All rhino species of the world

Rhino have been hit hard in the last few decades. These species are all of the currently surviving species of wild rhino. Indeed, no species of rhino have been lost in modern times – in recent times the woolly rhino was lost. Further back, there are dozens of rhino species which are only known from fossils, with as many as 45-50 different species in the Americas alone.

There are links for the black and white rhino species, as these are found in the savannah ecosystems that we have listed, however, we will add more over time as we make contact with people in the field.

African Savannah

African Savannah animals

The aim here is not to give you the number of every species that exists in each reserve. Rather, the aim is to give you a rough idea of the health and size of each reserve. In places where there are private reserves on the edge of a larger reserve, complete ecosystem numbers will be given. Please note that they will not be precise, as even straight after a thorough count numbers are only estimates – furthermore, some reserves do not publicize their numbers.

The grid of animals that I have included above are as follows (below):

African wild dog Black rhino White rhino(Really wide rhino) Elephant Buffalo Giraffe Zebra Cheetah Hippopotamus Lion Hyena Leopard

This is going to be the standard animals for Savannah ecosystems within Africa, however each different Biome will have different species so there will be a variety of these pages. I will give you brief information on each. In the long-run we hope to have animal pages for each and these will be linked from the Bold animal names. Those not bold not not yet have a link page. At the bottom of each animals page is a list of places which you can book to see the animal in question; each currently have at least a few choices, but I hope to be able to direct to many more as time moves forwards.

African wild dog (or sometimes known as Cape hunting dog or painted dog). This animal is an incredible sighting if you get lucky. Now, they live at low densities, so are generally found in the largest reserves. If a reserve still has African wild dog, it is clear that the reserve is in pretty good health (usually). Furthermore, as they are very susceptible to various diseases that domestic dogs can carry (such as canine distemper) – this wiped out the population in the Serengeti in 1995. Thankfully, wild dogs have returned to the Serengeti, though currently only 100 or so are in the ecosystem – meaning it is unlikely that you will see them here. Any sighting is a wonderful thing. Member of ecotourism big 7

Black and White Rhino Two different species, Black rhino had a far larger range, unfortunately they are highly endangered across most of their range. White rhino, once found in central Africa (there are now only 2 of these animals left, held at Ol Pejeta conservancy in Kenya) are now only found in Southern Africa – South Africa, Namibia and Zimbabwe. The Kruger, once hosted as much as 10,000 or more white rhino, but now only have about 3000. Note: white rhino appears to be a mistranslation from the Africaans Weit, meaning wide, these rhino are not white. Pictures are Black then white rhino. Member of big 5 and ecotourism big 7

Elephant One of the species that so many people visit Africa for, the Savannah African elephant is doing okay, though the populations is far below historical levels. Places like the Selous (now much of this reserve is Nyerere National park) lost perhaps 80% of there historical elephant population. Encouragingly, if the poaching stops the population often rapidly recovers. The African forest elephant has seen horrific poaching over the last few decades, and without a rapid change this species might be heading for extinction (the African forest elephant is closer related to the Mammoth than the African Savannah elephant. Member of the big 5 and ecotourism big7.

Buffalo: A member of the big 5, the buffalo is essentially a wild cattle species. They are a member of the big 5 and ecotourism big 7. The big 5 is so named because these were the most dangerous animals to hunt on foot. Buffalo are often the species which you are likely to have encounters with if you go walking on foot.

Lion Often referred to as the King of the Jungle (despite not being found in jungles), is generally considered the apex predator. Certainly a wonderful thing to see, never-the-less they do not get their own way all the time. The population of Lions in Africa has seen precipice falls in the last century, and this has not stopped. Tourism is one tool we have to give them financial value to those who share their space with them. Member of the big 5 and ecotourism big 7

Giraffe: While this is a species that is found in the majority of Southern and Eastern African reserves, they are officially classed as endangered, as their population is currently falling so fast. The selous in Tanzania is nicknamed the Griraffe park as there are so many of them.

Zebra are also found in most reserves in Africa, though the number of them is still of interest.

Cheetah Like African Wild dog are a key indicator of the health of the ecosystem. Living at low densities in most reserves (except in places like the Serengeti plains). These are rare sightings, and most reserves do not have many cheetah. Indeed of all the big species, the cheetah is one of the few predators who do better outside reserves.

Hippopotamus: This is another species that does reasonably well outside protected reserves, but their population has fallen fast over the last few years.

