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Rhino river lodge kz natal


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1 an initial warning , I meant to give it in an earlier report


when arriving in the area I did not wish to miss any activities so I booked onto the 0610 flight for richards bay, checked into tha airport CITY LODGE , a good comfortable place to stay in , and asked the day before what time to check in, I was told by the people who weigh the luggage 5am


well I got there with some other red eye passengers only to find that the counters don't open until 0530


I saved money on meals on the city lodge day having woolies deli counter sandwiches.


I am glad I was exhausted 1 and a half days a Thula thula a place which seemed ok on the web site, but in reality it is a disaster.


2 the Zulaland rhino reserve began when some preexisting sdmall game reserves 1,000 to 2,000 hectares wanted to bring im more animals and join in the black rhino expansion program


consensus discussion with neighbours lead to the abandonment of agriculture and the removal of fences starting in 2004.


some people were bought out with NGO funding and others stayed to become lodge operators


the place is in good conditions, indicating that the farming had not hurt the environment


the area has good rainfall and the bush is in good condition


a numbers of different crops were grown, including cotton , which when it was to stop was eaten up by some of the residual cattle.


there were 17 landowners , the last fence came down in 2010 creating a 23,000 hectare reserve


there are a number of lodges , all areas are open except the immediate areas around camps


bayete zulu has recently become a sole use group booking lodge


sitings are restricted to 2 vehicles at a time, in practice some vehicles take a while to get to certain areas because of where their camp is


leopards are seldom seen , and limted to 1 vehicle at a time for 10 minutes only


all the farming left is a small area about the size of 2 football fields of tomatoes which is fenced


3 rhino river lodge is a delightfully comfortable and affordable camp


the lodge rooms are very comfortable and large without being luxurious


the meals are good quality family style food


well after being here I wonder what this home renovation craze for slate tyles in the bathroom is all about . the enture room is slater tyles, when you get out of the shower the continual moisture has a ongoing but minor affect on the slate. People walking on it take a bit of the surface of, so I removed thin laqyers of rocjk with the small brush I took to clean the soles of my shoes.


the brush also came in handy when it rained lightly for a brief period and the soles of my boots became a mass of mud.

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a few regular wharthogs and nyala frequent the lodge lawns, to the extent that mowers are only used in the summer


there are some delightfull fever trees, some of who grown on their sides. they fell over in a cyclone in thwe 1970's and just contined to develop into very large trees in a different orientation to most.


nearly all the staff are locals, local contractors are used like the folk who retiled around the pool when I was there


they are prepared to use lical preference, so people are benefited and don't need to go poaching, even to the extent taht they will train a local to do a job that they are not familar with.

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all the lodge rooms have an outdoor wooden terrace with 2 chairs and a small tables


there are also some chalets which have a seperate living room, as well as a bedroom and bathroom, they go over 2 levels


the rooms have an electric jug with tea bags and instant coffee supplied


the reserve has a policy of no of road driving, animals can be close to the track or a bit distant. bring your high magnification zoom lens


this area of kz natal has a whole lot of game reserves, zululand rhino reserve is separated from the uber expensive Thanda by a public road


the only minor criticism of rhino river is that on occasions there is a bit of noise from the distant main highway

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it is a simple delight to be amongst the camp fever trees ,since some are side growing you can actually sit on the trunk and just take it all in


that is what I did for an extended period when witing for my transfer after my final game drive


getting back to things earlier on the place has a certain level of unwelcome presence of vervet monkeys , you are advised to keep your room shut up.


the bar/dining area involves a whole lot of work, it has a low thatch roof and cannot be locked up. ,so at the end of the day the bar fridges have yo be locked , and amything on an open shelf has to be removed.


gamedrives are done in open landcruisers with a raised canvas canopy roof, the tracker sits next to the ranger/guide


the canopy roof is usefull in remaining dry when it rains, and is no issue otherwise as they do not drive of the track


All the guides are very knowledgeable and good communicators


as with elsewhere I managed to get in the front seat always except on one drive ,(for my entire safari at all camps ) when I was in the back and got lucky getting a close view of 2 white rhinos sub adult amales walking along the track after they had engaged in a contesst of strength with horns for future dominance


rhinos are frequently seen


lions are seen often, buffalo viewing is good, male elepahts are seen semi regulary but not family groups.


giraffe and ostriches are very weel seen here, the general plains game good and the scenery and sunsets are superb


they have made a decision in the reserve to start with a small number of elephants


it was amusing to see a large male elephant on musk fully knock down a smallish acacia tortalis tree , eat some of the roots, then try to replant it like a garden cutting

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they have their own security group, rhinos are carefully protected by various means, there have been no poaching losses.


rhinos are doing well and calves are being born, but numers are not given out


all lodges are on the same radio call system, with as mentioned before a limit of 2 vehicles per siting


rhinos are not mentioned on the radios as the signals can be hacked into


all the other guests were friendly


dinner is enjoyed in the boma at night unless it was raining


cheetahs are present in the reserve , but seldom seen . when they are seen they m,ove quickly and may easily be in a position far away from where many vehicles are.


a small group of wild dogs is about to be introduced , as many of you know wild dogs move over a wide area and they could easily be hard to find


rhino river lodge is a relaxed comfortable place to stay and the game viewing is good


if anyone wants to stay and drive themselves there, I would advise them to take care with the section of highway from richards bay which now can have large trucks with building materials, logs and many other things . they are not easy to overtake and at times there can be a nunber of them in a row

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in the reserve there is a very delightfull area where there are a whole lot of fever trees


they stop here at times for drinks break

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all the camps in the reserve are fenced


there are a number of different soil types in the reserve due to different geology

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  • 2 weeks later...

on one morning a tracker from leopard mountain was wearing a reqular shirt and PJ trousers stripped flannels


a tracker from rhino river got a less than enthuastic reception from his parents when he expressed interest in wildlife training. they insist that he first train and register in a building trade, he selected electrical. so he does tracking and electrical work . he has done well and will be leading their soon to be added self catered area.


well the head ranger can change things , a group of 4 sth african women arrived, they were there on their 40th year school renuion. one of them comment to him "oh a toy boy" , perhaps they were allocated to another guide.


One of them had gone to live in Germany, and had no problem with a beer festival beginning on 11 nov at 1111am, that is disrespectfull of rememberance day

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