After several decades of good conservation, nearly all of the parks and concessions in Botswana offer excellent wild dog viewing. The reason for this is that the dogs have been habituated (not tamed) to the safari vehicles, and so behave completely naturally when followed, even while hunting.
Next, you need to be in a vehicle to get close enough to wild dogs to take pictures (for obvious reasons). On foot, predators are not only harder to find, but will usually run away when seen.
Finally, you need a decent guide – this is where we come in. One that knows how to position the vehicle at sightings, find the dogs in the first place (usually by tracking and predicting their behaviour) and has patience enough to stay with the animals until something exciting happens. At WLS, this is one of our specialities!
Wild Dog viewing in Botswana
Wild dogs can be seen all year round. There is however, a “best time” to see them – the “denning” season. Each year, from around June, they choose a den site and the Alpha female gives birth to pups. The whole pack guards the den and hunts daily to feed the new pack members. This makes the hunting area more predictable, allowing us to follow the action and be there for kills or interactions with other rival predators. After the pack leaves the den and the pups are still small, the hunting continues daily in the same area. Again, this makes it more predictable to follow the dogs.
Why are dogs so fantastic to follow? Well, they are the most successful predator with regards to hunting and successful kills. They pretty much kill everyday! Further, they hunt in the day time, contrary to some of the more “nocturnal” big cats. This makes it easier to track this behaviour. The dogs are also very social and playful in the early mornings and late afternoon – there is barely a dull moment when the dogs are around! Activity at den sites is also very rewarding, so coming on safari during this season means you will usually get to see the small pups at the dog dens!
Our mobile camps offer a very competitive mode for viewing wild dogs. Indeed, we can locate our camps in the best areas if you want to focus on this aspect of the wilderness. Having said this, wild dogs are often come across, even on a general safari itinerary – all of our parks have decent populations. For the best wild dog viewing in Botswana (if not in Africa), the Khwai Concession wins each time – there is a resident pack that habitually uses the same den sites year after year!
If you want to focus on this aspect of the wilderness, we offer the following:
- Our mobile camps are private, so no other guests to interfere with the style of game viewing you would want to do – so getting up early to get to the dog “hunting areas” in time is easy
- Meal times are flexible according to what is happening at sightings – we can take packed lunches or have meals bought out to the game viewing vehicle by our crew
- If the dogs are in hunting mode, we stay with them indefinitely
- Spending 3 -4 nights in quality game areas. This means less time wasted moving camp and more time for wild dogs
- Excellent open vehicles for photography and viewing. We try not to miss anything
- Excellent vehicles that can handle the terrain and follow predators (even through some water crossings)
- Guides with an ability to predict behaviour and position the vehicle
- The rivers in the delta means we often see the dogs make water crossings – always lots of drama and maybe a crocodile interaction
- Access to private campsites in the best game viewing areas. This means we start our drives where the action is occurring
- Early morning starts to find the dogs
- We also have lots of hyenas, leopards and lions – this means that chances of interactions between the dogs and these predators are high
Consult us for locations where wild dog viewing can be at its best and how to ensure that you have opportunities to follow hunts and spend maximum time out there with the animals. Please contact us directly to discuss your options.