A morning encounter with wild dogs

A morning encounter with wild dogs

A morning encounter with wild dogs

It’s 5.30am and I’ve had my shower, coffee and fruit muffin, and I’m jumping aboard the 4×4, armed with my camera and binoculars. It’s my first morning game drive in the private Kwando concession in Northern Botswana…

African wild dogs are elusive creatures.

As we leave camp we are greeted by the call of the African fish eagle – or ‘bush music’, as it’s known. The tracker, perched on a special seat built onto the front of the vehicle, points out a day-old impala, a family of chakma baboons and wallowing warthogs, all in the first 15 mins. His eyes, along with the guide, are scouring the bush and trees for signs of life and movement. Added to that, they constantly scan the ground for tracks and spoor, pointing out anything interesting.

The vehicle stops suddenly and while the floor is being scrutinised, the tracker jumps down from his ‘perch’ and the guide gets out. They follow the ‘signs’ on the floor together, pointing out possibilities and conversing deeply. Then it’s back to the vehicle and they announce they’ve picked up wild dog tracks and ask if we want to try our luck and follow them…???? Um YES PLEASE! 

 

African wild dogs are elusive creatures. Endangered and beautiful, they are also known as ‘painted wolves’, and if you get a chance to see them in the wild, grab it!
It’s a matter of minute
before we find the pack
– and they are on the hunt.

It’s a matter of minutes before we find the pack – and they are on the hunt. There are only four on the hunt, and they spot a small herd of impala in the distance and stop. They seem to converse for a few seconds before flattening their ears and forming a single file, a stalking tactic. They are able to get pretty close, as they resemble another antelope, and then they bolt!

The impala panic and run away in various directions. We race after them, hanging on as the 4×4 bumps through the bush in a desperate attempt to find them. After reading more ‘bush signs’, a couple of minutes later we find three of the wild dogs tucking into two baby impalas, devouring every part. The fourth wild dog is a short distance away eating a third baby impala. It’s a brutal reminder that safari can be about nature very much in the raw; of course, there is sorrow for the tiny impala, but this is the natural order of things in the bush.

From start to finish the exhilarating experience was around 20 minutes. It’s only 6am and we leave the wild dogs, excited about what else the Kwando concession has in store for us! The beauty of Kwando is that you can go on day and night drives, walking safaris, boat trips and canoe and mokoro safaris – so we have much to look forward to!

HAVE YOUR OWN WILD DOG ADVENTURE

We love Botswana – in fact we love and know it so well we have our own specialist division that is dedicated to this stunning country. To learn more about this wonderful place, and to discuss your perfect safari, contact our expert Botswana Specialists team.

If you would like your own encounter with wild dogs in Kwando, our Falling for Wild Dogs trip could be perfect for you – and it also takes in the private Kwara reserve in the Okavango Delta and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe.

 

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High wire fun in Zimbabwe

High wire fun in Zimbabwe

High wire fun in Zimbabwe

TRACY EDWARDS

Africa Travel Consultant for Tribes Travel.

Victoria Falls has many draws, with the Falls themselves being the biggest of all. However, when you stand at the beautiful Lookout Café, looking down into the gorge as the white water barrages down, a crazy idea comes to mind … to throw myself into the middle of the gorge!

“‘it’s not scary, it’s fun’ I conquered my fears and literally dived straight in! ”

TRACY EDWARDS

Not without some sort of rope or wire of course, and I wasn’t brave enough to do the bungee jump off the bridge. I did, however, find myself free-falling 75m into the gorge before a rope swing takes hold and glides me above the water across to the other side of the gorge, and back and forth! Sounds quite magical written like this but the experience was quite different. Thrilling, terrifying, exciting to name but a few, but I can honestly say that the feeling of dangling in that deep chasm of the gorge as the water flows below is INCREDIBLE! If you have the guts to do (or with a little ‘encouragement’ like I had) then I highly recommend it.

I followed this activity with the canopy walk (a series of zip lines through the first canopy of the gorge – and a hike back out of the gorge), a flying fox (launching yourself off the cliff in Superman style, connected to a zip wire) and the mother of all zip lines right into the gorge itself! I’m not sure what came over me that day, be it the gorge views, the thunderous falls or the staff and their ‘it’s not scary, it’s fun’ attitude but I conquered my fears and literally dived straight in! I recommend you try it too!!

Photos courtesy of Wild Horizons 

“It’s not scary, it’s fun’ attitude but I conquered my fears and literally dived straight in! I recommend you try it too!!”

