At A Glance:
Their stocky, armoured bodies and lumbering strides may fool onlookers into thinking they’re slow and perhaps even relatively harmless, but rhino safari onlookers would be mistaken. A rhino’s thick-set body is covered by tough and leathery skin, crowned by an impressive two horns on its snout. Black and white rhinos are distinguishable by their mouths which are different due to their eating habits.
White rhinos have wide mouths more suitable to grazing on open grasslands while black rhinos browse, resulting in more hooked and smaller mouths that enable them to grasp the leaves of trees and bushes. Both are endangered due to a mistaken belief that their horns possess medicinal properties and, more recently, that owning one denotes a certain type of wealth and success. Numbers have plummeted dangerously low in recent decades, with black rhino classified as critically endangered and white rhino as near threatened (although two subspecies are already genetically extinct).
Luckily for travellers, rhino can be seen in many parts of South Africa, from the Eastern Cape province’s Big 5 reserves to the Kruger National Park and Kwa-Zulu Natal. Found in the latter, Phinda Private Game Reserve’s 23,000ha of prime wilderness holds seven distinct habitats, providing homes to Africa’s Big 5, and notably, the endangered black rhino.
The Black Rhino Reserve’s landscape in the North West province is an enthralling combination of undulating plains, tamboti forests, tumbling mountains, and rolling hills dipping into unexplored valleys. The park borders and shares game-viewing land with the volcanic Pilanesberg Game Reserve (another rhino safari destination) on its north-western corner. Naturally, the Black Rhino Reserve harbours its namesake.
Some years ago the black rhino population of virtually every park in southern Africa was down to none, except for in the Hluhluwe-iMfolozi Park which maintained its population of both black and white rhinos. It is from here that black rhinos were able to be reintroduced to other parks and wildlife sanctuaries throughout Southern Africa.
The Kruger National Park and its surrounding reserves boast an impressive rhino population, but Sabi Sand’s Lion Sands is something truly spectacular. Lion Sands is home to the highest concentration of black rhino in South Africa and makes for a terrific all-year-round safari destination thanks to its prolific bird count and Big 5 presence.
The Masai Mara National Reserve is undeniably one of the most impressive wildlife sanctuaries on the continent, if not the entire planet. Home to large populations of wildlife, The Great Wildebeest Migration, as well as large population numbers of the Big 5, a safari here is sure to impress. While many visitors tend to flock here in the hopes of watching Mara River crossings and wildebeest kick dust up on grassland plains, the Maasai Mara is also a terrific location to spot the endangered black rhinoceros.
The Ngorongoro Crater in East Africa is not only famed for its magnificent wildlife population, but for being the only intact caldera on the planet. The crater acts as a natural cradle for wildlife, translating to its floor being densely populated with wildlife, including critically endangered black rhino.
A striking aspect of Etosha National Park is the varied vegetation within its area which nourishes countless herds of plains game such as zebra, wildebeest and elephant while also providing refuge for the endangered Black Rhino, Black-faced Impala and Tsessebe. Highlights at Etosha (and Ongava) are walking safaris in which you track both black and white rhino – with an armed ranger of course.
The Waterberg Plateau is another natural fortress for rhino, and in this instance, white rhino. Located in the Waterberg Plateau National Park, conservationists here are bent on reintroducing the wildlife that naturally flourished there centuries ago. Apart from rhino, visitors can also see the likes of eland, giraffe, and buffalo.
While the rhino population was at one point incredibly vulnerable in Botswana, in recent years it has begun to stabilise. Moremi Game Reserve acts as a superb environment for the reintroduction of rhinos into the reserve and white rhino numbers, in particular, have been promising. Not to mention, Moremi is found on the lush fringes of the Okavango Delta — one of the greatest natural wildernesses left on planet earth.
Rhinos have often favoured the protection of wooded valleys and tall grasslands, which is what makes the Matobo Hills an ideal habitat. Found in the Matobo National Park, the hills were proclaimed a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2003 thanks to its distinct rock formations. The park is also known for its sizeable population of white rhino who are regularly spotted among the thickets.
