Game Warden

What camps in what countries for wild dogs.

206 posts in this topic

Kruger Park has appr. 130 dogs, spread over 19 different packs and pretty much all of them live in the southern and the mid section of the reserve

 

How big is thus the area they roam?

 

quite big, I would estimate about 15,000 km²

 

Thanks. It sill makes a quite low density, as Anita said - approxinately 1/5 of the one you have in the whole Mana - Sapi area (where several parts are also marginal to wild dog distribution, so that the density in the Zambezi floodplain area is much higher). Has the decline of wild dogs in Kruger being linked to the dynamics of lion population or other factors?

 

@Anita and Hari. Re: wild dogs in the Selous

 

I have had 3 good sightings of wild dogs (one on foot, two by vehicles) during 10 days in the Selous, but I was not focussed on dogs at all, so I simply bumped into them. They were no more skittish than dogs in other parts of Africa.

 

Even if the Selous has a similar dog density as Mana, they are more evenly spread out, due to the greater availability of water sources. In the northern (tourist) sector of the reserve, apart from the Rufiji, there are various big lakes, and a few springs and almost perennial waterholes, so you will not see the same concentrations as in the Zambezi floodplain.

 

Not sure how the situation is in the hunting blocks south of the Rufiji, but it would seem it is mostly thicker miombo down there.

 

As to the Selous in general, for me it was a good, but not great experience. I am not saying it was a disappointment (not at all), but i think I had set my expectation bar too high (probably spoilt by Katavi), and I ended up feeling a bit underwhelmed.

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In my view, you can't beat seeing dogs hunting in Liuwa. Last month, in the space of 2 weeks I followed the dogs about 4 days and saw about 15 kills, and could follow all the chases when I tried to folllow them. But Liuwa for a self drive tourist is a tough place, and for a regular tourist a very expensive place.

 

Yes, 15 kills in 4 days is pretty much unbeatable. Having said that, a friend of mine witnessed 7 dog kills in 4 days at Laikipia Wilderness Camp two months ago.

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Few other thoughts I had- might not be much but throwing in here might help GW to compile his WD resource.

 

- Selous apparently has close to 1200-1300 dogs in a 5.6 million hectare area. Compare this with 120-130 dogs in the Greater Kruger Area ( 2.4 million hectares) or 120+ dogs in Mana Pools+Sapi area (340,000 hectares) and am surprised that Selous sightings are not as widely reported. Does it have to do with most of the reserve not being open for photo tourism + still very low numbers of tourist compared to Kruger. But I also think its partly because we dont get as steady a news from Selous as we do from Mana or Botswana. The Selous density is very similar to Mana

 

-The population in Greater Kruger has steadily declined from 450 in 1995 to 195 in 2009 to current cited 120-130 and even if you half the area where they are mostly found, the density is still low. I am not sure if walking safaris etc can be taken anywhere in Greater Kruger with the same ease and flexibility as Mana and unlike Botswana, one cannot go hunting with the dogs with as much flexibility ( that should be true for Northern Botswana private concessions versus any other place as even in Mana if the dogs set off on a mission in the direction of the woodlands, you will definitely not be able to keep up on foot). However it seems the population, the density and the population trend all favour Linyanti and Mana Pools as 2 possible destinations, albeit with different experiences with dogs.

 

-On denning season being the best time for seeing dogs, my personal 2 p is it should always be the best time to see dogs as dogs are less mobile, they hunt more often in a day and there is some unique behaviour. However in some places, you just cant access the dens as they are so deep in the woodlands or outside most touristy areas. But that actually means the chances of seeing dogs in such area during non denning times, should still be much lower than being able to see denning dogs in places in Botswana, SA, Zim.

 

What I mean is would my chances of seeing dogs in March-May in SLNP or the green season in Ruaha be as good as seeing them in Mana in August to October or Lagoon throughout the year especially June-November/Dec. Two questions could arise for a tourist wanting to focus on wild dogs- a.) Would March-May in SLNP be better or July-September in Linyanti/Mana Pools. Guess budget could decide that for Linyanti atleast. b.) If I could only go in March-May and still focussing on dogs, would I go to Ruaha, SLNP or Linyanti (Mana unfortunately would be less accessible, but regular Mana visitors can comment on that)

 

- Given the population rebound in Laikipia and the focussed (and very interesting) dogs tracking itineraries ( which are quite adventurous from what I hear), would definitely keep my eyes and ears open for sightings in Oct-Dec and then in the dry season for next 1-2 years as that might become a strong contender for 'experiencing' wild dogs, and not merely seeing them. Right now, I personally believe its good but there is no trend established for sure like Lagoon or Mana.

