Wild Dogs: A Rare Encounter in Botswana
This travel tale is brought to you by Megan Bryant, iSafari.com Adventure Director
Last month, I was enjoying a stay at Savuti Camp in the Linyanti Reserve of northern Botswana, a place I had been before and one that tends to exceed expectations in wildlife viewing. You expect to see the famed Chobe elephants passing through this area, good lion numbers, and all the plains animals you can imagine. Seeing the elusive wild dog, which is no small feat on any safari, was an unexpected treat. It was only my second time seeing them in nearly a decade of traveling to Africa.
We came upon a pack of 18 wild dogs sleeping. It was sunny but approaching dusk. When the dogs began to wake, there was a yipping that sounded more like a squeaky chew toy than a dog. My guide explained that they have this bonding ritual when they wake. They pair up and bite each other’s muzzles, typically one dominating the other. Then they rest, and they repeat this fascinating act before heading out to hunt. The dogs move fast over large areas and are not territorial. This is one reason why they can be difficult to find. They also don’t bark like domestic dogs, they communicate with each other by putting their heads toward the ground and making a sort of howling call.
Typically, and there is never a guarantee, the best places to attempt to find wild dog tend to be the Linyanti Reserve of northern Botswana, Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa, and Selous Game Reserve in southern Tanzania, though they do occur in many of the parks and reserves of Africa.
Here are a few more photos from this thrilling day! All photos (c) Megan Bryant