The big five are so seductive… each time we go on safari we declare to one another that we are not there to tick off the big five, however it’s difficult not to be sucked into the desire to spot lions, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino. But our first glimpse of wild endangered african wild dogs was just as spectacular…
It was on our last morning in Kruger National Park- we’d awoken early, alerted by the pangs in our heart that we really did not want to leave this African paradise. We headed off at first light into the park relishing every sighting as if it was our last ever . Heading down the road from Orpen to Satara we drove straight into a pack of wild dogs. There was at least 15 dogs, a mixture of adults, teens and cubs. They were so playful, play fighting over impala bones and chasing each other. We saw them leap up on hind legs to challenge one another and scavenge a deer carcass. They also bounced through long grass like a rabbit would. They are also really large – more like grown Alsatians.
They were also very curious, taking the opportunity to sniff around our car and sleep in our shade. We had the opportunity to see (and smell!) them up-close and we realised that they are so, so incredibly beautiful – their legs, bodies and ears all have different patterns. Their legs are more like zebra stripes where as their bodies are more akin to giraffe patterns. And they have huge black Mickey Mouse type ears. On the downside, they smell just like dirty, fouling house dogs would, and their stench is overpowering when in a pack.
More images of African Wild Dogs are available in our TarajiBlue South Africa Photo Gallery.