October 2021

Black rhino encounter on the sunset safari cruise


Black rhino encounter on the sunset safari cruise

The sunset safari cruises are usually the ultimate in relaxation and a type of zen meditation. You cruise along, soaking up the indescribably beautiful splendour of the lake, sandstone cliffs, riverine vegetation, jungle and sculptural trees. Then there’s the prolific birdlife – so many species nesting around or fishing from the lake, and you’re guaranteed to see the animals that live in the water such as hippos and crocs. Every now and again you may see some antelope grazing on the banks of the river.

We were puttering along up the narrower reaches of the river, sipping our sundowners and well under the spell of it all when suddenly there was a great crashing and bashing just ahead of the starboard bow. It was a black rhino! It was just about to step down from the bank and have a drink when we appeared. Flustered it blustered about for a few seconds, then stopped and surveyed us for a few more, then stormed off back into a dense grove. It waited until we were gone  before enjoining its sundowner drink.

Pot of gold

When we eventually got to these lions that our lion tracking team had found it was like finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow of emerald, sage, copper, bronze and chestnut leaves amid silver-grey tree stumps and foliage, on top of a dark chocolate and liquorice rock. A majestic scene if ever there was!

They were on the far bank of a deep ravine and we managed to photograph them from different angles, while one lionesses kept an eye on the lion tracking team that were on foot in the distance.

Spa treatments

This white rhino arrived at the pan during the glorious golden hour, and began drinking as normal. But then it began what seemed like unusual behaviour. It plunged its whole front horn underwater and began snorkelling around. Even the yellow-billed oxpecker between its ears seemed alarmed.