 

-Again on Ubuntu, I would keep my expectations in check as those dogs can be sighted in different areas from Lake Eyasi all the way to Northern Loliondo, plus we dont know what the wild dogs relocation to Serengeti and the mid-year killing of 40 dogs in 2012 will mean for Jan-March sightings here in 2013 or beyond.

 

So I think, where to go to see wild dogs would depend on

-population, but more importantly population density and accessibility to walk or hunt or chase with the dogs- foot or vehicle

-How important is it for you to be able to visit den sites and watch the unique social behaviour, uninterrupted and uninterrupting

-What are you prepared to give up by way of sightings being more unpredictable for other species- Mana for example doesnt have the same species diversity as Kruger or Northern Botswana, not sure how would SLNP experience wrt other wildllife be in March-May etc

-What is it that makes dogs more accessible in some areas than others, f.e. in Mana it is the availability of water close to Zambezi as the season dries that is a very determining factor. God forbid, if some day, there are 10s of waterholes maintained deep in the woodlands, that will change this behaviour. Hwange the availability of artificial water makes dogs sightings less predictable. Am not sure whats the reason for such good sightings and record for Lagoon, but would definitely like to know as dogs could get lost in the Mopane woodlands far more often than they end up doing by the look of the sightings.

-Budget, if high season corresponding with denning in some places is your main focus.

 

 

PS- By chances of seeing dogs, I have always meant, to be able to experience their social behaviour, hunts, pack dynamics etc. Not writing this from a tick boxing perspective.

 

On Selous- I was there for 3 days at Lake Manze and saw dogs a couple of times. My parents stayed on for a few more days at Selous Safari Camp and I think they saw them again. In June I was in Ruaha and I didn't go to Selous but a number of the other guests were going and we had the discussion about dogs at dinner. Both guides had also worked in the Selous and reckoned that in a 3 or 4 night stay you would be almost guaranteed a sighting. I think we don't hear as much about Selous here as it doesn't seem such a popular destination with STers. To make up for the lack of reports, here's one from someone I know from another forum-

http://thesafariadvisor.com/thesafariadvisor_040.htm

 

On the Linyanti- someone said Lagoon could go a month without a sighting in the green season. I heard the same at Selinda when I was there in April. Prior to my visit they hadn't seen much of the dogs, then they appeared and we saw them on every drive. Perhaps I am a dog magnet! Anyway, I think the thing is about Botswana Green season, that even though the chances in any one concession are not as good as in the dry, if you can make an itinerary including several of the likely contenders eg Linyanti, Chitabe, Vumbura, Kwara (exactly what I am doing, what graceland did and what Safarichick is doing) then overall your chances will be very good. I think other destinations just don't have that- the ability to combine several areas. Also, if you're unlucky and the dogs aren't around there's no shortage of other things to see. Obviously, the dry season has better chances (esp in the Linyanti) but the costs are pretty prohibitive for some.

 

As for whether March-May in South Luangwa or the green season in Ruaha would be better than dry season Linyanti, I really don't think so. I am intrigued to visit SLNP in the green, but for reasons other than seeing dogs- just to see how the landscape has changed, to visit areas like the Kaingo ebony grove by boat. But there are a number of downsides- lower game densities as the game moves away from the river, the lack of walking (I don't think it's offered in the green for safety reasons). Also, inaccessibility of many areas would mean you'd have a limited area to drive in so for a longer trip it could be very confined. Lack of off roading means no ability to follow the dogs hunting.

 

If you are looking for a destination specifically for March-May, then I still think N Botswana combining some of the prime areas would be the best bet. After that, maybe Ruaha and Selous together, although many camps close April and May so March would be best. In South Luangwa, more roads should be opening up in May, so May might be a possibility but you'd lose the boating as water levels would be too low.

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@ Paolo

 

yes, the decline of wild dog numbers has been linked to the rise of of the lion population - for instance, about ten years ago they still had dogs in the far north of the park; park management then decided to add artificial waterholes to lure bigger herds of plains game to that area - this plan worked out well; however, the lions decided to follow the herds up north and a few years later all dogs had vanished in that part of the park

 

more recently I heard that an entire litter of the Skukuza pack has been killed by lions

 

and yet, dogs are still regugarly seen, simply because there are lot of visitors in the park

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WOW - the Selous is really pretty high on my wish list of places to get to! Not particularly for the dogs, just the mystique of the Selous I find very intriguing.

 

 

 

You know there are no cheetah in Selous?!! You would have to combine with Ruaha to get your cheetah fix.

