I find the African bush a wonder of sights and sounds and on foot a wild adventure that few will ever truly appreciate. You walk in single file, all ten of you as the sun starts rising into view. It’s getting hotter as we walk kilometer after kilometer but you smell everything from the obvious potato bush to an elephants gigantic turds which become soccer balls to curb your boredom or need for silliness.
You walk with expectation. An expectation to see something dangerous but not too dangerous. Something exciting but manageable. Preferably something that nobody else has seen. Our guides know the bush more intimately than Brad Pitt knows Jennifer Anniston’s body. We trust them and just hope they haven’t got bored yet.
We are moving at a pace not too dissimilar to that of Usain Bolt or maybe a tad slower when we stepped up and over a rise to discover an alarming surprise.The guy we wanted to see. Fast vanishing, magnificent and unpredictable, this animal the White rhino.
We were just too close and he heard us. Our guides chased us back quietly and efficiently and got us around the more attractive side of a tiny little shrub type tree thing. We were told to keep quiet, actually shut up. We did but the big rhino dude who looked the size of a pocket battleship just kept moving confidently forward hunting our smell and sound of our virtual breathing.
It was at this point that I realized the slowest person in the group (not me) could well end up with a rhino horn stuck up their butthole. The guide stepped out with a stick and shouted at the rhino and threw the stick at it . He missed. He picked up another and missed again. I realized at this moment that cricket would have been a good skill to teach these guides but alas. This was our fate. He hit with the third stick which was about 12 feet long and a foot wide (strong guide). It hit right on the front gun of the battleship. The animal shrugged and moved off slowly. What a relief. All good so we carried on our march.
It was quiet for at least ten minutes until we were lucky enough to find a few more Rhinos with little ones. We just knew that the adult big ones were not going to be happy to sniff us so we moved swiftly along in another direction. We moved with speed similar to that of a cheetah chasing a springbok (not our existing ones ) and made quite some distance before we reached an anthill in the middle of a meadow. Quite a big one actually but just an anthill. We looked up to see that the entire worlds population of Rhino surrounded us and there was nowhere to go. They were clearly hunting us or at least the old bastard who had arranged the trip wanted us all deady dead dead. We sat transfixed as to the sight of these amazing poached animals.
We were surrounded by 20 of them. Our silence was that of a deceased person. We nearly did forget to breathe or move an inch. A mother and her baby walked casually towards us without a fear in her half blind eyes. We all looked a bit silly trying to hide behind a tiny mound of earth. To the rhino we looked like one giant unrelenting rock.
It was at this moment that I realized we had a bit more nonsense coming. You see the rhino and its baby just kept on coming and the guide moved away to grab his favorite weapon, the stick. I was not confident as the stick was very small and in fact just Silly. Luckily they veered off just before I nearly squeezed a little one.
We moved on in between these beasts so strong and grandiose yet so vulnerable.
We saw 25 rhino that day and walked amongst these wonders of modern times, amazed at the rabid dogs that kill these creatures for money.