4 Barnard St, Rondebosch, Cape Town, 7700

Call Craig: +27 82 091 7983 | Email: craig@southernafricantours.com

Call Bianca: +27 74 957 0355 | Email: bianca@southernafricantours.com

African wild dogs

The African Wild Dog is not like a domestic dog or a wolf, it’s most characteristic aspect are the big, round ears. More recently the wild dog is referred to as a painted dog.

The Latin name Lycaon pictus, means ‘painted wolf’, because it is close in species to a wolf. Their camouflage is different from a dog’s, they are covered with non-uniform patches of red, brown, black, yellow and white fur, they have four toes, unlike the five toes of domestic dogs.  

  1. They are mainly found in Southern Africa. In South Africa there are less than 460, mostly found in the Kruger Park and KZN. Worldwide there are no more than 7000.
  2. They are highly sociable animals, live in packs, hunt collectively in groups of up to 25, and together rear the litter of the monogamous pair that leads the pack.
  3. They can roam very long distances – and travel more than 60km in a single day looking for food. 

Best time to see them

Unfortunately wild dogs have diminished in numbers, and they cover great distances, thus sometimes difficult to find. However whilst the cubs are denned, the dogs are mostly sedentary. From the months of August to April.


Top places to see Wild Dog in South Africa:

Kruger National Park

Regarded as the country’s only viable population of wild dogs, which varies between 220 and 430 dogs at any time. The packs, of which there are several, use an area of 930 square km.

Hluhluwe – Umfolozi Game Reserve

Wild dogs where Introduced to the park in the 80’s, where 30 dogs formed a single pack. The population now is around 10 packs. Other reserves in KZN have also introduced wild dog.

Pilanesberg National Park

Wild dogs were introduced into Pilanesberg in the mid 90’s where they have efficaciously survived, and continue to breed. They not often sighted as they tend to steer away from tourist roads.

Mapungubwe National Park 

They run a project allowing visitors to radio track the wild dogs. 90% of tracking attempts result in pack sightings.

Tswalu Kalahari Reserve

Tswalu’s wild dogs disappeared over the years, probably killed by farmers after they escaped from the game reserve. In 2014 a pack of wild dogs was flown from Thanda Game Reserve and introduced to Tswalu Game Reserve. Today they are flourishing, and have produced a number of litters.

Madikwe Game Reserve

Madikwe, is one of South Africa’s largest private game reserves, they have a wild dog project that began by reintroducing 12 wild dogs into the park in the early 90’s. The dogs are now thriving in the park. Because they are used to safari vehicles, the lively and fun dogs don’t flee at the sight of a game vehicle, making great moments for guests.

Please contact me if you would like more information about the Wild Dogs or anything else South African.  

Call Craig + 27 82 091 7983 or mail me craig@southernafricantours.com .