We set out early in the morning from Rra Dinare camp with our guide Bruce. We had already seen lion, buffalo, leopard, and even a cheetah, on the two subsequent days prior. I however, wanted to see a Wild Dog, and Bruce knew this. He woke me and my partner up at 5am saying that he had heard a Wild Dog call 15 minutes before. How he managed to decipher the call of a Wild Dog from all the hullaballoo of an Okavango morning, I do not know.
We got inside the game vehicle hurriedly and Bruce calmly took us over in the direction he thought he had the dogs. It was still early morning, and the light was still dim. Stars sill shining in the sky, and crisp fresh air blowing through the vehicle.
We rounded a copse roughly half a mile from camp, where Bruce thought the dogs might be. At this hour, he advised us, they would not be lazing around – but likely hunting. He turned off the engine and we sat patiently on the look out. Bruce however was listening, and 30 seconds later he pointed forward to where we heard a cricket-like call.
less than 10 feet in front of us, three glorious painted dogs were crouched under a low hanging thrown tree as still as stone, faces pointed ahead to where we could just make out a small group of female kudu. A few minutes later there came a sudden commotion from behind the kudu. Another group of dogs had launched an attack. The kudu darted away from their attackers and right towards the three waiting dogs under the tree next to our car. The trap had been laid, and the three waiting Wild Dogs pounced on a passing kudu bringing it to the ground.
I had not expected such finesse and planning. The Wild Dogs are poetic hunters. It all happened so gracefully and right next to us. It was an extraordinary experience and one I will never forget. Thank you to Bruce and to Botswana.
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