Small Group Safari

Zimbabwe Painted Dog Safari

The painted dogs of Mana Pools National Park – featured in the BBC's 'Dynasties' documentary series – are the focus of this exciting safari, where you'll benefit from the use of a private vehicle as well as expert guiding from award-winning wildlife photographer (and painted dog expert) Nick Dyer.

Duration 8 days
Price From $8,120
When Sep 2019
Destination Zimbabwe

Safari Overview

First airing in November 2018, Dynasties is a landmark documentary series produced by the BBC's celebrated Natural History Unit. Presented by the evergreen Sir David Attenborough, each episode follows members of a single species who must strive to preserve the future of their bloodline. The stars of Episode 4 are a pack of painted dogs led by an alpha female, Tait, who live in Zimbabwe's Mana Pools National Park. On this safari, you'll have the chance to go in search of this very same pack, as well the park's other painted dogs and a host of other wildlife, from lions, leopards and crocodiles to elephants, zebra and buffalo. The award-winning wildlife photographer Nick Dyer, who has worked extensively with painted dogs, will be your guide.

What makes this trip extraordinary

  • Utilise the expertise of wildlife photographer Nick Dyer, who will teach you all about photography, painted dogs and the African experience in general.
  • Search for the painted dogs of Mana Pools on game drives in your own private safari vehicle.
  • Venture into the bush alongside a qualified walking safari guide, giving you the chance to approach the dogs on foot.
  • Contribute to the Painted Wolf Foundation, an organisation co-founded by Nick, as part of your safari fee.
  • Spot a huge variety of other wildlife in this rich and verdant ecosystem.
  • Stay in three well-appointed and excellently located camps in the Mana Pools wilderness: Zambezi Expeditions Camp, Kanga Camp and Nyamatusi Camp.

A unique safari experience tailored to the painted dog aficionado.

Ask us a question about this trip

Day by day

Day 1

Harare - Mana Pools National Park

On your arrival into Harare, you will be met by one of our representatives and shown where to check in for your onward flight north to Mana Pools. Once there you will be met by Nick Dyer, your private guide, and driven to your basecamp for the first two nights. Mana Pools comprises a network of long and twisting oxbow lakes and pools that are formed where the mighty Zambezi slows its pace after crashing through the Victoria Falls. With no physical boundaries keeping wildlife in or out, this park was inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. With Nick’s close ties to the Painted Wolf Foundation and his contacts on the ground, you'll have privileged information as to where and when is best to spot the park's painted dogs. Throughout the safari you'll follow a flexible itinerary which will allow you to react to fresh sightings. In addition to the dogs, look out for large game like lions, leopards, elephants and buffalo. In the afternoon head out on a game activity with Nick. With any luck you'll come across some lion or leopard, which are sighted frequently in the park.

Overnight: Kanga Bushcamp B, L, D

Day 2

Mana Pools National Park

The diverse area around Kanga Bushcamp has multiple vlei lines, river systems of the Ruckomechi River, and mixed woodland types from mopane woodland to jesse-bush and riverine forests. Kanga Pan itself is the only known water source in the area available throughout the year, making it a hub for wildlife and a delight to explore on foot. Pristine and undeveloped, this area gives you a pure, unspoilt, private African safari experience. Set out on game drives in your private safari vehicle, or enjoy birdwatching and walking excursions.

Overnight: Kanga Bushcamp B, L, D

Day 3

Mana Pools National Park (Inter-Camp Transfer)

This morning an hour’s drive brings you to the Zambezi floodplains in Mana Pools, a base for canoeing excursions and your home for the next three nights: Zambezi Expeditions Camp. This exclusive mobile camp overlooks the Zambezi River, a place where you can fall asleep to the sound of the flowing river and wake up to a spectacular African sunrise. Head out in the afternoon on a game activity. In the evening, settle back at the camp and enjoy the sounds of the bush!

Days 4-5

Mana Pools National Park

The Zambezi River boasts of some of Africa's most amazing tiger fishing and adventure canoeing safaris, creating the perfect combination of beauty and wildlife. One of the main highlights is a game drive along the floodplain in your private open vehicle to encounter the region's antelope, eland, elephant, African painted dogs, waterbuck, big herds of buffalo, kudu, lion and leopard. Life revolves around the campfire on the riverbank – it’s where you’ll have that steaming cup of tea in the cool early morning, chill with sundowners at the end of the day, or sip your after-dinner brandy under the stars.

Day 6

Mana Pools National Park (Inter-Camp Transfer)

After your morning's game activity you will be driven to your next camp, Nyamatusi, enjoying a game drive en-route. Upon arrival at your camp, check into your room and have lunch. Nyamatusi is an intimate camp with bespoke design inspired by the traditional custodians of the land, who respected the Zambezi River as the source of life. In the afternoon, head out on a game activity in this different area of the park. Keep an eye out for the painted dog packs who emerge from their dens during the day to hunt in unison.

Day 7

Mana Pools National Park

Make the most of your last full day in the magical Mana Pools. If you have managed to encounter the painted dogs, try to observe the nuances of their remarkable behaviour. A strict heirarchical structure is observed by the species, with each pack ruled over by an alpha male and alpha female (typical the only pack members that are permitted to breed). Conflict within packs is almost unheard of, such is the strength of their bonds; the dogs have even been known to nurse severely injured pack members back to health by dragging them to a safe location and regurgitating food for them.

Day 8

Depart Mana Pools National Park

Today you will bid farewell to Nick, as well as Mana Pools National Park. Time permitting, set out on a final game activity in the hopes of hearing the howls of the painted dogs one last time, before transferring by light aircraft back to Harare for your international flight home.

Trip Details

Small Group Departure

Our small group safari departs on a single set date in September 2019, in the company of expert photographic guide Nick Dyer.

2019 Departure Price
Sep 1 - 8 From £6,445 per person

Guests may also choose to pay £9,667 to guarantee a single room to themselves.

Guests travelling alone can avoid paying a single supplement if they are prepared to share a twin room with a fellow guest (applicable based on a minimum of four guests travelling).


Private Departure

This safari may also be booked on a private basis. The price of a private trip will be dictated by the time of travel.*

Season Price
Low (January - March and December) From £7,967 per person
Shoulder (April - May and November) From £8,460 per person
High (June - October) From £9,635 per person

*These prices are subject to currency fluctuations until booked.

Request a detailed itinerary

Your Next Steps

Talk to one of our specialists for further details on our Zimbabwe safaris.
Request a detailed itinerary