Lion Lions are a very clear indication of the health of each ecosystem. If there is a significant population of Lion, then it is a large reserve and therefore there is plenty of space for other species. Check our links at the bottom of the lion page for some of the best place to see them.

Hyena There are thought to be more than 100,000 spotted hyena in Africa, making them the most numerous predator on the continent. They are exciting animals to see, and their call is often one of the species that you hear from your campsite – the weird rising whoop which is the contact call they use between them. Watch the video below to see what I mean. The advantage of the population size is that you are likely to find them in most wilderness areas. Brown hyenas are also widely found, never the less, as they do not do well in close proximity to spotted hyenas which means they are more often found on the edge of reserves and outside them.

Leopard The last member of the big 5 and Ecotourism big 7, the Leopard is a fascinating species. A solitary animal (except mothers with their young) they are the only big cat, or indeed member of the big 5 that is reguarly found outside protected reserves, though this is decreasing over time. A fantastic sighting, they can be very hard to find, and sightings in big reserves are usually very crowded. Generally found near river courses, as these are the places where large trees are found, allowing the Leopard to rest out of danger.

White Rhino

White rhino

In Africa there has been horrible decline of rhinos. The northern white rhino was as recent as 1960 still living in numbers over 2000. Found through  Chad, the Central African Republic, South-western Sudan, the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), and North-western Uganda. Unfortunately this population has since crashed, and while they are not yet extinct there are so few left it is unlikely to recover. Embryos have been frozen in the hope that in the near future Southern white rhinos could host these.

Unfortunately, while the southern white rhino is doing far better with 18,000 (only a 12% decline in the last decade) it is not healthy and at the rate that poaching has occurred it’s not inconceivable that this population could be largely poached out of existence in a decade. In 2021, 457 rhinos were poached in South Africa with 77 lost from the Kruger. While this is horrific, it would suggest that Kruger is finally managing to protect its rhinos more effectively. Currently only 30% of Southern white rhino live in Kruger, which in the past this percentage was far higher (as high as 80-90%). Hopefully in the future rhino poaching will go back to being a thing of the past – while Kruger has the space, it cannot stop hundreds of determined poachers, while smaller reserves can do this more easily.

In the early 1900s, the Southern white rhino population fell to 50-100, thankfully this direction changed with (they are hoping) in August this year. The problem remains, that despite it having no medicinal benefit, if a rhino horn is valuable then people living near the breadline in the surrounding area will look on it with envy. Even if locals do not do it, it is worthwhile for criminal gangs. At the moment, white rhino horn can be sold for around $60,000 per pound, and an average white rhino horn weighs just short of 9 pounds. This means that each white rhino has half a million dollars attached to its nose. 

One important thing to note, is that the name white rhino does not come from the colour of its skin. Indeed, with a white and a black rhino standing next to each other it would be hard to notice a difference in the colour of the skin. Instead, it gets its name from the afrikaans word weit which means wide – the white rhino has a wide mouth for grazing, while the black rhino has a pointed mouth for browsing.

Either place gives you a good chance to see rhino in their home.

As time passes, we hope to add more destinations for each species. There is a list of all articles on this species below the destinations available.

Note:  to look at the rest of the rhino family click here

Limpopo Transfrontier park including Kruger sabi sands and other conservation areas
Greater Serengeti

Rhino poaching in the Kruger continues, decimating the population

When my wife and I spent 3 months on the edge of the Kruger in 2007, there was thought to be over 10,000 white rhino left in the park – around 90% of the worlds wild population.

A white rhino (a correct translation would be wide rhino – this one has a wide mouth unlike the black rhino) Copyright GPA photo archive

Unfortunately, the poaching started in earnest in the following years, and now this population is thought to be 3,529, with about 268 black rhino.

Are we once again going to see the white rhino recover, or will this be its last few years?

It is absurd, as the horn doesnt have any of the medical benefits that it is claimed to have. The rhino is in danger of going extinct due to superstition.

Camp Hwange

Camp Hwange

Camp Hwange lies in a concession within Hwange national park. This gives you the flexibility and more relaxed feel of a private reserve, but because it is within the national park the animals are truly wild and don’t see humans every day, furthermore the ecosystem that they live within is large enough to support a healthy population-  Hwange national park actually lies within the largest conservation project ever undertaken, the Kalahari-Zambezi transfrontier park, an area of around 250,000 square km of wilderness, stretching across 5 countries.

With the ability to do both walking safari, and go out in the car there is incredible flexibility. Also expect to go on night drives, giving you the chance to see nocturnal animals rarely sighted.

