Platinum Rhino, the worlds largest captive rhino breeding operation sold to africaparksnetwork! (update, instagram embed did not work)

Hearing this news, one might think “great, another 10-20 rhino”? Think again.

Platinum rhino holds as much as 15% of the current wild population in its operation -2000 individuals. Here is an instagram on the news!

This could be great! Current rhino numbers are estimated to be in the low 2000, down 79% since 2011. Releasing the whole herd back into the Kruger could allow numbers a sizable boost, and rapidly move the kruger back towards its former stronghold of the white rhino. However, in the first half of 2023 over 200 rhino were poached from the Kruger, suggesting that this is not going to be easy.

Unfortunately, the Kruger is already one of the best preserved large reserves in the world. Thankfully, rhino horn has dropped in value from its peak in 2012 of $65,000 per kg, down to a current $8000 per kg. It would be good to depress this further, however the risks for the poacher are very high: not only are many poachers killed by the rhino, they are also often killed by other wildlife such as lions – and the Kruger has a sizable number of man-eating specialists.

I suspect the organization will spread the rhino around, across many of their reserves. Hopefully the recognition that farms like this make no sense, will allow them to thrive back in the wild.

Education is still needed in China, Vietnam and elsewhere. Rhino horn is the same substance as your finger-nails, Keratin. Consuming it will make no difference to any medical condition, science has tried to show any positive health benefit, and can see nothing scientific – at best a placebo effect.

Below, is a video about this farm, 6 years ago back in its heyday. Hopefully, all these rhino can recover white rhino populations far and wide.

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.

aaa Victoria falls national park, part of the KAZA transfrontier park

Victoria Falls national park, Zimbabwe, Part of KAZA transfrontier park

One of natures greatest spectacles, the Victoria falls lie within the national park that takes its name, and in turn is part of the vast Kalahari Zambezi Transfrontier park. The area around the falls contains a wealth of wildlife, Covering a total area of 56 000 hectares, both parks lie on the southern bank of the Zambezi River which forms the border between Zimbabwe and Zambia. There are a number of picnic and fishing sites available. Activities include guided tours, walks, day and sunset cruises, game drives and adventure activities.

The Rainforest – Here visitors can see unique flora and fauna. Bird species and small mammals may be spotted beneath the forest canopy whilst following the paths through the groves of Date Palm, Fig and Mahogany.

The Game Park – Elephant, Lion, Buffalo, Leopard and White Rhino (the Big Five) can be seen in the park as well as herds of Eland, Sable Antelope, Zebra, Giraffe, Waterbuck and Kudu amongst other smaller species. The Zambezi River is known for its Bream and Tiger Fishing. There are two game drive routes, one accessed through the main gate and the other from just outside town on the Bulawayo road.

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.

White rhino population in the Kruger has crashed by ⅔ in a decade

The white rhino recovery was a huge success story- from a low of just 60 animals the population rose to over 20,000, the biggest single population, lying within the huge Kruger national park.

Unfortunately, while China has slowly got their illegal wildlife trade under control (still a big problem, but for rhino, nowhere near the biggest) Vietnam and Laos, have seen a demand for rhino horn rocket.

Continue reading “White rhino population in the Kruger has crashed by ⅔ in a decade”

5 viable northern white rhino embryos have been created

The Northern white rhino, an animal that existed in the DRC and parts of the world like that, still had numbers of about 2000 in the 1980s. Unfortunately there are now only two.

The BBC seven worlds one planet series, included a short clip about the last 2 northern white rhinos, With thousands living wild, just 35 years ago, can we save these animals?

Humans are belatedly trying to do something about this, and have managed to create 5 seemingly viable northern white rhino embryos.

These can then be put in the surrogate Southern white rhino mothers, giving the ability to increase the population from the current 2, to a potential 7.

Continue reading “5 viable northern white rhino embryos have been created”

Camp Ndlovu

Camp Ndlovu

Camp Ndlovu lies within the Welgevonden Game Reserve, and sits alongside the Marakele National Park in South Africa.

These protected areas and some other reserves are collectively called the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve, which covers around 4,000 square km of bush.

Sitting just two and a half hours from Cape Town, this is a perfect place to drop into for a few days during a Cape holiday. One of the big advantages of going on safari here is that there is no Malaria, which is rare for a safari destination.

