That one time on Safari when I got attacked by a rhino
Rhinos are some impressive looking animals, standing tall and broad grazing in the twilight. You switch off the engine of your car, lean back and relax – this is what you came on Safari for!
Now fast forward about 6 hours…
It’s 11 pm and your sleeping safe and sound in the rooftop tent of your 4×4, until… Until you wake up because the car is shaking left right, left right. A brief moment of shock, you look at your fiance, he looks at you, you realize neither of you is responsible for the nocturnal disruption… Time to dare a look outside into the darkness. Quick judgement call from me, oh that’s big that must be a Kudu (the biggest antelope in Botswana) – Ha I wish!
It’s a rhino, a fully grown black rhino having a blast scratching and rubbing its horns on the spare tyre on the rear of the car. First things shooting through my mind: But everybody told us that wouldn’t happen. You’re safe in your car they said. Nothing will bother you in your car they said. And literally no one, no guide, no expert, no tour organiser, we talked to before or after has ever encountered any issues in their tent or car!
So far the theory, but the reality is about 1.5 tonnes of rhino shaking our car to the core.
Next thought: Can it tip over the car?? And let me tell you that’s one scary thought… So we start to try to put counterweight with our bodies as if that would help, but we are the only campers and all alone in the pitch black night.
It goes on for about an hour, while we are sitting helplessly in our tent going through our (unfortunately very limited) options – and while trying to film with the GoPro, because after all this is probably a once in a lifetime event! It later turned out, that it was too dark to film and all we were able to record is the rhino’s grunting…
The rhino just continues having a good time
The spare tyre has just the right size to fit between its horns, but that’s not where the fun ends. The rhino makes use of the facilities of the campsite and manages to switch on the water tab. It falls into a routine of drinking, grunting, farting, scratching and eating off the close-by trees. After about an hour it stops. All of a sudden no scratching anymore and no accompanying sounds. Pheww, a short moment of relieve. But the water is still running so we have no chance of really evaluating the situation over the sound of pouring water.
One could say, we could act now but we are just frozen. All we know is how aggressive particularly black rhinos are supposed to be. They get scared they charge you. And we just witnessed one lifting this huge SUV off the ground…
So we spend the next half an hour discussing the likelihood of it coming back.
Luckily the rhino helps us answer that question by coming back! Lucky us! This time the rhino goes for the front of the car: under the hood, the side mirrors and front tyres. Basically all the essential bits you need to run a car. The scratching party is back on! This time we try some distraction strategies: we try to shine some light with a torch, we prepare a water bottle to throw away from the car, but never dare to actually do it.
We know that we have to leave or our car will be completely destroyed! With this perspective, we have to take some action…
Read Part 2 of ‘That one time on Safari when I got attacked by a rhino’ here!
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