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AFRICAN WILD DOGS OF BOTSWANA

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One of the highlights of our upcoming Botswana Wildlife Tour will be the opportunity to find and spend time with the endangered African Wild Dog. Wild Dogs, aka Hunting Dogs or Painted Wolves, are amongst the rarest of the large carnivores in Africa. While rare and elusive, once found, they offer arguably some of the most exciting wildlife watching experiences. They are highly social, largely diurnal and very active!

botswana wildlife tours

There is never a dull moment when watching these social animals! Photo by Adam Riley

Until recently, African Wild Dogs ranged widely through much of Africa. They have undergone a devastating reduction in range and numbers and are now confined to a few wilderness areas and game reserves, from Chad in the north to South Africa in the south. According to the IUCN, which treats the African Wild Dog as Endangered, the main reasons for the recent demise of the African Wild Dog are habitat fragmentation, conflict with humans and infectious disease. There are now thought to be only 660 packs of Wild Dog left, with viable populations in only eight countries.

botswana wildlife tours

Photo by Adam Riley

African Wild Dogs have an extraordinary social structure. They live in packs of 2-40 animals which are dominated by an alpha male and an alpha female. The alpha male and female form a monogamous pair and are usually the only pair of the pack to breed, producing a litter of 2-21 pups. The entire pack cares for the pups and brings meat to the den. Wild Dogs care not only for their own pups but also for the weak and sick adults in their own group, a fairly rare example of this type of cooperative behavior. While this high degree of sociability generally serves them well, it is also part of the reason for their recent decline. Through contact with domestic dogs, rabies or canine distemper can quickly decimate a pack of such highly social animals.

botswana wildlife tours

The high degree of sociability has been one of the greatest strengths of Wild Dogs. In recent times it has also become their weakness. Photo by Adam Riley

These animals are extraordinarily active with home ranges of up to 3,000 km2. The pack hunts cooperatively and efficiently reaching speeds of nearly 50 mph during a hunt. Their main prey tend to be medium-sized antelope such as Impala and Wildebeest, although they are known to take everything from lizards to Buffalo. Wild Dogs are well known for the efficiency at which they hunt and devour a carcass. Once they have singled out their target, it has little chance and will be devoured in minutes!

botswana wildlife tours

This Impala will be consumed in a matter of minutes. Photo by Adam Riley

Habitat fragmentation is the number one reason for the decline of the African Wild Dog. Botswana’s vast untouched wilderness provides one of the last refuges for Wild Dogs and comprises part of the core of their range. Our upcoming Botswana Wildlife Tour will be visiting some of the best areas to find and observe these exciting animals and we are hoping for some thrilling encounters!

For more information please visit: https://www.rockjumperwildlife.com/wildlife-tours/tours/best-of-botswana-victoria-falls-wildlife-safari

And for a thrilling video of a Wild Dog kill that was recently filmed near the fabulous Zebra Hills Lodge. Thanks to Marsha Steffen for this incredible video!

Wild Dogs vs Impala (short version) from msteff on Vimeo.

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JR - Private Rwanda

Trip has been wonderful! Dale is second to none! Really thrilled to have him and Eric (driver)!

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LH - Best of Botswana & Vic Falls 17

We were very lucky to have such knowledgeable guides, Shadow had the ability to place us in the right spot at the right time when other guides were still thinking about it. It was nice just to sit and observe the interactions.
Great tour, the mix of participants also worked well. Many eyes help spot things which might otherwise be missed (back seats are higher and sometimes you just catch a glimpse that the front seat people miss).

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EB - Best of Botswana & Vic Falls 17

Great communications and customer service.
One of the best trips I’ve been on. The sightings were fantastic, Andre was great, the food phenomenal and the support staff exceptional!
Andre was an excellent guide in all regards and made sure everything went smoothly.

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I.T - Best of Botswana & Vic Falls 17

The tour was excellent. The staff from the Safari company were also excellent.

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LH - Tailor-made South Africa & Botswana October 2018

I want to thank all of you at Rockjumper who worked to give me and my six friends the trip of a lifetime! The trip was perfectly planned; we saw a wonderful array of sights in perfect settings and lodgings all throughout the thirteen days. Logistically, everything worked like clockwork and it took all the stress out of traveling.

But without a doubt, what made the trip so incredibly special was our tour guide/leader, Rainer Summers. He not only lead us to the sights, through airports and into the bush but he managed to keep us all together, without losing anyone for more than five minutes – and I can assure you: that was not an easy task. (We really are not senile – just a bit independent).

His knowledge of what we saw and where to take us, especially in Cape Town improved our experience greatly. His knowledge of the wildlife and its social structure and behavior at Mala Mala and in Botswana increased our appreciation of what we saw exponentially. Nothing was too much trouble whether it was showing us how to use binoculars or camera or how to spot birds.

He also made sure that everyone was comfortable and at ease in all situations. He anticipated everyone’s needs and he ensured that we all had what we needed and/or wanted everywhere.

But most of all, Rainer was delightful to be with. He was fun and his wit and sense of humor made him a great companion. He is a tremendous asset to your organization. We all would like to return to Africa and Rockjumper’s tours but we will want to have no one but Rainer with us!!! We cannot envision a tour leader who could top this experience.

So, thank you for arranging the tour and a special thanks for choosing Rainer to be our guide. It was a magnificent experience and a week later, I am still wishing I was in Africa!

Sincerely,
LH

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