We got very lucky recently when a tour operator arrived at Finland at the last minute to visit Jaci’s Lodges. He only had time for a one hour game drive, as he was going to leave early the next morning for Botswana and so myself and another guide took him out for a short bumble.
When asked if he had any particular interests, the response was, “Show me the best of what you’ve got.” We both thought it would be a difficult task to achieve in just an hour. But, as soon as we left the lodge we stumbled on a dagga boy peacefully making his way to the wetland in front of our hide. Two minutes later, a spotted hyena came walking out of the thickets, in perfect light. It was a huge female that we often see in this area of the reserve and she is rather easy to identify because of her missing left ear.
As we were watching her, all of a sudden 14 wild dogs showed up on the other side of the road, also making their way to the water.
For about half an hour they were roaming around, running back and forth, seemingly trying to flush something out of the bushes. They were clearly looking for their dinner and eventually they picked up on something.
The chase started before we realised what was going on! It was so quick; we didn’t even manage to see what they were after as they went storming past the wetland, some of them sprinting through the water, before finally catching up with their prey.
As we caught up with them, we realised through all the whimpering, dust and waving tails that it was a young male impala that was on the menu. The noise from the dogs while trying to get the best pieces and playing tug of war with the food was amazing to witness. In just a few minutes most of it was gone and we could only hear the distinct gnawing on bones from 14 happy dogs.
A lot of people think that wild dogs have a cruel way of finishing their prey, but I must say it was over so quickly for this impala that I doubt he knew what was going on. As it got dark we left them and drove the couple of hundred metres back to the lodge, very satisfied with the afternoon.
Our visitor from the north definitely got the best Madikwe has to offer, as the wild dogs are what many people come here in search of. And a kill of any kind is a bonus most can only hope for. He was also very grateful that he decided to take his camera with him on the drive, even though it was going to be a very short one!