That one time on Safari when I got attacked by a rhino
– Read Part 1 here in case you missed it –
The rhino is back, it’s about 2 am now and the perspective for our car (and for us) to survive the night seem pretty grim.
Time to take action: we slowly and as silently as possible start to collect the poles of the tent of the parts facing away from the rhino. Because no matter what, we can’t drive away with the tent being open on top of the car and the ladder on the floor etc. As a reminder, that’s what the set-up looks like:
The rhino’s marching off again to the trees to eat, finally!
It’s too dark to see where it is; at best it really walked off, at worst it’s not even 5 meters away… Anyways, now’s the time! We climb out onto the roof of the car trying to listen carefully, which is pretty hard with the water still running at full power from the tab.
The car beeps and the lights switch on automatically when you open it with the electronic key fob, so we decide to try to avoid that by opening the doors manually with the key. Raph, my fiance (I love saying that!), takes the lead now while I stay on top of the, awkwardly hanging halfway in the tent and the roof. He slides down, puts the key in the lock, turns it and then it happens: The car alarm sets off! Like a siren with wildly flashing lights through the night…
Not ideal really, but my chance to proof my athletic abilities (I didn’t know I had): I jump off the two-meter-high car in one big lapse, while opening the backseat door and swinging in at the same time. All of that took me maybe 3 seconds. Comparing that to my clumsy tries to climb up and down the car on several other occasions afterwards, I am a little bit embarrassed…
So here we are sitting inside the car, feeling fairly safe for the first time in hours! I say fairly because one of us has to go out again to fold up the tent and ladder. The sooner we get over and done with it, the better. Raph switches on the engine and runs out around the car wrapping things up (and to switch off the tab, the water wastage hurt us) while I slide into the driver’s seat supposed to be ready to drive off any second. Supposed to be ready, because never before in my life has my body has been shaking so much in fear. I struggle to control my body and to push the pedals down.
And that’s it! The rhino was not to be seen again.
Raph gets back into the car and we take on the several km long ride through the night to the entrance gate of the park. Luckily we don’t encounter any more animals that night!
The night guard is really nice about it and allows us to set-up our car next to the gate for the night. He tells us that it was probably the black rhino that was raised by hand and is now a little bit too comfortable with people. According to him, we should have just shouted something along the lines of ‘No! Bad boy!’ or ‘Naughty, naughty, stop it’. That just didn’t seem obvious to us, when this massive and notoriously aggressive animal was shaking the car to the core.
That’s definitely not what I came on Safari for, but it’s a reminder that you are a guest in the animal’s territory; a guest in wild animals’ land and wild animals are unpredictable to a certain degree. We got out of it ok and continued our trip afterwards without any other similarly scary encounters. And despite how scared we were in the moment, I would still consider a self-drive safari safe overall. I am not sure if we got lucky or unlucky, but now we got this unbelievable story to tell of that one time at Safari when we got attacked by a rhino…
Before you leave…
You can read more about Safari in Southern Africa here:
Why we went on a self-drive Safari
15 things to know before going on a self-drive safari in Botswana
Essential Gear for your Self-Drive Safari
Kolmanskop: Namibia’s most deserted ghost town
That one Time on Safari when I got attacked by a Rhino (Part1)
That one Time on Safari when I got attacked by a Rhino (Part2)
30 Photos that will make you want to go to Botswana right now
Photo Diary of a typical day on Safari
25 Photos that will inspire you to visit Namibia
My favourite lodge in Namibia: RiverDance Lodge
Why you should add a visit to a Himba Village to your bucket list