African Wild Dogs at Siwandu

Natural World Safaris

21 Jun 2013

Wild Dogs at Siwandu, Selous Game Reserve

Wow! What an amazing morning we have had at Siwandu Camp in Selous Game Reserve. I was lucky to join a honeymoon couple from London for an early morning game drive, leaving shortly after 06:30. And within 5 minutes Walter, our experienced guide, had found the tracks of the highly endangered African wild dog on the dusty road leading out of the camp. The next 2 hours was probably the most exciting game driving experience that I had encountered during my 8 years of visiting East Africa's protected areas. 

After 10 minutes of following the tracks, we had found these amazing but endangered hunters. Not only had we found the wild dogs, but this pack of seven were on the hunt for their food for the day, food such as impala, warthogs, baby giraffe and zebra. We had met them by the nearby lake, Lake Nzelekela.

What was astonishing to me, was the fast pace and amount of ground these wild dog used to catch its prey. Never had I moved so much and so fast in a vehicle to follow a predator in action. It was fascinating to see the dogs working as an entire unit. After an hour, of which we were the only vehicle following, the lead male and female had managed to set their eyes on their target. An impala. The chase was on. Through the acacia woodlands, amongst the beautiful African bush. We frantically drove to keep up, weaving in and out and avoiding the acacia thorns by inches. Then, one scream and a whiff of dry mud marked the point at which the kill had been made. The impala had been killed, but they had gone deep into the bush to eat.

Within a couple of minutes, two of the dogs were seen still on the hunt. While the other five were enjoying their meal, these two were hunting for more. The next hour was spent following these two individuals. Then soon after, the other five joined and regurgitated their kill to the other two. All seven dogs were back together. Another chase was on. The excitement built as we weaved through the woodland passing elephants, giraffe, baboons in our wake. This time, the dogs chased many impala. Impala were coming out from all directions, all sprinting for their lives, but the bush was too thick for us to follow and we could do nothing but retreat.

Fifteen minutes had passed, when we got a radio call. The wild dogs had been spotted, but this time with a fresh kill. Another impala. Within 15 minutes the entire impala had been eaten, with only the head remaining.

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