Heart beating, pulse raising, curiosity and excitement mounting – this is the sensation you will feel as you come across a black rhino in close proximity for the first time and you can do just that at Saruni Rhino in northern Kenya.
Just 2 hours north of Saruni Samburu, Saruni Rhino is an exciting new lodge offering a unique rhino tracking experience. After years of hard work, substantial investment, passion and determined commitment by Sera community members and Northern Rangelands Trust (NRT), in May 2015 Sera Community Conservancy became the home to the ‘Sera Rhino Sanctuary’.
Sera Community Conservancy is a vast, untouched wilderness of more than 350,000 hectares. It is the first community conservancy in East Africa to own and operate a sanctuary dedicated to the conservation of the critically endangered black rhino. The sanctuary currently provides state-of-the-art protection for 11 black rhinos relocated from Lewa Conservancy, Nakuru National Park and other areas. This move sees the rhino back in its natural habitat in northern Kenya after 30 years.
Operational only throughout certain hours of the day for maximum protection, the use of the transmitter allows you to get a comfortable distance away from the nearest rhino, before tracking it on foot with a guide from Saruni and a Sera Community Conservancy ranger. ‘Don’t be afraid’ your guide will tell you but it is easier said than done when the black rhino, that can weigh up to 1.3kg and standing taller than a six-foot man, is a formidable mammal. Although they have poor eye sight, they have a very strong sense of smell and incredible hearing, and despite their size they can charge at a speed of 55km per hour!
Your adventure doesn’t stop there though. Following your ‘up close and personal’ encounter with ‘the supreme rhino of Sera’, the conservancy provides further plentiful wildlife opportunities and experiences; game drives to spot the Samburu Special Five – oryx, gerenuk, ostrich, Grevy’s Zebra and reticulated giraffe as well as buffalo, elephants, antelope and an abundance of birdlife.
Sera is also home to The Fifty Wells, a series of (50!) springs where local tribesmen take their livestock to water, digging up water from the wells to fill up holders and troughs. The Singing Wells are also nearby and can be visited – a rare treat to see the local community singing traditional songs recognisable only by their own cattle, to encourage them to come to the wells to drink.