LAKE SEBAKWE: The Heart of Zimbabwe

The highlight of my visit was the opportunity to track a wild black rhino. Once home to over sixty of these iconic animals, today there are just six rhino left in MRC. Two of these modern day unicorns are from the original group. During daylight hours each rhino has an entourage of four armed rhino scouts; three from the conservancy accompanied by one ZNPWMA guard. The scouts are in radio contact with other conservancy members and farm scouts, providing updates on the rhinos’ locations.

During my most recent trip we discovered that Rhonda and Roxy were in a more accessible location, so we set out to track the duo. After parking the car, we were met by one of the scouts, and walked for perhaps five hundred metres before being told to wait by a tree. We carefully got ourselves into position, trying desperately not to tread on the dry twigs and startle the rhino. Lou and I crouched down in front of the tree, scanning the bush in front of us.

Incredibly Ranzi, the conservancy’s sole male rhino, was with Rhonda and Roxy. I took a couple of photographs before the sound of my shutter alerted Rhonda. She moved out of the shade and stood, perhaps one hundred meters in front of me, searching for the source of the noise. As I focused on her she stared straight at me, lowering her massive head so she could look at us through the bushes…

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