Such an exciting winter morning!

Binoculars and cameras fully charged and ready for action – check.
Hot box loaded with our essentials of coffee, hot chocolate, condensed milk and freshly baked rusks – check.
Scarfs, beanies, gloves and hot water bottles filled to keep our laps warm under the blankets – check.

We were ready for action and certain that our preparedness would bring good fortune as we set out at 5:30am into the darkness. Direction – Wild Dog den!

In the far South West of the Madikwe Game Reserve, the sun begins to rise and slowly heat up the bushveld. With it, the zebra and impala youngsters kick and jump with excitement and the Spurfowl sing their throats warm.
We take our final turn off the road onto a land rover two-track, and slowly approach the Wild Dog den site. 

Our arrival triggered an alert pair of large, rounded black ears that appeared from behind a small acacia bush. We had arrived! Stepping out from her hiding spot, a proud, healthy Wild Dog mother presented herself. She put her nose to the air to investigate her new visitors and then effortlessly lay down in a warm, open, sunny bed of grass.

As if rehearsed, in an orderly fashion, a new pair of little ears appears from a burrow in the ground in front of her. Then a second pair, a third, fourth, fifth, and suddenly in complete chaos a wave of fluffy black and white pups burst out of their den to disturb their mother for their morning breakfast. 10 PUPPIES!
Photos and Text by Dane and Tristan Van Heteren