Crashing the scene

Pamushana | May 2019

I was camped out again, on my favourite dam wall that offers a good vantage point and a relatively safe refuge from the vehicle. I was trying to tell myself that really it was an afternoon of birding – just sitting quietly with binos and a bird book and trying to ID whatever came along, and enjoying the isolation and peace. But really what I wanted and hoped and wished for was a solitary black rhino.

I waited for over three hours. I did some birding. I did some stretching. I contemplated thinking about thinking. I might have even practiced some dance moves – really, no one was watching. As the sun started to slip away behind the sandstone ridge I thought I heard a bang, and was that a squeal? Perhaps it was a small breeding herd of elephants making their way to the water. Or maybe it was two black rhinos – their horns connecting as they bullied each other and the little squeals they make…

I was losing light fast and nothing materialised out of the dense bush around the drinking spot. Then just like that FOUR BLACK RHINOS tumbled onto the scene! Bear in mind that these are Critically Endangered animals with only between 5 042 and 5 455 left in the whole world, today. Here were four healthy, free-roaming, wild black rhinos, standing in front of me, in the middle of the wilderness. What an honour and a privilege – and a tricky scene to try and focus on through salty tears of joy.

Thank you to our donors, our ecology, conservation and security teams, and every person on this property who helps to protect these animals and allows them to thrive. Thank you to our management and marketing people who champion conservation and tourism. And thank you to the guests who contribute to their protection by visiting us. Even if you see an image like this and it makes you more aware of rhinos and the threats they face, and you share your concerns within your circle of influence, then you are doing something for their survival.