We had been searching unsuccessfully all morning for a pair of mating leopard that had been seen the previous night. After a few hours of following tracks, we were driving past Tingwe Camp,( the place where John Varty raised the abandoned lion cub, Shingalana.) when I noticed the rear end of a rhino sticking out of some bushes.
One of the other rangers had seen tracks and dung of a black rhino a few days before so it had been on my mind that this was a possibility. As I saw it I immediately, even from the little I could see, thought it just looked different.
Not wanting to shout out “Black Rhino” and then loook silly when a young white rhino wandered out, I held my tounge and reversed a few meters for a better view. Then, in a typical display of Black Rhino behaviour, it ran out of the thicket towards us to investigate, a bunch of leaves dangling from its mouth.
After staring at us for a few seconds, it promptly turned tail and ran at full speed in the opposite direction.
Suddenly, even the possibility of finding a mating pair of leopard seemed to pale in comparison to what we had just witnessed. What made it even more special was that just the day before, Dan (the geust who took the photo below) had been telling me how how fascinated he was by rhino and how much he enjoyed seeing them, but none of us could have imagined we would see the elusive Black Rhino. That brief glimpse ended a five year wait since the last sighting at Londolozi. In a time when Africa is experiencing some of the worst poaching for rhino horn in its history, it is an encouraging sign to see one of these extremely rare creatures.
Photographed and Filmed by: Dan