The rhino is one of the “Big 5” animals that can be found at Madikwe Game Reserve. In modern times, this term refers to the five most popular animals to see on an African safari. The other four are the LionLeopardElephant, and Buffalo.

Two of a kind

There are two different species of rhino, the white rhinoceros and the black rhinoceros. The white rhino is the larger of the two with a square upper lip, while the black rhino is smaller and has a pointed lip. Both types of rhinos are keystone herbivores that help to keep vegetation in check and maintain the delicate balance of the ecosystem. White rhino are grazers living on a diet of grasses and black rhinos are browsers, eating leaves and grasses. They also create wallows, which are mud puddles that provide water for other animals.

Females run the show

Rhinos are social animals and live in small herds led by a dominant female. These herds usually consist of three to five individuals but can sometimes be as large as 10 to 15. Females will stay with their mothers until they reach maturity, around four or five years old and will then leave to start their own families. Males leave the herd when they reach maturity at 10 to 12 years old and live a solitary life.

The iconic horn

The most distinctive feature of the rhinoceros is its horn. Both the black and white rhino have two horns, but the white rhino’s front horn is much larger. In some cultures, the horn is believed to have medicinal properties and is used in traditional medicines or ceremonial rituals. In fact, it is made of nothing more than keratin, the same protein that makes up human hair and nails. This hasn’t stopped poachers from killing rhinos for their horns. Rhino poaching is currently at an all-time high. Madikwe Game Reserve has several anti-poaching initiatives in place, including 24-hour surveillance, patrols, and tracking devices.

Madikwe Rhino (Cred Mark Schutz)
Two rhinos at Madikwe Game Reserve. Photo: Mark Schutz

Playful and protective

Rhinos are protective but rarely aggressive unless provoked. They often roll around in the mud or water to cool down and protect their skin from the sun. They primarily communicate through vocalisations including grunts, snorts, and squeals. They also use body postures and gestures to express themselves and white rhino even communicate through communal defecation referred to as Rhino midden.

Experience them up close

Madikwe Game Reserve offers the perfect opportunity to see the African rhino in its natural habitat.

For the more adventurous seeking an experience of a lifetime, Madikwe Safari Lodge also offers an exclusive conservation safari which affords nature lovers the opportunity to witness and participate notching and microchipping a rhino – overseen by a professional guide, capture team and wildlife veterinarian.

This incredible experience requires a group of 10 people.

Book your stay at Madikwe today!