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Namibias Rhino Rangers

December 18 2019

Namibias Rhino Rangers

I have always had a deep love for nature, but the rhino and especially the Desert-adapted Rhino, is one of those truly iconic species in Namibia to me. My guiding career started early with my love for being out in the desert, tracking rhinos by foot, being constantly amazed how these huge creatures manage to survive in these harsh conditions.


The tracking of Desert-adapted Rhinos is unlike the majority of game viewing in Namibia, as you have to track them by foot. Guests therefore have to come with a certain degree of love for adventure. Black rhinos are large animals and they are potentially aggressive when disturbed. This may be on behalf of their poor eyesight, so going out to look for them is not an activity that should be taken lightly.  During my guided tours, my aim is to have as little impact on the animals as possible, so our hope is to enjoy a sighting and then leave without even being discovered by the animals. We therefore have to keep our distance, and this is where binoculars play a crucial role, allowing you a proper sighting even if you can’t get ‘up close and personal’.

 

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My duty as a ranger is to take charge of the sighting experience. I have the experience to estimate how close we are able to approach the animal safely and how long we are able stay near to them. Having the possibility to bond with these special animals allows us to play a small part in protecting them while being offered a truly life enriching experience. Nevertheless, what I also love about my job is that nature is unpredictable and we are not able to influence it. Therefore, sightings cannot be guaranteed as they are influenced by many factors as for instance the weather conditions.

 

Namibia has one major conservation success story when it comes to rhinos, and much of this is due to the work of //Huab Under Canvas and Save the Rhino Trust (SRT). SRT introduced the rhino viewing protocol, which is a set of guidelines that ensure that the rhino is not disturbed unnecessarily while the guests are taken in to view the rhinos and the Rhino Rangers are able to monitor the animals.

//Huab Under Canvas is a Joint Venture with the local Conservancy where every guest that stays there provides a direct benefit to the community. These benefits range from payment of ground rent for the camp to the direct employment of community members. This is the first direct income the community has received from a tourism ventures in this area. This successful conservation story has finally led to more involvement and a greater awareness within the community. A beautiful example how conservation travelers can make a real difference helping to ensure the existence of these wonderful desert adapted animals.

 

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About the author:
Johann Cloete comes from a small town in the south of Namibia called Keetmanshoop. This is where he grew up, with the bush just a stone’s throw away from town – and that is where he spent most of his time after school and on the weekends. On completing high school, he attempted to further his studies but ended up behind a desk and was never satisfied with this as he felt his calling was elsewhere. It turned out that his heart was set on being able to explore nature – so the bush was calling. He started a career in guiding which brought him in contact with the desert adapted black rhinos, and he takes every opportunity he can to see them as he heads out on foot with his trusty pair of binoculars...

 

You want to experience your own #mywildlife story with the Desert-adapted Rhinos?
Founded in 2008, Ultimate Safaris specializes in well-orchestrated privately guided naturalist safaris for individuals as well as for small groups.  They are considered to be amongst the leading authorities on travel to Namibia, often pioneering new ways in which to experience the country, ensuring exceptional leadership and a real connection to the people and places visited. The company’s driving force is a carefully selected tribe of experts who are passionate about all aspects of Namibia.

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