TRACY EDWARDS

Sunset cruise

Sunset cruise

Sunset cruise

17

MAY, 2016

African Fish Eagle
Zambezi River
African sunset

Could you think of anything better than a G&T in hand, camera around your neck, the open Zambezi River ahead and the call of the African Fish Eagle? No, me neither!

This was my magical sunset cruise experience on the mighty Zambezi River. Canapés and cocktails, and a glorious African sunset, while you coast along the river in search of movement and signs of life. Egrets, Egyptian geese, hippos, and more. The spray of the Falls evident in the background. Having done a crazy gorge swing in the morning, I can think of no better way to round off your day in this magnificent corner of the world!

Zambezi Royal sunset cruise images.

Photograph by Sarah Kerr Wild Horizons

Victoria Falls at high water

Victoria Falls at high water

Victoria Falls at high water

16

MAY, 2018

Water
Victoria Falls
Guided tour

Park fees paid and entry completed, it’s time to enter the park and visit the mighty Victoria Falls! An experienced guide gives a detailed account of the river’s geography, which is incredibly fascinating, and the colonial history of the Falls. The tour commences and keeps me enthralled until the very end.

There are 15 view points along the incredible 1.7km stretch of the Falls and each differs in what you can see. The 16th view point is of the Livingstone Bridge which is a sight in itself. The first view point has a statue of David Livingstone and is next to Devil’s Cataract, the smallest part of the Falls but the one that flows with the most water in low season. The sound is apt for the name ‘Mosi-oa-Tunya’, meaning Smoke that Thunders. And in high water it certainly does thunder. Ponchos were on from this view point and weren’t taken off until we exited!

Victoria Fall in full flow.

Photograph by Tract Edwards Tribes Travel

The views points offer various positions of the Falls but it is from view point 6 and onwards you get to see the main falls. That is if you get lucky and the wind blows the mist away enough for you to see it. At high water don’t expect to get great pictures, or even good views of the falls.

“With around 625 million litres of water flowing over the edge every minute”

With around 625 million litres of water flowing over the edge every minute, the spray and mist produced is a dense blanket of which you often can’t see further than your arm ahead. An incredible experience! Not for photos of course since the down poor soaks you to the bone and you’d aren’t get your camera out even for a split second. However, standing on the edge of the view point 15 (Danger Point), in the middle of the mist, listening and feeling the thunder of these magnificent falls gives you a sense of Mother Nature’s raw power and beauty, a feeling like no other.

Elephant’s Eye Bush Walk

Elephant’s Eye Bush Walk

Elephant’s Eye Bush Walk

TRACY EDWARDS

Africa Travel Consultant for Tribes Travel.

After an early morning wake-up call I get dressed quickly and head to the dining tent for a cup of coffee and muffin before meeting our specialist walking guides, Milton and Rafael, for a short briefing. We are about to set off on a bush walk, and with the grasses being so tall and green, safety is paramount. One guide walks at the front with the rifle and a second guide walks at the back, ensuring guests safety at all times. We need to listen to everything the guides say and the main rule to advise by is NEVER RUN! Sounds easy, right?

“Rafael suddenly whispers ‘elephant’ & ‘get behind me‘”

TRACY EDWARDS

The great thing about a bush walks is the fascinating things you completely miss on a game drive. The guides can read the footprints and spore like we read pages of a book. Within 5 mins of leaving camp we came across fresh zebra tracks and set about following them. On our mission to find the zebra herd we came across fresh elephant, buffalo, impala and hyena tracks, all with their own story and path to follow. We continued on a few more minutes until we heard hooves a short distance away. The zebras had heard us and run deep into the bush.

So next we have look for another bush ‘story’ to follow and we don’t have to look far. Rafael suddenly whispers ‘elephant’ and ‘ get behind me ‘. And slowly through the bush walks a big bull elephant making his way to the waterhole that we have literally just walked past. We are down wind of him, thankfully, as he is in must (when testosterone levels are very high) and Rafael tells us he may charge if he sees us. We slowly move behind some trees and let him pass us – only around 10-12 meters away! Exhilaration, slight fear (where the urge to run comes in) and excitement are in the air and we stand watch as this massive creature amble past us and give himself a shower and drink, before slowly sauntering off into the bush… And then he’s gone!

You never know what is around the corner and each experience is unique and different.

“You never know what is around the corner and each experience is unique and different.”

TRACY EDWARDS