An African Sunrise:
This adventure to Africa is my fifth. In all of those trips I have not seen the African wild dog. It has been a mild obsession of mine over the last two trips. My goals for this trip were only two; to see wild dogs, and visit Victoria Falls. We chose this time of year because it is the best for Victoria Falls. There is no particular time that you can choose to see the wild dogs.
In this part of Botswana, there is one pack of eight wild dogs. They travel a wide area and are active mostly at night.
We left before sunrise as usual. OC was tracking lions, stopping to check for fresh lion prints in the soft earth.
On our drive east we saw some kudu, zebra, and a lone elephant who gave us a show of reaching high in a tree for something to eat.
OC pulled over to speak with another guide who was stopped for coffee with his guests. He gave OC some directions for an area where the dogs had been seen recently. We drove slowly, looking for tracks.
At one point OC said for us all to keep an eye out as the dogs were hard see. At this time of day they are resting in the shade. It was like looking for a needle in a haystack, but this time we prevailed. I spotted the tips of the ears of one dog, as the pack of eight lay in the shade of trees and logs.
Thank the gods, I finally got to see the African wild dog, and it was as thrilling as I had hoped. There are only 8,000 dogs left in African and only the one pack in this area.
We watched them for a while as OC radioed other guides to give our location. When another vehicle arrived, we left to find a good spot for a coffee break. I was over the moon happy. This sighting had made my entire trip worth while. Eleven years and five trips to Africa to finally see the wild dogs. It was my sister’s third day of game drives, so lucky for her.
We had a leisurely coffee break and made our way back to camp.
After lunch and a rest, we headed back out for an evening game drive and sundowners. Starting out from camp we came upon two large male kudu, who ran off as we drove by. Kudu seem to be shy, and always hide or run off when the Land Cruiser approaches.
Continuing towards the sunset spot we also saw a giraffe.
Sundowners were enjoyed on the edge of a lake. Hippos gave us a show as the sun went down and I had my customary Amarula over ice. Local fishermen in a mokoro poled up and sold the guides some freshly caught fish.
On the drive back to camp, with just about 2 km to go, a large porcupine ran from right to left directly in front of the vehicle and in full view of the headlights. It was totally dark. That was another rare sight and the perfect ending to a perfect day.