unfenced from the wild animals – had brought down a fully-grown giraffe on the fairway of the Par 5 hole for breakfast.
But whilst just tucking in and waiting for the rest of the pride to join them, they were ambushed by a pack of some 20 equally hungry hyenas who had smelled the fresh kill.
Due to sheer weight of numbers the predatory hyena pack were able to shoo off the more powerful lions and claim the spoils, and tuck into the stricken giraffe for a dawn feast.
Although the two angry lionesses made several attempts to regain their hard-earned kill they were no match for the smaller but more numerous hyenas in full feeding frenzy.
The incredible golf course in the middle of the Kruger was initially built for staff in 1972, but then opened up to members who live locally… and then to visiting tourists on safari.
But it comes with its own set of dangerous hazards as no fences separate golfers from the Big 5 of lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino plus other killer predators.
There have been repeated encounters between members with lion, hippo, leopard, elephant, giraffe, wild dogs, pythons, cobras and warthogs on the Par 72 and 5831m course.
And troops of playful baboons stealing players’ golf clubs, golf balls and flags is another regular hazard!
A round of the course costs £14 for 9 holes and £20 for 18 holes, and players are not allowed to tee off unless they sign an indemnity card clearing the club basically if they are eaten!
Club Captain and green-keeper Jean Rossouw, 32, described Skukuza as the “World’s Wildest Course” and said: “In 2019 I came face to face with eight lions and had to chase them off!
“An important part of my job is the early morning tour of the course to make sure all our overnight “guests” are gone and that it is safe for our members and guests to tee-off.
“We are in the wild out here as there are no fences to stop the Big 5 or any other animals coming through. No two days are the same and it is a wonderful place to play your golf.
“What happened here was 4 young lions and lionesses came in and killed a giraffe at about 6.30am… but were driven off by 20 plus hyenas who started ripping into the giraffe, eating it.
“Obviously we had players who wanted to tee-off so we had to get rangers from the South African National Park (SANParks), who own and run the Kruger National Park, to come and deal with it.
“By the time they arrived to lift the giraffe away the hyenas and vultures had devoured about a quarter of it, and then took it to another part of the park so they could continue eating it.
“Within 12 hours there was nothing left but bones after the hyenas and vultures had finished with it and I guess the lions had to go and look for their breakfast somewhere else.
“The golfers due to tea off had an early breakfast and some coffees and were delayed about an hour and a half while we moved the lions and hyenas and the giraffes out the way.
“It is what makes Skukuza so special… not knowing what is going to happen every time you play,” he said.
SANParks said: “It’s not fenced in so uninvited spectators are a common sight with lions, leopard and hippo to name a few!”
If a lion came up against a hyena in a fight to the death the lion would always come out on top due to its greater size, speed and power, unless it was elderly or has been injured.
For the tale of the tape a lion weighs up to 600lbs compared to 190lbs for a hyena, can be 8 feet in length compared to 5 feet for a hyena, and 4ft at shoulder compared to 3ft for a hyena.
Lions can reach speeds of 50mph and cover the length of a football pitch in six seconds whereas a hyena is slower at 40mph but their strength is travelling in such huge numbers.
Because of the power of the hyena bite, if the size of their pack greatly outnumbers a lion pride, then the lions may choose to give up the kill rather than risk serious injury to poor odds.
WATCH VIDEOS at Skukuza Golf Club
VIDEO CREDIT: Skukuza Golf Club/Jamie Pyatt News Ltd: Two of the lionesses who were part of the pride of lions that killed the giraffe on the 3rd Hole At Skukuza Golf Club in the Kruger National Park are chased off their kill by a back of hungry and scavenging hyenas.
VIDEO CREDIT: Skukuza Golf Club/Jamie Pyatt News Ltd: A hungry lioness returns to try and stake a claim on the pride’s kill but the hyenas are feasting and having none of it and chased off the lioness a second time.
VIDEO CREDIT: Skukuza Golf Club/Jamie Pyatt News Ltd: Having chased the lionesses away the pack of hyenas get tucked into the giraffe kill they have stolen from the Kings of the Jungle.
VIDEO CREDIT: Skukuza Golf Club/Jamie Pyatt News Ltd: The hyena pack feast on the giraffe at Skukuza Golf Club on the 3rd hole shortly before players are expected for a round of golf.
VIDEO CREDIT: Skukuza Golf Club/Jamie Pyatt News Ltd: The hyena pack get stuck in with a vengeance to the giraffe kill they stole from lions
To use any of the text, video or photos, please contact Jamie Pyatt News Ltd.