When I visited South Africa one of my bucket list things to do was camp in the famed Kruger National Park. This park is one of the largest in Africa, bordering both Zimbabwe and Mozambique and teems with a rich diversity of wildlife. Something I hoped to see was Lions but amazingly even though I could hear their roars in the darkness every single night and saw paw prints I never saw on in the park. Amazing!
Anyway, despite expecting to see Lions something a park guide told was we were far more likely to see one, than we would a rare and endangered African Wild Dog also known as the Painted Dog for their unique mottled coat. Low and behold early one morning whilst travelling in our bus right near the Orpen Gate entrance my group spotted a pair of Painted Dogs running across a scrubby veldt towards a roadway.
We followed them from a reasonable distance and turned a corner to encounter an incredible sight before us right there on a main road in the park. A large pack of Painted Dogs! There was great excitement in the pack with the return of this pair. They are very social (they communicate amongst the pack through physical contact, actions and vocalizations) and perhaps this was the monogamous breeding pair that dominate their packs returning.
To see such a rare animal up very, very close and so many of them too was such a fantastic experience. The long drive to Kruger was well worth it!