iSimangaliso Wetland Reserve

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

Land of Nams: living in Johannesburg, exploring the world, documenting the things I love

After a long day at the beach in St. Lucia we decided to take the Clio on a drive in iSimangaliso Wetland Reserve. It is a World Heritage Sight and where they brought back one species of the rhino from extinction, though they still rest perilously on the brink. The demand for rhino horns in several Asian countries makes it difficult to protect them from poachers. As an aside, did you know that the Western Black Rhino was declared extinct in 2010? Sigh.

We drove through, catching sight of several of the regular things- zebras, wildebeests, and even some Cape Buffalo. We drove onto a little side road and while going past a giant bush we discovered a mother rhino and her baby. It was a magical moment. Had we seen the rhinos from afar we would never have driven so close but because they were obscured by the bush we all sat in silent wonder, about 10 feet away from these giant creatures staring and taking them in. After we got a hold of ourselves we moved to sit in the open windows of the car, snapping photos and pinching ourselves, then drove on. We turned the car around in a little slip and when we drove back we passed them again, the baby got a fright and made a run for its mother and we knew it was time to step on the gas.

Over our days in the bush there were several times when we felt the awesome power of a mother animal with her baby. You feel keenly aware of your size, the size of your vehicle and the size of the animal who is 2 or 3x’s your car, even when when you are in a safari jeep. Mothers, whether they were elephants, hippos or rhinos made a show of strength and warning  by baring their teeth, trumpeting their trunks or simply by keeping her giant eye on you the entire time. If we didn’t move to South Africa I probably would have gone on safari once or twice in my 40’s or 50’s and for that I am thankful.

6 thoughts on “iSimangaliso Wetland Reserve

  1. We had a very scary experience with a charging elephant once in KZN, ten or so years ago. It lessened my enthusiasm for game drives considerably. Two years ago we stopped at the Lion park outside Pietermaritzburg and they had a “baby” rhino there. It was about 9 months old or so and massive next to my car. And one minute it actually wanted to rub up against my car but the handler managed to move it away before it took my side mirror off :-)

    Love the photo of the spider.

  2. Amazing, amazing photos – wow, can’t believe you were so close to a rhino. I really want to go to this place – how far is it from cape Town?

    xxx
    Jenna

    • hey jenna, this is in KZN not WC….we drove there in 8 hours, spent four days safariing etc, super fun i HIGHLY recommend it! I can even make an accommodation suggestion, really affordable too!

  3. Great pics; I think I saw the same rhino with that massive horn on my visit. I was surprised how easy it was to spot rhinos there, often much tricker in Kruger. Did you see Samango monkeys? They only occur in that corner of SA; we spotted them in the forest by the beach near the end of the road in the reserve.
    And you’re absolutely right, passion for wildlife can’t start soon enough…

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