Wild dogs

May 20th, 2006, 09:39 AM
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Wild dogs

Can anyone help me, please? I have become fascinated by the wild dogs since I began reading this site. Have a trip to Kenya and Tanzania this year (my first to Africa), but am already thinking about next yesr...

What is the best place/time to see wild dogs? In other words, what time of year should I try to plan my vacation for in 2007? When do they litter? Which camps/lodges should I be looking at?

May 20th, 2006, 09:59 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
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Unfortunately, you haven't told us where in Tanzania you are headed to. The only place that has painted dogs in Tanzania is in the southern park, mainly Selous. Northern Tanzania and Kenya do no have any more painted dogs, for various reasons. Zambia and South Africa are better locations if you are looking for these fascinating creatures. There are no specific litter times of the year, and they are extremely difficult to locate in the wild, as they move quite radidly while chasing game. They have rather large territories, and that along makes it difficult to track and locate.

Good luck!

andybiggs is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 10:04 AM
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In June last year I saw a pack of 7 wild dogs in Samburu.
Nyamera is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 10:07 AM
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How long is apiece of string?

Wild Dogs have massive ranges, consequently pinning down their denning site to a termite mound or three is challenging ... However.

The kwando area of Botswana has had a breeding pack for the past nine years. If I were to plan my holiday particularly around dogs, then I would ensure that I spent around 6 days in the kwando area to maximise the chance of seeing dogs.

Time of year, probably into August & September, although in 05 the dogs bred late: October.

Then if you were further south I would certainly recommend the Madikwe as a spot for certain dog sightings. Your budget and desired level of luxury will dictate the lodge.

Kruger Park is good, around Pretoriuskop and Satara, are known ranges for two packs.

mkhonzo is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 10:08 AM
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Wild dogs are seen commonly in South Luangwa in March/April/May. The good news is that this is also when you are able to get green season rates. Robin Pope Safaris commonly has specific "Wild Dog Safaris" where the focus is on finding the wild dogs. Although I didn't see it on their website any longer, they had a wild dog safari a couple months ago and it is led by a wild dog specialist.

However, whether you go with Robin Pope or another operator such as Luangwa River Lodge, Star Of Africa, Bushcamp Company or Norman Carr Safaris, your chances of seeing the wild dogs are excellent.

Alternately, Kwando in Botswana is supposedly excellent for wild dogs and excellent pricing may be had between December 01st - March 31st, with shoulder season pricing in April/May/November.
Roccco is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 10:16 AM
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I've seen Wild dogs in the Selous Game Reserve in Sept and October, which just happens to be a great time for the reserve too--end of the dry season. Although I love the reserve in all of its seasonal guises outside of the heavy rains.) There is always the chance that you can see the dogs in Mikumi National Park as well. I haven't, after years of visits, but I know many who have, in the sector of Mikumi which borders the Selous. I'm sure too that I heard something in TZ about Wild dogs being reintroduced to the Mkomazi Game Reserve on the borders with Kenya, an extention really of Kenya's Tsavo NP. I have trips planned in Oct of this year and July of next year to the Selous and certainly have my fingers crossed that I might be so lucky again as to come around a corner late afternoon and see the dogs taking a break under a tree. Hope you see them too! As for accommodations in the Selous, I've stayed at quite a few of them, but I prefer to mobile camp in the Lakes Manze and Tagalala areas. Both dog sightings occurred far from my camp sites however. I believe they were close to a place called Beho Beho. I"d have to check my notes.
MamaTembo is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 10:59 AM
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saw them twice in madikwe, s.a. in green season. they brought down a giant something or other and were playing with the ear like a chew toy.
kerikeri is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 11:08 AM
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If you want to give yourself the best opportunity to see Wild Dogs, you need to go when they are denning, and therefor limited in moving around their normally huge territories.
Botswana is probably the best place to go. Denning is typically from late June to late August allthough it can vary. I would recommend to go in late July/early August when the puppies spend a lot of time outside the den but are not very mobile yet.
I would also recommend to split your time between a couple of camps known for Wild Dog sightings just in case.
In Botswana the recommended places would be the Kwando reserve (Lagoon/Lebala camps), the Selinda reserve and the Chitabe reserve

mv is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 11:41 AM
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I saw 21 dogs in South Luangwa, Zambia in Late October 2005
matnikstym is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 11:43 AM
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Oh wow! Such a lot of info so quick. Thank you all very much.

I can probably count on some vacation time in late March/early April or mid Sept to mid Oct., or during July/August.
All 2007, of course.

If Kwando is the best choice then in July/August? Is this high season for the area?

How about Kruger? What time of year would be best? I understand that budget- wise this may be the best choice.

The Spring dates would be really good for South Luangwa. Also the idea of green season rates does appeal very much!

I do have a very limited budget. Definitely not lux lodges. So is there a *good* chance of seeing them in Botswana? I understand that it is generally more expensive?

Guess that now I have to get into writing to each of the camps and getting quotes for exact [probable] dates.

