The exuberance of youth

We had plenty of wonderful sightings during our recent three week long holidays in the bush – we already shared much of it with you, and there’s yet more to come in the next few weeks – but this was probably the biggest highlight of the trip!

Late in the afternoon of Christmas Eve, in the Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Park, we encountered a white rhino cow and her small calf just where the road goes into and through a thicket of thorny trees. We followed slowly behind as they ambled along, until eventually there was a clearing in the vegetation, just at the spot where there’s also a broad bend in the road. Mom started grazing on the roadside, while her little one decided it was time for some fun. He started running like crazy, at times flying with all four feet off the ground, running circles around his mother and us, then slamming on the brakes in a cloud of dust. Several times he’d charge directly at our vehicle, stopping a meter or two in front of us, only to spin around again, running away at breakneck speed, likely hoping that our silver-grey Jazz was a playmate he could chase and be chased by. Of course, with mom keeping an eye on his antics from close-by, there was no way we could join him for playtime. But inside the car we were laughing out loud in sheer delight.

Eventually he realised that his mom has disappeared around the corner, and he hightailed it to catch up. As we rounded the bend ourselves, we found him next to mom, totally breathless.

We were in awe of the fantastic Christmas present Hluhluwe-Imfolozi had just gifted us.

(you may click on the photos below to view them all in a carousel gallery)

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85 thoughts on “The exuberance of youth

  1. Pingback: Summer at Hluhluwe-Imfolozi | de Wets Wild

  2. Pingback: In the rhinos’ home at Hluhluwe-Imfolozi | de Wets Wild

  3. scrapydotwo

    Lovely Christmas special! Were you not afraid of the mother charging you!(I know white rhinos are not that aggressive but still it is her baby)

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      Thanks a lot for the very kind compliment, Jane! This certainly was the kind of nature experience that comes around only very occasionally, and we’re so thankful that we were blessed to be in the right place at the right time to be able to take it all in.

      In answer to your question about the equipment; I used my Canon 1100D DSLR, fitted with a Tamron 70-300mm lens.

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    1. de Wets Wild Post author

      We were just concerned that he’d not be able to stop in time before either running down the embankment or running into the car, causing himself some serious injury. But like all small kids he seems to have a whole army of guardian angels looking after him 😉

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  4. loisajay

    I am reading this, grinning from ear to ear. Your description is wonderful, but the photos–no feet touching the ground! What a little rascal this one was–so cute.

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