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Walking With Rhinos at Camelthorn

On the edge of Hwange National Park sits a relatively new camp called Camelthorn, named after the magnificent tree that it is built around. Besides being very nice, it has a bit of an unusual setup. The entire camp is within an electrified perimeter. There are two male white rhino bulls in the enclosure, which is almost 500 acres in size. They can roam almost anywhere inside the enclosure, though there is a trench to keep them from wandering into the cabins. Armed guards escort the rhinos wherever they go, 24 hours a day.

So besides staying in an upscale lodge, you have the opportunity to both learn about the project (which is fascinating) and then walk with the rhinos. It is entirely possible to have the pair of bulls walk by your cabin while you are on the upper deck in the plunge pool. 

When you get to your scheduled time to officially meet the rhinos, you start out at their education center. Here, you learn how the rhinos came to live at Camelthorn, the plans to bring up more friends, how the project is in conjunction with the local community, and the ways it is giving back to the local people. It is fascinating and heartwarming!

And then you go meet the rhinos. 

They were sleeping when we meet up with them. Lounging around late in the afternoon.

They soon woke up and decided to see who the visitors were. Please note that we were escorted not only by our regular safari guide, but also the head of the program, Daniel. He is an ex-British military officer who trains the guards. He also has developed a bit of a relationship with the two bulls. He was always between us (the guests) and the rhinos.

This is about 4,000 pounds of curiosity. Their poor eyesight means the like to come close to check out new friends.

And if he gets too close, Daniel is able to turn him away.
It was exhilarating!

And as if that wasn't enough excitement at Camelthorn, the next morning we ate breakfast away from the lodge. The pair of rhino were close by having their own as well.

If you visit Hwange National Park, you really must consider a visit to Camelthorn. It is worth it for the beautiful setting and lodge, but the outreach project with the community has made it possible for you to have these amazing close encounters with magnificent and massive animals who are hopefully going to thrive here.

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