We wanted to get close to black rhinos, we just hadn’t planned on getting this close. I was in Zimbabwe at the Malilangwe Wildlife reserve working on a story about African rhinos for National Geographic when we decided it would add a nice visual element to the piece if we tracked some black rhinos on foot. My guide, Brad Forchet, our tracker, Difficult, from Singita’s Pamushana Lodge and I set out on the trail of two rhinos early one morning but we were having little success in catching up to our quarry. They were just moving too fast.
After a couple of hours we gave up on the rhinos and decided to kill time and hopefully get some good ground level video of a big bull elephant. But when we were within fifty yards of the elephant, Difficult spotted a black rhino in the bushes behind us. We changed courses again and began trying to sneak up close to the rhino. Once we were fairly close, Brad started making rhino calls hoping to get our rhino to stick her head out of the bushes for better pictures.
As you’ll see in this video she not only stuck her head out, but her whole body, and then decided to come in for a really close look at us. That’s a nice way of saying, “she charged us.” Yes I have now been charged by a black rhino and lived to tell about it. It does make for an entertaining video, but the real story here is what’s happening to Africa’s rhinos and we tell that story this week on my radio show, “National Geographic Weekend”. We also talk about the success of the Malilangwe Wildlife Reserve in protecting rhinos in Zimbabwe at the same time record numbers are being killed in South Africa.