Best places to see African Wild Dogs in Botswana
Best places to see African Wild Dogs in Botswana?
Botswana is definitely one of the best places to see and photograph wild dogs in Africa and the wildlife reserves which are often mentioned are Linyanti and Kwando in northern Botswana and Khwai and Moremi just east of the Delta. These Botswana wildlife reserves have become ‘hotspots’ for wild dog sightings and if you stay here for 3 to 4 days you give yourself a good chance of a sightings.
Please remember that wild dogs are endangered and although they are predators, they are susceptible to attack by other larger predators such as lions, leopards and hyenas. Frequent visits to the denning site open up the bush area around the den which makes the den, and the puppies, vulnerable to being found and eliminated by their competitors. Kwando Safaris key concern is for the survival of these beautiful animals and as such we restrict the number of vehicles we have at the den (our guides are briefed on correct protocol). However, we do realise these are highly-sought-after sightings and we always seek to balance the satisfaction of our guests alongside our conservation policies and ethics.
Best time to visit Botswana for African Wild Dogs?
One of the most iconic predators in Africa is the African Wild Dog or African Painted Dog; as it has recently been renamed so it sounds more appealing. Many clients on a Botswana safari holiday wish to see these charismatic pack animals and as with many wildlife species, the place you visit and the time of year you travel are very important considerations. As part of our budget small group Botswana camping safari, we have enjoyed a lot of success at seeing wild dogs when visiting Khwai and Moremi reserves. We also have some great deals with Kwando safaris and their camps are famous around the world for the opportunity to see Wild Dog pups close to the Den.
Latest news on Wild Dogs and their young provided by Kwando Safaris (May 2018)
In the Kwando Reserve, the pack is denning at Lagoon and there were two females who were pregnant - an uncommon occurrence - and denning just 15 metres away from each other. Previously reported to be rather skittish with an active hyena den in the vicinity, as well as a lot of lion activity nearby two weeks ago due to an elephant carcass, the guides are happy to report the pack is now relaxed. One of the females had given birth some weeks ago, and 4 puppies were seen for the first time this morning. There are likely more puppies inside the den.
In the Kwara Reserve, the alpha female has given birth. The puppies are still inside the den at present moment. Guests at Kwara and Little Kwara have enjoyed wonderful sightings of the pack in and around the camp.
African Wild Dogs – key facts
Like other wild dogs such as Dhole in India, African Wild Dogs live in packs and incredibly sociable. The young are born in dens and cared for by the rest of the pack; which followed a strict hierarchy, with the Alpha male and female on top. The wild dog cubs are allowed to feed first at a carcass when they are big enough to follow the hunt and it is often the Alpha male and female who initiate the hunt; using various vocalisations to keep in contact with the rest of the pack.
The main prey of African wild dogs is antelope and these are basically chased for miles and miles until exhausted and easy to kill. However, the wild dogs have plenty of competitors to be concerned about, particularly if they are active near their den. The two major threats are attacks by Lions and Hyena’s; although both will often just take over the hard won kill of the Wild Dogs, by intimidating the pack. However, larger packs are more than capable of protecting their kills and more importantly their cubs from individual predators.
Best Botswana safari to see African Wild Dogs?
One of the most helpful factors in finding the best place to see African Wild Dogs in Botswana is to utilise the local knowledge of guides with regards to their denning habits. Then making sure you do not disturb the den, you can plan your daily safaris appropriately to maximise your chance of an encounter with the Wild Dogs. This year we have two very special Botswana safaris which will give you the best chance of seeing Wild Dogs. Firstly, we have our budget small group Botswana camping safari, which visits Khwai community reserve – a famous location for wild dog action and then we have our luxury Botswana safari with Kwando, visiting Little Kwara and Lagoon; both of which have active Wild Dogs dens close by.