Large areas of northern Botswana are one of the last refuges for beautiful Wild Dogs, which were once wide-spread throughout Africa. Going on a Moremi safari is one of the best ways to see wild dogs are free to roam in Moremi Game Reserve and the surrounding private concessions as there are no fences to impede their wide ranging way of life.
Botswana is home to around 30% of the world's remaining Wild Dog population. Wild Dogs are known by many names such as African Hunting Dogs and Painted Hunting Dogs. They were once found in 39 countries
in Africa. Today they are found in just 4 countries, namely Zimbabwe, Tanzania, Botswana and South Africa. It is estimated that there are between 3000 and 5000 Wild Dogs left in the wild and Zimbabwe is home to the largest population with around 700 Wild Dogs.
They got their name because they are very efficient hunters, and they were perceived to be a big threat to the local farmer's animals. They hunt in large packs over a vast distance. Using teamwork they just about always have a successful kill. In a pack, only the dominant male and female are allowed to mate. All pack members nurture the young and infirm and these dependents are given first access to a kill. They were considered such a threat that many of them were hunted. This combined with the loss of their vast home ranges has meant that they have been slowly declining
in recent decades.
Through funded research projects and studies, their extraordinary behaviour and habits are now better understood - dispelling the mistaken idea that they are indiscriminate killers. Wild Dogs prefer to be on the move and favour open plains or woodlands that are not too dense. Sadly, they have come into extreme conflict with farming communities and also their home ranges have been curtailed. The rebound off human encroachment and hunting has put the species in danger of extinction.
The Wild Dogs are pretty animals with their patchwork quilts of red brown, black and white patches. They are very social animals
and live in packs. Only the alpha pair will breed and this also limits their numbers. They have vast home ranges of up to 750km square and travel up to 30km a day. They are very active animals and are always on the move.
It is estimated that there are less than 5 000 Hunting Dogs remaining in the wild. Botswana, South African, Zimbabwe and Tanzania are currently the only countries where you can see this species in the wilderness.
They range all over the north-eastern areas of the northern Okavango in the open plains and sparse woodlands. Moremi Game Reserve in the Okavango is considered to be one of the best places in Botswana to see them as it has between 150 and 200 Wild Dogs.
Safari Lodges in Moremi
These 2 camps in the eastern section of Moremi Game Reserve are well placed for an Moremi safari and the chance to see Wild Dogs:Xakanaxa Camp
which is located on the Khwai River overlooking the Xakanaxa Lagoon, and within the Moremi Game Reserve. You can enjoy game drives, mokoro safaris in a dug-out canoe, motor-boating and fishing.Khwai Lodge
which is located on the Khwai River near North Gate of Moremi Game Reserve and offers excellent night drives (which are not permitted in Moremi) as well as bush walks, birding and cultural visits.
- Moremi Game Reserve is part of the Central Okavango Delta and offers year round water resources which attract game from far and wide
- Because there is permanent water available in this area, a range of animal habitats is supported and wildlife is abundant especially in the dry season
- Moremi and the surrounding reserves offer a protected environment that is unfenced - together they provide a huge conservation area which is ideal for the Painted Hunting Dogs who need a massive home range away from farming communities