Walking with Rhino – Amazing Experiences
This is hands down one of the most incredible experiences in Africa today, a wonderful way to not get back to nature and feel the exhilaration of being close to these majestic creatures and, through your tourism, aiding in the conservation of a species in need of all the help it can get. This is a nice short blog to tell you about my recent time at Saruni Rhino, have a read, get inspired, get in touch….
Saruni Rhino sits in the Sera Conservancy in northern Kenya, this is a community owned project that is then run by a wonderful operator, there are a few of this model in this part of Kenya and it is in my opinion one of the best ways of making sure that a tourism venture is succesful and at the same times gives back to the community, the environment and the wildlife.
This is a really small and intimate property, the touches, as with all Saruni properties, are done just right and it is comfortable and luxurious but still has the feeling of being connected to the environment in which it sits. I had a short stay here of two nights combined with a stay at its sister property in Samburu, I would suggest combining these two for a 5 night stay before either heading on for a beach break or for more safari further south. See our snapshot of this property here
From the camp you will travel to the secure part of the conservancy, completely staffed by people from the surrounding communities, this is a truly extraordinary operation, part funded by charities such as Tusk and part directly from the tourism that visits the conservancy. With teams specialising in Rhino tracking and monitoring, communications, quick response and patrols this is a full scale logistics operation that we rarely get to see in the tourism sector so I found it entirely fascinating, and it is clear to see the joy that these men and women get from being involved in the project.
You will meet with a team of rangers that have been monitoring the movements of individuals, you will then start your journey in silence, moving through the bush following the tracks where the rangers last left their charge. On occasion you lose the tracks and feel like you are simply meandering through the wilderness only for the rangers to find fresh tracks having anticipated the Rhino’s movements through the fairly dense and rugged environment.
Finally finding one of these giant and captivating beasts is guaranteed to increase your heart rate and for me was one of the most emotional wildlife encounters that I have ever had. To think that metres away from me is this beautiful animal that is horrifically threatened by man so much so that should I ever have a family of my own they may not experience the sights that I was having… It was hard for me to think about but also great to see the people of Sera fighting hard to not only protect but to help the species recover.
I was so fortunate to experience an added extra while I was in Sera, I met a young Rhino Loijipu, now 2 years old. His mother had abandoned him, rangers waited to see if she would return, when she didn’t they intervened. He was with two rangers every day as he wandered around browsing, and at night in a pen where rangers assigned to be with him would sleep in with him in shifts.
The love and dedication that these rangers showed toward this youngster was incredibly heartwarming and I felt truly honoured to get the opportunity to get up close to this “little” guy who was so full of character.