Like elephants, rhinos are an endangered species. This is due to rampant poaching fueled by the great demand for their horns in the Far East for ‘medicinal’ purposes.
Without tourism, which has encouraged conservation efforts, this beautiful animal would be much closer to extinction. Africa remains the native home for most rhino species. A visit to African rhino sites is an endorsement of their continued existence.
The following are The 10 Best Places to See Rhinos in Africa:
10. Nairobi National Park, Kenya
Nairobi National Park<1> is the world’s only native wildlife park within a city. It is located within Nairobi City, Kenya. It takes less than 10 minutes drive from the city center to the Park, on a clear-traffic day. The nearest airport, Wilson Airport, is about 2 kilometers away. While rhinos in this park are not so many compared to some other National parks in Kenya, they are easy to sight within a very convenient location.
9. Hlane Royal National Park
Hlane National Park<2> is located in northeastern Swaziland. It is the country’s largest wildlife protected area. Apart from rhinos, this park also has the other two of the Big 3 grey mammals - elephants and hippos. It is also home to all the Big 5 land mammals plus lions, leopards, and other wild cats. The best location to spot the rhinos is the Ndlovu Camp. At Ndlovu Camp, there is a waterhole where the rhinos come to quench their thirst.
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8. Lewa–Borana Wildlife Conservancy, Kenya
Lewa-Borana Wildlife Conservancy is located in Laikipia County – a place famous for its expansive private ranches in Kenya. Lewa-Borana Wildlife Conservancy boasts of 83 black rhinos and 74 white rhinos. Lewa-Borana is a combination of two neighboring wildlife conservancies that were previously separated by a fence which no longer exists. These are Lewa Wildlife Conservancy<3> and Borana Wildlife Conservancy<4>. Removing the fence allowed animals freedom of roaming while marshaling conservation resources towards the collective effort. Since this is a private facility, it is well tracked and thus much easier for one to see the rhinos up-close. Furthermore, there is a secure enclosure for orphaned rhino babies, and the wounded rhinos saved from poachers. At these enclosures, you can actually have a hands-on touch of the rhinos just to have a feel of their true nature.
7. Okavango Delta, Botswana
Okavango Delta, popularly known as “Eden of Africa” is a UNESCO World Heritage site<5> located in North-Western Botswana. While this place is famous for elephants and hippos, it is also home to a sizeable crowd of rhinos. Due to rampant poaching, the rhino population is not as plenty despite this place being fondly referred to as “plenty of plenty” by the locals. However, as a result of strict conservation effort, rhinos are beginning to boldly stomp their authority. Currently, there are already 77 rhinos in Okavango Delta, though most of them have been introduced from other locations after the poaching scourge that drove them to near-extinction. The major advantage of visiting Okavango Delta is that you can find all the Big 5 land mammals in one location plus most of the Big 5 cats.
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6. Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park, South Africa
Established in South Africa’s most famous province – KwaZulu-Natal, Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park<6> is the oldest nature reserve in Africa. With about 1600 white rhinos, this park is home to the highest population of white rhinos in the world. Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Park also boasts of a population of around 400 black rhinos. In addition to the rhinos, accompaniments include hippos, giraffes, wildebeests, among the over 86 special species of animals and more than 340 species of birds.
5. Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania
Selous Game Reserve<7> is home to the world’s greatest diversity of wild animals. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site<8> that boasts of over 1 million animals roaming its expansive fields. Selous Game Reserve is located in Southern Tanzania. It has the highest population of the rare black rhinos in East Africa. Here you can see black rhinos in their natural habit and get to learn their way of life. The bonus you get for visiting this park is that a million wild animals are within your reach – including the Big 5 land mammals and the Big 3 grey mammals, plus most of the Big 5 cats.
4. Etosha National Park, Namibia
Established in an almost-arid environment of Namibia, Etosha National Park<9> is famous for its Big 3 grey mammals. With over 1500 black rhinos, this Park provides you with an easy opportunity to spot these beasts. The best location to spot the rhinos and most other animals is near a watering hole as they come to quench their thirst. The advantage of strategically positioning yourself near a watering hole is that you will be able to spot other animals competing for this precious drink. Such other animals include giraffes, elephants, antelopes, among so many others.
3. Kruger National Park, South Africa
Kruger National Park<10> is home to so many wild species. Located in the heartland of South Africa, this Park boasts of being one of the largest safari destinations in Africa. It is also the most luxurious safari destination in Africa with five-star lodges and camps. Jeep safaris plus horseback safaris are conveniently available just to ensure you cover the widest reach possible. While being famous for ostrich rides, Kruger National Park is home to a sizeable herd of rhinos. To top-up your safari bonus, you get to see elephants, giraffes, hippos, lions, leopards, and so many other wild species.
Discover more: Where do African Lions live
2. Ol Pejeta Conservancy, Kenya
Established in 1973, Ol Pejeta<11> is one of the oldest private not-for-profit wildlife conservancies in Kenya. Ol Pejeta boasts of being the only place in the world to host Northern White Rhino, an endangered rhino species that is nearing extinction. The threat of extinction is such that there are only three such rhinos left in the whole world. If you happen to see them, you will probably be among the few people alive to witness their near-end-of-life existence on earth. Hopefully, they will survive long enough and multiply. Other than these rare rhinos, Ol Pejeta has all the Big 5 game animals - just to add to the menu of your safari. For a private not-for-profit conservancy, this is a great fete.
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1. Damaraland, Namibia
With one of the most rugged wilderness terrains in Namibia, Damaraland is a tough place to reach. However, its scenic breathtaking beauty makes this tough adventure all worth it. Damaraland<12> boasts of being home to the world’s largest free-roaming black rhino population. Being a desert environment with scanty shrubs that barely grow beyond one foot in most places, you can easily spot these rhinos from afar. You can also climb one of the rolling rocky hills, especially near the Desert Rhino Camp and be able to take a spectacular panoramic photo shot of these beasts in their rugged terrain habitat. To get up-close and candid, you can pick a morning jeep drive with Save the Rhino<13> trackers who are game experts in tracking the rhino movement. Palmwag Concession is one particular spot to trace a big herd of black rhinos.
The Rhino is one of the most endangered species in the world. The Northern White Rhino is being pressured into extinction – with only three left. A visit to at least one of the 10 Best Places to See Rhinos in Africa is an endorsement of their right to live and an appreciation of the tireless effort being carried out by conservationists to protect them from the cruel bullets and venomous arrows from poachers.