An Exciting Start to the Day at the Milgis

Ahhhh here comes the sun again…another stunner of a sun rise on Elkanto Hill!! I hopped out of my star bed, as I was stretching and thinking to myself… ‘Yes you are lucky… This is a very nice place to live!! When the baboons on the rocks on the hill opposite started barking and really getting very agitated.. Kosma raced up from below saying ‘I wonder what they can see!’ We then sat on our rock for an hour and a quarter mesmerised with what unfolded below us!!

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‘us’ means Kosma myself and 3 dogs!!!

We saw some cape hunting dogs just combing through the bush down below and thought that was what the baboons were barking at but when they went out into the lugga just below the rocks where the baboons were sitting.. Two big male baboons rushed down the hill to confront them.. Two baboons against two hunting dogs.. they chased each other backwards and forwards but actually they did not engage!.. and finally the hunting dogs went trotting off down the lugga, with the baboons close behind but keeping a safe distance, until two other hunting dogs came out of the bush now it was 4 against 2 and the baboons retreated back to their rock.. It wasn’t actually the dogs that were bothering them, it must have been a lion because they carried on barking after the dogs left, and actually I noticed my dogs the night before had left me to sleep on my own!.. Knowing my dogs that can only be a lion!

Suddenly we saw 3 Elephants saunter on to the lugga to drink, right in the path of the hunting dogs!! The dogs now having gathered the troops and were 9, were running in single file along the edge of the lugga, speeding up and lowering their heads and spooked the 3 Elephants, causing absolute chaos! The Elephant did not see them until they were 10 feet away, they panicked and had no control of the situation, with the dogs nipping at their heels.. At one time we saw a dog flying through the air, having got a boot from the hind leg, but before it hit the ground, it was planning his next manoeuvre.. Kosma was laughing saying.. ‘ What, these dogs are taking on these Elephants.. They’re crazy!’.. then suddenly about 5 more Elephants came out of the bush and raced into to join the 3.. it was even more chaos as they had a young one, and the dogs made a bee line for it!.. The Elephants were really disorganised, each one rushing after a dog with no plan, and the dogs just skipping out of their way and coming in from behind.. We really thought they’re going to get the baby!!


Unfortunately the sun was in our eyes and we could not get good photos, plus we were so excited we forgot to record the scene!! But in these two pictures you can see the Elephants had managed to get themselves slightly organised into a group, but still the dogs weren’t going to give up, while some were lying down, others playing one or two were probing the sides to see how best to crack the circle…


You can see 8 dogs across from the Elephants.. After about 10 minutes there seemed to be stale mate with both side just looking at each other!!

Suddenly out of the other side came 15 more highly organised Elephants with a matriarch that knew what to do, although they had to run the gauntlet to get from the other bank to our group of frightened Elephants!.. There were Elephants running in all directions, a huge amount of dust and noise that you could have heard many kms away!, and you couldn’t see what was going on, except there was two even smaller babies, and the dogs were after them!!


I’ll tell you what .. our adrenalin was pumping and we were sitting 600 feet up above on a rock!! It was exciting to say the least!…


An agitated Eley!!


The dogs tried to cut this youngster off from the herd, but luckily he made it!!


Then the Elephants now numbering about 23 managed to get themselves properly organised into the defensive group… Its seems like the new matriarch was the one that calmed the situation down and they all trumpeted charged together, fanning out to chase in a group, keeping the little babies well in the middle of the group.. You can see the dogs poised on the left of the picture, finally the dogs gave up but only after 30 minutes!!


The Elephants, every single one came through to this dust bath and gave themselves a good dusting, before they headed off in a beautiful line!


And off they go..

A couple of days before we watched one hunting dog pull down a fully grown lesser kudu at full gallop, and this is part of the same group running in to catch up.. Just look at that absolutely amazing sight!


Then soon after this one of the dogs having gulped a few mouthfuls of meat he/she went trotting off to call two dogs that were about 3 kms away calling.. That unbelievably beautiful haunting call of the hunting dogs! This is the two coming at full speed!


I apologise for the quality of the pictures, but on both occasions we are at least a km or more from the scene, and with the Elephants looking straight into the sun rise!!

5 thoughts on “An Exciting Start to the Day at the Milgis

  1. This is utterly amazing. What an incredible thing to witness. Thank you so much for letting us know about it. I am more than jealous! You do lead an extraordinary life and in my next one I am coming to join you! I had no idea there were wild dogs there, but of course El Kanto is the perfect vantage point to see whatever is passing through. I hope your safaris are going well – I see Michael and DD are coming out again. I will be in Ghana on a birding trip otherwise I would be with them. Maybe next year.   Lots of love   Jane


  2. Helen ! What AMAZING photos and story!
    As you told it, it all was in my minds eye and I could feel the sun and hear the commotion below. can’t wait to join you…… In January with Kjersti? Also going to Halvors memorial on 5 November. May be see you there xx Sophie and Andrew

  3. Wow, Helen…that a terrific report. You’ve got a wonderful “ringside seat” from Elkanto hill….great narrative and photos – wish you had audio to accompany this story!
    I’ve seen encounters like this with cape hunting dogs and spotted hyenas….the hyenas getting the upper hand at first but then more dogs were called in and the hyenas had to high-tail it at full speed! And wonderful to hear about the elephants – their numbers and how they rally around to protect their young….always!
    Much love, Katherine

  4. Pingback: Worst Dog Ever | The Tale Of Humoural Medicine

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