One of the primary reasons to go to Botswana for any safari aficionado is to have a much better than average chance of seeing, and having extraordinary experiences with The African Wild dog (Lycaon pictus), also known as the African Painted dog. THE super predator of Africa.
Wild dog are beautiful animals, efficient and fascinating hunters with an incredible social structure. Spending time with them is both eye-opening and emotional especially if one is able to “join” them on a hunt, or watch them at play. With a hunting success rate of over 90%, they make Lion look positively amateur when it comes to being a predator.
They are a firm favourite of Clyde Beaty, one of our directors and Co-founders who himself has clocked up over a thousand hours of intimate study of Wild dog over his safari guiding career.
Kwando safaris own 6 camps in total, with 4 of them split between the Okavango Delta and Linyanti Kwando Concession further north. It is at all of these camps, Lebala and Lagoon Camps in Linyanti along with Little Kwara and Kwara camps in the Kwara concession of the Okavango Delta, where the most regular of sightings can be had. They are lucky to be able to claim that the Wilddog permanently den down in all 3 of their respective camp locations, and are now fully habituated to the presence of Kwandos safari vehicles and guides. Effectively they are permitted to be a part of the pack.
We have been twice to their sets of camps and each time, the Wild dog experience is remarkable, if not for the faint of heart.
In July of this year Kwando reported that at Lebala Camp the pack had a litter of 14 puppies whom came out of the den to be introduced to the rest of the pack. At Lagoon Camp which is a couple of hours drive north of Lebala, the den has 8 cute little pups running around getting up to all sorts of mischief. In the Kwara concession of the Okavango Delta the pups came out a little bit later due to Mom denning down later than usual, and there are also 8 puppies here! All very exciting and great for Wild dog populations.
Tailormade Africa support Kwando Safaris for many reasons.
1.They have struck gold with the locations of their camps. Truthfully, the private Kwando concession in the Linyanti and the Kwara concession of the Delta, are power houses in terms of the quality and diversity of wildlife and are arguably in the top 5 locations in Botswana.
2. They are 100% Bostwana Citizen owned and who’s operating ethos is so heavily swayed to local employment, that they are proud to boast that 97% of its staff are local citizens. It is important to mention that this is such a positive move by Kwando, but equally important is the need to understand that by having local management teams, or non-western management teams, there can occasionally be a much more characterful approach to running a camp, and the clinical super-efficient western way of doing things is often absent. Kwando camps are true safari camps where the focus is all about the wildlife and wilderness experience and the authentic interaction with local Tswanans. Service standards are high, but occasionally can falter. Potential guests going to Kwando camps most go with a forgiving nature for minor lapses of standards. The rest of the Kwando experience more than makes up for it.
3. The guiding is generally excellent. Kwando are one of the few operators to adopt the guide and tracker set up which does increase your chances of picking up wildlife that is a little harder to find. The guides really love their work and can be seen updated sightings logs and going on study sessions of particular animals during siesta or down time. Their enthusiasm is infectious and it becomes very clear that the depth of knowledge they have is up there amongst the best in Botswana.