Rhinos are extinct, just like the dinosaurs.
This sentence is one we all might be saying within the next 20 years unless the current climate changes in Africa. These beautiful animals are being poached at an incredible rate, because of the value of their horns. With that in mind, there was no doubt we were going to take advantage of the opportunity to track and maybe get a glimpse of the white rhino in person.
We were not disappointed.
We had the pleasure of tracking rhinos in Matopos National Park in Zimbabwe, with the help of a truly colorful character and guide named Andy. Andy has been living and working in the bush for almost 25 years and he tells it how it is, like it or not (my kind of guy). Andy helped give us some details on the rhino and the precarious position it is in, along with what needs to be done to help preserve them for future generations.
After some initial instructions on how to act and track in the bush, we were off in search of these awesome creatures.
Tracking rhinos and other animals in the wild is a simple task (according to Andy) if you know what you are looking for in the environment. Find the clues and you find the animals. Easier said than done, so we were all happy to have Andy’s expertise for our tracking.
After roughly 30 minutes we spotted a crash of rhinos! We found six in total, including a large bull and a baby. Our group stood at a distance and snapped pictures and took video for maybe 30 minutes when Andy asked if we wanted to get closer. We trusted him completely, so the majority of us took the opportunity to get a bit closer. We were about 50 feet away from these guys and it was a pretty intense feeling, but well worth it.
The rhinos were the highlight, but the scenery of the national park was also stunning. It is hard to imagine a place so peaceful, but this really is perfect spot to see and hear nothing but nature.
Along with tracking the rhino, we knew we were going to be climbing some rocks to see sand paintings inside the Silozwane cave. These painting are thousands of years old (dates are debated), but the views from the climb were as incredible as the paintings themselves!
The climb itself was fairly straightforward and we couldn’t help but stop every so often to turn and gaze out at the mountains around us. We are not hard core climbers, so this is absolutely possible for those who don’t have much of a climbing background.
Once we finally arrived inside the cave, Andy gave us all the information he had about the paintings. He does not claim to be an expert in the field, but he explained the different positions people take on the dates and who may have done the paintings. It was interesting to say the least and we enjoyed listening to him and relaxing a bit after the climb.
Tracking and seeing the white rhino in the wild is an unbelievable memory and one we will not forget. It is an experience that can’t be duplicated in many areas of the world, so we feel incredibly grateful to have had the chance to take part. It is an absolute genuine experience and there is nothing canned about it at all. For those traveling to this area, we can not recommend it enough!
We used Black Rhino Safaris as it was set up for us through our overland group. If you are in the area or planning a trip and decide to use them, be sure to ask for Andy as a guide. He is the real deal!