On the morning of Tuesday 21 March, we set out with the mission of finding some rhinos. Sometimes these animals prove to be easy to find, and other times very difficult to find. We had an idea of where they had been the day before and went straight to that area.
On our way there we found very fresh tracks leading north across a big road. We started following the tracks and saw a couple of places where they had been going across the roads. We had to establish which the last tracks were, as going in the wrong direction can lead to complete and utter failure.
It took us roughly two hours of intense tracking to follow the tracks as they circled back and forth. Eventually finding the newest tracks crossed south again about 50 meters away from where we first found the tracks. Ten minutes later we found 5 rhinos leisurely feeding as they made their way ever so slowly towards a waterhole for a drink. It was an amazing feeling to watch these magnificent animals and know that all the time spent tracking them was worth while.
As the other rangers drew closer to the area to have a look at them we decided to leave them and give other guests a chance to have the same experience. We left the sighting with a smile, but then unexpectedly found two more rhinos not far from where the first ones had been – suddenly wondering why it hadn’t been so easy the first time around.
While still looking at these rhinos, another ranger called yet another two rhinos in roughly the same area. So we ended up with 9 rhinos, roughly around the same area as we had been tracking for such a long time. That also seemed to explain the abundance of tracks and many different directions the tracks were leading us into. At first it seemed like time wasted for spending time on an animal that could easily have been found, but then it also shows how unpredictable nature can be, making the same task look both easy and difficult at the same time. It all then just seems to unfold, depending on how you dance the rhino dance.
Jacques Beukes – Kapama River Lodge