Five nights into my field visit I bid goodbye to my powder soup packets and the hyenas howling by my cosy tent (pride of place next to the fantastic solar panels that supply Mai Go Ha with energy), and enthusiastically jumped in a 4×4 to be delivered to the lap of luxury – Desert Rhino Camp! A room was available last minute so I was lucky enough to snap up a night’s stay.
Desert Rhino Camp is a beautiful collection of eight luxury raised meru-style tents with front verandas. Formed as a partnership between Save the Rhino Trust (SRT), Wilderness Safaris, and local conservancies in 2003, Simson recommended the location based on its stunning surroundings and rich wildlife. Desert Rhino Camp is an inspiring example of modern conservation success – with the private sector, NGOs and local communities coming together to protect the desert-adapted black rhino.
Wilderness Safaris are responsible for the delivery of the tourism product, and cover the costs of both the SRT tracker teams at Desert Rhino Camp and the lease of the land from the conservancies. The SRT team lead tracking activities for the guests, enforce viewing protocols and collect rhino monitoring data. Guests often make generous donations to the SRT team that made their stay so memorable.
As I arrived my bag was whisked away, I was delivered a cool drink, and the wonderful team welcoming me sung ‘The Desert Rhino Camp Anthem’ for me in both Damara-Nama and English. After five days of canned vegetables and water, an Appletiser never tasted so good! A group of guests arrived back from their morning drive with an exciting story, they had seen a pair of rhinos mating, Dessy and the area’s dominant male Don’t Worry. Could the pitter patter of little rhino feet be on the horizon?
On later drive, we saw Dessy and Don’t Worry again (only flirting this time!), and a number of oryx, springbok and zebra. The trackers are careful to ensure everyone remains a safe distance, and drive areas are rotated to keep disturbance to a minimum.
The day in paradise ended with a delicious 3-course meal under a starry sky and an early night, to prepare for the following day which would begin at 4 am for a sunrise drive!