A Crash Of Rhinoceroses
This was the time we had to look up the collective noun for rhinos.
So here it is... a crash of rhinoceroses.
But first things first. With a tight schedule, we had initially debated whether driving to the park was actually going to be worth it. Even though people we met did say that we'd be able to see some rhinos, we were skeptical even as we were driving inside through the park gate. Not too long after we had entered our skepticism vanished, as we began to make out brown hillocks in the distance. Turned out, the hillocks were in fact mounds of around a dozen rhinoceroses -- well, just lying there -- in the middle of an open field.
If you're into wildlife photography, this could be your big breakthrough. We could see many rhinos by randomly driving around. Some were drinking out of the many water holes, others suddenly emerging from the bushes, and still others who seemed visibly annoyed when we didn't yield to them as they were trying to jay walk in front of our car. And so could you. Mind you, anything in the small country of Swaziland, ahem, eSwatini, can be considered big, but the Royal Hlane National Park, where we spent the better part of a day chasing rhinos and hippos, was one of the greatest on our trip. The best thing we cherished in our travel here is the tranquility, meaning we hardly came across other cars all day, and so the rush of adrenaline, when it occurred for the family, took place with no other soul in site.
In some instances, curiosity made us step out of the car to photograph the rhinos. In case you're wondering, that's a huge no-no! So don't even think of doing this. We were extremely careful, and kept a safe distance at all times. But with bushes, shrubs, and trees all around us, this was still risky, and possibly foolish. Like the pair of big guys here, who scrutinized us for some time and decided that the cost benefit ratio of charging at us likely doesn't make sense. Considering, especially, we were not their usual diet of green grass.
Ultimately, by far the most potent killers in Africa happens to be a different species altogether: hippopotamuses. Most don't know this, but they're extremely dangerous, and even with their massive body size, can run almost as far as a horse. We didn't want to test those huge canines, so although we took our SUV right to the water's edge to catch a whole bloat of hippos – there's the collective noun again, this time for hippos – we had the good sense of not getting out of our vehicle.
Most visitors to the park are quite content to see the big animals. Apart from the rhinos and hippos there are also elephants, lions, and leopards. If you’d like to see the lions though you’d need to get inside an enclosure, for which you’d need a mandatory guided tour. Our recommendation would be to soak up the tranquility of the region for a few days, since you’ll certainly not get that in any of the more popular spots.