When our friends first told us about the Rhino Walking Safari, it really didn’t faze me. But, the more I thought about it, the more concerned I became. Being on foot in the African bush, looking for rhino sounded a little dangerous to me.
Our guide, Andrew, came to our chalet the evening before our tour, to introduce himself and let us know what to wear, what to take with us, and what we could expect.
He also provides wildlife tours inside Kruger Park with our clients safely into a large, well armored safari vehicle. Andrew casually mentioned that the rhino tour was twice the cost of the wildlife safari because of the danger. He quickly pointed out that the danger was to him, not us. He would be in front with a rifle and would be our first line of defense.
Okay, now I am really getting concerned. I think to myself, what happens if we come up on a rhino, something happens to Andrew, then what happens to us??? Not wanting to be the only one of our party to admit fear, I simply smiled, took a deep breath, and said nothing.
Up early the next morning, we followed his instructions regarding light colored clothing, hat, long sleeves, good walking shoes and sun block. We piled into his SUV for the 30-minute drive to the Kwa Madwala Private Game Reserve.
At the headquarters building inside the reserve, we were introduced to our driver and our tracker, and asked to sign forms regarding liability. (Oh, my goodness).
After a quick bathroom break, we piled into a safari vehicle to begin our adventure. The tracker rode on the front where he had a good view of the road and surrounding areas as we drove. Once he located rhino tracks, the vehicle was parked and we were given last minute instructions.
- Andrew, carrying a large rifle, would be in front.
- Our driver, Rick, would be in the rear, also carrying a large rifle
- Walk directly behind our guide; do not wander off on our own.
- No unusually noises, including cameras clicking, without checking with Andrew first.
- And above all, if we spot a rhino, or more importantly, if a rhino spots us, DO NOT RUN.
Okay, now I feel GREAT!
Off we went, leaving the security of our vehicle far behind us. The weather was pleasant: partly cloudy skies gave us some relief from the sun. We walked for almost two hours; saw giraffes, evidence of large animals, and lion and rhino tracks. The sheer anticipation of seeing one of these huge beast was exhilarating- like pulling the arm on a slot machine and watching the "7s" roll and one by one stop on the payline – all except that last one.
Quote for the Africa in Focus Website: The objective will be to view the animals without impacting their natural behavior, and sensitivity to the animals is top priority. This experience is exciting and exhilarating, as you will experience what it feels like to be just another animal in Africa’s wilderness.
Despite the efforts of our guide and our tracker, we found no rhino. However, we had the most excellent walk through the African bush you could imagine.