With the camp only consisting of 8 Chalets, even when full it will not feel crowded. The camp is set around a watering hole, so you will not only see wildlife during your trips, but can watch wildlife when ever it comes to visit. You can also expect fantastic food and other creature comforts during your stay.

With knowledgeable and interested guides, you will be fascinated by what you see, and it will all be explained by your guide, while they also keep you safe.

At camp Hwange, you can expect to be spoilt rotten both with fantastic creature comforts but also incredible wild encounters both when you leave the camp to explore, but also from your home base.

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A rare piece of good news- the the Black Rhino population has increased

Much of the news from the Natural World is negative. The human population is growing in crowding out the Natural World, even when not foolish two positions have led close to the Extinction of animals because of supposed benefits that their body parts will bring humans.

black rhino are solitary, and being browsers are far harder to see than white rhinos

Continue reading “A rare piece of good news- the the Black Rhino population has increased”

Review of Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania

The Selous nature reserve is the largest protected savannah reserve in Africa. It covers roughly 50,000 square km (19,000 square miles). However this reserve is named Selous after Fredrick Selous, a successful hunter. 95% of the park is set aside for hunting. However, partly because of this and also because of an insect that inhabits the area; bites from the insect can give humans an illness called sleeping sickness, and therefore humans have not settled in the area. However due to its size, it has the capacity to protect huge populations of many mammals.

Few people visit the nature reserve, but this means that you are likely to experience a hugely wild experience, and usually have any sightings completely to yourself. It has been hard hit by the elephant poaching that followed the southern African countries one off sale of their elephant ivory stocks. The intention of these occasional sales is to drop the price of Ivory which means that it is not worth the huge risk to get it (both physically and from detection from the game wardens). However, the risk is that it increases the desire for ivory, and in this instance the second happened. In 2007 it was estimated that the elephant population of the Selous was around 110,000. When we went in 2011 the population was estimated at 30,000. 80,000 elephants from this one protected area were killed. As can be imagined the the remaining elephants are very wary of humans,and so aggressive,  which makes it harder to get significant numbers of people coming to the reserve to take pictures.

A population that has not been decimated in recent years is the lion population, in this reserve it is estimated that there is roughly 5,000 lions. This is roughly a quarter of the remaining lions in Africa.

Practical review

While I greatly enjoyed my visit here, it is not an easy place to travel to on your own. There are very few amenities here. This is partly because the majority of people who visit the park will do it on a far larger budget; there are the resources within the park for an astoundingly luxurious trip. For me, I am far more interested in paying the money to go to very remote places and then living frugally.

My wife and I camped in a camp called Lake Tagalala camp, this cost $25 dollars per night which is not terrible, but here it buys you some space to put your tent up, and a long drop toilet. Washing consisted of walking the 100m to the local lake, with your night guard as there were both crocodile and hippos were in the lake close to where you were able to use it. You also had to pay $50 dollars for a night guard each night. While this does not seem to much, we felt ripped off. All the night guards are day guides, so generally go to bed early (and indeed went to bed around 7pm every night we were there) also if you are sharing the camp with another group you are still charged $50 dollars but there is one between the two (or on some occasions more) groups. On those nights our $50 dollars bought us a good evening and good morning. $50 dollars is the average income for tanzanians per month. We did feel in places that people expected to be able to rip off tourists as they wanted (one warning: we were offered a free walk, on return, the guy demanded the full cost of the walk – we paid up but on leaving the park our driver went in and informed the authorities and got our money back)

Just as an aside, our car was the biggest headache for the whole trip. It was very expensive ($120 per day). It came with a driver and we were picked up at the airport promptly, which was lovely. The problems however started almost immediately. The windscreen was cracked badly already, though the whole pane needed to be replaced quite quickly as we hit a branch which made it far worst. The cold box was not working, the windows did not open some of the doors did not work etc. As you can imagine for the price we felt that this was a rather huge rip-off, and this was never fully rectified. However the driver we had was a lovely guy. It was unfortunate that his English was almost non existent, and it took several days to get him to understand how to drive within the park (slowly so we can look for animals and various other simple techniques to help us find animals). We did also discover after a few days that he was using the majority of our water, having not been sent with water of his own (when you are in a remote place perhaps 50 miles from the nearest place to replace your water this is quite important). However, I wish to say that our driver was lovely, very helpful and made sure that we were not ripped off when we went to buy things, the problem lay with the firm that rented the car in the first place.

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