Painted wolves

Kruger National Park | November 2016

We had just arrived back from the morning drive when Nick came rushing into the main area, very excited, saying that there was a pack of wild dogs at the Boom Gate. Wild dogs, also known as painted wolves (from their scientific name Lycaeon pictus) or Cape hunting dogs, are very rarely seen in the concession. We quickly gathered as many guests as we could and headed out to go and look for them. We found them further down the public road. They were strolling down the road, with traces of blood around the face and very full bellies, and then rested in the shade of a tree right next to the verge. There were four dogs in total, including a very dark male. In the afternoon we went to look for them again, but they were nowhere to be seen. Wild dogs are exceptionally rare animals and it is estimated that there are fewer than 5 000 left in the world. They are considered to be the second rarest large carnivore in Africa (after the Simien Wolf, that occurs in the highlands of Ethiopia). The next day we saw tracks of the dogs in the concession, but were unable to locate them. The morning after, JP had stopped for a coffee break on the ridge at Green Apple Hill when Daniel (one of our trackers) spotted the dogs lying in the shade of an umbrella thorn tree far in the distance. It was a phenomenal spot! We had great views of them resting in the shade. It is always exciting to see these incredible creatures.