As a Big Five reserve you will have an action packed visit (cheetah are also present).

For those interested in birds there are also over 300 species that are present including blue cranes.

Camp Ndlovu is a luxurious way to do safari, and with only guests of one of the lodges allowed onto the reserve the number of cars is kept relatively low. With just five suites (one of which is suitable for families, though children under 12 by arrangement only) even when the lodge is full, it will not feel crowded.

With each suite being very generously sized and being air conditioned, they will be a welcome refuge from the heat of the bush. Each has its own plunge pool and outdoor shower and bath. They each have extra long king sized beds, and a sitting room with a fireplace. Also included is a minibar and a nespresso machine. There is also a sizeable deck around the plunge pool with comfortable pool loungers, allowing you to relax in comfort and watch the world pass by.

Despite the camps remoteness there is also WIFI within the camp. They also have extras such as bathrobes slippers and forgotten toiletries.

Each air-conditioned luxury unit suite comes complete with its own plunge pool, outdoor shower and outdoor bath, air-conditioning and fan, king size extra length bed, a lounge with fireplace, Nespresso coffee machine with complimentary coffee pods, a mini bar, outdoor shower and bath and  an extensive wooden deck with pool loungers and private dining areas. Extras include bathrobes, slippers and complimentary toiletries and Wifi.

This coupled with a history of wildlife never having been legally hunted here makes for far more relaxed animal encounters than you can experience elsewhere. Anti-poaching efforts continue behind the scenes to make sure that this remains the case as much as possible.

Apart from those animals listed so far the reserve hosts around 50 mammals in total. Night time safaries are usually the only way to see them and brown hyena, aardwolf, pangolin and aardvark are present to be looked for on night drives.

With a long history of human habitation within the area, there are also 2 san rock paintings within the reserve. There is a booking/questions form below the video, and below this is pricing information in south african Rand (at the time of writing £1 is about 20 rand

 

To ask questions or enquire about availability or book please fill in the form below

Madikwe Game Reserve

Madikwe Game Reserve

Madikwe game reserve is the 5th largest reserve (it covers 68000 hectares) in South Africa, but far less known than most other national parks.

Containing the big 5, as well as cheetah and wild dog there is plenty of wildlife to be seen. With a variety of biomes, including grassland, forest and the rocky Tshwene hills, the reserve plays home to a variety of wild animals. These include the big 5. The reserve also has a population of  wild dog and cheetah, animals often not seen in smaller reserves such as this.

The reserve’s grassland, forest and rocky Tshwene Tshwene hills are home to a variety of wildlife and you can spend hours watching the local wildlife. Hundreds of bird species include ostrich, vultures and the large kori bustard. Animals often gather at the Madikwe Dam to drink at sunset.

It sits just 40km from the Botswana border.

Jamala Madikwe Royal Safari Lodge

Jamala Madikwe Royal Safari Lodge Is set  in the Madikwe Game Reserve, a reserve covering 290 square miles. This malaria free reserve contains the big 5, as well as a range of other interesting animals waiting to encounter you each time you venture out of the lodge. It was used as a cattle ranch until 1991 before being transformed into the wonderful reserves that is there now. The big 5 are present, as well as some wild dog if you are lucky.

The lodge is well known for its fantastic food, it also has a wonderful location, right beside a watering hole. This means that even when not on a safari drive, there is a constant flow of animals nearby, so it is possible to sit in a chair and watch the as the animals come to you. As this is a private reserve, you can be sure that there will be few few other guests and that you will therefore experience the wilderness away from the crowds.

In terms of the lodge itself, it only has 5 villas each for two people. If you are travelling as a group the lodge can be booked for private use, but this is not necessary to have a fantastic time. The lodge is big enough for groups to spread out and have their own space if they wish.

If you don.t feel like leaving the lodge, you can sit in the shade, in the heat of the day as you watch the animals coming for a drink. Indeed some have said it is among the best “sofa safari ” destination there is.

With fantastic chefs, the food and drink you will eat will be impressive and will make you forget how wild a place you are in.

To see ask a question, there is a form below the video. Below the form is pricing information. Please note that while all efforts will be made to keep these up to date, pricing should be checked on booking. Pricing is in rand, which is currently valued at roughly 20 to a pound (14 to a USA dollar) though this will get out of date quickly.

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