Rachel Taylor, an avid traveller joined our 46-Day Ultimate African Adventure and the 19-Day Kruger to Cape Town Overland Tours. Read about her experiences on route and tips for travelling in this amazing continent.
Rhinos can weigh up to 3,500kg and run at an average of 28mph over 100m (compared to a human’s maximum of 23mph). So, are you brave enough to leave your safari truck and go walking into the bush to get up close to a rhino? Well, in Zimbabwe you can do just that, and you will be rewarded with one of the most unique experiences of your life.
Don’t worry, though; you will be under the supervision of rangers who work with the rhinos daily and understand how to read their reaction to ensure your safety. Not to mention, rhinos are actually very gentle creatures who are not bothered by humans.
That’s just one of the reasons why the rhino is so rare. In the 1800s when explorers started traversing Africa, the whole continent was covered in rhinos, who use to roam in ‘crashes’ up to 80. Rhinos were so trusting that it was too easy to kill them for food, fashion, and just for fun. In 1800, there were a million rhinos on the planet; now there are only 28,000 – and that number is decreasing every year. Many scientists believe that rhinos will be extinct in 10 years or less.
That’s really sad when the evolution of rhinos can be traced back to over 30 million years ago (when humans weren’t around) and the current form of rhinos that we know have existed for 14 million years (around the time when the first great apes start appearing).
Rhinos are pretty amazing: they have ears that can swivel independently, they make their own sunblock, and they communicate using their own dung.
Walking with rhinos is a very different experience to viewing them from a truck. Walking up close to rhinos will let you spot all those details that even with the best binoculars you can’t see, and you’ll be able to hear the sounds they make as they eat their lunch or chat to each other. For once, vegetation won’t be in the way of that perfect view.
Walking with rhinos can be experienced in Matobo National Park, Zimbabwe, which has very few visitors and a stunning landscape very different to other national parks in Southern Africa. As well as rhinos the park also has many bushmen paintings that range in date from a few hundred to a few thousand years ago and is a great place to learn more about Bushmen.
Add Zimbabwe to your trip itinerary and experience first-hand these beautiful creatures up close and personal. If you can’t visit Zimbabwe, don’t worry: you’ll have other opportunities to spot (and fall in love with) rhinos throughout Southern and Eastern Africa.
Blog written by Rachel Taylor