Go Self-Drive Tours, South Africa
Go Self Drive Home

Seeing a live rhino in the wild should be your top priority while on a South African self-drive safari

The plight of rhino’s in the wild has made headlines worldwide. Hunted for its horn, which is sold on the black market for its supposed medicinal qualities, poachers are steadily decimating the rhino population. This proud, strong animal, tracing its living history back to prehistoric beasts that roamed the earth more than 5 million years ago, is now precariously perched on the brink of extinction.

While many organisations are working hard to Save The Rhino, now is the time to see these incredible creatures with your own eyes, in their natural habitat.

The most popular Southern African destination for rhino spotting and, of course, spectacular safaris, is South Africa’s Kruger National Park. With undoubtedly the largest black- and white rhino population in South Africa, Kruger also offers unsurpassed sightings of the rest of Africa’s Big Five (African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo and African leopard), and countless other wild animals.

This mother and daughter are resident white rhinos at a park you could visit on your next Garden Route road trip... contact us to find out more!

This mother and daughter are resident white rhinos at a park you could visit on your next Garden Route road trip… contact us to find out more!

If you weren’t planning a safari for your well-deserved vacation, but would prefer a road trip along South Africa’s beautiful Garden Route, you can still pop into a game reserve along the way to see these majestic creatures in the wild. Smaller game reserves don’t have the resources to thwart poaching on standby as the larger reserves do so, in an effort not to give the location of rhino away to potential poachers, we won’t name reserves with resident rhino along the Garden Route. But if this is something you’d like to include in your trip, let us know and we’ll be sure to work it into your trip.

In fact, if there is anything specific that you’d like to experience, do or see during your self-drive vacation in South Africa, let us know! We work with you to tailor your trip to your needs – from accommodation requirements to activities and sights to see. Visit www.goselfdrive.co.za for more information.

And talking about sights to see – back to the rhino. Five species of rhino (shortened form of rhinoceros) reside in Asia and Africa. At last count there were approximately 3 300 Greater One-horned Rhino left in all of Asia, less than 100 Sumatran Rhino and between 50 and 60 Javan Rhino. In all of Africa there are approximately 5 000 Black Rhino and approximately 20 400 White Rhino. And these numbers are dwindling every day.

The colouring of black and white rhino, which you’ll see in South Africa, is very similar. One of the theories behind the white rhino’s name is that “white” is a distortion of either the Afrikaans word wyd or the Dutch word wijd … meaning wide and referring to the rhino’s square lips (www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhinoceros). The black rhino was so named to distinguish it from its cousin.

The black rhino is smaller than it's cousin and has a pointed snout. Image from http://bit.ly/1OiJpmh.

The black rhino is smaller than it’s cousin and has a pointed snout. Image from http://bit.ly/1OiJpmh.

But one thing is for sure – both species are huge! The smaller of the two, an adult black rhino reaches a shoulder height of 1.5 – 1.75m (59 – 69in), is between 3.5 – 3.9m (11 – 13ft) from snout to tail, and weighs between 850 – 1 600kg (1 870 – 3 530lb)! Its larger cousin’s shoulder stands between 1.8 – 2m (5.9 – 6.6ft) high, is 3.5 – 4.6m (11 – 15ft) long and weighs a whopping 1 600 – 2 400kg (4 000 – 5 000lb) (info from www.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rhinoceros)!

Other differences include the black rhino’s pointed snout versus the white rhino’s flat, wide jaw. This pointed lip allows it to pick leaves and bark off of trees, which it prefers to the white rhino’s diet of grass. This also means that you’re more likely to spot black rhino in bushy areas with tasty trees, while white rhino roam the grasslands. White rhino sport two beautiful horns while black rhino may develop a smaller, third horn.

But they also share certain similarities. Despite the fact that they are both giant, beautiful animals, they have very poor eyesight, but incredibly sharp ears and a sense of smell that would put a bloodhound to shame. They are exceptional parents, quirky characters and, sadly, nearing extinction.

The white rhino's flat snout is perfect for nibbling grass. Image from http://bit.ly/1RoVAvD.

The white rhino’s flat snout is perfect for nibbling grass. Image from http://bit.ly/1RoVAvD.

Which brings us back to one of the greatest cons in history: rhino horn. Prized in the east (especially China and Vietnam), rhino horn is revered as a status symbol and for its supposed healing and aphrodisiacal properties. Second only in price to sperm whale oil on the black market for illegally obtain natural goods, rhino are butchered on a daily basis for what, in essence, is exactly the same as your or my hair or nail clippings. Yes – rhino horn consists entirely of keratin – the same stuff that makes up our tresses and toenails! The notion that it can heal illnesses or rival oysters in getting your mojo going, is totally unfounded and untrue.

This is also the easiest way to help our rhino: spread the word that the horn is not a magical aphrodisiac or healing agent! Another important thing to remember is to turn off your location settings on your camera. When you post that beautiful photo you took of a rhino and it is stamped with a date, time and geo-tag, you are serving that rhino’s location, horn and life to poachers on a platter. You can also check out Save The Rhino or Stop Rhino Poaching to find out more and to get involved, or simply search Google.

And, of course, make sure that you, your parents and your children get to see these magnificent beasts at their best as you take a road trip through South Africa. Contact us today to find out how to make what is a dream for many, a reality for your family.

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.