The safari that will show you the softer side of wild dogs

Our discouragement suddenly evaporates as the absent appears. It’s Vincent – and he looks good. Maybe he just had time for me. The pack erupts in frantic greetings, descending the riverbed and rounding the bend in a leaping scrimmage. I notice that Jamal, in front, has something in his mouth. It is only after, by checking our images, that we realize that she is carrying a dove.

Is the bird some kind of sign? Our experience with dogs has been so intense that it is tempting to give them ridiculous meanings; look for omens. Lightning flashes over the horizon as we return to camp and soon the first drops of rain are falling to the ground. One thing is certain: the life of the Nyakasanka pack will change as surely as the seasons.

With luck, Zimbabwe’s fortunes are also set to change. No longer on the UK government’s red list, the country is tentatively bracing for an influx of visitors, eager to make up for lost time on safari and marvel at Victoria Falls. I wonder what has happened to the pack since my visit: who is in charge now, who is born; who moved.

Fortunately, Nick, Henry and the PDC have been there on the case. Now, finally, we can come back to see for ourselves.


How to do

Natural World Safaris is offering a Painted Wolves Safari with Nick Dyer, departing 24 October 2022, starting at £ 7,935 per person. The package, for a maximum of six people, includes round-trip flights with Kenya Airways to Harare via Nairobi, light plane flights between Harare and Mana Pools, six nights split between Zambezi Expeditions and Kanga Camp, as well as all meals, homemade drinks, laundry and safari activities (01273 691642; naturalworldsafaris.com).

Covid controls

Passengers entering Zimbabwe must have a negative Covid-19 test result, issued no more than 48 hours prior to departure and validated through African Union Trusted Travel or UNDP Global Haven systems (you will need to create an account). You must also provide tracking and traceability information upon arrival. When leaving Zimbabwe, you will again be required to present a validated negative Covid-19 PCR certificate, issued within 48 hours of boarding


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