A Brown African Landscape

The Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve
- 17 August 2013 -

Rhino and Lion Park Antelope

I visited the Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve on many occasions, it being a mere 50km from my house is truly a privilege. Before I visited the nature reserve for the first time, about 5 year ago, I heard about the reserve, but always shoved it off as just another "pretend" zoo, but when I decided to take some colleagues to the reserve, I soon realized that I was horribly mistaken.

Lion and Rhino Park Gemsbok

Rhino and Lion Park Gemsbok

There are the well renown South African nature reserves, The Kruger National Park and Pilansberg National Park, and by no means does this replace the experience of visiting one these, these are a different experiences altogether. The experience of exploring masses of African bushveld in its raw form is something that everybody who has the opportunity to do so, to make the effort, it is truly an unforgettable experience. The only problem is, if you are visiting South Africa from Johannesburg for a short trip or even a week-end, getting to these memorable places is a days drive at best, and then you would have to spend at least 2 days exploring the park to truly experience "it". As an alternative we have places like the Rhino and Lion Park situated in the Cradle of Human Kind, about 50km from either Pretoria or Johannesburg.

Lion and Rhino Park Dirt Road

Rhino and Lion Park Blesbok

1200 hectares of bushveld is still a good piece of land and it has a good variety of wildlife to experience. I normally go in my Diahatsu Terios 4x4, which gives me a little more access to the more remote corners of the nature reserve. I always take the 4x4 route leading to a secluded braai (barbecue) area. I haven't really ever used this facility as it was intended, but I use it more for a quick pitstop and an opportunity to stretch my legs.

Rhino and Lion Park 4x4 Braai Area

Rhino and Lion Park Bird

Rhino and Lion Park 4x4 Braai Area

The reserve boasts a reasonably large variety of antelope which wander the hills of reserve freely, and on this day in a relatively brown African landscape.

Rhino and Lion Park Gemsbok

The predators of the reserve are housed in a fenced off area of the reserve so the raw beauty of the bushveld is not available to us, but as a result the experience is relatively safe. I say relatively as there are a few larger animals that you would not want to disturb. So it is advised to remain in your vehicle at all times.

Rhino and Lion Park Buffalo

Rhino and Lion Park African Buffalo

Rhino and Lion Park Baby Rhino

Rhino and Lion Park White Rhinoceros

The white rhinoceros and African buffalo, which weight in at 2300kg and 900kg respectively are of those that you should be wary of. I make a point to bring my 300mm (used on my canon 450d, which has a crop factor of 1.5 so its more like a 450mm) lens with, so I can keep my distance from them, I'm sure that they will be able to do a fair bit of damage to my vehicle if they choose to.

Rhino and Lion Park Bird

Rhino and Lion Park Dry Landscape

Even in winter the landscape is awesome.

Rhino and Lion Park Dry Tree

The mix of animals is excellent, and the reserve management strategically places grass feeding areas close to the road so visitors have the opportunity to see all the animals.

Rhino and Lion Park Antelope

Rhino and Lion Park Antelope

Rhino and Lion Park Ground Squirrel

Venturing into the predator camps will give you a mix of lion, white lion, cheetah, and wilddog. If you go at the right time (13h00) then you will get the opportunity to view predators at feeding time. All the animals have been bred in captivity so they never got the opportunity to hunt for themselves, but because of this, visitors get the privilege of viewing their feeding habits at specific times.

Rhine and Lion Park Lion BW

Rhino and Lion Park Wild-dogs Sleeping

Rhino and Lion Park Wild-dog Sleeping

I have only visited the predator camps once during the feeding time, I hardly got to see anything because soon the roads filled up with other visitors and made it near to impossible to get any descent view. On this day, I visited the camp at about 11h00, the only problem with this time is, one then needs to go looking for furry beasts. I found the lions on one of he back 4x4 roads, laying leisurely under a tree right beside the road. Visitors who came in normal road vehicles wouldn't of had this luxury.

Rhino and Lion Park Male Lion Sleeping

Rhino and Lion Park White Male Lion

Rhino and Lion Park Sleeping Cheetah

The white lion camp gate was closed because the lions were hanging around the gate entrance, besides the fact that the lion could wander out of there camp, the park officials would need to open the gate by hand, and if it was me, I wouldn't risk it.

Once done in the predator camp I headed to the main camp where they have a variety of animals in cages, and lion cubs which for a small fee you could play with them for 15 minutes at a time.

Rhino and Lion Park White Lion Cubs

I have previously played with the white lion cubs, lion cubs and tiger cubs and it is truly a memorable experience. This day however, I just watched.

Rhino and Lion Park Giraffe

Rhino and Lion Park Giraffe

Rhino and Lion Park Giraffe

There is a variety of other activities, like animal shows, and "pat the giraffe".... kids seem to love it.

Soon I was heading out again, and got a couple of last photos on my way towards the main gate.

Rhino and Lion Park Antelope

Rhino and Lion Park Waterpark

Rhino and Lion Park African Buffalo

Rhino and Lion Park Gemsbok

If you like, there is a other things to see, like the Wondercaves and a hippo pool, and if you like you can also visit the breeding camp over the road from the main entrance. 

I can't call this an authentic African experience, as it ranges between a full blown national game reserve and a zoo. But I love it, I enjoy it every time I go will go again, but more specifically for this blog I would like to post a summer post of the African landscape so when things are bright and green again I will make the effort to visit the park again to give a comparable African summer landscape.

No comments:

Post a Comment