We are on our sound safari at Sausage Tree Safari Camp in the Balule Game Reserve on the edge of Kruger National Park. It is 8am as we drive around a bend in the road and suddenly a large Black Rhino is spotted feeding behind a bush close to the road. We stop, switch the engine off and wait to see what will happen.
A minute later the rhino moves into the open and stares at us. It is only 10 metres away from us. We connect the sound system and turn the recorder on. Everyone on the vehicle tries to sit as quietly as possible while we wait. The only sound in the headphones is the occasional rusting of jackets as someone moves slightly. It is amazing how sensitive the microphones are, picking up the slightest movement. Still nothing from the rhino. He simply stands still watching us intently, ears moving constantly trying to pick up any sound from us.
The clock on the recorder goes up and up and up and at 12 minutes the rhino makes a loud snort. We freeze, wondering what will happen next. But no, we are back to the stare-down. A glance at the recorder tells me that 16 minutes have now gone past and suddenly the rhino gives in, turns away and moves quietly into the surrounding bush. What an experience!
Thanks to Tamara Van der Ploeg for the photo.