Many people think that due to the political turmoil and recent hardships within the country that ‘ticking off’ the Big Five in Zimbabwe is not possible. Yet, if you know where to go and are willing to explore Zimbabwe, the country will wow you in many ways. It certainly left me in awe on my recent self-drive exploration of the country.
The change in government has seen a huge resurgence in financial support and this is seen by the amount of safari lodges that are being built in the country. Subsequently new rhino conservation areas, these are typically a highly protected region in the already existing well managed parks. Victoria Falls, Hwange National Park, Matusadona and Matobos Hills all hold rhino populations with Mana Pools and Gonarezhou soon to have populations of their own – the anti-poaching team at Gonarezhou recently ran the London Marathon to raise further awareness.
Our experience with these incredibly endangered animals was in a private game reserve near Victoria Falls. Our guide set off into the teak forests, with dappled sunlight creating a magical world under the canopy. The yellows of the Kalahari sands and sparse vegetation lulled me into the false sense of security that finding a black rhino was going to be a simple task! A few hours later, we’d had some incredible photographic opportunities with impala, zebra and giraffes and were gently making our way to a nearby dam for the all-important sundowner, which proved to be a breathtaking experience. Suddenly our guide pointed out fresh rhino tracks and the excitement levels soared, 500 meters later and we spied a young black rhino Bull making his way back into the thickets. The sighting lasted all of 30 seconds, but we were delighted to have finally seen all the Big Five in the country, our guide headed into the open area near the dam and we were in awe, there were a further five rhino down by the water’s edge! I was left wondering what the new dawn will bring for Zimbabwe’s rhinos and I look forward to the re-introductions of these incredible animals back into their original homes.
The saying a picture says a thousand words is never truer than the below:
Zimbabwe offers a variety of experiences with rhino, from a short afternoon game drive like ours to really getting in the thick of things and trekking and tracking rhino for up to 20 kilometres. Each experience is rewarding in its own way and can be tailored to suit you and your required experiences.