The safari experts
13/128 Chapter
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Key Lodges
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African Wild-Dogs
also known as "Cape hunting dogs" and "painted dogs", are amongst the top predators in Africa, they are both awesome killing machines and wonderful, sociable creatures.

These days wild-dogs are considered to be very much a weather-vane species for conservation since they have the largest home ranges of any mammal and they are amongst the most sensitive to human encroachment since they are both susceptible to catching canine distemper from domestic dogs and they are widely considered as vermin and poisoned.

Wild-dogs are extremely elusive creatures, moving around so much that they are very much here one minute gone the next. Tracking them down is virtually impossible, sightings are usually more down to luck than judgement.

The major exception is when the dogs go to den, when they remain resident in one spot for six to ten weeks. There are several lodges in Africa which have been able to report dog dens on their patch more years than not in recent times, namely Lagoon Camp, Duma Tau Camp and Savuti Camp in the Linyanti Waterfront area of northern Botswana. The dogs most often go to den here in the middle of May, so early June is considered the prime time to visit. This is a major event in the safari calender and availability can get very tight.

Another place with an excellent reputation for wild-dogs is Vundu Camp in the Mana Pools area of northern Zimbabwe, where owner Nick Murray has been working with the local populations for many years and is a renowned expert.

Apart from that, wild dog sightings tend to be inherently hit and miss, but better locations include Ol Malo Lodge in the Laikipia North area of central Kenya, Selous Impala Camp in the Selous area of southern Tanzania and Chindeni Camp in the South Luangwa area of eastern Zambia.

We should perhaps also mention Tony Fitzjohn's wild-dog breeding and reintroduction project which operates out of Mkomazi National Park in northeast Tanzania. Although it is rare to actually include a visit to the project in a trip, one does wonder how much of the resurgence in sightings across East Africa can be attributed to their good works.
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Lenny Franklin, Senior Safari Consultant
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