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A Kruger National Park safari is one of the best ways to see the rhino in its most natural habitat. Before you embark on a Kruger safari of a lifetime, read all about the rhino in our latest blog.


Rhinoceros are the second largest mammal on earth.  There are two types of rhinoceros; the Black Rhinoceros and the White Rhinoceros.  Contrary to popular belief, they do not get their names, black or white, from the colour of their skins, as both are grey in colour.  Early English settlers mistook the Afrikaans speaking citizens when they said the white rhino’s mouth was “wyd” meaning “wide”.  The black rhino got its name from the black mud it loves to wallow in. 

Facts about the Rhino

  • The word Rhinoceros means “nose horn”. The Black Rhino has a hooked lip while the White Rhino has a flat mouth.  Rhinos have no front teeth, instead they use their lips to graze.  The black rhino’s hooked lip enables it to eat leaves and twigs off of trees, while the white rhino uses its flat mouth for eating grasses.  Black rhinos are found in wooded areas, as they are known as browsers, white rhinos are grazers and found in the more grassy areas. Both species are nocturnal eaters and rest during the day.
  • They both have three hoofed toes per foot and run at a reasonable speed for their size, on their toes but white rhinos are bigger than black rhinos.
  • Rhinos have no natural predators. The biggest danger to the rhino is man.  Some cultures believe that the rhino horn has medicinal properties and therefore they are poached relentlessly.  It was once believed that their horns were made up of hair, but studies have shown that they are in fact made up of calcium and melanin. 
  • Rhinoceros’ like to take a mud bath, both to cool off and to protect them from parasites and the sun.
  • The black rhino is aggressive and will readily charge if it feels threatened.
  • They will not only mark their territory by urinating, but they also scatter their dung with their feet.  
  • Rhinos have a keen sense of smell and hear very well, which makes up for their poor eyesight. Rhinos are known to charge trees or termite mounds that they perceive to be a threat due to their lack of eyesight. 
  • Black rhinos will fight each other, often to the death, giving them the highest mortality rate under mammals.
  • Rhinos are solitary animals. Female rhinos have a single calf after a gestation period of 15 months every three to five years.  Calves weigh about 40 kg’s at birth.  At the age of two months, calves supplement their mother’s milk by grazing/browsing with their mother. Calves usually stay with their mother until they are two or three years old.   White rhino mothers and their calves stay together longer and their family group is known as a “crash.”  While they live alone for the most part, they do have feathered friends. Oxpeckers or tick birds are welcome guests that ride along on the rhinos back, ridding the rhino of these pesky critters.  In return for the meal, Oxpeckers are known to give loud cries when danger is in the vicinity. 
  • Rhino can identify other rhino by sniffing their dung. All white rhinos will defecate in a single area and other rhino will be able to identify whether the dung belongs to male or female, how old the other rhino is or whether it is ready to reproduce, by just sniffing that dung.  Rhino dung is referred to as a “midden.”

See rhino and all kinds of other animals while on an exciting Kruger Park safari. Book your safari with Wanyama today.

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