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In my view, you can't beat seeing dogs hunting in Liuwa. Last month, in the space of 2 weeks I followed the dogs about 4 days and saw about 15 kills, and could follow all the chases when I tried to folllow them. But Liuwa for a self drive tourist is a tough place, and for a regular tourist a very expensive place.

 

I think a few places boasts of multiple kills by dogs every season for few days at a stretch and they always surprise. Throughout early winter this year, Lagoon pack was hunting buffaloes/calves. I have never been to Lagoon but I thought that was fascinating. But Liuwa is very high up in the places I want to visit. I think there are two sets of information here- One for first timers and some people like me who havent had enough (or any) sights of dogs with pups, the whole pups-pack interaction etc, multi-species hunts...and then at some point you are ready to want to branch out and have different experiences (along or without the most talked about ones) like the Laikipia tracking, or a different setting or season like Liuwa, SLNP etc.

 

Egilio- when do dogs den in Liuwa and would second half Nov-early Dec be one of the better times to visit?

 

The dogs start denning in May-June. Best times to visit for dogs are November-early December. The dens so far have been in the woodlands, hard to access. November-december is when the wildebeest are in the south with the calves and so are the dogs (and cheetahs). The dogs almost exclusively hunt wildebeest calves around this time (although they still take the odd cow and bull and oribi). Apart from having good opportunities to see hunts (if you are prepared to get out early! Morning hunts are way better than the ones in the afternoon which often happen around or after dusk) and dog-hyaena interaction is something spectacular to see too!

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Thanks a lot Egil- great information on Liuwa!

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Though I am still on camp two of the four visited in GS - we had a good sighting in Chitabe with one kill; but when we got to Vumbura Plains, it was a thrill to sit and watch the intense interaction between the pups, between the pups and adults and of course the adults hunting. I have to say it was the most amazing moments (day) of our trip. We had no idea of how social they were, and how the pups are so controlling to say the least; and playful and cute - and downright vicious when it comes to eating their prey.

 

We (Greenlanter, my dh) took a video of us following the chase and when I get to that particular day - will try to post it. Truly a wonder of the game world to watch these little fellows!

 

I'm glad we were able to observe as long as we did; moreso to understand the fascination with the Dogs. On our first safari ever to Sabi, they were pointed out to us as "the painted dogs" - having no idea how rare and wild they are. Thanks to forums like ST while planning we discovered just how lucky we were to have seen them so up close and personal.

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WOW - the Selous is really pretty high on my wish list of places to get to! Not particularly for the dogs, just the mystique of the Selous I find very intriguing.

 

 

 

You know there are no cheetah in Selous?!! You would have to combine with Ruaha to get your cheetah fix.

 

Ya - Selous would be for the mystique of the Selous. Cheetah are best seen in Lagoon/Lebala, Kwara, Masai Mara, (hopefully serengeti) ..........

 

I doubt the dogs go unseen for as long as a month in Kwando green season. Maybe a week tops!!! TRACKING!!!!!!!!

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I doubt the dogs go unseen for as long as a month in Kwando green season. Maybe a week tops!!! TRACKING!!!!!!!!

 

well, as I've tried to explain before, when we initially failed to find the dogs I asked Carlos what the longest period with no dog sightings ever was and he answered "a month"

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Egil - great info on Liuwa, thanks for sharing.

 

Have been asking around for safari buddies for a Nov/Dec Busanga/Liuwa combo for months with no takers :( Guys, this seriously sounds like a fantastic combo - Mukambi Plains and then drive/fly to Liuwa for a mobile camp with an expert guide who can overcome the 'regular tourist' disadvantages that Egil mentions. PM me if interested.

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Posted (edited)

Is Busanga accessible in November/December? When I was there camps used to close at the end of October.

 

I look forward to reading Atravelynn's TR on Liuwa, whenever she will post it.

Edited by Paolo

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I doubt the dogs go unseen for as long as a month in Kwando green season. Maybe a week tops!!! TRACKING!!!!!!!!

 

well, as I've tried to explain before, when we initially failed to find the dogs I asked Carlos what the longest period with no dog sightings ever was and he answered "a month"

 

Ice,

 

Sorry missed your previous post when i typed the above....

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Is Busanga accessible in November/December? When I was there camps used to close at the end of October.

 

I look forward to reading Atravelynn's TR on Liuwa, whenever she will post it.

 

I think I remember KafueTyrone mention something about this being possible. Don't remember which thread that was or I would look it up again. Dec may not be, but perhaps open 1st week of November? I will check.

 

Me too - looking forward to hearing from Lynn about Liuwa. Wonder if she saw LL. Did you see her Egil?

