There is no denying that over the past couple of months Londolozi Guides, Trackers and Guests alike, have been treated to some incredible sightings of the ever-elusive packs of wild dogs that roam through the Sabi Sand Nature Reserve. And yes you read that correctly…”packs”, with sightings of four known different packs all having taken centre stage on Londolozi’s timeless landscape.

A pack of wild dogs take a moment to pause and scan their surroundings for their next potential hunting opportunity.

The mere mention of wild dogs in the area is enough to electrify the atmosphere of any safari experience. These creatures, with their vivacious demeanor, boundless energy and stunning mottled coats bring an unparalleled thrill to any game drive. Each sighting offers a fleeting glimpse into their dynamic and cooperative world, where pack dynamics and instinctual prowess reign supreme. There is no surprise as to why they are one of the most sought-after animals to view whilst on safari.

Ct Wild Dog Airstrip

Let me first start by mentioning that sightings of these elusive animals are extremely precious as they are one of Africa’s most endangered carnivores second only to the Ethiopian Wolf. Furthermore, wild dogs are nomadic and do not have territories but rather occupy home ranges that can be more than 450 square kilometres. Fortunately for us, due to the concentration of wild dogs within the Greater Kruger National Park, we do not experience ranges this large. However, the packs that roam this wilderness still occupy significant home ranges which could mean weeks before wild dogs are found on Londolozi.

Sz 7952 Wild Dogs Crossing Finfoot

The Othawa pack of wild dogs with their most recent litter of pups, cautiously cross the Sand River keeping a watchful eye for any crocodiles that may be lying in wait

The current population within the Greater Kruger National Park is estimated at around 400 wild dogs with only about 54 different packs. However, it is important to note that these numbers constantly change with the mortalities of individuals and with packs that split as they disperse to different home ranges.

Statistics such as this make it even more remarkable that we have been privileged to view these four different packs on Londolozi alone.

Ct Wild Dogs Land Rover 1

It is important to mention that it can be quite difficult to keep track of the respective packs of wild dogs. Without the presence of any distinguishing features or any easily recognizable characteristics of their individual colouration, we have to turn to the number of canids present within the respective pack.

So let me highlight the makeup of the respective packs that we have been seeing over the past couple of months.

What we know about these packs:

  • The Toulon Pack – 12 Dogs -This pack originates from around the Skukuza area within the Kruger National Park.
  • The Imbali Pack – 14 Dogs – This pack originates from around the Northern parts of the Sabi Sand Nature Reserve
  • The Othawa Pack – 9 Dogs –  This pack has offered us the most frequent viewing over the past couple of years originating from the areas just to the west of Londolozi. 
  • The Pack of Three – 3 Dogs – This pack has split from a larger pack originating from around the Timbavati River area between Orpen and Satara in the Kruger National Park.

Despite all the incredible sightings these respective packs have provided over the past couple of months, there has been one pack in particular that has begun to cause quite a bit of optimistic excitement. The Pack of Three, consisting of two males and a single female, are beginning to be seen more and more regularly throughout Londolozi’s landscape to the South of the Sand River.

It goes without saying that any sighting of these elusive carnivores are extremely special in their own respect, regardless of whether they are hunting, feeding, on the move, wallowing or even just taking refuge in the shade during the heat of the day. Among all of the incredible sightings we have had of these particular wild dogs, Ranger Robbie, beautifully recalls a recent sighting that has definitely been a highlight.

However, the question begs, what is next for the Pack of Three? 

Bw Wild Dog Pg

Two of the three wild dogs that make up the ‘Pack of Three’ pause perfectly along the old railway line in the southwest of Londolozi for Ranger Patrick to snap a picturesque portrait of these captivating predators.

Stay tuned for more on this small but up-and-coming pack!

Reece Biehler

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