This was one of those ‘right place, right time’ mornings here in the bush, and although we are in an unfenced camp at Africa on Foot, we couldn’t have expected what happened in the lounge before the sun rose this morning…
A confused and exhausted impala found its way into the living area under Africa on Foot’s thatched roof where guests were swallowing the last of their coffee before heading out on a walking safari. As it finally found its feet and rangers helped to guide it out into the open, the unbelievable happened, and a hungry pack of wild dogs took their opportunity to take down the prey they had obviously been chasing before it wound up in Africa on Foot’s lounge!
When guide, Mike Beard, and filmmaker Kevin MacLaughlin, were gearing up to head out into the bush this morning, guests alerted them to a commotion in the main lodge area. An impala had come hurtling in and was stuck, unable to gain any traction on the screed flooring, and couldn’t move without slipping and collapsing. The animal was exhausted and panicked, and had obviously expended a lot of energy escaping the predators that were chasing it. Kevin explains what happened before the impala’s fateful exit from the lounge:
It was all a bit strange at first when the guests came to us and told us that there was an impala in the lodge. I didn’t think much of it because impala regularly hang around the lodge in the early hours of the morning. When I got there I saw that this animal was not only in the lodge, but in the lounge and about 30m away from it there were 4 wild dogs waiting for their chance.
The wild dogs were keeping their distance, as they are wary of humans, but they were keeping their eyes glued to the impala they had chased into a corner. Guests were in disbelief as they stood (just they had eaten dinner the night before) and watched as the next events unfolded…
Once the impala escaped from the lounge the dogs were quickly able to take it down in full view of the guests, and Mike and myself, as we all stood in awe while still holding a cup of coffee! An amazing moment we all got to witness, right on our doorstep.
As soon as everyone had managed to pick their jaws off the floor, they sprang into action and piled onto the game viewers in order to get a good view of the wild dogs devouring their meal. Mike and the team positioned the 2 game viewers so that guests got a full view of these 4 incredible dogs at work. Despite what many people think, wild dogs are superior hunters and their method of killing their prey is more efficient than that of a lion or leopard. In a matter of minutes, the entire carcass had been cleaned, and each of the 4 dogs was full to the brim. Watch the incredible footage of this incident happening within the Africa on Foot camp grounds:
What’s more is that this pack of wild dogs is the same small pack that we have been watching over the last week as they bring up 2 tiny pups in their den near Africa on Foot. Such incredible sightings of these rare and endangered predators, reminding us how privileged we are to share our space with wildlife. Once the dogs were satisfied that they had eaten all they can off the impala carcass, they trotted off in the direction of their den where sister camp nThambo Tree Camp were hoping to get a glimpse of the young pups! Sure enough, as the pack arrived back home, the pups emerged from their hiding place and were fed chunks of meat from the returning pack members. What an incredible memory for guests at both Africa on Foot and nThambo Tree Camp!