A successful hunt in camp
A hunt in camp. I have read many stories about people experiencing hunts in camp. Not only Mana Pools, but in many places in Africa. It certainly isn’t uncommon, but I never thought I would experience it on several occasions during the week in Mana Pools.
We had the pleasure to witness both the Nyamatusi and Nyakasanka pack hunt. And both packs did it successfully. What was exceptional was that we had the Nykasanka pack more or less resident around camp for four days. During those days they hunted successfully on several occasions killing multiple times. It almost felt like we didn’t dare to leave camp as the dogs would come in and hunt.
Our first encounter with the Nyakasanka pack
The first encounter we had with the Nyakasanka pack was special. We had left the vehicle at the small airfield not far from camp as we understood the dogs had been there in the morning. We were the only people there and decided to do a game walk to try to locate them.
It didn’t take long before Martin pointed and said Mickey Mouse ears. The rest of us stopped, watched and confirmed. We had found the Painted Dogs. Our guide then told us to hurry up as he thought they were hunting. He was correct. It didn’t take long before hell broke loose and we had Impalas running at full speed with Dogs behind with us standing in the middle. We had both predator and prey passing us within a few meters during some intense moments.
They didn’t catch any Impala, so we decided to stay with the pups and their guardians. We were positive the pack would kill and come back to collect them.
They came back for the pups and moved off into the thicket. We found them just a few hundred meters from camp where they had made a kill. When I went to bed I felt sure we would have Dogs nearby in the morning.
A morning with dogs hunting in and around camp
We met the dogs the next morning on our way out of camp. We understood these guys already had hunted, but they hadn’t made a kill. Instead, they decided to wait on our exit road with hope of coming in contact with the rest of the pack.
It didn’t take long before the dogs heard something and started to move towards camp and then out onto the floodplain where a kill had been made. This must have been made shortly after we had left camp meaning we missed the opportunity to witness the hunt. Instead we got to see interaction between dogs and Vultures, but I leave that for another story.
A crazier afternoon with kills in camp
We had experienced something special in the morning, but the afternoon became even crazier. The dogs had stayed just outside camp during the warmer hours. We went over to them after the safari siesta to have a look and see what they were up to. When they started to move they headed in the direction of camp and it didn’t take long before chaos erupted.
They seized the opportunity and went for it just as we were heading out of camp. Impalas and dogs everywhere and us heading back into camp. We saw Frode sitting in his chair outside the tent with dogs tearing into an Impala just a few meters in front of him. We stopped and took some pictures of this scene, until we understood that a fresh kill was made just 100 meters away.
When we got there we found a single dog in the process of killing an Impala. It is a gruesome sight and one many think of as cruel. But, it is a quick kill if we compare it to the struggle and fight that often is involved when cats suffocate their prey. The dogs way is more effective in my opinion as their prey is killed quicker.
Video: A successful hunt
We stayed at this sight as we understood that the rest of the pack eventually would get there. It is special to witness how quickly a pack consumes a kill and how little noise they make. When we got back to Frodes kill we could count to at least three Spotted Hyenas that was picking up the scrapes from the kill made in front of Frodes tent.
Please enjoy the Photo Album, but be aware of some gruesome pictures.