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Digital Subscriptions > Travel Africa > July-September 2016 (75) > Black rhino on foot

Black rhino on foot

“Ker-chunk!” My camera shutter goes off like a gunshot. Immediately the browsing stops and the head comes up, radar ears swivelling and nostrils flaring. The calf huddles closer. Wedged into a thorn thicket, with an edgy female black rhino and her baby just 30 metres away, my every nerve screams ‘run’. But Thulani gestures at me to stay put: the rhino can’t see us and the wind is in our favour. After an interminable time, the rhino resumes her demolition of the thorn bush. I calm my breathing and try to drink in the experience: the huff of her breath; the rhythmic crunch of her jaws; the flies swarming her broad battleship-grey flanks. Head hidden by foliage, she could be just a boulder in a bush. And yet I know this boulder to be one of supreme vigilance, speed and power, one that could spin on a sixpence, crash through our thicket and wield that deadly horn like a rapier. My memory card full, we back slowly out the way we came in, leaving her none the wiser. It is a good 200m before my pulse stops racing.

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