Africa’s top 5 places to spot rhino


The 21st September is World Rhino Day and to celebrate, I thought that sharing my knowledge of Africa’s best places to spot these magnificent, yet endangered creatures was a must. Not only did I want to highlight my favourite places to simply see them, but I wanted to showcase some of Africa’s finest conservation programmes, aimed specifically at rhino protection, which you can support by visiting. If seeing rhino roaming freely in their natural habitat is a must-do on your bucket list, then look no further than the inspiration below.

1. Desert Rhino Camp, Namibia

Located within a remote corner of the million-acre Palmwag Reserve in northern Damaraland, Desert Rhino Camp is an extraordinary property from which you can spot an abundance of desert-adapted wildlife. These unique species not only include black rhino, but elephant, mountain zebra, giraffe, oryx and springbok. Supported by the Save the Rhino Trust, the area has been a haven for black rhino since hunting was banned in the 80’s and 90’s. In fact, the reserve now boasts the largest concentration of rhino outside of a national park. The best part? From Desert Rhino Camp, you can join the expert SRT team to track rhino on game drives and on foot, learning more about the efforts to protect this endangered species.

2. Chief’s Island, Botswana

Following a pioneering rhino relocation project some 15-20 years ago, Chief’s Island has become one of Botswana’s premier places to see rhino. Staying at either lavish Mombo Camp, or its more exclusive sister property Little Mombo, on the northern half of the island, you can learn all about their rhino conservation tactics during dedicated talks. On game drives, expert guides will tell you all about the work being undertaken by the Okavango Large Herbivore Ecology Project while you watch these magnificent creatures from within an open-sided safari vehicle.

3. Lewa House and Ol Pejeta Bush Camp, Kenya

Tucked between snow-capped Mount Kenya and the Great Rift Valley, the high-lying plains of Laikipia teem with game and offer a breathtakingly beautiful diorama. A stay at Lewa or Ol Pejeta offers visitors the unique opportunity to gain an insight into modern wildlife conservation. Both are involved in ecological monitoring of several species of flora and fauna, while also boasting between them, the largest black rhino sanctuaries in East Africa. Additionally, Ol Pejeta is home to the last two female northern white rhinos and is part of a valiant and exciting effort to save this species from the brink of extinction.

4. Singita Private Reserve, Sabi Sands, South Africa

This vast private reserve within the Greater Kruger Region of South Africa offers a unique and dynamic game viewing experience, which you will enjoy in the company of highly expert guides. This is a renowned Big Five game reserve, which a thriving population of southern white rhino. Staying in one of Singita’s luxurious and exclusive lodges is the perfect complement to long days spent watching wildlife on safari.

5. Ongava Private Game Reserve, Namibia

The 66,000-acre Ongava Private Game Reserve is recognised as one of Namibia’s best, with close access to the nearby Etosha National park. Staying at either Ongava Lodge, or the more exclusive Little Ongava, provides an excellent base from which to spot the spectacular, desert-adapted wildlife of this area, which tend to come together around waterholes in a harmonious multi-species congregation. In the company of highly trained conservation rangers and expert guides, you can trek into the reserve to track spectacular black rhino on foot.

Laura Burdett-Munns is Managing Director at Africa Exclusive. Africa Exclusive has been creating the finest tailor-made safaris since 1990, specialising in luxurious accommodation in beautiful remote places.

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Comments (5)

  1. Dave says:

    After several safaris I still haven’t seen a rhino. I’ve to got read this one carefully and learn from it. Finally tracking down a rhino is becoming a bit of an obsession for me.

  2. Beth says:

    It is tragic that Ol Pejeta, home to the last two female white rhinos, is having to battle to save the species. What worries me is that they symbolically represent how many species are on the brink of extinction. Many highly experienced scientists now believe that we are heading into a 6th great extinction. The 4th and worst extinction over 300m years ago wiped out 96% of the species on Earth. If this 6th extinction is similar there is no guarantee that Homo sapiens will be one of the species that survive. It is important that Ol Pejeta succeed with the project but much more needs to be done throughout the world to avert the ultimate catastrophe.

  3. Gemma Stringer says:

    It’s brilliant Africa have such excellent conservation efforts to protect rhinos, they’re remarkable creatures and it’s painfully sad to think how close to extinction they actually are. I do think a lot more needs to be done worldwide to protect a lot of larger animals that are particularly vulnerable to hunters and the like. I quite like the look of the Singita lodges, it seems so authentic and peaceful, it must be a very grounding and humbling experience to stay there and spend your days watching out for the wildlife.

  4. Liz says:

    Well, I never know that there was a world Rhino Day and I’m not quite sure how I’m going to celebrate it here in rural Berkshire. Would be good if I had a rhino costume but I haven’t. Though, it is brilliant that the plight of the rhino is getting onto people’s agenda.

  5. Sarah Bugden says:

    It is very encouraging to read that so much is being done on the ground to help boost rhino numbers. There’s often a “cuddly quotient” to how far people will contribute on conservation work, and to be absolutely honest rhinos are not the most cuddly and cute of beasts. Consequently, it is a relief to see so much great conservation work. I also like the idea of tracking on foot. Personally I think that safari vehicles are just too invasive and I always feel uneasy in one.

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