Every Sighting is Special
Most of us are aware of the situation we are currently facing with the huge rhino poaching crisis in Southern Africa. This makes every sighting that we get of rhinos even more special than ever before because we don’t how long we will still have them roaming the earth.
Setting out for an early morning safari from Buffalo Camp we were once again in search of one of Africa’s iconic species, but sadly one that is under serious threat. Driving slowly along the roads with the cold winter breeze on our faces, we located some fresh tracks of this incredible animal. They are very easy to identify because they are the only animal with three visible toes on each foot. But with this set of tracks, there was something very special! Something which made my heart start pounding. Something that my assistant guide and I had never seen together. It was the tracks of a tiny, baby rhino which must be at least a month old! We showed these adorable tracks to our guests and set off following them with high hopes.
We started driving around the area where we last saw the tracks heading, but with no luck. We soon started to lose hope of finding them as they might be sleeping somewhere inside the thick bush, a common trait of rhinos on a cold winter’s morning. But with one last loop around the area, my assistant guide ‘Vusi,’ with huge excitement, and grinning from ear to ear, called out, RHINO!! We very slowly made our way closer as we were not sure if the baby was with them or if she/he might run away.
As we got nearer, my heart started beating quicker and quicker, hoping that there might be a baby rhino waiting for us! At first, we didn’t see any baby but while scanning the area we spotted the little one lying down close to mom! What an adorable little creature it was. As I switched off the car, the little one got up and start walking towards us! It was coming to investigate this new ‘thing’ stopped in front of it. It was very possibly the first vehicle it had seen! His curiosity, yes it was a little boy, got the better of him and he started moving closer to us. Mom soon followed in our direction. Both rhinos were incredibly relaxed and in fact, it was as if the mom was pushing the baby closer to us to learn what we were. Her relaxed behaviour gave the baby some extra confidence. What an incredible sighting this was with a baby rhino and its mom only a few meters away from us!
After a couple of minutes, the mom decided it was enough and started walking away from us with her cute baby following her into the bushes. This was probably one of the most amazing sightings of a rhino that I have ever had and one for the memory archives, not to mention how speechless my guests were! I’m sure that they will also never forget this incredible morning!
Story and photos by Kapama Buffalo Camp Ranger – Hancho Olivier