Arguably Africa's most enigmatic carnivore, the wild dog is on many safari goers bucket lists. Through years of persecution by farmers for being seen as 'pests', they have become the second more endangered carnivore in Africa, falling behind the Ethiopian wolf. First time safari goers can be forgiven for not seeing the significance of finding these canids as it is the lions and elephants that normally grab the headlines, however any sighting of such a rare and charismatic creature are to be treasured forever.

Best Places to See Wild Dog

With a tiny population believed to be between three to five thousand individuals remaining in the whole of Africa, coupled with their tendency to travel vast distances every day, finding the painted wolves of Africa is by no means an easy feat. There are however, a number of areas renowned for their dog sightings.

  • Zimbabwe: The home of the walking safari is Zimbabwe's Mana Pools and it is here that wild dog sightings are truly remarkable. With little restriction on walking and excellent guiding, the wild dogs of Mana Pools caught the lime-light in David Attenborough's BBC documentary Dynasties. The trials and tribulations of two packs are plain to see in the episode and frequent sightings of the exact same packs occur weekly.

  • Tanzania: In the South of Tanzania, a game reserve spanning over fifty-thousand kilometres square is home to one of the largest strongholds of the wild dog. With a population of near four thousand, wild dog sightings have become infamous here with guests travelling from all over the world to the area specifically to try and get a glimpse of them.

  • South Africa: On the opposite end of the spectrum and away from the waterways of Selous, the Kalahari is one of the driest places on Earth. Yet wild dogs have been successfully introduced to Tswalu in South Africa. The population has thrived here and a number of different individuals have been translocated into other game reserves across South Africa to expand their populations and provide new blood into a limited gene pool. 

  • Wild Dog Facts

    Wild Dogs go by several names; the most popular being the Painted Wolf, however they also may be referred to as Cape Hunting Dogs, Painted Dogs or Wolves, African Hunting Dogs or their scientific name Lycaon Pictus.

    Wild dogs are one of the most successful predators in Africa, and their name reflects this. Whilst lions have a success rate of around twenty percent, wild dogs soar at over sixty percent. This attainment is achieved through their hunting technique. With incredible stamina, the wild dogs will chase their prey over vast distances and through all types of terrain. Only once the animal is truly exhausted and has no means of fighting back will the wild dogs start to feed. It is this hunting and feeding technique that has given wild dogs such a bad reputation over the years, but it is often over quickly and efficiently.


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