A Life in Travel

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A Dog’s Life On Safari In Botswana

Starred down by a pack of wild dogs on safari in Botswana.
....we were taken by surprise when we rounded the corner to find multiple pairs of big ears and piercing eyes starring us down in the middle of the dirt track.
Headed out with "Ace" on safari in Botswana.
Early in the morning on safari in Botswana our guide Ace spotted some paw prints on the dusty earth. You never know what you’ll encounter on safari and not far from Savuti Camp in the Linyanti concession featured in several of our Botswana Wildland Adventures we found ourselves tracking wild dogs. Based on the paw prints on top of our tire tracks from the day before Ace knew they were near.
Impalas are in rut in Botswana. Males are busy watching over their females and young impalas are a favorite prey for wild dogs.
The African wild dog, also known as the Cape hunting dog, is among Africa's most endangered carnivore, although in many remote places assisted by ecotourism in Botswana they are making a comeback fight against distemper, habitat destruction and pursuit by humans in outlying areas. Their golden brown coloration with white, tan and black mottles helps them blend into the tall grasses of the Mopane woodland habitat, but at this moment they stand bold and brazen in the open glowing in the early morning light.

Graceful giraffe in the golden grass of the morning light in Linyati Concession of Botswana.
Little did we know this was going to be a day in the life of the wild dogs of Savuti. After carrying on from our first dog sighting we spotted giraffe, waterbuck and other game on todays' safari in Botswana before running into the dog pack again prancing deftly through the bush calling out to each other to stay in contact through the thick vegetation. It didn’t seem as if they were on any particular mission at the moment as the morning turned from frisky cool air to sundrenched warmth and the pace of life in the bush begins to slow. So we returned to camp as they fanned out across the terrain and disappeared into the bush.
Dogs and cats of the wild like to sleep during the day although wild dogs often hunt by day.
When we headed back out for our afternoon game drive Ace suggested we return to the area where we last saw the pack because he predicted this time of day we’d probably find them bedded down since they are more active at dusk and dark; sure enough, dogs will be dogs especially in the African mid-day heat and Ace tracked them to an open area under shade catching some z’s for the busy night ahead. 

We found our pack taking an afternoon snooze in the shade. Little did we know they were resting for their late afternoon hunt.
As sunset approached and we were getting ready to stop for sundowners, we scratched the gin and tonics and made a be-line across the bush when we received a radio report that the dogs had just made a kill. After their snooze they brought down a young impala. We arrived at dusk within 30 minutes of the hunt when there was a frenzy in the air: we drove upon the scene of bloody-faced dogs trying to regroup their strength as a pack after they lost their kill.
Bloody-faced dog looking to gather the pack to recover their kill...
A hyena must have picked up the scent and tried to steal their meal.
A bold hyena gets away momentarily with the dog's kill until they regrouped and recovered it.
But after some yipping and yowling among the dogs to establish their locations they regrouped and easily ousted the lone scavenger. We watched as darkness fell and the canines feasted on their prize at the end of a dog’s day in Africa. 
In the wilds on safari in Botswana the dogs earn their effort and finish off their kill.
keeping it wild,

Kurt Kutay

For more information see our safaris in southern Africa.
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