South Africa Day 5 – A morning stuck behind 3 rhino

It was the earliest I’ve woken up in quite a while when the alarm went off at 4.30am.  It was still dark outside but we had a sunrise game drive booked to depart from the main lodge about 25km away at 5.30am.

Equipped with a head torch and some luggage I peeked outside, anxiously scanned the vegetation for any hungry eyes and proceeded to load the car. We headed off along the dirt track, lights on full beam. The odd antelope hopped off the track ahead of us as we trundled along, but we really weren’t expecting to come face-to-face with three black rhino blocking our path. Darkness turned to light as dawn came and went, we sat patiently trying various tricks to get this group of rhino to move from the track. It was over half an hour before they headed off the track into the bush – we missed our sunrise tour.

Black Rhino Hlane Royal National Park Swaziland

Black Rhino Hlane Royal National Park Swaziland / Photo by Stephen Chapman

We pulled into an empty central area at 5.45am with long faces, knowing that we were resigned to a self drive tour around the park, but also jubilant that we’d just spent half an hour with three black rhino.

We managed a decent drive around but didn’t see anything to match our morning viewing. At about 8.30am we crossed paths with the trucks that we should have had a seat on and learnt that they’d had a pretty good morning spotting lion and elephant. To add insult to injury we got back to the main lodge and saw two rhino sunning themselves alongside the waterhole in full view of anyone wanting to see them. We got our money back for the sunrise tour and headed out of the park, and began to see the funny side of our morning activities.

Looking out at the waterhole, Hlane Royal National Park Swaziland

Looking out at the waterhole / Photo by Stephen Chapman

On our way out of Swaziland we stopped at Ngwenya Glass, a fantastic glassworks using recycled glass to produce fantastic products. We purchased a few wine glasses and tumblers to take home. The drive back towards Johannesburg went quite quickly. We stopped for lunch at a mall we discovered with the help our GPS and then hit the outskirts of Johannesburg.  I was staying at an the A1 Airport lodge whilst my fiance was leaving that night on a flight back to the UK. We got organised at the hotel and then said a sad goodbye at the airport. I would be back there the next morning to collect Jan Vrsinsky from 360 Cities.