The best places in Africa to photograph African Wild Dogs

A question that comes around quite often is what are the best places in Africa to photograph African Wild Dogs?

Personally I've been very fortunate to travel extensively throughout Africa and wild dogs just happen to my favourite animal to photograph, so I thought I would share with all of you what I feel the best places to photograph African wild dogs are.

South Luangwa

South Luangwa boasts some very healthy wild dog numbers and have done so for quite some time.  During all my visits to South Luangwa over the years, my guests and I have been very fortunate to see these rare and endangered predators.

The thing I love about South Luangwa is it still gives a very "wild" feel to your safari experience.  Apart from possibly the Mfuwe sector where you could come across more vehicles, generally there are very few vehicles present.

Wild dogs have been known to move considerable distances so it is highly recommended to choose more than one location to base yourself in to maximise your chances of seeing them.

Lodges I would recommend

  • Tena Tena Camp
  • Nsefu Camp
  • Kaingo Camp
  • Mfuwe Lodge
  • Chikunto Safari Lodge

Best time to visit

Generally the dry season (August-October) is the best time of the year to visit when seasonal waterholes have dried up and general game concentrate around the permanent water sources, which in turn attracts the predators.  Also generally speaking, during this time the wild dog pups would have left the den site and will start moving with the pack.

Although it is almost impossible to predict, wild dogs will generally den during the winter months (May-July) and as much as this is a great time to view them, it can be very unpredictable as to where they will den and what the surroundings will be like.

Best of South Luangwa

The various habitats and year-round water availability creates an environment suited to a vast abundance of animal species. Leopard, lion, hyena and African wild dog all occur in large numbers. South Luangwa also boasts the densest leopard & hippo populations in Africa.

Okavango Delta

The Okavango Delta in Botswana remains one of the best places to view African wild dogs.  The open floodplains found in large parts of this magnificent destination provides the perfect hunting grounds for wild dogs.  The Okavango delta also teems with general game, providing more than enough food for these sought after predators.

Most parts of the Okavango delta has been divided into private concessions, meaning the costs are much higher than what you could expect in National Parks, but you get what you pay for, which is exclusivity.

Lodges I would recommend

  • Chitabe Camp
  • Vumbura Plains
  • Little Vumbura
  • Duma Tau
  • Selinda Camp

Best time to visit

The Okavango Delta ecosystem is a fascinating one, with the flood waters arriving in the delta when the water from the seasonal rains have disappeared.  Flood waters make their way from Angola and generally reach the Okavango delta around June-September and this is when wildlife is most prolific with animals congregating around the water holes and pans.

Wild dogs generally will den to have their puppies between May-July and although this can be an incredible time to view them, it is almost impossible to know where the den site will be.  During August/September the pups should be moving out with the pack which is a fascinating time to view them with all the interaction that takes place between members of the pack.

Create your own Okavango Delta experience

While large mammals – and there are plenty of these – can steal the show on a Botswana safari, there are many other creatures to be seen, from brightly-coloured birds to secretive antelope, and from frogs to fish. It’s often the pristine beauty of the landscapes and the sense of being in a remote wilderness that have the most lasting impact on visitors to Botswana.

The Greater Kruger and Sabi Sands

The Greater Kruger is made up of both the Kruger National Park and several other private concessions, including the Timbavati and Sabi Sands with no fences between them.

The difference between a safari in the Kruger National park and the bordering private concession is vastly different, both from a price and experience point of view.

The safaris in the Kruger National Park are mainly self drive vehicles, meaning you can enter into the park in your own vehicle and conduct your own safari, something that is very popular for the local tourists.  Inside the park there are various demarcated camping sites and chalets where people can overnight, or you have the option of doing a day safari, leaving the park before closing time.

The private concessions work very differently and is considerably more expensive.  Firstly, you will have the luxury of having a professional guide with you who is in radio contact with the other guides to share information around sightings.  Secondly you have the ability to go off road which is a major plus point, especially when looking for wild dogs.  The third plus point is that you have amazing accommodation and literally do not have to worry about anything, with the lodges pulling out all the stops to make sure you have a wonderful and relaxing experience.

Lodges I would recommend

  • Tanda Tula
  • Mala Mala
  • Londolozi
  • Sabi Sabi
  • Kings Camp

Best time to visit

As much as the green season (December-March) is a beautiful time to visit with all the wonderful colors, the presence of migratory birds and seeing lots of baby antelope around, it can be a little harder to find game with the vegetation being a little more dense.  July-October is considered the peak season with August and September being my personal favorite months to visit these areas.

Create your own private experience

The Sabi Sands and the Timbavati have become famous for offering some of the best game viewing there is to be had on safari.

Mana Pools and the Lower Zambezi

Situated on the opposite ends of the Zambezi River, both Mana Pools and the Lower Zambezi National Park not only offers good all round game viewing including wild dogs, but are spectacularly beautiful.

Both these parks allow for the opportunity to view wildlife on foot and one of the most exciting photographic experiences one could possibly ask for is to view and photograph african wild dogs on eye level.

Lodges I would recommend

  • Zambezi Expeditions - Mana Pools
  • Nyamatusi Camp - Mana Pools
  • Kanga Camp - Mana Pools
  • Tusk and Mane Chula and Kutali - Lower Zambezi
  • Old Mondoro Camp - Lower Zambezi
  • Lolebezi Camp - Lower Zambezi

Best time to visit

The majority of the camps in both these parks are closed during the rainy season (November-March).  October is the driest month of the year and a fantastic time for game viewing, but it can be incredibly hot with temperatures rising up into the mid 40 degrees celsius.  My favorite months are July-September when the vegetation is starting to open up after the rains, the temperatures are comfortable and the game viewing excellent.  During this time the pups should also emerge from the den site and move with the rest of the pack.  If you can do last minute safaris then June could be a great time, once the den has been located and the pups visible.  This, in my opinion is the absolute royal flush when it comes to wildlife viewing and photography.

Experience the Lower Zambezi for yourself

Mana Pools attracts keen wildlife photographers from all over the world each year, all of whom come to capture the remarkable beauty that this park has to offer. Whether you are walking through the spectacular Albida forests, or enjoying a relaxing sunset cruise on the Zambezi river, the beauty of Mana Pools will leave you breathless.

These destinations have been amazing to me over the years and although there are many other destinations where one could see them, these are what I believe are the best places in Africa to photograph African wild dogs.

Johan

Best of Botswana

Combining four unique parks, this tour will expose guests to some of the most diverse game viewing and scenery that Botswana has to offer. From crystal clear waters found in the Okavango Delta, to the dry and harsh conditions of Savute and finally ending off on the Chobe River, this adventure is one for all wildlife enthusiasts.

Mana Pools and Hwange Safari

Mana Pools & Hwange are two incredible parks and wilderness regions found in the northern reaches of Zimbabwe. The parks still represent the qualities of a safari experience of old. Still largely undiscovered and wild, both regions will present you with a glimpse of this special "old" Africa, the way Africa was perhaps a century ago. You'll get to experience the endless vistas of the Mana Pools floodplain adjacent to the mighty Zambezi River, and then spend time further inland amongst the giant cathedral-like Mopani trees where Kanga Camp lies.

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