Wild dog action

Guide: Lloyd Mwale
Camp: Tafika Camp

Morning Drive
On 8 May 2019 I had my first game drive of the season, with me I had two travel agents, Alexandra and Georgina. We started with a morning drive, around 06:30, going into the Nsefu Sector. On our way we saw some giraffe browsing, some zebra, impala and puku. We thought of having a tea break at the wafwa and were about to stop when I heard puku alarm calling. I stopped the vehicle to listen, looked through my binoculars and saw two hyena. I drove closer but could not see any other predators, however the puku continued calling. Some were looking at the hyenas, while others were looking in different directions. I told my guests that this was very unusual behavior, and that puku usually call at hyena for a few minutes and then forget, so in this case I suspected that there was a leopard nearby. I took my binoculars and looked carefully. Fifty meters away from us there was a leopard lying under the tree. My guests were very excited to see the leopard. After watching the leopard for 15minutes we thought of going to have our tea break in view of giraffe, puku, impala and zebras at the wafwa.

After the tea break we went to see the yellow-billed stork colony, a famous breeding colony in the Nsefu Sector which is mostly only accessible to Remote Africa guests in the month of May. It was amazing to see over 1000 birds nesting in the same place. Adults were taking food to their chicks, or bringing nest- building material for maintaining their nests. On the way back to camp, we saw a herd of elephants – eleven of them having a mud bath. This is a good method of lowering the body temperature.

Evening drive
We headed out at around 16:30, with Mukupa Ben Zulu joining us as the spotter. The agents wanted some good sundowner shots, so we headed straight for a good spot at Chimbwe. On the way we saw a lone Cookson’s wildebeest, some giraffes, puku, zebras and impala. While the guests were enjoying their sundowner, Mukupa heard some puku alarm calls back upstream. The calls died down so we carried on with our sundowners. A moment later the puku started calling again and we heard a commotion in the river. Looking back upstream we could see many crocodiles concentrating on a single area. Hyenas started calling too. We got back into the Land Cruiser and went to see what was happening. By now it was dark, so Mukupa was using the spotlight. When we got there we saw that a pack of wild dogs had made an impala kill. There were 6 dogs, with the alpha female heavily pregnant – possibly due within the coming month. The hyenas were trying to steal the kill, but the wild dogs were guarding it well. It was a great sighting, with the dogs being very relaxed. While we were watching this action, we heard a leopard call nearby. After a few more minutes watching the dogs, Mukupa turned the light to where the call had come from, and we saw the leopard walking toward us. From the same position we had crocodiles, wild dogs, hyena and a leopard. What a great experience. From the crocodile action, I came to the conclusion that when the wild dogs were chasing the impala, one must have jumped into the river, that’s the splash of water we heard during the sundowner. We enjoyed this scene for a while longer and then made our way back to camp. On the way back to camp we saw some porcupines, several bushy-tailed mongoose, a white-tailed mongoose and a Verraux’s eagle owl (Giant eagle owl).