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On the Linyanti- someone said Lagoon could go a month without a sighting in the green season. I heard the same at Selinda when I was there in April. Prior to my visit they hadn't seen much of the dogs, then they appeared and we saw them on every drive. Perhaps I am a dog magnet! Anyway, I think the thing is about Botswana Green season, that even though the chances in any one concession are not as good as in the dry, if you can make an itinerary including several of the likely contenders eg Linyanti, Chitabe, Vumbura, Kwara (exactly what I am doing, what graceland did and what Safarichick is doing) then overall your chances will be very good. I think other destinations just don't have that- the ability to combine several areas. Also, if you're unlucky and the dogs aren't around there's no shortage of other things to see.

 

SG, I hope you are a dog magnet! And the above is making me very excited!

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1 there is a wild dog pack which dens in mala mala, sabi sands ,greater kruger

 

they wander just a lettle bit onto umkumbe safari lodge nearby

 

2 dodgs can be seen sometimes in madikwe game reserve see under trip planning WILD DOGS AT MADIKWE GAME RESERVE the dens are not always accessible , ask your camp if it is on view it you want to go. a big problem with madikwe is the blocks are very large, off track driving is nearly always done only for lions, and game viewing is to a large degree dependent on pumped pans which are very variable in their water level.

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I also thought Busanga was inaccessible in Nov/Dec, and even if it is I doubt it's a great time of year for it.

 

I think that's the problem with Liuwa for me- the best time to go isn't a great time to combine with any other parks in Zambia. The best option would probably be Kasanka for the bat migration. But not Kafue, or even South Luangwa.

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Possibly one could consider Liuwa in June, combining it with Bangweulu (and maybe South Luangwa).

 

The problem with Busanga is that, once some good rains fall, you are basically stuck. Even if I have no knowledge of animal movements in the wet season there, I would think that, as soon as the rains begin, a lot of game will disappear in the surrounding woodlands.

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Even if I have no knowledge of animal movements in the wet season there, I would think that, as soon as the rains begin, a lot of game will disappear in the surrounding woodlands.

 

That would be my thought too. My feeling about the main Zambian parks (SLNP, Kafue and LZNP) is that they are very much dry season destinations. I seem to remember a discussion about this on nappa's thread about his disappointing trip to Kafue in June.

 

At one stage I looked at the RPS trips to Liuwa for next year and all the Nov/Dec ones are booked up and they have been for quite some time. I was thinking about combining it with their "carnivore week" (formerly known as Wild Dog week, now rebranded less ambitiously) which they've moved to November (it used to be March).

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Or go to Luangwa first, then Liuwa.

For example Tafika, they operate quite late in Nsefu. As longs as it doesn't rain the game is absolutely fantastic that time of the year (yes, it's also very hot) and then get the first of RPS's safaris in Liuwa, or be in Liuwa the last week before RPS starts.

 

But if there's some big storms in Luangwa the game disperses. It will still be stunning, and a lot cooler, it will just be a bit harder to find the predators, as they're not as drawn to the river as their prey doesn't need the river for water anymore.

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Or go to Luangwa first, then Liuwa.

For example Tafika, they operate quite late in Nsefu. As longs as it doesn't rain the game is absolutely fantastic that time of the year (yes, it's also very hot) and then get the first of RPS's safaris in Liuwa, or be in Liuwa the last week before RPS starts.

 

But if there's some big storms in Luangwa the game disperses. It will still be stunning, and a lot cooler, it will just be a bit harder to find the predators, as they're not as drawn to the river as their prey doesn't need the river for water anymore.

 

That is true- Tafika seem to get their best dog sightings out at the salt pan late in the season too. I did also look at combining Tafika with the "carnivore week" but I think they shut just a bit too early for it to work.

 

Nov can be brutally hot though- I was in SLNP until about 20th Nov in 2010 and the rains hadn't started. I think it's the hottest place I've ever been!

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I'm pretty sure it was on here a couple of years ago that someone posted a link or comment on the BBC wildlife magazine that had an article on the best place to see wild dogs and their #1 was Selous. I'm also sure some people didn't quite agree - can't find the post now though :(

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Posted (edited)

I'm pretty sure it was on here a couple of years ago that someone posted a link or comment on the BBC wildlife magazine that had an article on the best place to see wild dogs and their #1 was Selous. I'm also sure some people didn't quite agree - can't find the post now though :(

 

http://safaritalk.ne...d +dogs +selous

 

:) type bbc wild dogs selous.

 

just mucking around. Damn good memory SL!

Edited by Anita

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Haha!! I did.... but I did it in Google, using too many words. Add the word "magazine" and it doesn't work.

 

Thanks, Anita. Glad I'm not going mad :)

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