A fantastic evening with friends…Rhino Day!…

 This short video illustrates females rhinos “thinking” about their next move.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

Tusker stopped by for a bit of a nap.

It’s Saturday morning, but somehow it feels like Sunday, most likely because we had a dinner party last night.  Everything is all cleaned up.  Last night, after our guests left, Tom washed tons of dishes, and this morning we put them all away. 

We had an exceptional evening filled with lively chatter sharing our mutual love of travel, wildlife, and nature, which seems to be the focus of most conversations between residents of Marloth Park.

Our delightful guests are all Marloth Park Honorary Rangers which added another layer of conversation we found particularly interesting and appealing.  Their dedication to protecting the health and well-being of wildlife, nature, and people is unstoppable.

This morning, I laundered all the placemats and napkins while Tom scraped the wax off the veranda floor that had spilled from a repellent candle when I accidentally bumped it while serving dinner.  All is well. 

Two female rhinos on the trail of a nearby male.

We never leave tasks such as these for Marta, instead of leaving the bed-making, floor-washing, and dusting. With the kicking up dust by wildlife in the “dirt garden,” there’s new dust on all surfaces every day. 

I’ve noticed lately when speaking to South African friends that they refer to their “yard” (an American expression) as a “garden.” However, there may not be anything growing of significance other than trees and the low-lying bush.

Some homeowners in Marloth Park have planted various plants, but if they want them to survive, they must enclose them, or the wildlife will eat them or trample on them.  Instead, many have chosen to go with the “dirt garden” like ours.  It’s more practical in this environment and requires less upkeep and maintenance.

Today, we’re sharing photos and another new video from our recent visits to Kruger National Park.  At this point, we’re both looking forward to our next outing to Kruger, after all the success (safari luck) we’ve had lately, especially in sighting the rhinos in today’s post.

And, here are the girls!  Not much is “girlish” about female rhinos!

Here are some fun facts about rhinos from this site:

“Did you know that the word rhinoceros is a combination of two Greek words: “rhino” meaning nose and “ceros” meaning horn? Various other animals have the word rhinoceros as part of their names because they all have horn-like appendages. For example, the rhinoceros fish or the rhinoceros chameleon!

1. Rhino horns are not bone but made of keratin – this is the same material found in hair and fingernails. The rhino’s horn is a compacted mass of hair that continues to grow throughout the rhino’s lifetime, just the way our hair and fingernails grow. The black rhino has two horns – the foremost is more prominent than the other – while the white rhino has more of a stump for a second horn.

2. Rhinos have thick, sensitive skin that can react to sunburns and insect bites – hence they love the mud as it acts as a sunblock and protects them from insects.

3. Tapirs, horses, and zebras are the closest relatives to the rhinoceros. These animals are the odd-toed ungulates – the rhinoceros has three toes on each foot, and their tracks resemble the Ace of Clubs!

4. The collective word for a group of rhinos is a “crash” of rhinos.”

5. Their horns are not used for defense purposes. They’d instead use their teeth to keep their opponents at bay. Black and white rhinos do not have incisors but rather have three premolars and three molars on each side of their upper and lower jaws.

6. With the consumption of large amounts of plants for nutrition, the rhino has got to get rid of the food somehow – this would be in the form of 23 kilograms of dung in a day! Did you know that each rhino’s smell is unique and can identify its owner? For example, a young rhino’s dung smells different from that of an adult, and a male’s poop smells different from a female’s. Rhinos communicate by using these piles of dung to leave “messages” for other rhinos. This is one way of marking their territory.

Two female rhinos were crossing the road.

7. The difference between the white rhino and the black rhino does not emerge from their color. The white rhino came from the word “weed” in Afrikaans, which means “wide” and describes its mouth. The English settlers in South Africa misinterpreted wyd for the word white and hence the white rhino. The black rhino got its name from the dark wet mud in its wallows that made it look black. But both the black and the white rhinoceros are grey.

8. The black rhino is a browser and gets sustenance from eating trees and bushes. With its wider mouth, the white rhino has a long flat upper lip that is designed to graze grass and prefers to walk with its enormous head and squared lips lowered to the ground.

9. Rhinos have a symbiotic relationship with oxpeckers – in Swahili, they are the “askari wa kifaru” – which means the rhino’s guard. The “askari” eats ticks and other insects that it finds on the rhino and creates a commotion when it feels any danger, alerting the rhino.

10. Most wild rhino calves will never meet their fathers – after mating, the male and female rhinoceros typically separate and move on. Once the calf is born, it will spend a few years with its mother but never meet its father.

11. Females will reproduce every two and a half to five years and remain with the calf for about three years.

12. Black rhinos prefer to eat at night or during dawn or dusk. When it is too hot, they take cover under the shade.”

This was the first time we observed rhinos crossing the road.

Each time we see rhinos in the wild, we are enthralled.  They aren’t always the easiest of wildlife to observe when they may be tucked away in dense bush areas.

While in the Masai Mara in Kenya in 2013 (returning in eight months), we couldn’t get as close to rhinos as we have in Kruger National Park on several occasions since our arrival in South Africa in February.  We feel very fortunate to have been “up close and personal” on several occasions and look forward to many more opportunities.

As for today, we’ll be heading out this afternoon for one of our frequent drives in Marloth Park to see what wonders await us during our usual two-hour drive.
We feel great and, we feel grateful. 

Have a great and grateful day!

Photo from one year ago today, June 16, 2017:

View of a bay of Lake Minnetonka from friends Connie and Jeff veranda when we were invited for a fabulous dinner. Connie’s a professional chef, and we enjoyed every morsel. For more, please click here.