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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!

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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