Best Game Reserves for Wild Dogs

May 5th, 2004, 06:18 AM
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SusanLynne correctly points out that there is a healthy population of wild dogs in east Africa -- at the Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania, which is one of the largest protected wildlife areas in the world, the size of Switzerland. There is also a healthy population of dogs in Ruaha National Park. Both of these are in southern Tanzania and off of the typical east Africa safari itinerary and are very unique because they lay at the interface of east African and southern African fauna. However, only a tiny portion of the Selous is available for tourism which I think is awesome but can make it extremely difficult to find dogs unless it is the denning season. I know of a professional photographer who did a 3 week scouting trip of the Selous specifically for wild dog and left without a single viewing. While the Selous is a special area and one that I badly want to see I beleive many places in southern Africa far exceed it for potential wild dog viewing.

PredatorBiologist is offline  
May 5th, 2004, 06:23 AM
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Roccco - that is a great trip you have linked to.

You have no better chance to see an elusive animal than when you have radio-collars to track them and a biologist who has worked with them over time. Also, I am sure the biologist would never be taking the time to lead such a trip unless it was helping to fund the research and thus wild dog conservation. That is money well spent.

PredatorBiologist is offline  
May 5th, 2004, 06:51 AM
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I visited Botswana in August 2001, and saw wild dogs at each of my three camps -- Chitabe (we saw dogs hunting impala and also denning -- the group was maybe 12 or 13 strong); Savuti Camp (saw one wild dog running in the channel and we followed for 15 minutes or so until he chased a fox into a hole -- we heard the fighting but the dog didn't surface by the time we had to leave) and Chobe (saw a small group near Chobe Game Lodge but great photos).
thit_cho is offline  
May 5th, 2004, 10:27 AM
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PredatorBiologist: Yes, only a small portion of Selous is open to tourism (furthest away from the big game hunting areas), but that small portion of it apparently plays host to numerous painted dog populations. We stayed at Sand Rivers for several nights in 2002, and each night one of the other couples at the dining table mentioned having seen painted dogs sometime during the day. Having been under the impression that the painted dogs are difficult to find, I had not put it on my list of things to "find" while staying in Selous. Of course, our last game drive I wanted to see if we could find them - and we did not. I sincerely doubt that each of the couples would have "fibbed" about seeing some, so I have to take it at their words they did. I am now kicking myself in the bee-hind that I did not take advantage of the opportunity we apparently had to see the magnificent - although maligned - creatures.
SusanLynne is offline  
May 5th, 2004, 10:58 AM
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SusanLynne: That's too bad you misssed them, hopefully next time. The Selous is the number one place in east Africa that I would like to go to. What was the highlights that you saw there?
PredatorBiologist is offline  
May 7th, 2004, 12:25 PM
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My husband and I just got back from Duma Tau camp in Botswana last Saturday... and while there, spotted a pack of about 16 wild dogs. AMAZING! If you check out Duma Tau at the Wilderness Safari website, there's a note about the wild dog sightings in the area...

