Best places to see Rhino in Africa
Seeing a rhinoceros, the two horned beast that seems to be a relic of the age of dinosaurs, in Africa’s wilderness is one of life’s greatest thrills. Making sure you’re in the right place, with a good guide alongside you, is the best way to improve your chances of seeing one, since populations have come under threat from poaching, habitat loss, and political conflict. It is estimated that there are around 18,000 white rhino, and only 5,500 black rhino, remaining in the wild. That said, eco-tourism provides vital funds to conservation programmes and there are some exciting ways to get up close to these iconic beasts and help preserve them for the future. Here are our top rhino-rich countries and camps:
Namibia rhino safaris
Probably your best bet for truly wild rhinos, Namibia’s Desert Rhino Camp in Damaraland—partnered by Save the Rhino—is where you can track rhino on-foot in the company of trackers, themselves reformed poachers. Elsewhere in Damaraland, Huab Under Canvas also arrange rhino tracking with Save the Rhino rangers. For more detail on what it’s like to track rhino have a look at the article I wrote during my stay at here.
Onduli Ridge is a lovely new lodge with stunning views across the landscape in the private Doro Nawas Conservancy and is perfectly positioned to see some of Namibia’s intriguing wildlife including both desert adapted rhino and elephant. Heading towards Etosha, the Ongava Private Game Reserve has excellent rhino sightings at waterholes close to its camps.
Tanzania rhino safaris
The Ngorongoro Crater is a wildlife mecca, its plains filled with wildlife at the highest density found anywhere in Africa. Shared only by the Masai who bring their livestock to graze and drink within this 2,500 square mile conservation area, it’s a spectacular wilderness destination. Among the animal residents are black rhino who rub shoulders with elephant, wildebeest, hippo, lion, leopard and cheetah along with a plethora of plains species.
Accommodation-wise, immerse yourself in the rustic charm of Gibb’s Farm which enjoys direct access to the forested Ngorongoro Conservation Area, or wake up to spectacular views from the opulent Ngorongoro Crater Lodge which is perched on the very edge of the crater itself. Alternatively, choose Entamanu Ngorongoro which has incredible views into the crater in one direction and out towards the Serengeti in the other.
Kenya rhino safaris
The Lewa-Borana Conservancy is not only mesmerisingly beautiful with its stunning backdrop of Mount Kenya but also one of the world’s most important wildlife areas as the original owners turned their land over to conservation specifically to protect black and white rhino from poachers. There are just ten properties on this 90,000 acre wilderness with accommodation styles to suit every taste. Both Lewa House and Borana Lodge are steeped in conservation, and you can accompany rhino anti-poaching patrols with tracker dogs. If a private house appeals, then Arijiju or Lengishu are superb choices.
The Laikipia region has become one of East Africa’s leading wildlife havens. In the shadow of Mount Kenya, the Ol Pejeta Conservancy is particularly well known for having Kenya’s largest concentration of black rhino. Kicheche Laikipia Camp is a favourite of ours with its incredible views across an ever-busy waterhole. Other lovely options in this region include Solio and Ol Pejeta Bush Camp.
The Sheldrick Wildlife Trust in Nairobi is famous for its orphan elephants but it also takes in rhino to rehabilitate and release. Elsewhere, Meru, the setting of Joy Adamson’s ‘Born Free’, was once poached to near extinction but has since staged a remarkable comeback. Overlooked by many travellers, this diminutive park is a great place to see rhino in relative solitude. Set inside Meru National Park, Elsa’s Kopje is off the beaten track and is ideal rhino habitat.
South Africa rhino safaris
South Africa has some seriously cool rhino adventures from tracking rhino on foot at Tswalu to joining a hands-on conservation safari at Kwandwe Private Game Reserve and where you and your family can work directly with these endangered animals in the company of specialist rangers. You can also spot world-class wildlife and leave a lasting legacy with 100% of proceeds going towards rhino conservation.
Kruger National Park supports a healthy population of black and white rhino, though poaching presents an ever-present risk. By staying in Kruger conservancies like Timbavati and Sabi Sands you can support their continued conservation. Plains Camp (in a private concession adjacent to Sabi Sands) and Tanda Tula Field Camp are good choices here.
Malaria-free Madikwe is one of South Africa’s largest reserves and it owes its jam-packed plains to a very successful anti-poaching programme. Jaci’s Lodges and Madikwe Safari Lodge are fun options to consider. Another to add to this list, and this one in the malaria free Waterberg region, is Ant’s Nest where rhino regularly roam the gardens close to the lodge allowing for some lovely sightings.
We would be delighted to help with planning your a safari holiday to include top spots for viewing rhino. Our team of experts has travelled widely throughout Africa and the Indian Ocean and can offer expert advice. Do get in touch – chatting to people by phone or email is what we do best. We listen, we explain, we answer all sorts of questions even those you didn’t know to ask, and finally we make suggestions. If this is your first time to Africa or your twenty first, we have a team standing by to help make the planning easy and the journey the best ever. Please get in touch whatever stage you’re at.