|Going back to the documentary we watched last Saturday, it was on Shamwari Game Reserve, in the Addo area where wildlife numbers had been in steep decline, largely due to poaching, often occurring due to farmers protecting their livestock from predators. The show talked about the fencing (electric) of the reserve and the slow re-introduction of animals. At first radio collars were used to make sure that the animals were adapting and surviving okay and also leaving the farmers animals alone by respecting the fences. They introduced all the large cats and plenty of antelope to feed them with, and they also introduced a pack of wild dogs; and this was our reason for seeking out the reserve. Our latest fad is wild dogs, as on our trip we have been lucky in seeing most things (except wild dogs, cervel, caracal and sable), however, these are one of the hardest things to spot.
Being a private game reserve it is very expensive and an afternoon game drive including a 3 course lunch (not really necessary prior to bouncing around in a landrover) was R650!! However, we thought this might be our best chance to see these majestic animals. The logic was good but there were a couple of flaws to this:
1. The radio tag that had been fitted on one of the females had been removed as the dogs were used to being in the park so they could be trusted to get on with it - documentary was obvisouly older than we had thought then.
2. Even if the tags had been in place they are not allowed to use them for game drive purposes, only research which is kept completely separate, even having different physical locations to make sure.
We did stress our desire to see them to our guide Sipho, and he did his best, even taking us off the main game drive route to the furthest edge of the park where we could smell the spore (urine and poo!) which was very fresh but we didn't actually get to see them!! We did however get a great sighting of a pride of lions that had two males, that were brothers, that had lovely manes, however all in all the experience was not worth the cost....