Run-in with Rhinos
Nwanedi National Park, Limpopo, South Africa, 2009-09-29 12:00 by Laerke
We started our safari adventure in the small park of Nwanedi, the vegetation in the park is mainly Mopani and mixed woodland. Overall the park seemed very dry, and at first we thought no animals could live here, but as we drove around we discovered plenty of life. We parked by a waterhole, that had dwindled to a small pool in the surrounding dried mud, and waited for a bit – and sure enough suddenly a zebra came out of the bushes! The black and white animal was beautiful and offered a lovely contrast to the grey and brown surroundings. More zebras came to drink, as well as a giraffe - though he changed his mind when he saw us and walked nervously away…

Dusk was approaching and we were heading back to the camp, suddenly as we passed a 4x4 only gravel side road Martin spotted a big grey butt further down that road, we followed it and it turned out to be a rhino! We felt very lucky to see a rhino on our very first safari-day :-) And we also got our little Citi Golf 4x4 road tested – it did excellent!

The next morning one of the rangers told me that the manager had a baby rhino that had been found orphaned, and that we could pop in and see it if we wanted. Didn’t really know what to expect and a little lost, we asked the local staff near the managers house for directions – they kindly told us that the rhino were just behind the buildings close by. We drove there, expecting to find an enclosure – but found the baby rhino wandering around the front yard without anything confining it. It was so cute and rather big!
We approached slowly, as we didn’t want to scare it, but we were needlessly careful – soon the rhino was testing if we were good playmates, doing so by bumping in to us with and eating Martins shoe (while still on Martins foot). It was great fun petting and playing with the rhino, but also a little dangerous – it wasn’t just small and cute, but incredibly strong and very heavy, giving Laerke some big bruises on her shin. Fortunately it wasn’t yet a good runner, which we had to take opportunity of a few time :)

The park has a nice camp site and some very friendly staff and a nice and relaxed atmosphere with few visitors – which is too bad, as it is a great stop for a night or two. At night Kudus (big reindeer like antelopes) graze around your tent and even a Warthog or two visit. Camping was cheap, and we didn’t even have to pay a park fee, which in many National Parks are quite steep!