Penne 4 Your Thoughts

Penne Cole's thoughts on food, travel and more

Transient: Life in Klaserie


African wild dogs @ Klaserie Private Nature Reserve

On safari in Klaserie, a private nature reserve adjacent to the Kruger, we are lucky enough to see a pack of African wild dogs. Once widespread, there are just 6,600 African Wild Dogs left in the wild, 300 of which live in the Klaserie/Kruger area. So when our guides got the word that there had been some Wild Dog sightings, everyone was excited.

Our amazing ranger, Enoch, managed to follow their tracks (all while at high speed and sitting in the “bait seat” of our 4×4), and eventually we spotted a few of the Wild Dogs. They have much the same build as a household dog, but their fur is a mottled black-brown and they have large ears, almost like a jackal.


We continue following the dogs for a while, and eventually our little band meets up with the wider pack. The reunion is joyous, with much yipping and jumping for joy.

Meanwhile, our guides have been watching the sky. At first there is just one vulture circling, but then more and more appear until literally hundreds fill the sky. Some animal must have made a kill mere minutes away.


Vultures congregate on a dead tree, eager for their share of the kill

From his bait seat, Enoch excitedly guides the driver as our vehicle crashes through the bushes. We find a pair of wild dogs that have just brought down an impala. Some brave vultures are swooping in, trying to steal the carcass. The vultures swarming are sure to have been noticed by other predators, and the dogs know it too. Ordinarily, they would have brought the kill back to the pack to be shared but they know that with just the two of them, they will never be able to defend their prize. So they eat their fill and lope away.

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Vultures fighting over the impala

The minute their backs are turned, the vultures swarm in. As many as 50 vultures cluster around the carcass, jostling for position as they try to grab a mouthful. The skies are filled with the giant birds, all swooping in on the action, and the trees around us groan with their weight. Within minutes, the carcass is picked clean and only white bone and bits of skin are left.

We are meters away when all this is happening, watching avidly from our open-topped truck. Seeing an African Wild Dog in the flesh is a rare enough event, let alone witnessing a predation, and we are awestruck. It is all over in a matter of minutes, and I can’t help but reflect how transient life is in this harshly beautiful land.

This post was inspired by the Weekly Photo Challenge: Transient.


7 comments on “Transient: Life in Klaserie

  1. de Wets Wild
    June 25, 2017

    What a terrific encounter, Penne!

    • Penne Cole
      June 27, 2017

      It was amazing! Our guides said it was a one in a million chance to see a predation event so we were very lucky.

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  4. waysofthenaturalworld
    December 9, 2017

    Very interesting read! I am very passionate about wild dog species and I am striving to go work with them summer 2018. It must have been so rewarding to have seen a wild dog pack, as they are such elusive creatures and they are very hard to see and keep up with at times. Please check out my blog and share my latest post with my campaign on wild dogs

    Thank you so much!

    Tolga Aktas

    • Penne Cole
      January 23, 2018

      Thanks Tolga 🙂 It was definitely very lucky – and exciting! – to see the wild dogs.

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This entry was posted on June 25, 2017 by in Africa, South Africa, Travel, Weekly Photo Challenge and tagged , , , , , .

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