The 21st September is World Rhino Day and to celebrate, I thought that sharing my knowledge of Africa’s best places to spot these magnificent, yet endangered creatures was a must. Not only did I want to highlight my favourite places to simply see them, but I wanted to showcase some of Africa’s finest conservation programmes, aimed specifically at rhino protection, which you can support by visiting. If seeing rhino roaming freely in their natural habitat is a must-do on your bucket list, then look no further than the inspiration below.
1. Chief’s Island, Botswana
Following a pioneering rhino relocation project some 15-20 years ago, Chief’s Island has become one of Botswana’s premier places to see rhino. Staying at either lavish Mombo Camp, or its more exclusive sister property Little Mombo, on the northern half of the island, you can learn all about their rhino conservation tactics during dedicated talks. On game drives, expert guides will tell you all about the work being undertaken by the Okavango Large Herbivore Ecology Project while you watch these magnificent creatures from within an open-sided safari vehicle.
2. Desert Rhino Camp, Namibia
Located within a remote corner of the million-acre Palmwag Reserve in northern Damaraland, Desert Rhino Camp is an extraordinary property from which you can spot an abundance of desert-adapted wildlife. These unique species not only include black rhino, but elephant, mountain zebra, giraffe, oryx and springbok. Supported by the Save the Rhino Trust, the area has been a haven for black rhino since hunting was banned in the 80’s and 90’s. In fact, the reserve now boasts the largest concentration of rhino outside of a national park. The best part? From Desert Rhino Camp, you can join the expert SRT team to track rhino on game drives and on foot, learning more about the efforts to protect this endangered species.
3. Lewa House and Ol Pejeta Bush Camp, Kenya
Tucked between snow-capped Mount Kenya and the Great Rift Valley, the high-lying plains of Laikipia teem with game and offer a breathtakingly beautiful diorama. A stay at Lewa or Ol Pejeta offers visitors the unique opportunity to gain an insight into modern wildlife conservation. Both are involved in ecological monitoring of several species of flora and fauna, while also boasting between them, the largest black rhino sanctuaries in East Africa. Additionally, Ol Pejeta is home to the last two female northern white rhinos and is part of a valiant and exciting effort to save this species from the brink of extinction.
4. Singita Private Reserve, Sabi Sands, South Africa
This vast private reserve within the Greater Kruger Region of South Africa offers a unique and dynamic game viewing experience, which you will enjoy in the company of highly expert guides. This is a renowned Big Five game reserve, which a thriving population of southern white rhino. Staying in one of Singita’s luxurious and exclusive lodges is the perfect complement to long days spent watching wildlife on safari.
5. Ongava Private Game Reserve, Namibia
The 66,000-acre Ongava Private Game Reserve is recognised as one of Namibia’s best, with close access to the nearby Etosha National park. Staying at either Ongava Lodge, or the more exclusive Little Ongava, provides an excellent base from which to spot the spectacular, desert-adapted wildlife of this area, which tends to come together around waterholes in a harmonious multi-species congregation. In the company of highly trained conservation rangers and expert guides, you can trek into the reserve to track spectacular black rhino on foot.
About the author: Laura Burdett-Munns is Managing Director at Africa Exclusive. Africa Exclusive has been creating the finest tailor-made safaris since 1990, specialising in luxurious accommodation in beautiful remote places.