It is almost a joke amongst my safari-going friends that I still haven’t seen wild dog, after ten years of visiting South Africa and every time being desperate to spot them. These beautiful animals are officially endangered due to decades of hunting and persecution in the past. Added to that the fact that they can travel up to 50km a day and you can see why it is so hard to find them! However, last week my luck finally changed. I spent a night at Skukuza in the Kruger National Park on my first day of leave from my internship with the sole objective of finding these elusive creatures. The next morning, still dog-less and running late to check out of my accommodation, I suddenly got wind that some dogs were spotted on the S21. A mere 20km away! Sod it, I thought, I’ll just have to be VERY late! I hooked a quick right and began zooming towards my destination. P1060572.jpgShortly after, my heart almost stopped beating as there, right in front of me, stood one of the most beautiful animals I know. Also known as a painted dog for their stunning coat of colours, he calmly sauntered to the side of the road and went to lay down with one of the females. There were more!! In the end I counted a pack of 9 – all of them relaxed and lying out in the open just metres from my car. Heaven. I stayed for a full 20 minutes, soaking up every second of this special moment (even shedding a slight tear!) before finally heading back to face the scourge of the receptionist for my tardiness. It was absolutely worth it.

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This male was injured on his face but seemed otherwise healthy – the other dogs were so tender with him it was beautiful to watch.