The Wild Dogs of Khwai

by Sandy Salle on June 2, 2017

Whether you call it the African wild dog, Cape hunting dog or painted wolf, Lycaon pictus,  it is without doubt one of the continent’s most fascinating predators . . . as well as a resident of the bush around Khwai Tented Camp.

Listed as “endangered” by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the colorful canines number less than 7,000 across all of Africa as their habitat shrinks and packs fall victim to disease or hunting. Their largest remaining range is the Okavango-Chobe-Kalahari region of Botswana.

Khwai Tented Camp is smack dab in the middle of that region, making it one of the most ideal places on the planet to observe and photograph African wild dogs.

Hyper-Carnivores

With meat contributing more than 70 percent to their diet, the dogs are considered hyper-carnivorous. As such they have developed very specialized behaviors like hunting in packs and deploying a variety of hunting strategies depending on the species they are stalking.

Unlike most predators, African hunting dogs are daytime hunters rather than nocturnal killers. And they can run down antelope at speeds of up to 40 miles per hour. Not quite as swift as a cheetah, but certainly faster than other savannah hunters.

Coat of Many Colors

More than anything else, they are renowned for their “coat of many colors” — a mosaic of orange, yellow, black and white fur. So distinct is their coloring that ancient Romans considered them a hybrid cross between a leopard and a wolf.

But that’s not the only thing that makes them special. They also regurgitate their food — not just to their pups but to other adults in the pack. They feature in the mythology of the region’s San Bushman people.

Khwai Tented Camp, part of the African Bush Camps unique collection of properties in Botswana, Zimbabwe and Zambia.  We love the ABC ethos – authentic safari camps offering the best game viewing opportunities, with the best guides.  We love working with ABC, and our clients absolutely love their time on safari with them.

With a recent update to larger, more modern tents, the beautiful Khwai Tented Camp features six luxury safari tents perched on the banks of a wilderness lagoon on the eastern edge of Moremi Game Reserve.   Abundant wildlife provides for great game viewing opportunities on game drives to spot lion, leopard, elephant, hippo, impala, zebra, many bird species, and yes, the above mentioned wild dog.   But with the water all around, guests simply must be sure to enjoy a mokoro ride during their stay.  Gliding along the still waters in a dugout canoe, with only the sounds of the bush is a totally unique way to experience this magical place.

A community concession, all proceeds from tourism flow directly into a trust that benefits local people. It’s also eco-friendly in the extreme — with no permanent structures, the entire camp can be easily relocated to another location, minimizing the impact on the environment.  With that in mind, stay tuned as Khwai Tented Camp will undergo further updates with a total camp rebuild, and slight move, in the near future.

Hills of Africa can arrange your stay at Khwai Tented Camp and elsewhere in the Okavango or Chobe National Park. For a glimpse of the wild dogs and other wildlife around the camp, check out this brand new video — https://vimeo.com/174526947.  Note, this video does not reflect the newer tents, but provides a glimpse at the stunning location, views and animals you can expect to encounter.

If you’re wondering what it’s like to go on a mokoro ride, Amy recently went to Botswana and had an amazing experience at Khwai Tented Camp and an unforgettable journey on the waters of Botswana.

Do you want to see wild dogs?  Call us at 1-800-940-9344 to book your African Safari Vacation, or email us at hoainfo@hillsofafrica.com

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