June 2011: A Flood of Wild Dog Pups

Jun 15th, 2011, 04:15 AM
  #1  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 371
June 2011: A Flood of Wild Dog Pups

Just returned from 4 wonderful days each at &Beyond's Dulini Camp and Ngala Tented Camp. Both camps are small with 6 cottages/tents each which gave them a very intimate, relaxed atmosphere. We'd definitely consider returning to both camps.

I'll write more and post pics later (haven't even downloaded them yet!), but just wanted to get the word out that both camps currently have wild dog dens with pups (Dulini has 8 pups and Ngala has 12 pups)...absolutely magical to watch! So if you have a hankering to see wild dog pups and have some spare change lying around, go now!

Dulini's pups are about 9 weeks old and Ngala's pups are 4 weeks old. The rangers said the pups start hunting with the adults when they are approximately 3 months old at which time the pack leaves the den and become nomadic again.

Marsha
ovenbird is offline  
Jun 15th, 2011, 05:07 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Nov 2003
Posts: 2,138
Very cool!
Femi is offline  
Jun 15th, 2011, 09:49 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
It is a flood. Great!
atravelynn is offline  
Jun 15th, 2011, 11:28 AM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 5,995
Fantastic news! I'm headed to both areas (staying in Exeter rather than Dulini, but I believe they share traversing areas), but not until September.
DonTopaz is offline  
Jun 17th, 2011, 06:48 AM
  #5  
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,146
We'll be at both Dulini & Ngala (lodge, not tented) in Sept. Sounds like we may be in time to see the younger set. Glad you had such a good time & very much looking forward to reading more about the trip.
shouldbewriting is online now  
Jun 19th, 2011, 02:55 AM
  #6  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 346
Can't wait to see the pictures!
Cateyes555 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2011, 07:33 AM
  #7  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 371
Sorry this took so long...better late than never!

We had a fun 12 day road trip with friends getting to Kruger. Following that we spent 4 nights each at Dulini Lodge and Ngala Tented Camp, both &Beyond properties. Accommodations were lovely, with Ngala Tented having a slightly more intimate and “wild Africa” feeling than Dulini. The food was very good at both camps, with Dulini’s cuisine more gourmet.

The rangers and trackers were very good at both camps. We were fortunate to have the vehicle to ourselves on 2 games drives at each camp. However, the entire area had 1-2 days of unseasonal rains along with a cold front which put a damper on game viewing. And recent lion pride interactions in neighboring Kruger had reduced those sightings quite a bit at both camps. The speculation is that’s why both camps had Wild Dog dens.

At Dulini, it’s all about the Big 5...you really had to work hard to see other game. I felt sorry for the first timers as all they wanted to do was take photos of the iconic game animals...”will we see hippo...will we see giraffe...where are the zebra...what, wild dog pups again?” Of course the rest of us wanted to see more animal behavior and interactions regardless of species, which is what we got. (BTW, the newbies also got their photos of typical African animals.) The area was unseasonably thick with trees and bushes, so game viewing was made that much more difficult. The previous month’s rains even had the bushes propagating new growth instead of dropping leaves and going into winter mode. I also felt sorry for the ranger because he had such a tough balancing act. Regardless, we had some amazing game drives!

The Ngala terrain was more open and typical game was abundant. So there was always something to see while you were driving around looking for specific animals like leopards. Not sure why, but our first 4 games drives(!) basically produced little more than a lion pride. However, these 2 days followed the unseasonable rains and cold front, so we thought that might be why there seemed to be a dearth of animals. Fortunately, the following days warmed up and the remaining 4 games drives were spectacular with a flood of leopards and wild dog pups.

Videos are posted at http://www.vimeo.com/album/1623374 . We’re still working on photos so I’ll post a link when they’re available.

I know I’m not much of a trip reporter (definite lack of details!), so I’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.

DonTopaz, actually Dulini is an Exeter lodge so they do share traversing areas with Exeter River Lodge. Unfortunately, I suspect the Dulini wild dogs will be gone by September as the pups will be at least 16 weeks old then. But you never know...

shouldbewriting, I'll keep my fingers crossed the Ngala pups will still be there...they'll be at least 14 weeks old. The den is located about halfway between the Main Lodge and Tented Camp.
ovenbird is offline  
Jun 28th, 2011, 08:09 AM
  #8  
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 5,285
So jealous. No wild dog for us in 19 days in June. Happy to hear they are flooding, though!!