We got AMAZING photos of the dogs at rest and play... if you're going soon, I'd say Duma is a good bet.
daisyjt is offline  
May 7th, 2004, 02:48 PM
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thats great that you got to see wild dogs. i am planning (tentatively) to go to duma tau about this time next year. what else did you see and what other camps if any did you visit?
bigcountry is offline  
May 7th, 2004, 05:32 PM
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There is a closeup photo of a "painted dog pup" at if anyone is interested in looking. You do have to register to view the "forums" where this image is.
sundowner is online now  
May 8th, 2004, 02:49 AM
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PredatorBiologist: I absolutely loved our stay in Selous and I would return there in a heartbeat. It is a completely different safari experience than what you will find in the Mara, Serengeti, Crater and numerous other places in Kenya or Tanzania. The terrain in different. There are not the wide open plains and there is certainly more scrub, which means you have to "work harder" to see the animals, which are more shy than anywhere else. This is not due to hunting, but rather that they are simply not accustomed to humans. One of the most enjoyable experiences for us was a boat trip in the Rufiji River to Steigler's Gorge. The river is filled to the brim with crocs and hippos. Fantastic! We saw everything from three lion cubs (about six months in age) left alone while the rest of the pride was out hunting, to numerous other "expected" wildlife. We had several highlights - watching two male impala fight for over an hour, with one finally being run off, to walking along (with an armed ranger) the shore of Lake Tagalala and approaching what we thought were logs, only to see these "logs" suddenly sprout legs and make their way into the water - some of the biggest crocs we had ever seen! We tracked (on foot) lion spoor leading from Lake Tagalala into the bush. The lion obviously had a kill, which we could tell from the drag marks. Talk about a rush! Every little sounds eminating from a bush or from behind a tree made your heart beat faster. There is an area near Sand Rivers (actually near Sand River itself - which is nothing but sand in the dry season) where there are so many giraffe they actually refer to it as "Giraffic Park." I would love to try the fly camping in Sand River. Imagine waking up to find during the night that elephants had dug for water only 20 or so feet from your tent! I can guarantee that when you are gameviewing in Selous, you will not see another vehicle. It is simply too vast and off the beaten path for tourists. If you have never been, I would urge you to go. It is worth the effort to get there. I would be happy to answer any questions you may have about Selous, so feel free to ask away!
SusanLynne is offline  
May 8th, 2004, 03:58 AM
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We saw wild dogs in Savute. There were about 10 of them. It was the one animal that we were concerned that we wouldn't get to see. Four of them trapped a little impala in a pond and of course finally killed it. Afterwards the others came back and 10 of them finished up. After being so anxious to get their pictues we couldn't believe we were in a position to ask our guide to leave now because we had seen enough. They were lying right beside the truck after their meal and we took dozens of really great pictures. We were really lucky to see them. Apparently a lot of farmers at the cattle stations had been killing them and now in Botswana that is against the law. The same thing was happening to cheetahs. The farmers can now claim compensation from the government for the loss of their livestock but cannot shoot cheetahs or wild dogs. The same is not the case for jackals and hyenas and we saw only a few hyenas and no jackals. The explanation given was the fact that many have disappeared as they have been killed by farmers.
Sprig is offline  
May 9th, 2004, 08:45 AM
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SusanLynne: Thanks for description of the Selous. It sounds amazing -- I really like the away from people, pure nature aspect as that is hard to find.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
May 9th, 2004, 10:41 AM
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PredatorBiologist: Oh, you'll get away from it all in Selous! Definitely. I would also suggest looking into Ruaha and Katavi. Hope you get to Selous ... it is worth the effort!
SusanLynne is offline  
May 9th, 2004, 01:47 PM
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Please consider the Ruaha as well. We had an amazing time there last year. After 5 nights at Ruaha River Lodge, I would gladly have stayed another week or so. It sounds like the Selous in that you have to work a little harder to see the animals, however the landscape is awe-inspiring and we could go out day after day without seeing another vehicle or person.

The only regret is that we missed the Wild Dogs - they had been seen around the camp for 10 straight days before we got there but unfortunately not in the 5 days we were there.

A well,26 days 'til we leave for Botswana - then hopefully we will see them this time.

Have a look at this website for info on the Ruaha River Lodge.
RuthieC is offline  
May 17th, 2004, 01:16 AM
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Here is part of an e-mail transmission that I just received from Kaingo (located in the South Luangwa National Park)

"All is well here at Kaingo we've been busy camp building, but it has all come together nicely."

"A pack of 14 wild dogs have been sighted in the area in the last few weeks. Hopefully they will still be around for your visit."

Wow, that goes to show you that even in May, when just about anybody can get excellent green season pricing in Zambia, that the game viewing is still very good. Now, I hope those wild dogs stick around for about three more weeks! I don't think it can get much better than a pack of FOURTEEN wild dogs!
Roccco is offline  
May 17th, 2004, 03:06 PM
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Sounds to me like your trip to Italy and Zambia may be going to the dogs! nyuk...nyuk!
I know...I know...could that joke have been any worse? Just had to do it though!

It sounds like the stars are lining up just right for you and the wild dogs. That is great news!

