So today we go to find rhinos! Due to ruining my hiking boots I have wear trainers but unlike the gorilla trek this is flat grasslands so I should be okay.
After pancakes with sugar for breakfast we were told by our driver Rogers that last night the rhinos had slept to the right of us and had breakfast to the left and then had gone to hang out just past the restaurant on the campsite. We quickly collected up our water bottles and cameras and left to go to the briefing point so we could begin tracking our rhinos. We were considered very lucky to have them so close. I wasn’t complaining!
We got to the briefing point and met our guide Sheriff who gave us a quick safety speech and told us what to do should we be charged at. Which, in case you want to know, is to run to a bush or behind a big tree or if you can climb, to climb up a tree. We also had a range in training with us which was nice.
Sheriff led us through the grasslands for less than twenty minutes before we were lucky enough to spot the rangers with the rhinos! At first we only saw one and then Sheriff showed me that there was a baby lying down in the grass too. The large rhino was a female called Malaika which translates to “Angel” and was the first female rhino to ever be born at Ziwa and she was now six years old and the baby was a 7 month old male called Noelle.
We got so close to them and the baby even began to walk towards us but we had to move as the mother became aware of our presence and was getting defensive.
We moved further into the grasslands where we walked for another twenty minutes before seeing more rangers. We followed the path they were stood on and gob-smackingly found four female rhinos all walking together along the road.
The one at the back was pregnant for the first time and was called Laloyo. Apparently when a female rhino gets pregnant, the other females come together and look after her. The pregnant rhino then becomes the leader of the group and protects the other females from the male father of her child who will attempt to split them up.
The other female rhinos with her were called Waribe, Luna and Uhuru. They were amazing to behold and when they moved off road into the grasslands we went into the bushes right next to them to observe them and although it seemed clear they knew we were present, we still got so close it was fantastic to have the privilege to do so and take photos.
When we were done with the rhinos, Sheriff led us back through the grasslands to our campsite. He informed us that as well as rhinos there were also 8-10 leopards in the park and some chimps. It was amazing to listen to.
Upon arrival at the camp Rogers was waiting for us and we packed up our things from camp. We then left for NRE campsite where we would spend our final night before going to the airport to head home in the morning. The drive felt very long and when we arrived at NRE the rain was pouring down so fast it looked like I had just fell in the Nile by the time everything was out of the van and in the dormitory.
I was heartbroken to find that the coffee beans I had tucked into the pocket of one of that chairs had also burst and I had lost half the beans I was given from the coffee farmers on the trek. After settling down I had some chips as I was starving and then awaited the return of Robert, our chef, later to put together our BBQ. In that time, the other extension trip members of EAP returned and we spent some time discussing how we all got on.
Later, Robert arrived and we had mixed salad, cold mixed rice, veg, beef and veg kebabs and an avocado. The kebabs were so good! I went to bed after spending a short while breathing in the view of the Nile once more before leaving tomorrow. I will certainly miss it here.