We must have been in Shindzela (right next door) the same time you were at Ngala. It was very windy, but the lightning was fantastic.
christabir is offline  
Jun 28th, 2011, 12:38 PM
  #9  
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Posts: 607
Love your videos! Thanks for posting them. Looking forward to your pictures as well. The pups are amazing! I must say, I have a heart for the rhinos. Love your baby white rhino video. That alone would make my trip!
cristeen is offline  
Jun 28th, 2011, 12:51 PM
  #10  
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
FWIW, Ngala Tented, where dogs were, is not same camp as Ngala Lodge. Ngala Lodge is in the Timbavati (technically, but not practically) while Ngala Tented is about 10K south in private &Beyond property. When I was at Ngala Lodge for 8 nights in Sep of 2008 every game drive drove down to the Tented area. Mostly a big waste of time and the nice early/late daylight hours.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2011, 12:53 PM
  #11  
 
Join Date: Oct 2009
Posts: 346
Nice!!!
Cateyes555 is offline  
Jun 28th, 2011, 03:09 PM
  #12  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 371
Thanks all...we are working furiously on photos!

tom, you're right about Ngala Lodge being quite a ways north of Ngala Tented Camp, and as you said most of the game sightings were closer to Tented Camp. That, in addition to the difference in size (6 vs 20 units), were the primary reasons we chose Tented Camp. But FWIW, the wild dog den is located about half way between the two camps.

I hear ya re: good light! Unfortunately it didn't make much difference how long it took to get to sightings since Mother Nature didn't cooperate...it was usually overcast. You win some, you lose some...but you always suit up for the game!
ovenbird is offline  
Jun 30th, 2011, 05:35 AM
  #13  
 
Join Date: Nov 2004
Posts: 14,440
Wild dog pups again? Ha ha!

With all the rain the flood of pups takes on an added meaning.

When I saw denning wild dogs in Sabi Sands, it was the same conditions where the lions were absent due to volatility in the pride structure. Those dogs are good at moving in to territory while the opportunity exists. How lucky.
atravelynn is offline  
Jun 30th, 2011, 02:43 PM
  #14  
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,146
Thanks for posting in more detail. I'm getting more & more excited and every detail makes it seem more real. I realize that as newbies we don't even know what we don't know.

But I'll definitely be on the lookout for the iconic more than the esoteric on this first trip, whatever the animals are doing. So very happy to hear we will be seeing giraffes and zebras as well as wild dog pups, however rare (if they're still there!).
shouldbewriting is online now  
Jun 30th, 2011, 05:11 PM
  #15  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 371
shouldbewriting, you'll probably get your fill of the Big 5 at Dulini and lots of the other game animals at Ngala. Both areas are known for their leopards, one of the reasons we wanted to spend time in these areas. Hopefully the lions will have returned in larger numbers by the time you're there. Regardless, I'm sure you'll have a great time!
ovenbird is offline  
Jul 1st, 2011, 06:52 AM
  #16  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 371
Photos are posted at http://www.pbase.com/deseml/south_africa_2011 !
ovenbird is offline  
Jul 1st, 2011, 07:36 AM
  #17  
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,146
Wow! Your photos are wonderful: am starting to know what I don't know!

I love the birds especially -- you must have been quick on the draw there. "Big birds"; "Medium Birds"; "Small Birds", that just cracks me up.

I'm curious to know how you identified them. Numerous trips? Good book? Great guides? I'm torn between sitting back and letting the experience wash over me, being present in the moment, & making a big effort to learn what things are.

We should have 24 game drives if things go well & I have enough energy to haul my ass out of bed every day at o-dark-thirty. Maybe by the end of the trip I'll have learned by osmosis.

Anyway, thanks so much Ovenbird, for trip-reporting at just the right time to get me very excited indeed!
shouldbewriting is online now  
Jul 2nd, 2011, 05:53 AM
  #18  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 371
shouldbewriting, thanks! We've been on a few trips to Africa, have good field guides at home when we're processing photos, and rely alot on the rangers when we're on game drives. We're also birders, so we are more interested than most in birds of all kinds.

FYI, you will see birds on safari but don't be disappointed if your ranger doesn't stop for most of them, as most safari goers have little to no interest in birds. Try walking around camp during the down time to find birds. If you have an iPod, download a couple of owlet calls which are known to bring in small birds. We used these at both Dulini and Ngala Tented and got pretty good results. We actually called in the owlets themselves!

http://www.xeno-canto.org/browse.php...+spotted+owlet
http://www.xeno-canto.org/browse.php...n+barred+owlet

With 24 game drives I suspect you'll end up doing it all..."sitting back and letting the experience wash over me, being present in the moment, & making a big effort to learn what things are." Your ranger will be a fountain of information and will help you with the latter. He should have bird and mammal field guides on game drives and the camp library should also have them for your use.

I suspect you know more than you think you know...you knew enough to come to fodors! Good travels!
ovenbird is offline  
Jul 2nd, 2011, 06:26 AM
  #19  
 
Join Date: Jun 2010
Posts: 2,146
More good info; thanks Ovenbird. My husband has an iPod but doesn't understand how it could be made to play bird calls for anything but himself!

Actually, it was Atravelynn who found me bumbling around on another site and ushered me here -- can't think how we'd be going to Africa otherwise.
shouldbewriting is online now  
Jul 2nd, 2011, 07:54 AM
  #20  
Original Poster
 
Join Date: May 2004
Posts: 371
If you have an iPod you'll probably need a little speaker you can plug in (try Radioshack). I have an iPod Touch G4 and didn't need a plug-in speaker. If you have an iPhone, you probably don't need a plug-in speaker either. Confused? Me too!
ovenbird is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy -

FODOR'S VIDEO

All times are GMT -8. The time now is 02:37 PM.