Things have been undoubtedly exciting in the Klaserie over the last 24 hours; sightings that have set our souls on fire, including leopard and cubs, lionesses, a cheetah, and a pack of 15 wild dogs! Not only were these dogs viewed on foot by guests on a walking safari at Africa on Foot, but they were hunting, and what’s more is that they proceeded to make 4 kills during the morning activities, one of which was witnessed by guests.
These lean, mean, hunting machines are excellent predators, and when they begin to chase an animal down, they have an 80% chance of succeeding in making the kill. Lions have not even a 20% success rate when hunting, showing us just how elite these painted wolves are. This morning’s sighting began with a walking safari that left Africa on Foot, and a game drive departing from nThambo Tree Camp, located only 2km away. Greg and Enoch walked their guests passed the camp treehouse and soon spotted the characteristic white-tipped tail of the wild dogs. The dogs were initially relaxed, and soon became alert, engaging in their classic pre-hunting ritual. They twittered and chattered with one another before starting to pick up the pace and begin moving through the bush.
Guides led their guests after the pack for about 100m, keeping +-60m distance behind them. All of a sudden, a duiker (small, solitary antelope) emerges from the bush and catches the attention of the pack. They make chase and the Africa on Foot group picks up the pace to try and keep visual, and soon, the unmistakable sound of a duiker losing the fight rings through the bush. The wild dogs have made their kill!
Greg and Enoch approach slowly and position themselves carefully to watch the dogs in their feasting frenzy – a once-in-a-lifetime moment for guests visiting the South African wild. The group sat in silence and watched the 15 dogs (including 5 pups) feed on the duiker. Then, the sound of warthogs clashing their tusks together alerts the dogs and they – full of energy – dart through the bush in the direction of the sound. Thinking this is another opportunity to witness a wild dog kill in action, Greg and Enoch lead their guests carefully through the bush, but alas, the dogs returned to the duiker kill without making an attempt at the warthogs.
After this unbeatable start to the day, the group continued with their walking safari and discovered the wonders of the wild, including a fantastic sighting of elephants on top of a termite mound. During the walk, the wild dogs could be heard making another 2 kills, and a final total of 4 was recorded for the morning. Before the end of the walk, the news came through on the radio that a cheetah was chilling out at nThambo Tree Camp’s swimming pool! What a morning out in the Klaserie at the home of South Africa’s walking safaris!