Black Rhino Safari - Ultimate Wildlife Adventures

Black Rhinoceros (Diceros Bicornis)


  • IUCN Conservation Status: Critically endangered
  • Population Trend: Increasing


  • Lifespan: 30-35 years
  • Dimensions: 1.4-1.8 metres (height) by 3-3.75 metres (length)
  • Weight: 800-1400kg
  • Active: Diurnal and nocturnal

Black Rhinoceros Safaris

The grumpy old man of Africa. You approach with caution as your guide attempts to gauge his mood. Will he continue to devour the bush seemingly unaware of your presence, allowing you to fire the shutter for that perfect photograph? Did he wake up on the wrong side of the bed and your presence is irritating enough to elicit a charge? Whatever the outcome you will appreciate interacting with the critically endangered black rhinoceros.

Being a member of the Big 5, the black rhinoceros is considered a highly prized sighting by tourists. Its notorious aggression adds unpredictability and excitement to an interaction with its precarious conservation status lending empathy.

The black rhinoceros is the smaller of the two African species with the white rhinoceros male weighing an average of 2300 kg. Despite historically being distinguished as the black and white rhinoceros this is surprisingly not an accurate method of differentiating the 2 species as neither are black or white. The main distinguishable features are at the mouth. The white rhinoceros has a wide mouth and square lip whereas the black rhinoceros has a hooked upper lip. The white rhino is more relaxed in its behaviour whereas the black rhino is aggressive and prone to attack if it feels threatened.

The black rhinoceros is active during the day and night therefore increasing your chances of a sighting. They are a solitary species with the only strong bond between females and their calf. They inhabit a wide range of habitats such as vast desert, forests, and wetlands, but they occur in their highest densities in savannas and bushveld areas. Their average territory ranges from 5.8-7.7km² for males and 3.9-4.7km² for females but excessive ranges have been recorded as low as 2.6km² in the Ngorongoro Crater to a massive 135km² in the Namibian desert. Their population density varies from 1 rhino per 100km² in desert to 2 rhino per 1km² in bushveld.

Despite its obvious size and diurnal behaviour the black rhinoceros, along with the leopard, remains the toughest member of the Big 5 to see on safari. If you want to see black rhino it is imperative you visit the areas they are most abundant. South Africa, Namibia, Zimbabwe and Kenya conserve 96% of the remaining wild black rhinoceros populations.

The northern South African reserves of Tswalu Kalahari Private Reserve and Madikwe Game Reserve in South Africa are extremely strong for black rhinoceros interactions. The Palmwag Concession in Damaraland, Namibia is arguably the best places in the world to see rare desert-adapted rhinos. The huge Selous Game Reserve in Tanzania has the largest population of black rhino in East Africa whilst the private Lewa Conservancy and Ol Pejeta Conservancy in Kenya’s Laikipia district are successful guardians in the conservation of the black rhino.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) have listed the black rhinoceros as critically endangered although against all the odds their numbers are actually slowly increasing. Despite this, the threat remains high. This is due to the serious threat of poaching to satisfy the insatiable desire for rhino horn in Asia.

The black rhinoceros’ population peaked at an estimated 850,000 individuals in the 20th century. However, these numbers had dramatically decreased to 100,000 animals by 1960. The plight of the species was to dramatically deteriorate further between 1960 and 1995 with poaching accounting for a 98% population reduction. With only 2410 black rhinos remaining the species was on the verge of extinction. Successful conservation efforts continue to drive recovery with numbers having recovered to today’s population of 5,000-5,400. However, the threat remains high and any laxity in conservation would undoubtedly lead to severe consequences for the species.

By electing to visit these grumpy giants with Ultimate Wildlife Adventures you are contributing to their protection and chances of future survival, as well as signing up for an experience of a lifetime.

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Contact us to discuss how we can include the black rhinoceros in your dream safari holiday.

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Black Rhino Itineraries

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