by Tamlin Wightman on August 6, 2012
3 min read

Tales from the Great Botswana Expedition

Dust rises up from under the tyres of our 4×4. I get a face full of it as I look down at the sand. We’re following wild dog tracks on our third day on safari in Botswana.

Our andBeyond ranger Mompati calls them hunting dogs. Wild dogs, hunting dogs, painted dogs, whatever you want to call them, they’re the coolest animals in the African wild in my opinion. They have a nonchalance about them, an uncanny animation that’d make them instant stars in a Disney film.

We find the dogs sleeping. Typical. They’re lying down on a grassy knoll next to a marsh of lily pads as we exit Moremi Wildlife Reserve and head for Savute. But it’s not long before one hops up and has a go at another’s bum. The bitten gets his revenge and soon the pack of three have all risen from a short respite to play silly buggers, jumping on each other, yanking each other’s tails with their teeth, and letting out barks that sound more like cute, playful yaps.

Wild Dogs at play

Everyone in our vehicle (my co-pilots Geraldine and Catherine from Rhino Africa and Thulani from andBeyond) starts talking about their dogs at home. Like Savanna, the border-doodle. It’s easy to mistake these wild dogs for domestic pooches, but watch them tear apart an impala and opinions change.

Nevertheless, they’re the most social and entertaining of the animals we see on our safari. Showmen of the bush.

Watch the Wild Dogs of Chobe here:

We see wild dog again a few days later as we move from Savute into Chobe. There are about twenty five running along the length of the great Chobe River. [Word of advice: When a traveller/ journalist says 25, it’s more 10-15 in reality]. They’ve had a kill recently, as the blood around their necks and mouths show.

We track them slowly as they run, the sound of our engine and cooler box whirring along with birds’ songs overhead. It’s mid-afternoon and we’re meant to be on a flight out of Kasane to Maun in an hour. But this is too good to miss.

The dogs stop often on the water’s edge to scout out the activities and players nearby – crocodiles, birds, hippos… They’re skittish around crocs and we watch the whole pack almost fall over their paws backing up as they spot one.

They scamper off into the distance, stopping to fool around as they go. We watch them, through binoculars and camera lenses and video camera lenses, on this early morning in the wilderness. The landscape continues forever, thick bush and trees alongside bare open plains. And this river… Here the dogs have only each other as guards and companions. It’s “all for one, one for all”.

Wild Dog Pup

Look out for more blog posts and videos from our Great andBeyond Botswana Explorer Trip! Have you seen our Buffalo VS Lion clip yet? Do it here! Enquire now about a trip to Botswana with Rhino Africa by contacting one of our expert travel consultants.