Posted by: Andrew Skelton | 18/07/2011

I know it looks brown, but it really is a white rhino!

What a magnificent beast… and the Rhino isn’t bad either! Actually we were incredibly lucky to see not one, not even two, but around 13 of these huge creatures. I’d particularly wanted to see White Rhino in their natural habitat, so to see that many was a dream – especially when a mother and child white rhino were within twenty feet from our vehicle. Contrary to their reputation of being a rather nervous and flighty animal, all the white rhinos in Lake Nakuru reserve were totally at easy with the presence of the vehicles. If we had been allowed to get out of the vehicle, which I would have dearly loved to have done, then the animals would have probably acted very differently.

After years of persecution to the brink of extinction, and despite their poor eyesight, the human outline would immediately start to ring alarm bells in the animals brains. Now, Dear Reader, I don’t know what your times are like for the 100m sprint but if you do get out of the vehicle near one of these immense walking tank you’d better be able to show a pair of heals to Usain Bolt as Rhino’s can run at 30mph. If that isn’t enough, I suspect the stopping distance of a rhino once it’s up to speed(which isn’t in the highway code.. I’ve checked, no.. really.. I have) is quite considerable. Actually we can work it out.. if a 3750Lbs Rhino is travelling at 30mph and is 100ft away, and a Land Rover Defender weights 3736 lbs and is capable of travelling at 80mph, how do you make sure that you’re not in the Land Rover nearest to the beast?

The Rhino pictured was the dominant male of the heard and we saw numerous young rhino around the park, a good sign for their longevity as a species. It’s estimated that there are 11,000 white rhino’s left in the wild, whilst this number isn’t great, it’s considerably better than the plight of the Black Rhino as there are only around 3000 of this species left. Poaching is the biggest threat to both types of animals, the market for their horns used in oriental medicines at the heart of the problem. Tourism has helped with their protection, and when we saw a black rhino on the Masai Mara, a vehicle of armed guards were watching over the animal. I’ll save that picture for another day.



  1. Andrew,
    More great shots – thanks for sharing! I especially like the ones with the small birds on the rhino and the vulture. Great job,

    • Hi there, Thanks for the kind words. The birds on the back are about the size of a US robin, they’re Oxpeckers – I hadn’t really noticed how the markings about their eyes which are both fantastic and faintly ridiculous!

  2. Nice shot! I’ve had minor success with getting a halfway pleasing rhino photo.. they always want to turn their backs on our vehicle for some reason! We also saw a great number of white rhino recently in the Kruger Park.. my token shot, should you be interested 😉 is at:

    • I want to get REALLY close to a white rhino so that I can use a wide angle lens on it – I’ll need to be down low to get the photo – so it could be a bit risky!

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