In an effort to stamp out the hunting that has driven the Rhino to the verge of extinction, the National Environmental Management Biodiversity Act has been passed in South Africa.
Amongst other measures it requires the horns of living Rhino to be embedded with a microchip that allows that horn to be logged and, if necessary, traced. The existing horns of dead animals must also be chipped to ensure they are not sold on to traders who still make large profits by selling them onto the far East of Asia.
It also tightens up on the hunting regulations, ensuring that all authorised kills are properly logged and dealt with.
“…all applications for the hunting of rhino received by the issuing authorities must be referred to the Department of Environmental Affairs for recommendation within the time frames stipulated in TOPS,” said Albi Modise, Spokesperson from Environmental Affairs.
“A person may only hunt and export one rhino for trophy purposes per year. The Environment Department will compile a database of hunters to ensure that a hunter does not hunt more than one animal in different provinces per year.”
The new legislation is part of South Africa’s programme to protect and manage its White Rhino population, by ensuring that the poaching that has taken such a toll on the animal is eradicated, and population surplus is used to generate funds that can be put back into securing the creatures future.
Did you know that Lesotho has the highest mountain peak in southern Africa, the highest road in Africa, the highest pub in Africa (personal research there) and the highest single-drop waterfall in Africa? Its known as the ‘Kingdom in the Sky’, for obvious reasons.
The facts are:
Highest peak: Thabana Ntlenyana – 3 482 metres. You can climb right to the top and what a view.
Highest road: Tlaeeng Pass in northern Lesotho (part of the Roof of Africa route) – 3 275 metres. You can drive this one, still a great view.
Highest pub: Located on the Sani Pass – 2 874 metres.
The name ‘Skeleton Coast’ refers to Namibia’s northern coastline between the Kunene and Swakkops Rivers. The Atlantic Benguela current gives rise to dense fog for many months of the year because of its coldness, and when you add in the fact that there are frequent storm-force winds, many ships are driven onto the rocks or run aground here. The result is the largest ship graveyard in the world.
Crew members that survived the ship wreck then found themselves in a harsh desert environment with no fresh water. It was their sun-bleached skeletons and the remains of their ships that gave the coastline its name of Skeleton Coast, especially when the frequent whale and seal bones found along the coast when the whaling industry was active were added in.
Much of the Skeleton Coast is protected by the Skeleton Coast National Park, established in 1971. The south of the park is open to visitors, but most of the wrecks that can still be seen are found in the North. These are therefore best scene from the air, either flying in/out of the park or on an organised air safari.
We’re often asked about our scariest moment on safari. Scary is not really the right word. Exhilarating, breath-taking and humbling suit better. But sometimes….
I was on a drive in a private Rhino reserve in Swaziland, with the Head Ranger as we looked out for the animals. Coming round a corner in a fairly well run-in Land Rover we came face to face with a large and rather angry-looking Black Rhino. After a minute or so of sitting watching each other, with a fair amount of head tossing and foot-stamping going on (the rhino, not me) it decided to charge.
The first impact on the Land Rover was impressive. We were out of gear and without brakes and jolted backwards a fair jump. The Rhino decided that the bumper was rather hard and came around the side of the vehicle to look for a softer spot. I was delighted when it chose my side. A short run and ram, its horn came through the side panel of the door and appeared a few centimetres from my leg. The vehicle was lifted off its left-hand tyres and we waved around a bit. It withdrew its horn and retreated a short distance, possibly preparing for a new charge, but we were in reverse and off round the corner. Fortunately it didn’t follow.
A colleague was at the reserve later and informed me that the door, complete with hole, is now mounted over the lodge fireplace. Fortunately, my leg is not pinned to it. It made me realise the strength of the rhino and its speed.