A unique 8-day safari in South Africa focusing on rhino and their conservation – getting up very close and personal with the animal – is being offered by the eco-conscious tour operator Captured In Africa, which itself runs a well-known conservation effort.

“Hear directly from rhino orphan carers and anti-poaching rangers, whilst absorbing Africa’s beautiful land, people and wildlife,” says Captured in its publicity for the trip, which it calls “a conservation safari like no other.”

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A monitor at Care For Wild keeping a watchful eye on released orphans.

The tour, after acquainting guests with the urban landscape, heads for Mpumalanga and the renowned rhino rescue and rehabilitation centre Care For Wild that was started by Petronel Nieuwoudt. Participants will also stay on the property, whose location, for reasons of security, is kept unpublicised.

At the sanctuary, they will learn about its work with rhino, how the animals come to be orphaned and the team’s efforts in treating, caring and returning them to the wild. A visit is also organised to Pit-Track K9 Anti-Poaching, the onsite K9 security protection team.

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Orphaned rhino nicknamed Arthur, whose foot and back had been chopped with a panga, being treated at Care For Wild. Now fully healed, he is in the pre-release bomas.
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Pit-Track ranger and K9 at the entrance into the Timbavati, checking for contraband coming into or going out of the reserve.

While staying at Khaya Ndlovu Manor House, near Kruger National Park, there will be further immersion into the rhino-poaching crisis, laying out the poachers’ methods and work being done by the locally founded Rhino Revolution Orphanage. “You may be lucky enough to see some of the rehabilitated rhino calves wondering around the reserve” while on a game drive.

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Rhino viewing in the Timbavati.
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The view from Khaya Ndlovu.
At Care For Wild the Pit-track members and K9 do boma and field patrols and monitoring on the released population day and night.

The tour comes to a close at the Timbavati Private Game Reserve, where the tour visits a Pit-Track K9 team deployed in the area. For an extra fee per group – it is the same price, no matter the size group – guests can be part of the Timbavati’s special programme to track, dart and chip a rhino. (This is an experience that can also be done apart from the tour, through Kings Camp.)

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Working with a darted rhino at Kings Camp. Photo: Kings Camp.

“We are fighting an ongoing battle and the darting of the rhinos (implanting micro-chips in the horn, ear notching and collecting data on the Rhino),” says Warren Moore, GM of Kings Camp, “as a part of ongoing efforts to build a national DNA database of all South Africa’s rhinos. It’s all about gathering enough information about each creature to potentially build watertight criminal cases against criminals, should these animals be targeted. Any horns recovered by police in future would then be analysed by forensic laboratories, and then matched against the growing national database.”

For more information about the Captured in Africa tour, contact info@capturedinafrica.co.za.

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One of the suites at Kings Camp, Timbavati.