Rhino town | Travel Blog

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Published: January 10th 2024

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We have quickly fallen into a pattern of being on safari – early morning wake up with tea/coffee and cookies followed by a morning drive and breakfast out somewhere. Then back for lunch and a rest before the evening drive and a sundowner.

After the excellent start we’d made, it was difficult to see how we were going to better things, but some highlights of the last few days:

– white rhinos fighting because the male wanted to mate – he lost and she chased him away
– breakfast stop with black rhinos wandering around on the edges of the plain
– lots of giraffe, zebras, buffalo, jackals, warthogs including babies
– a new selection of DTWS including large groups of elands, steinbok, waterbok and some beautiful oryx
– lots of hyenas including a den with babies – they really are quite cute
– some elephant mums with their babies – we were really close to them and it was hilarious watching the babies trying to eat – the food ended up on their heads or in their ears a lot of the time
– a hippo out of the water – great opportunity for bum shots
– chimps at the Sweetwater sanctuary who have been rescued from civil wars and the illegal wildlife trade and were brought here to live out their days
– a mum and older lion cub striding across the plain, taking quite an interest in the pumbas
– a troop of baboons up a tree looking at something suspicious
– Maasai dancing and spear throwing demo
– nature walk with poo spotting and classification

But what we’d really come to see was the rhinos. We’ve seen a selection of blacks and southern whites scattered through the conservancy but we took a drive to the sanctuary to find out more. On the way, we passed the enclosure where they have the last two remaining northern whites in the world – both female and unable to breed. They were taken from a zoo in the Czech Republic and brought here and put with a southern who had to teach them how to be a rhino.

Then we visited with Baraka who is a blind black rhino who was rescued after he lost his sight. First we visited the museum to learn about the breeding program for the northern whites and the 39 embryos they are hoping to implant in a southern to act as a surrogate. They also had a great collection of bones, poo and other interesting bits of animal paraphernalia.

Then we went to wake Baraka to see if he was interested in some food. Luckily a carrot roused him from his nap and he was happy to be given some leaves and patted by us all.

We had a lovely sundowner last night on top of a hill where we looked out over the plains and could see elephants wandering through the trees.

Our sundowner this evening was a little different…we decided to take it inside the vehicle! We had spent some time this morning looking for the male lions of the porini pride…rumour had it they were in the area…and the baboons in the tree were very interested in something. But we hadn’t been able to find them. So when we got confirmation they were around this arvo, we set off in earnest.

Lots of driving through some relatively dense bush and we finally found one sleeping brother (who we named Thor). He didn’t seem at all interested in us but finally bothered to wake up and wander off to find his brother (Loki). We tried to follow them for a bit but the bush was dense and it was hard going, but we managed to spy Loki napping, cuddling their kill, a buffalo. We decided to move on, but as we were leaving, another male appeared. He had apparently been accompanied by a female (Gamora) from the pride, but he was an unknown intruder. The female joined in the feasting and he thought he’d have a go too. Silly silly boy (Thanos) – some deeply expressed dissatisfaction with his presence followed by a hot pursuit through the bushes and up the hill – Thor and Loki well and truly ejected him from their territory.

We decided to stay around to see what would happen – we sat and sipped our sundowners to the sound of Gamora chomping away on the kill. Meanwhile, word was out and about 20 hyenas descended, sniffing around and pacing, trying to work out whether they should have a go at the stinky remains of buffalo. There was much thinking and wondering and dopey looks until they all suddenly disappeared – the boys were back! Thor and Loki had triumphed and Thanos was banished. Let’s chow down on some two day old buffalo to celebrate. Or a gin and tonic!

Interesting facts we’ve gathered:

– giraffes have the same number of vertebrae in their necks as we do – seven
– they can’t drink for too long else the blood rushes to their heads – they close a flap behind their horns to prevent this
– warthog are so stupid that they forget why they’re running away
– aardvarks make holes looking for food and everyone else uses them for their dens
– male lions can rule different prides
– chimps can’t swim
– buffalo have an old male pathfinder to lead the herd
– hyena poo is white because they eat lots of bones


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