By the way...if my calculations are correct, what the heck were you doing posting at 2:15 a.m. pacific time? A little on the restless side maybe?
Can't say that I blame you! You and STD are definitely gonna have a blast!

divewop is offline  
May 17th, 2004, 04:07 PM
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If I get four hours per sleep per night I am functional, although I do not claim to be a productive human being on four hours of sleep! Just functional enough so that I don't run through any red lights, or as they say in South Africa, robots, and functional enough so I do not seem like I am learning disabled during the day!

Regarding dogs, my whole life is dogs! I am escaping my thirteen dogs at home, only to learn there are FOURTEEN DOGS waiting for me at Kaingo / Mwamba!!!
Couldn't happen at a worse time, just as my 17 day old puppies are starting to walk. Anyway, it will be nice to get away from the responsibility of 13 dogs for awhile, and hopefully my domestic does not get too overwhelmed with the 10 dogs she will be looking after while we are gone.

I have no idea what is happening in the Lower Zambezi right now, since no lodge really provides timely newsletters about what is happening in the area.

I, also, hope that scaredtodeath likes the Lower Zambezi, as I, too, would love to spend a little time at Sausage Tree Camp next year. This year would have been absolute perfect timing, as I will be in the Lower Zambezi for Full Moon, meaning my lucky counterparts staying at Sausage Tree Camp will have dinner setup for them on a sand bar in the middle of the Zambezi River! How cool is that?!

Who knows, perhaps with enough ribbing of the manager at Kulefu, I can arrange for the same setup at Kulefu.

Next time I visit Lower Zambezi, I definitely hope to do so in late August - mid September so I will have an opportunity to take advantage of fishing for tiger fish, the big cousin of the piranha! Unless I absolutely fall in love with Kulefu, I would likely split my time between Chiawa Camp and Sausage Tree Camp next time.

Well, I will start packing tonight. I can hardly believe that I will be leaving Thursday night!
Roccco is offline  
May 19th, 2004, 10:19 AM
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We encountered wild dogs on two successive days in the Khwai River area (in the Northeast part of the Okavango Delta in Botswana). We were in whatever national park occupies that piece of the Delta. Our guide was really surprised to see them, saying they are not frequently seen around there. The second occasion was actually two of them chasing an impala THROUGH our campsite, tailed a few seconds later by a lone hyena.
Chris_GA_Atl is offline  
May 19th, 2004, 10:20 AM
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Oops- forgot to mention, this was September 2003.
Chris_GA_Atl is offline  
Dec 30th, 2004, 03:08 AM
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Hi Guys,

Came across this and felt i had to reply. Have been to the Selinda twice now. Each time seening wild dogs. Out of ten days spent there, i must have seen them on about eight of the days. Overall, it is just spectacular. THe wide open plains are always in my mind.

Food for thought, Zibalianja actually means, 'the place of the wild dog'.

Think about it.

PS has anyone been in November to Selinda or linyanti, as the i have read that is when the migration to the Savute marsh begins

photoholic is offline  
Dec 30th, 2004, 07:53 AM
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Photoholic: thanks for adding on a new lodging area and bumping this old but great thread to the top.

There is quite a bit of research going on in Zambia on wild dogs currently. I have coordinated with the researchers to design a specialized African Wild Dog safari in S. Luangwa and Kafue for June 29th to July 8th limited to 6 participants. The highlight of the trip is we can utilize satellite collar technology to locate packs which will guarantee viewing of pups at den sites as well as greatly increase the opportunities to follow some hunts. Myself and one of southern Africas best guides are co-leading the trip and we will have time in the field with international researchers. This is a unique chance to take luck out of the equation and have lots of observation time with the dogs as well as be on a top notch safari in Zambia's two largest parks.

For anyone planning your own Zambia trip and wanting to maximize the potential to see wild dog Lunga River Lodge in Kafue currently is a great place to stay. A researcher from the San Diego Zoo is based near by and sometimes comes by Lunga River to speak about the dogs. The guides there should be getting tips from the researchers as to the best areas to find the dogs.
PredatorBiologist is offline  

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