Starting the drive early on this particular morning, my aim was to find the pack that was seen the day before in the north of the park. I let my guests know that they shouldn't hold their breath as it's notoriously difficult finding these animals, which can travel very long distances in a short period.
The first hour of drive was rather quiet only seeing some general game like impala, zebra, springbuck and kudu; I thought this was going to be a tough morning, but knowing we still had to get to the area where the dogs might be I felt confident we’d find them. As we approached the area where they had been the previous day, I realized that they were still there and had killed not one but two impalas. Judging by the amount of the kill still left, I reckoned they’d killed it about 10 minutes before we arrived. A pack of 20 dogs will finish a impala in about 20 minutes – they eat very fast trying to spend as little time as possible on the kill to reduce the chance of them being caught by a larger predator like a lion or hyena, which will steal the kill from them.
This was an amazing sighting; we were sitting with half the pack of dogs and a kill with us and about 100m down the road the other half of the pack was feeding on another impala. Every now and then some of the dogs would swop kills, and we watched them running up and down from one kill to the other. As a guide you always try and push through the facts to your guests about these special animals and try to let your guests know just how rare and special it is to see these dogs in the wild!
These animals have been under pressure for over a century now because of habitat loss and there are only about 350 dogs left in South Africa, in a few isolated pockets, with the Kruger National Park holding the largest number of around 125 dogs. As only the alpha male and female normally breed in the pack that means that there are only 35-40 breeding pairs of dogs in South Africa – a very scary statistic! Rhino poaching may be at an all time high but clearly rhinos are not alone in the battle for survival.Did you know that Imbali Safari Lodge is a great base from which to explore the Kruger for wild dogs? Learn more about the lodge here.