It is early in the year yet, but thoughts of romance and log fires, good slow food and great Painted Wolf Wine, such as “Guillermo” pinotage, begin to tickle around the edges of my anticipation of the winter months in this southern hemisphere. Hardly winter in the snow sense of the word, here in the lowveld of Zimbabwe! But a cool season coming nevertheless, with crisp evenings spent round log fires and nose-chilling early morning game drives at Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, blanket around the legs in the open game-viewing vehicle…….
The hot months have exhausted me, and I look forward to gardening and birding all day at Chilo Gorge Safari Lodge, or painting in my studio at my bush house, “Tsaveni”, instead of collapsing in a hot heap by 10 am!
There is another reason that winter excites me-this is African hunting dog territory and the Alpha females den in the cool months. Bearing pups in deserted antbear and warthog holes in the side of termite mounds, the Matriarchs of each pack suspend their nomadic way of life, settle down and have a dedicated support system to help raise the little ones. We visit known dens to watch the Wild dog families interact with the growing pups. Lycaon pictus, aka African wild dogs, Painted dogs, Painted wolves…beautiful tri-coloured animals that are a joy to observe and paint. This image below is of “Claw” and her previous year’s pups. she is a young Alpha female who has been recently seen with her mate “Lizard” in our Senuko area. I so hope she is pregnant………….we will know by April/May.
Perhaps the Pedals 4 Paws bicycle rides, by Jeremy Borg of Painted Wolf Wines, which will be raising awareness and funding for Zimbabwean Wild dogs, will be able to watch her at her den then……