Anna is an ethical adventure blogger who loves all things wildlife, vegetarian and the great outdoors.
She is all about helping fellow responsible travellers on how to reduce their impact whilst travelling, whether that’s by using cruelty-free products, staying in eco-friendly accommodation or admiring wildlife from afar.
Photo Story: Walking Safari & Rhinos
There I was – frozen to the spot, face-to-face with a rhino. She was a huge, magnificent, beautiful creature that could have killed me in an instant.
My life flashed before my eyes, as I thought to myself ‘what the hell am I doing standing out here in the middle of the South African wilderness surrounded by wild animals?!
I should probably start at the beginning.
I was on a walking safari in a private game reserve, just outside Kruger National Park in South Africa. Our guides drove me and my fellow guests out into the middle of the reserve before encouraging us off the jeep.
The 8 of us followed our guide along the makeshift pathways looking for animal tracks when we spotted three figures in the distance – three huge white rhino.
Our guides beckoned us closer as we silently crept through the bushes, all the way our eyes transfixed on the figures.
We all ducked down behind a tree and peered through the gaps in the leaves as the animals nibbled on grass 20 metres ahead of us – a relatively safe distance.
But then they moved closer.
Though white rhino has a terrible eyesight, they have a heightened sense of smell to alert them to danger. They could sense something (we) were nearby, but they couldn’t tell what we were.
So they came closer still.
By now, two of the rhinos were just 5 metres to my right, looking me right in the eye. My heart was racing faster than a cheetah.
I was on the edge of the group, so I’d be the first one they’d reach if they decided to charge. But there was nowhere to go. The other rhino had positioned itself on the other side of us. We were surrounded.
The rhino stayed there, staring at us for a few minutes before the one to my right took just a step closer, sniffing the air searching for clues.
Our guide decided this was now too close for comfort and began clicking his fingers to signal to the rhino that we were a potential threat. Yet this seemed to intrigue them even further, and they took yet another step closer to us.
Our guide was obviously now worried for our safety, so he tapped his rifle on the tree to make an unfamiliar, metallic sound that caused the rhino to turn around and run away – putting a safe distance between us and them.
We all breathed a huge sigh of relief and looked at each other in amazement at what we had just witnessed. Despite being terrified, I couldn’t help but realise how extremely lucky I was to be this close to such incredible creatures. It’s something I’m going to remember for the rest of my life, thanks to this photo.
A walking safari is an adventurous activity where you embark on slow paced, guided walks with the primary objective to explore different wildlife species along the bush. The small details that are overlooked on game drives become more apparent from the slower pace and lower angle of being on foot.
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