Long ago you could find rhinos across most of the African continent but today this species is on the brink of extinction thanks to poaching for their horns. The good news is that due to specialised protection, conservation efforts and anti-poaching programs, you’ll still be able to see this member of the Big 5 in select locations. Here are our top 10 spots for finding rhinos on an African safari.
1. Mkhaya Game Reserve, Swaziland
The rangers at Mkhaya Game Reserve are all top class guides and will be able to guide you to approach both black and white rhino on foot. The white rhino is Africa’s second-largest land mammal (after the African elephant) while the black rhino is a bit smaller but harder to find in the thick of the bush.
2. Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Reserve, South Africa
Hluhluwe-Imfolozi is South Africa’s oldest game reserve and was established in the 1890s as a sanctuary for the country’s last remaining southern white rhino population. This was the birthplace of rhino conservation and where these incredible creatures narrowly escaped extinction.
3. Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary, Uganda
Ziwa Rhino Sanctuary is where you’ll find Uganda’s only rhino population. Under the leadership of your experienced guide you’ll be able to track white rhinos on foot and get close enough to take photos of these amazing two-ton beasts, a once in a lifetime experience.
4. Lake Nakuru National Park, Kenya
Lake Nakuru in Kenya’s spectacular Rift Valley is an amazing place to spot white rhinos. Wake up early to capture awesome shots of these rhinos grazing at the lake’s edge while surrounded by morning mists. You’ll also be able to find black rhinos here, although they’re typically harder to spot.
5. Kwandwe Game Reserve, South Africa
Situated in a massive wilderness area, Kwandwe is an exclusive private game reserve in South Africa’s Eastern Cape. Thanks to the open terrain here, it’s relatively easy to spot white rhino and, in some cases, even the harder to find black rhino, which is usually on the move and a bit more aggressive than its bigger relatives. You’ll also find the Big 5 quite easy to see here.
6. Pongola Game Reserve, South Africa
Besides boat cruises and game drives, Pongola Game Reserve, deep in the heart of Zululand, offers an authentic rhino tracking experience. The rhinos at Pongola wander a huge area of bushveld and although your trip could last a couple of hours, coming across these animals in their natural environment is always awe-inspiring.
7. Etosha National Park, Namibia
Though commonly encountered in thick vegetation (which makes them harder to spot) black rhinos are also known to thrive in the wider open spaces of the Etosha Pan in Namibia. Etosha’s waterholes make for excellent wildlife viewing in the Dry season and it’s not uncommon to spot a black rhino coming to drink past sunset at the floodlit Okaukuejo waterhole.
8. Kruger National Park, South Africa
South Africa’s biggest national park, affectionately known to locals simply as ‘the Kruger’, is home to Africa’s largest population of rhinos. You won’t have to wait long to spot white rhinos in the southern regions of the park but, as always, the black rhino is harder to spot because it prefers to stay hidden in thicker bushveld.
9. Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya
Ol Pejeta on the Laikipia Plateau is a great place to find both the endangered black rhino and southern white rhino, which was introduced from South Africa. Ol Pejeta is also home to the last remaining northern white rhinos on the continent, a pair of cows kept safe in a sizeable enclosure. The survival of this near-extinct subspecies now depends on stem cell technology and in vitro fertilisation techniques.
10. Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
Packed with wildlife, the floor of the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania is one of the most reliable places in Africa to spot rhinos. You’ll easily find a relaxed population of black rhino wandering the grasslands and you could even see the species in the stunning Lerai Forest where they gather prior to nightfall.