Black Rhino Sightings Provide Good Luck Ju-Ju We Love

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Tsavo National Park

A part of the allure of traveling roads less travelled, is seeing and experiencing things rarely seen or experienced. The black rhinoceros are considered critically endangered species of rhino, with a total population of about 5,000. They have become endangered due to poaching and the rise in demand for their horns. The black rhino has two horns made of a hard hairlike fiber. The larger horn can grow up to five feet long and is used for protection when threatened. The black rhinoceros are native to Africa and mainly reside in the eastern and southern part of continent.

Tsavo National Park is the largest national park in Kenya; located near the town of Voi in the Taita-Taveta County. Tsavo borders the Chyulu Hills National Park. Chyulu Hills carry their own magic, a separate blog? is to come for that experience. Tsavo East National Park in Kenya has the added allure of being the protected home to about 700 Black Rhinoceros.

“Rhinos are just fat unicorns. If we’d give them the time and attention they deserve, as well as a diet: They’d reveal their majestic ways”
-Ashley Purdey?? Black Rhino East Tsavo National Park

It is said to see a black rhino in the wild is good luck. The rhinos can grow up to 6 feet tall and weigh upwards of 3,000 lbs. They can run at speeds up to 34 mph; and have large horns that can be used as protection. A person would think it would be easy to spot such a large animal. The reality though, is that the rhino is perfectly camouflaged within their environment. Rhinos tend to be shy animals that prefer not to be seen during the day. They spend their days laying down in the brush shading themselves from the sun.

We were lucky to see the black rhino twice during our time exploring the park. Each experience carried a majestic moment of stillness and silence. It was a being at the right place, at the right time type of flow. Moments of curios looks between two beings that really don’t know much about each other. Nothing is without meaning, it was a gift to be given these encounters. These unique moments, seized while on safari, were great life experiences of being present in the moment.

Exploring the wilderness on a safari is a great teacher of many lessons; and they all share the foundation of patience and timing. Being out in the open grassy savannah plains the prana is unique. The energy carries a quick pause of acknowledgment; with a “keep it moving”; tempo to the flow. The vibe is different, one of those you must experience it for yourself type energies. There is an alertness that carries in the breeze, followed by complete calm.

The vast park terrain varies with desert-like red dusty roads, to mountainous grassy plains. There is also a richness and abundance of raw elements throughout this terrain. The wind gust created dust clouds that could be overbearing at times, often engulfing and overtaking you. While overbearing, it was certainly better than being stagnant and hot. The savannah grasslands were a mixture of lush acacia trees. It’s dope to witness the wildlife and their adaptability skills to survive in this varied environment.

This Tsavo journey supports mindful breathing and being present in the moment. Some of the moments observed in nature support why it is so important to trust instincts and the senses. It is easy to not look at your phone or be mentally distracted when nature is providing lessons. There are benefits to having the eyes open, senses alert,and being open to trusting gut feelings. It prepares a “ready mode” to mentally seize rare opportunities not captured on camera. Things remembered that are solely gifted to your personal wisdom bank.

Safari Travel Tip: The Safari roads in Amboseli and Tsavo are very dusty. Dust gets EVERYWHERE! I highly suggest bringing sunglasses, and a scarf or bandana to cover your nose/mouth. Be mindful to secure your camera equipment and keep it covered.

Waterbuck taking a stroll

The other wildlife of Tsavo National Park are just are beautiful and unique as the park itself. Tsavo is the largest national park in Kenya and is divided into two parks; Tsavo East and Tsavo West National Parks. The parks are separated by the Mombasa railway. On our return trip from Mombasa to Kenya, we took the railway. It’s a cool scenic ride…and good blog to read ? coming soon.

East African Oryx chilling under a Acacia tree. Checking us out, checking him out.

Beautiful herds of elephants can be seen gathered under trees. If there were ever a list for best natural scenery to be in the moment; I would place seeing elephant herds at the at the top of the list. It is amazing to see the family interactions and community harmony.

Elephant herds are a female matriarchy with the elder female normally leading the herd.

The male bulls roam alone moving across the vast terrain. The elephants create paths, that are similar to roads. Along these elephant paths are shrubs and tree barks that they feed on. Observing elephants also brings awareness to how much they eat and how destructive they can be to environment. Eating is an all day priority for elephants as they consume 200-600 pounds of food a day. A lovely reminder that large animals can survive on eating plants and shrubs.

Tsavo Red Elephants wallow in red clay causing the reddish hue to their grey skin.

The watering holes are a gathering place for all of the inhabitants. While exploring the parks, our guide was sure to pass by all of the watering holes. Some of the waterholes were dried out; wildlife will still migrate to the areas to check them. Visiting the waterholes provides great opportunities to see animal interactions with each other; and other members of their wildlife community.

Baboon with her babies headed to the watering hole; the troop is nearby. ?Tsavo watering hole.

The birds of Tsavo East are gorgeous to observe showcasing their grace and power. Life in the sky can be just as dangerous as life on land. Pretty small birds of prey fly around the plains seeking insects and small lizards. Some larger predator birds hunt by walking the terrain using their beaks as tools of the hunt.

Lilac-breasted Roller at Tsavo West National park.
“She decided to free herself, dance into the wind, create a new language. And birds fluttered around her, writing “yes” in the sky.” -Monique Duval

Some birds of prey are resting during the day such as the Royal Owl, they will stalk and hunt prey at night.

Royal Owl at Tsavo West National Park
“ An owl is traditionally a symbol of wisdom, so we are neither doves nor hawks but owls, and we are vigilant when others are resting.” – Urjit Patel

Other large birds such as the Secretary Bird hunt during the day. Searching along the ground for snakes and small reptile. They roost at night in the Acacia trees.

Secretary Bird walking along the plain handling business of the day. The Secretary is a bird of prey that consumes snakes and other reptiles.

The Guinea fowls are strong fliers but the flock prefer running the terrain rather than flying.

Helmeted Guineafowl can fly very well but prefer to run when startled or foraging for food. They are opportunistic omnivores.
Vulturine Guineafowl are similar to vultures in appearance, due to their necks; they are the largest species of guineafowl.

Watching vultures circling above head is normally a sign death is nearby. It is intimidating to witness a large numbers of vultures circling. The feeling is definitely balanced with respect of their role within The Circle of Life. Their purpose is needed in nature to clean up and dispose. Watching vultures do their job is similar to watching ugly truths in action. You know it has to happen; that knowledge does not make it any less brutal to watch.

“Thoughts, like old vultures, prey upon their heart-strings.”
-Isaac Watts
To regulate their body temp and cool themselves the vultures expand their wings.

Our overnight accommodations for The Tsavo East aspect of the journey were at Rhino Valley Lodge. The lodge offered the wonderful views shown on their website. However the room accommodations were not what we expected. This stay was definitely humbling, and provided an unplugged night in the wilderness experience.

View from Rhino Valley Lodge Dining Area of the watering hole center the big Acacia.
Giraffes gathered to discuss there is no water at the Rhino Valley watering hole.
Rhino Valley Lodge The Rhino Valley Lodge Experience

Be sure to check out The Rhino Valley Lodge Unplugged Blog for full review of the accommodations and stay.

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