You guys are wonderful! Many, many thanks.

May 20th, 2006, 11:52 AM
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Actually, if you were to go to Kwando's camps between December to March, it would be about the same price as going to a good lodge in South Luangwa. There are some really good specials for Kwando and Islands In Africa between December to March and visiting the two may offer you a wonderfully varied safari experience.


The website for Islands In Africa does not do it justice, as the brochures with glossy color photos are really out of this world.
Roccco is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 12:45 PM
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The denning time is definitely best. Last year we saw them at Kings Pool where we were able to visit the den once during our trip.
The previous year we tried to see them at Kwando Lagoon but arriving at he beginning of September we were about a week too late. I would definitely recommend July for Kwando, Linyanti, Selinda, Chitabe areas.
napamatt is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 06:14 PM
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You really are hooked, planning trip #2 before #1 has taken place.

Wild dogs is a favorite topic here. Below are some links where it has been discussed in the past.

My comments are similar to the others.
I would plan for late July or early August. The pups should be coming out of the den by mid July with denning starting in late May or June. But I've heard of people seeing pups in March. If a litter is lost, another may be produced as late as October.


Just read your latest post on the limited budget. In that case, I think I would suggest Madikwe at a low budget accommodation. Here is a link to Predator Biologistís report on Madikwe and an inexpensive place to stay. Iíve never been to Madikwe.

atravelynn is offline  
May 20th, 2006, 06:52 PM
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Good thinking......planning your next trip prior to embarking on your current one.

Most people hv addressed areas to see wild dogs. It may not be practical (budget wise) to combine Wilderness camps and Kwando camps in the same trip. If you can, do it.........i would suggest splitting your time up between lebala/selinda/duma tau.

Or you can go with the option i used for this upcoming August. A week in Lebala/lagoon and then 3 nights at Kwara in the Okavango. They hv a small pack there also.

May 20th, 2006, 10:33 PM
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Lots of good advice here.

I think there needs to be emphasis on a couple of points:

1) Anyone planning with a serious emphasis to see wild dogs needs to plan around their denning. This is the only time there is going to be a known location to find them. Mid-July to Mid-August is going to usually be the prime time at the den in southern Africa countries.

2) Botswana far and away provides the best opportunity to see wild dogs at this point in time. It's very encouraging the sightings are increasing in Zambia, Tanzania, etc., however, there are numerous concession areas where the dens are found virtually every year in Botswana. Botswana has many packs in touristed areas that are well habituated to safari activities. Researchers in Zambia will likely start to develop this kind of info but right now you cannot beat areas like Kwando with 9 straight years of dens. Northern Botswana is one of only 3 areas with more than 350 dogs (approx. 1,000 in n. bots, 20% or more of the total population) -- Selous and Kruger are the others but they are large areas with tourist access to very limited locations. By comparison I believe S. Luangwa only has a couple of known packs where as the Okavango/Linyanti area has dozens. Kafue actually has many more dogs that S. Luangwa and is probably a better choice in Zambia for dogs but not on par with Botswana.

*Exception to this is Madikwe and perhaps other smaller fenced areas where dogs can be found with great frequency.

3) If you can't go during denning season I would still plan for well known dog areas and hope for the best but don't be confused with false expectations. Even in the best dog areas it is probably about 50/50 at best that you will see dogs outside of denning season. I was very fortunate to see a pack of 21 on a kill during a January trip to Duma Tau but on my recent March trip to the Kwando Camps we saw no dogs, with their large ranges they may only pass through a detectable area every week or two if that. It takes a lot of luck.

4)Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa is about as guaranteed as it gets although it is possible to miss them if you don't give it 3 or 4 nights. For those with budget issues I would consider going here to one of the cheaper lodges -- I can personally recommend Buffalo Ridge. Be aware this is a fenced area although it is extremely large. In combination with a trip to Kruger, or one of the cheaper lodges in the Sabi Sand, or perhaps Mashatu in southern Botswana it could be a great trip that is quite a bit lighter in the pocketbook than a fly-in Botswana safari.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
May 21st, 2006, 07:20 AM
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Thank you all for really important and interesting information.

Yes, July-August is possible.

Predator Biologist - *Exactly* the info I was looking for. Many thanks. Have google them. The Buffalo Ridge site itself doesn't seem to be active, but have written to the Madikwe Admin in hopes of getting some more details. Very much appreciated. Thank you.

I will try to contact Selwyn as well.
May 21st, 2006, 07:57 AM
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Africnow: Happy to help. Buffalo Ridge has a very nice website at this link


Feel free to email me directly if you need more information or have additional questions.
PredatorBiologist is offline  
May 21st, 2006, 08:14 AM
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We had four days in Madikwe last year in February and saw the dogs on our last morning.
napamatt is offline  
May 21st, 2006, 09:59 AM
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email on teh way. Thanks
May 21st, 2006, 10:00 AM
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Where in Madikwe did you stay? How was it?
I'm not in the lux market...

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