A Walk With Rhinos

While on my trip in Namibia, I visited the Ongava Game Reserve, near Etosha National Park. It's a place well known for rhinos. We were doing our usual game drives - one in the morning, one in the afternoon. On the first day, only an hour or so after I had arrived, we had some good white rhino sightings. I had seen rhinos before in other countries, but they were pretty far away and pretty skittish. These were close and seemed reasonably comfortable with our vehicle being nearby. The next afternoon we found more rhinos, except this group was a bit too far away for decent photos. But today was going to be different. My guide Abram decided we should follow them on foot - something I had hoped for, but hadn't mentioned to him yet. Abram carried a rifle in case of emergency, I carried 2 cameras and a couple of lenses. This was very cool. The difference from being in the safety of a vehicle is kind of startling and refreshing. The ability to get a different perspective for photos was great. Abram told me that the group would pretty much do whatever the youngest rhino would do. If she got spooked, they would all bolt with her. If she got agitated and charged us, the group would help out. So we were ummm.... careful... especially with one of them sporting a nearly 3 foot long horn. We tracked them for over an hour and a half, at times getting as close as a few feet. Eventually they went into some deep brush that was impossible for us to get through. We never seemed to be in any real immediate danger, although we had a few tense moments where we had to back up and act like we were leaving. Getting face to face with these rhinos was a nice change of pace and a great adventure.

Ongava Reserve, Namibia