When planning a typical African safari, one desire seems to remain a constant: to see the “Big 5”. Once a term coined by hunters to describe the five toughest animals to hunt on foot, it now gives meaning to arguably the most desirable animals to see on the African continent. A famed title and position rightfully earned by each of these magnificent creatures. An encounter with one of the “Big 5” will almost certainly remain one of the highest points of any safari.
One of these positions is held by the rhinoceros. Represented in Africa by both Black and White, these are just two of the five species of rhino recognized today – the others being found in Asia. There is no real sense behind the common names for these two species, though it is often said to have been a misinterpretation of the Dutch word ‘wijd’, meaning wide, which was used to describe the square upper lip of the White Rhino, as opposed to the Black Rhino’s pointed lip. As such, the White Rhino is also referred to as the Square-lipped, and the Black Rhino as the Hook-lipped. This variation exists because of their differing diets – the White Rhino is adapted to grazing, eating grass, while the Black Rhino is adapted to browsing, feeding on leaves, branches, shoots and fruits – it is also the most notable feature for differentiating the two species.
For this Image of the Month, we feature the smaller and much scarcer of the two: the Black Rhinoceros. The plight of the critically endangered Black Rhino is a sobering one. In the early 1900s, there were believed to have been several hundred thousand Black Rhino roaming most of southern and eastern Africa. However, by 1993, the population had dropped by a heart-breaking 98%, to just 2,400. Massive conservation initiatives have thankfully seen these numbers double since 1993, but the population increase is slow going, and the threats to their existence still remain high.
Things are looking up, though, and we still stand a good chance of encountering both Black and White Rhinos on our Cape and Zululand safari in South Africa. In fact, all of the “Big 5” will be available to us, along with other major African species like Cheetah and African Wild Dog. Starting in Cape Town and ending in Durban, 11 days will be spent taking in some of the best wildlife experiences Africa has to offer, all while we enjoy South Africa’s world-class facilities.
Join a Rockjumper Wildlife adventure today and you will discover more.
South Africa – Cape & Zululand Wildlife Safari 2019
September 2019 (11 days)
Tour price: ZAR49,950 *€3,160 *£2,800 *US$3,580
*Alternate currencies are for comparative purposes only