Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Golf will never be the same

Have you ever experienced a wild dog hunt on your local golf course?

I visited Aberdare country club in January this year and got an unexpected surprise when I stumbled onto a pack of wild dogs when visiting one of the spots that we use for bush breakfasts. Since then they have stayed in the area close to the country club and have now started hunting on the golf course.
Some recent golf enthusiasts got a pleasant although unexpected surprise when their golf game was completely overshadowed by the fact that they became the center of an Impala hunt. The wild dog pack charged past them while hunting an impala on the golf course.

Photograph by Chris Johns
These long-legged canines have only four toes per foot, unlike other dogs, which have five toes on their forefeet. The dog's Latin name means "painted wolf," referring to the animal's irregular, mottled coat, which features patches of red, black, brown, white, and yellow fur. Each animal has its own unique coat pattern, and all have big, rounded ears.

The dogs have a peculiar rather playful ceremony that bonds them for a common purpose and initiates each hunt. They start circulating among the other pack members, vocalizing and touching until they get excited and are ready to hunt. They start the hunt in an organized, cooperative manner. When prey is targeted, some of the dogs run close to the animal, while others follow behind, taking over when the leader tired. They can run long distances, at speeds up to about 35 miles per hour and are formidable hunters.

The African wild dog, typically roams the open plains and sparse woodlands of sub-Saharan Africa. But this large pack obviously prefer the golf course of Aberdare country club as the golf course is set within the 1300-acre game sanctuary with free roaming  giraffes, zebras, Elands, Impalas, Warthogs, and baboons.
Marasa Africa “A world where the unforgettable happens” lived up to their slogan when it comes to the Aberdare country club. I’m sure golf at this club will never be the same.

It is a very rare site to encounter or see these animals hunt. The African wild dog is an endangered species due to habitat loss and poaching. It uses very large territories (and so can persist only in large wildlife protected areas), and it is strongly affected by competition with larger carnivores that rely on the same prey base, particularly the lion and the Spotted Hyena
 The Aberdare Country Club, only a two and a half hour drive northeast from Nairobi, is nestled on a slope of Mweiga Hill in the Aberdare Highlands, part of the Great Rift Valley. This captivating site was the homestead of an English couple that decided to settle in Kenya. Almost a half century later, their home, "The Steep", was renamed the Aberdare Country Club and opened for guests. Considered a heritage property in Kenya, The Aberdare Country Club has retained the charm of a private home with the simple comforts of a country inn.

Below is some footage of them hunting Impala on the golf course. Golf will never be the same.

For more exciting trips and an exploration of East Africa contact Premier Safaris or Corne Schalkwyk and travel with us.