Over the last 2 weeks, we spent time at 3 different Safari Camps including the Dulini Private Game Reserve, Jaci’s Safari Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve and Khaya Ndlovu where we spent time with the Rhino Revolution team.
In order to get between most camps in South Africa, you either have to fly on scheduled Charters, drive for an unGodly amount of hours over horrible terrain, or take a Helicopter. When it was time to transit between Dulini and Khaya Ndlovu, we decided to hire a Helicopter through Wild Skies Aviation out of Hoedspruit so that we can take in one of South Africa’s most beautiful natural wonders, the Blyde River Canyon. The canyon is set apart from other canyons as it is the only ‘living’ canyon in the world, meaning that vegetation is found in abundance at the bottom of the canyon.
These photos will explain exactly what I mean! 🙂
However, the photos don’t quite do it justice!
As you’ll see in the video (taken with a GoPro mounted on the belly of the chopper), departing from Dulini and heading towards Bushbuckridge and Hoedspruit is fairly uneventful. However as you approach the lush borders that surround the canyon, the world below is transformed into something magical. Pay attention at the 30 minute mark and beyond since it is at that point that we enter the canyon and then weave through the canyon walls following the Blyde River out of the canyon and over a series of citrus orchards as we headed to Khaya Ndlovu.
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By now, I sincerely hope that most people have become aware of how critically endangered the Rhino has become primarily due to senseless poaching. Poaching that is driven by ridiculous assertions by oriental medicine that the Horn of a Rhino possesses some magical ability to cure virtually any woe. This demand, primarily by the Chinese and Vietnamese, has resulted in the catastrophic decimation of the Rhino population. In addition do the false medical claims, the Chinese an Vietnamese are also buying whole horns as a sign of success and status and displaying them in their homes and places of business.
These Chinese and Vietnamese partner with local criminals and gangs in Africa to hunt down the defenseless Rhino, hack off their Keratin-based Horn, and leave the poor animal to die.
Recently, these cowardly poachers have plumbed new depths and instead of just illegally hunting Rhino, they have now begun to attack organizations trying to protect and defend them.
Last week at the Thula Thula Rhino Orphanage in South Africa, cowards attacked defenseless volunteers, beat and held them at gunpoint while destroying much of the facility. The abhorrent part of this attack was the murder of 2 of their Rhino orphans, one dying immediately and one needing to be euthanized due to injuries. More details are available the link at the start of this paragraph.
To that end, conservancies throughout Africa are taking steps to protect themselves from this escalation in violence. Unfortunately many of them run on minimal staffing and funding so taking worthwhile steps is often difficult without outside support.
For me, that support goes to the Rhino Revolution. Built of a wonderful group of volunteers whose sole mission is to take oprhaned and injured Rhinos, rehabilitate them and then release them back into the wild in the hopes of living out their lives in the African ‘Bushveld’.
Rhino Rev began their mission in 2011 and is a registered Charity located in the heart of the Rhino population of South Africa, making them a critical player and voice for the endangered beast. Unfortunately, being at the epicenter of the Rhino population also leaves them in the center of most poaching activities that take place in the Greater Kruger Area.
In their fight to protect the Rhino, they execute their mission via a 3-pronged approach:
1. Implement tough and innovative anti-poaching measures today, including horse patrols,
2. Rehabilitate orphaned calves for future release back into the wild.
3. Educate and inspire the young people of the impoverished, local communities – the conservationists of tomorrow.
Because Rhino Rev is not a public facility and does not function as a tourist attraction for fund-raising purposes, they rely on the generosity of like-minded individuals and organziations to help them fight their fight.
As a result of the attack on Thula Thula, the leadership of Rhino Rev are looking for ways to protect their volunteers and Rhinos from such an atrocity. Rhino Rev already has a formidable anti-poaching unit in place but they need more, much more. Their greatest challenge is to provide 24 hour surveillance to their 120 acre paddock that is used to shelter and rehabilitate their Rhino orphans.
To that end, a wonderful group of supporters has launched a ‘Go Fund Me’ page specifically tasked with raising funds to help Rhino Rev afford more man power and technology so that they can do their work in peace without fear of attack from poachers. Their goal is to raise approximately $25,000 that will go a long way in accomplish their very near term concerns.
I ask that you please, seriously consider helping their cause and be part of the solution that may one day eliminate the needless murder of such beautiful animals. No gift is too small, yet each gift is substantial.
Here’s who you will be helping protect, heal, and return to their homes:
My wife and I are traveling to Africa later this year and have arranged to spend a few days with the Rhino Rev team. We’ll be delivering much needed supplies and make ourselves available to help as needed. No doubt it will become a highlight of all of our travels.
We’ve fallen so much in love with that part of the world that our retirement plan includes living at least for a part of the year in South Africa where we can do our small part to help the greater good of protecting and saving our endangered critters.
Please do what you can, they desperately need all of the help that they can get.