In a remote, southern corner of Zimbabwe, Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve’s diverse landscape, an impressive variety of flora, and permanent water sources makes it an ideal habitat for rhinos, evident in their healthy white rhino population. It seems to have been popular with humans once, too, as remnants of human occupation is evident in the multiple rock art sites found within its borders, thought to date back some 2,000 years.
Botswana to Seychelles Holiday
Make the most out of your African holiday and explore the waters of the Okavango Delta in Botswana and see the Big 5, followed by the Indian Ocean waters of the Seychelles, where you can explore the varied marine life - and swim with them!
Bianca’s African Spectacular
16 days of the best of Southern Africa's luxury and beauty
Highlights: Victoria Falls, Kruger National Park, Cape Town, Cape Winelands, Whale Route
Kruger - Cape Town
If you are in search of the ultimate luxury and relaxation, then this is the tour for you. This exclusive tour offers accommodation in South Africa's most elite lodges and a private safari experience second to none.
Kruger Park Safari and Victoria Falls
This tour combines 3 nights in Kruger National Park with 3 nights at Victoria Falls. Marvel at the Big 5 in Sabi Sand Game Reserve & one of the 7 Natural Wonders of the World!
Serengeti - Ngorongoro - Zanzibar
Discover the amazing highlights of Tanzania with this 9-day luxury safari that includes three iconic East African destinations: the Serengeti, Ngorongoro and Zanzibar Island. You get to experience both a safari experience and beach getaway in one vacation.
Best of KwaZulu-Natal
This two-week self-drive tour starts and ends in Durban. With the Drakensberg and Midlands, historic Battlefields and exclusive Phinda Game Reserve as well as Rocktail Bay sandwiched in between, it is easily the best of KwaZulu-Natal.
Kruger Park Fly-In Safari
We can have you in the heart of the Sabi Sand private game reserve in less than an hour and a half from Johannesburg! This four-day luxury safari is a popular add-on to other attractions in Southern Africa.
Safaris and Sandy Beaches
Spend 4 nights on safari at the award winning Londolozi Private Game Reserve in the Sabi Sand and then jet your way to Mauritius for 7 nights of white sands and clear seas.
Rwanda - Kenya - Serengeti
Experience the best and most that East Africa has to offer. This part of the world is unlike any other and worth a trip in this lifetime. This itinerary includes gorilla trekking in Rwanda, game drives in Kenya, a Serengeti experience, as well as Zanzibar island!
Gillian’s Classic African Safari
13 days of Southern Africa's best safari destinations
Highlights: Phinda Private Game Reserve, Sabi Sand Game Reserve, Victoria Falls, Okavango Delta
North Coast - KZN Safari - Drakensberg
Explore the hidden gems of KwaZulu-Natal on this gentle 10-day self-drive tour that goes from pristine beaches to Big 5 bush safaris and ends off with a gourmet retreat at the foot of the Drakensberg Mountains.
Gareth’s Elegant African Holiday
An 18-day elegant tour of Southern Africa
Highlights: Cape Town, Hermanus, Franschhoek, Kruger National Park, Bazaruto Archipelago
Cape Town, Kruger Park and Victoria Falls
This is once in a lifetime stuff! Our 'Three of the Best' special incorporates the very best of Southern Africa, from the beaches of Cape Town to the Big 5 in the Kruger. And it's all washed down with one of the 7 Wonders of the Natural World.
Manyara - Serengeti - Ngorongoro
This safari tour includes the best of Tanzania when it comes to wildlife, with sights totally unique to this part of Africa. Visit the National Parks of Manyara, Serengeti and Ngorongoro and enjoy excellent wildlife viewing and landscape panoramas.
Responsible Rhino Tour
At Rhino Africa we take our impact on the environment very seriously, which is why we can plan your tour to be as green as possible. This Responsible Rhino Tour incorporates some of Southern Africa's most responsible hotels and eco-lodges.
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