21 February 2011 by Kate Turkington

Beware - speeding rhino!

It’s something you’ve got to do - go on a guided wilderness trail in one of our national parks. I’ve done half a dozen now, and each was unforgettable.

It’s not just being in real wilderness with only a handful of other people. It’s not just appreciating the bush as a whole - when the Big 5 is only part of the total experience.It’s not your oh-so-knowledgeable guide and local tracker who can spot an elephant ear at 500 paces It’s the unexpected.

On one occasion our small group of 8 happened upon a sleeping white rhino. When you see these animals (which can weigh over 2 tons)  from a vehicle they look huge. Wait till you meet one on foot.

Ours got up with amazing speed, shook its great head from side to side and charged. We’d been told not to run under any circumstances.

“Run!” shouted our ranger. “Get behind a tree!” The only available tree was a slender sapling that an anorexic model would have had trouble hiding behind. Nonetheless, we all piled behind it in a single row with my teenage daughter in front.

When the rhino was about 10m away, the ranger and tracker simultaneously fired their rifles in the air. Bewildered, the rhino stopped dead in its tracks, snorted ferociously, and lumbered off in the opposite direction.

It was a nerve-wracking experience to say the least, but how many people can say they have been charged by a rhino?

Book your trail at least 9-12 months in advance. You certainly won’t regret it. And what tales you’ll have to tell your family and friends when you get home…

Category: Adventure, Wildlife

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