Black rhino encounter

Pamushana | June 2017

We’d been on a mission to find a black rhino for a couple of days when all of a sudden one erupted out of a thicket and thundered towards us. He stopped short, sized us up, and then seemingly smiled for the camera while emphasizing his massive grey tank-like form against some delicate grass and soft pastel foliage.

But, no sooner was this pose struck then he charged again, accelerating our heart rates and filling far too much of my fixed 400mm lens’s frame. He stood spitting distance away, for what seemed like an eternity but was probably only a few seconds, and then galloped away in disgust. Adult male black rhinos, like this mature bull, tend to live on their own, except when courting females.

Black rhinos can move extremely quickly, and have been recorded at highs of 55 km/h. This is even more alarming when you are in a stationary vehicle or worse, on foot! They can ‘turn on a dime’ and will run right through scrub and bushes.

Black rhinos are quite predictable in their unpredictability! They’ll often charge a disturbing sound, smell or vehicle and when a black rhino catches the scent of humans it usually runs away, sometimes for quite a distance before stopping.