Travel & conservation company, since 1991
See how we earn 5 starsTrustpilot - 5 stars
Africa Geographic Travel

Myself and private guide Kane Motswana of Wapuka Safaris were out walking along the Selinda Spillway while staying at Selinda Camp in northern Botswana when we heard a commotion in the bushes on our left and out ran a pack of wild dogs, bellies bloated and coats blood-smeared having just made a kill.

They ran to the water to drink and then saw us watching them and came to investigate. Kane told me to hit the deck in order to avoid appearing threatening and they soon approached us, sniffed us and then lay down, perfectly relaxed, around us. The alpha male even proceed to fall asleep after his big meal, balls to the wall, farting his head off – typical!

A few of the dogs kept getting up and coming close to sniff and check me out while Kane took photos behind me. One female sat atop a termite hill next to us and gave us awesome shots of her looking down at us inquisitively.

The dogs were very healthy and exceedingly chilled and every approach was accompanied by wagging tails and whining. I tried to avoid eye contact and made an effort to stay equally relaxed, thinking “make like Cesar Millan and stay calm and quietly assertive”. The result was the single most incredible wild animal encounter of my life, and one where both humans and animals were equally relaxed and at peace with each other. The hat is my lucky Africa Geographic hat which I wear proudly wherever I go in Africa!

To comment on this story: Download our app here - it's a troll-free safe place 🙂.


  • Travel with us. Travel in Africa is about knowing when and where to go, and with whom. A few weeks too early / late and a few kilometres off course and you could miss the greatest show on Earth. And wouldn’t that be a pity? Browse our famous packages for experience-based safaris, search for our current special offers and check out our camps & lodges for the best prices.

    Enquire now

  • Subscribe to our FREE newsletter / download our FREE app to enjoy the following benefits.

AG Logo

Award-winning writer and film-maker Sharon Gilbert-Rivett began her love affair with Africa as a child when she lived with her family in Kenya, Zimbabwe and South Africa. She began working in journalism in the UK as a rock music writer in the early 1980s before moving into mainstream journalism, moving back to SA in the early 1990s. She specialises in conservation, sustainable tourism and travel and has also written and produced natural history documentaries and TV series. She consults to the safari industry when she's not writing.

Africa Geographic Travel
[wpforms id="152903"]
<div class="wpforms-container wpforms-container-full" id="wpforms-152903"><form id="wpforms-form-152903" class="wpforms-validate wpforms-form wpforms-ajax-form" data-formid="152903" method="post" enctype="multipart/form-data" action="/stories/up-close-and-personal-with-wild-dogs/" data-token="5893fa4dd237b86d942e57efebcd3781"><noscript class="wpforms-error-noscript">Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.</noscript><div class="wpforms-field-container"><div id="wpforms-152903-field_1-container" class="wpforms-field wpforms-field-email" data-field-id="1"><label class="wpforms-field-label wpforms-label-hide" for="wpforms-152903-field_1">Email Address <span class="wpforms-required-label">*</span></label><input type="email" id="wpforms-152903-field_1" class="wpforms-field-medium wpforms-field-required" name="wpforms[fields][1]" placeholder="Email " required></div></div><div class="wpforms-submit-container"><input type="hidden" name="wpforms[id]" value="152903"><input type="hidden" name="wpforms[author]" value="301"><input type="hidden" name="wpforms[post_id]" value="14937"><button type="submit" name="wpforms[submit]" id="wpforms-submit-152903" class="wpforms-submit" data-alt-text="Sending..." data-submit-text="Subscribe" aria-live="assertive" value="wpforms-submit">Subscribe</button><img src="" class="wpforms-submit-spinner" style="display: none;" width="26" height="26" alt="Loading"></div></form></div> <!-- .wpforms-container -->