Painted wolf, Cape hunting dog, Hyena dog. African wild dogs may go by many different names, but if one thing is for certain, they hold the title of one of Africa’s most distinctive and captivating carnivores.
Those wanting to see these spotted pups in South Africa should make a beeline for the Kruger National Park. However, they can now also add Mabula Private Game Reserve in Limpopo to their travel list.
A new pack, consisting of two males and two females, has officially been confirmed in the reserve as of March this year due to a collaboration with the Mabula Reserve, the Waterberg Wild Dog Initiative, the Endangered Wildlife Trust, and Rooiberg Veterinary Services.
The male dogs, which naturally dispersed from their resident pack in northern Limpopo, arrived in Mabula back in July 2021. However, with no suitable adult females available, two females amongst the free-roaming Waterberg wild dog population were identified for translocation.
All four wild dogs were held in adjacent holding bomas for several weeks to facilitate social bonding and allow time to acclimate before their official release onto the Mabula Reserve. The strategy proved extremely successful, with the new pack making themselves at home in this quiet corner of the Waterberg region.
It’s a well-known fact that African wild dogs are highly endangered. With fewer than 650 remaining in South Africa, this recent translocation project and the formation of a new breeding pack, have contributed to the long-term conservation of wild dogs in the country. The initiative has also given Mabula’s ecotourism potential a boost, solidifying it as the closest reserve to Gauteng with free-range African wild dogs!
Famed for their skilled hunting abilities and close family ties, wild dogs are thought to have an 80% hunting success rate (compared to lions’ measly 30%). Highly sought-after by safari-aficianados, these elusive pooches are notoriously hard to spot.
Ready to see these painted pups for yourself? Mabula Private Game Reserve is located within two hours’ drive of Gauteng and provides one of the most authentic private safari experiences in South Africa.