Skip to Content
Safaris & Customized Travel
Safaris by Experience
View All Safaris
North Africa
Central Africa
View All Destinations

A Wild Dog takes to the air!

April 25, 2016 Southern Africa Bush Tails


Months ago I was tickled to receive a request from Dora and Vaughan in Zambia for artwork, to transform their Britten Norman Islander into a flying wild dog!

Of course I said Yes! What else would I say…



This project ticks all my boxes:

*It is public and interactive art, (loving street art and graffiti as I do…)

 *It is art that will stimulate discussion and promote tourism and conservation awareness in Southern Africa

 *It is art that will indirectly but meaningfully support community development in a Zambian Game Management Area

 *It is art in celebration of my favorite animal, the African Wild Dog!

 The Islander will fly between Kantunta Lodge, a unique and beautiful spot on the great Kafue river, and Livingstone.



Kafue Wild Dogs….


So, a few months later, here we are on the runway at Executive Air, Charles Prince Airport, in Harare…..towing the unsuspecting Islander to her painting hanger…


Javinos, the master spray painter at Executive Air, has matched a beautiful semi-metallic gold for the first coat of the Britten Norman Islander..


We complete the first masking, using thin masking tape, torn brown paper and torn strips of wide masking tape, allowing for the wonderful semi-metallic golden coat colour, and saving for the striking white markings that so many of our Zimbabwean and Zambian dogs have…


Javinos and I have been high on a scaffold masking the tail, and I have been on my back on a mechanic’s trolley underneath the plane masking the tummy area. Quite a task. (I want her tummy to look as good from underneath as her sides do…)


Javi does all the bigger areas I have marked-the tail being a special challenge…eventually wrapping the plane totally in brown paper, like a little boy’s dream present! Hard work for the team!


Javinos starts spraying smoothly from tail to nose tip…two coats of deep dramatic gold on each side of our wild dog plane.


I can’t wait to eventually unwrap her, but we have to let her first colour dry for more than 24 hours to be sure the base colour is well set for the next masking session by Javi and I …Patience is a virtue…Hunter, the Hanger Cat, hangs out on a tractor seat and waits with us….


At last, I am able to mask for the black areas…This next masking is a two day marathon…

I have to do lots of CAREFUL planning of the black patches in our dogs coat, thinking about the lie of the fur- (and fondly remembering the gorgeous silky feel of a real wild dogs coat when I helped Clive and Graham remove a wire snare from the neck of our female dog‘Snare”.….)

I lay torn masking tape strip by strip to get the effects I want (hopefully), and the plane looks like a huge golden parcel – no detail to be seen under the gold spray and the masking!


The tail masking is very involved…


Then comes the jet black spray coat. Javi works on high, and Rob Demblon and I plan the flying flag of the dog’s tail!


Black spray painting done…


The masking comes off…a long and careful process


So exciting, as the dramatic black and white doggy shapes emerge out of the gold…


We have done a softer gold colour on dogs head and neck – looks perfect!


the tail looks magnificent!


I have allowed nice large eyes for our wild dog since she is a girl…!


Choosing a gorgeous deep red background for the eyes, I want them real, but DRAMATIC!


revealing the eye, very pleasing…




and I am happy with the nose as well….


What a great effort by Javinos, spray painter par excellence!


Our wild dog exits the spray painting hanger, ready for her next adventure…


She’s off to the main hanger for her final fittings….


The plane is owned by four lodges: Kaingu, Kantunta, Konkamoya and Mukambi.

Check out SafariTalk for more on the lodges…

The main flying routes will be Lusaka – Chunga, and Livingstone – Ngoma/Chunga. But it will be available for other routes (Lufupa for J&M Safaris) and Busanga for the plains camps. On demand it will also be available for other routes on a charter basis.

The owners of “Wild Dog” are involved in the Kafue Conservation Hub , which seeks to develop the Kafue National Park through a sustainable development strategy that incorporates social and economic development with environmental sustainability. The greater Kafue National Park is one of Africa’s last remaining great wildlife wildernesses. So she is going to have many many adventures……