When we saw two separate wild dog sightings in one day last week in Kruger, we couldn't believe our luck. But then it became surreal...
Mr Wild and I recently took a 7 day trip out to Marloth Park to escape the rat race and hit the reset button. Having ample time on our hands, we planned a few day trips into Kruger to see what we could catch on camera. Arriving on Tuesday, we spent the day in Marloth enjoying the grazers and early on Wednesday morning we packed the cooler box and cameras and entered through Croc River gate.
Less than an hour into our morning drive we happened upon a cheetah with her two cubs on the move (pictured above) - we couldn't believe our luck and once they'd moved along we were off on our way, reveling in our fortune.
A short while later we spotted 3 wild dogs running along the tar road - seemingly searching for something. It was a fleeting sighting as they darted off into the bush shortly thereafter but we were still pleased to have witnessed these amazing animals - especially right after the cheetahs! How lucky can you be?
Fast forward about an hour, we round a corner and lo and behold, more wild dogs! Another three were once again in the road - could it be the same three crossing paths with us again? This time we managed to get a few more pictures and after analysing them later that evening we determined that it was, in fact, a different trio based on their markings.
The first three and below the second sighting of three more - we couldn't believe our luck!
On Thursday we once again entered at Croc River gate and made our way to our favourite spot, Biyamiti Wehr. The morning was as expected - the usual grazers, birds, lions and ellies were out and about and offered us some lovely photo opportunities. Heading from the wehr up to Afsaal for a short break, we couldn't believe our eyes when we spotted yet another pack of wild dogs lazing about in the shade. We counted about 17 dotted about under the trees seeking respite from the blazing sun.
We very quickly realised where the term "dog pile" comes from
Following two amazingly wild days of sightings, we relaxed in Marloth before returning on Saturday once again. Taking a similar route to what we did on Thursday, we once again ran into a pack of wild dogs in the road in the early morning and again that afternoon - although they were very far off and views were obscured. At this point we were starting to think that we're the subjects of some kind of odd experiment or reality TV show because this is just unheard of - I'm actually still not convinced this was just co-incidence!
Later that afternoon we also found ourselves in the company of a leopard who'd crossed the road behind us and sought some shade near the river bed before moving down for a drink.
On Sunday, we really started to get freaked out by this insane luck we were having - you guessed it - we ran into wild dogs again! This time, the same pack as we had seen on Saturday, just slightly further south. Once again they were relaxing in the shade ahead of the afternoon heat.
As a bit of a joke, we figured since the universe had given us everything we'd wished for since we started our trip, let's ask for some more. So we said we'd like to see some sable and Lichtenstein's hartebeest as well. While they may not be as enticing to most as the predators, they are extremely rare animals - (only 50 of the Lichtenstein's hartebeest and 200 sable are present in Kruger Park) - and very few have had the privilege of viewing them in the park. What happened next, we could never have anticipated but you've probably guessed...
Yup - that's 4 Lichtenstein's hartebeest plus a calf and 5 sable - within 50m of each other
I'm so happy that I have a camera and could capture proof of the incredible sightings we had this last week - it all sounds like some kind of fisherman's tale or something! We were incredibly fortunate to have witnessed these rare animals in such a short time but that's not all we got to see - check out the gallery below for some of the other amazing sightings.
Chantelle is a solar powered child of the wild - being outdoors in the bush and sunshine is where she's happiest and sharing amazing stories like these is her passion.
Have you ever had any too-good-to-be-true sighting experiences in the bush? We'd love to hear about in the comments section.