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The Delights of Mana Pools in Zimbabwe

Posted by on December 14th, 2018

Category: Conservation, Zimbabwe

Did you watch Sir David Attenborough’s incredible Dynasties episode on Painted Wolves?! (By the way – also known as Cape Hunting Dogs, Wild Dogs and Painted Dogs).

The programme sent me reaching for my own photographs to see if I could identify members of Tait’s or Blacktip’s family!

Painted Dogs in Mana Pools

I’ve been lucky enough to spend lengthy periods of time in Mana Pools with the excellent guides that Zimbabwe tends to excel in.  Two in particular shone out with their passion for Painted Dogs – Stretch Ferreira and Nick Murray (Nick appeared in the programme and hosted the BBC during their filming at Vundu Camp). 

So we stayed for 10 days at Goliath Camp – this is a seasonal tented camp on the banks of the Zambezi River.  Its ensuite tents are simply furnished with two camp beds. No gold taps or wi-fi here – thank goodness – this is the real sand between your toes bush experience. The owner guide, Stretch Ferreira is a legend in his own lifetime in these parts.  With more than 30 years in the bush, Stretch is on a mission to have his guests respectfully experience Mana’s iconic species – namely Painted Dogs, Lions and Mana’s huge bull elephants.

And close we did get. On one occasion we picked up wild dog tracks that lead straight into a forested area and unable to drive further, we set out on foot.  Sure enough, Stretch found the Painted Dogs now resting in thick bush, no doubt digesting their latest prey after the morning’s hunt.  For a closer view, we were instructed to sit down and slowly shuffle forwards on our bottoms!  Here they are…

On another occasion, we tracked the dogs in 4 x 4 into a wilderness area – it was a pack of 19 including 9 pups.  The adult dogs were so relaxed in our presence that they even allowed their inquisitive young to approach us really close – as you can see from the images below of my husband filming eye to eye with the puppies.

Painted Dogs are just one of the highlights of Mana Pools.  

There are also iconic huge bull elephants that have become famed for standing on their hind legs to reach the seed pods on the park’s winterthorn trees – a favourite food during the dry season.  Boswell is the most famous of them all and is the inspiration for our logo.  

Below – Stretch with an intrepid guest getting up close to one of Boswell’s companions…

To experience Mana Pools and follow in the footsteps of Sir David Attenborough simply get in touch and we’ll arrange everything from your flights and accommodation, to organising your unique bush experiences and meeting the guardians of this special wilderness.

You’ll leave inspired and fulfilled, confident in the knowledge that your visit has contributed to the conservation of the Painted Wolves.

** Painted Wolves can also be found in other countries including Botswana, Zambia, South Africa’s Kruger and Tanzania.


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