WARNING – GRAPHIC PHOTOS
At Kafunta River Lodge the adventure starts right after climbing in the safari vehicle, just after dawn, and crossing the Luangwa River to access the park just on the other side.
And then finding a hunting pack of 11 African Wild Dogs, is a real safari-goer’s dream. With only Kafunta vehicles watching this playful pack communicate and dance in the grasses, provided the perfect backdrop for a picturesque morning in Africa. Playing, making small squealing noises, and reacting to anything moving in the bush, one can relate this to watching puppies play.
Not long into the sighting, one female found a scrub hare and within seconds five dogs surrounded her forcing her to share her catch. A few more seconds and there was nothing left but a taste for more food and the stimulus they needed. We can see a male puku standing alone, in the distance, by the riverbank. The African wild dogs were restless by then and ready to take on their next challenge, especially as the African sun begins to rise with its relentless heat. Six wild dogs make their move, concealing themselves within the African colours of the plains. Bolting too soon, the dogs lose the male puku into the thickets of the South Luangwa bush.
No time to pause or hesitate, the wild dogs continue their mission and find a small herd of female impalas in some bushes. The chase begins. The other five dogs now have now joined in too, dashing through the bush but then the pack splits up, each chasing a female impala.
One of the impala leaves the thickets, and heads to the plains near the river banks, running for her life as instinct kicks in for the African wild dogs. But she makes the wrong move, and jumps off the bank into sand near the river. The female impala is caught by the hunting wild dog pack. Vibrant shades of red stained the faces of the painted dogs as they relished on their prey. Calling for the rest of the pack, one wild dog threw his head back in a howl. No response. The dogs gulped down the impala, under our eyes. Then our jaw dropped, in awe, as one of the dogs grabbed an unborn impala from the mother’s womb – the circle of life.
After a few more calls the rest of the pack finally reunited. The other dogs were also red faced, they appeared to have had another successful hunt on their own.
After the reunion and playful games amongst the pack, the dogs were off again. Off to the next adventure in the South Luangwa National Park.
In awe and happy with the adventure the morning had brought, Kafunta guests savored this once-in-a-lifetime experience, not only saving digital pictures but memories as well. Each safari vehicle idling while enjoying the calm after the storm on the banks of the Luangwa River. An hour into the safari, what more can the bush of the South Luangwa offer?