Khwai River Lodge (Okavango): Wild Dogs Chaotic Hunt …

News from Villiers Steyn:


It is wonderful when a plan comes together! We had determined last night that we would like to find the Wild Dogs that we glimpsed a day or two ago.

Although this is a little like searching for a needle in a haystack, if one visits the most likely sites, there is a chance of success. (But where are those likely sites?)

We searched for fresh Wild Dog tracks for about an hour – looping, scrutinising the area, and eventually we found them about half way to the Mogotlo area.

Initially there were four dogs – very relaxed and ambling along quite slowly – until suddenly there were three more in the distance. We caught up with the three in beautiful sunlight, and had time for some excellent portrait shots until the original four caught up with the three.

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And the action started then and there. After enthusiastic and vociferous greetings with plenty of licking and yips – and they were off … the hunt was on! …

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They first gave some Waterbuck quite a scare – they had a small calf. When that failed they turned their attention to a herd of impala and they chased them voraciously, yipping and snapping and causing tremendous confusion. (Our adrenalin was coursing big time!!!).

In the confusion the impala split up – and all the dogs split up as well. In the ensuing chaos, the dogs caught nothing at all, and the impala all survived to live another day … but wow! – it was breathtakingly exciting! There was dust everywhere and it took a while for us to get good visuals again.

We remained with the dogs as they regrouped and tried gain – and again – but each time with no success.

To add to an outstanding morning we next found a young one year old leopard cub. He was very relaxed as he ambled from one termite mound to another and then to a fallen tree. He posed regularly for photos and even climbed a large Leadwood Tree to give us more wonderful photo opportunities.

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Because we had such a productive morning with the leopard and the Wild Dogs this morning we started by trying to find them again this afternoon, but this time we drew a blank.

However, we did stumble across an adult female leopard along one of the channels. Some members of the group captured amazing images as she leaped across the water while bathed in glorious golden light. It was a magic moment as she jumped with her tail curled up, and fully stretched across the channel … a once in a lifetime image! From there she started to stalk some impala (our third stalking for today!), but she was unsuccessful and ended by sticking her tail in the air as she walked sedately across a large open plain.

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We enjoyed our sundowners out in the bush amid plenty of cheers as we reflected on our five leopard sightings, and the Wild Dog sightings as well as all the other fabulous game that we have photographed.

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Little did we realise that it was not all over for us yet … on the way back to camp this evening we bumped into another pack of Wild Dogs! Six dogs were running along the river, but as it was dark by then we didn’t follow them for very long.

And not far from camp we came upon yet another leopard – a female named Matsebe and her cub were strolling down the road together. Of course the spotlights and flashes worked hard for the next minutes!

Finally we saw a Giant Eagle Owl just outside the camp.

Tomorrow we will enjoy our final game drive here before we leave for Savuti …