The Community Rhino Conservation Initiative is about conservation, development and tourism enhancing and reinforcing each other for greatest impact.
Over the last few months, early Imvelo Safari Lodges guests spending time with the rhinos have helped refine the Imvelo tourist rhino experience and activity. The rhino activity typically lasts about two hours, though it can extend well beyond that for visitors that become immersed in the CRCI story. How the activity takes shape is subject to conditions on the ground. Typically, a short walk will link visitors with the Cobras guarding Thuza and Kusasa where they can learn individuals' backgrounds from the highly trained scouts
Camelthorn guests sometimes enjoy a surprise visit at the lodge itself, or even during a meal! At midday, they will rest in a shady woodland spot, moving out to graze in the afternoon. Rhinos have poor eyesight but extra sharp hearing and smell – the approach of several tons of nearly two-metre-tall white rhino bulls will get hearts racing.
Visitors come away humbled but inspired with the realisation that the future of the Ngamo Plains and Hwange once again includes one of Africa’s most iconic large mammals.
"In one of our mornings at Camelthorn Lodge, Siboe, the lodge manager, greeted us and smiled, “Good morning, you’ll have to hike 3kms for your bush breakfast. Make sure to pack your camera.” With my stomach grumbling & hungry for some fresh toast and eggs, I grabbed my camera and started to walk out of the main area. As we stepped out of the dining area by the iconic camelthorn tree, we were suddenly greeted by the two massive white rhinos, Thuza and Kusasa! What a pleasant surprise! As we scanned the area, we saw a beautifully placed breakfast setting with the Camelthorn Lodge staff ready to take our orders. The adrenaline of having breakfast next to rhinos will give you the morning boost that you need better than coffee!” - Recent Camelthorn guest Marc S.
The rhino experience is currently only available to guests staying at Imvelo’s Bomani or Camelthorn Lodges. An important note and change regarding the Rhino Conservation and Community Levy which must be paid to visit the rhino: for confirmed and provisional bookings at Bomani or Camelthorn (for travel through Dec 31, 2023) made on or before Nov 30, 2022, the rhino experience is an optional extra charged at a nett rate of $180 pp (30% single supplement, children 12 and under 50%). For new bookings at Bomani or Camelthorn made from Dec 1, 2022 onward, the non-commissionable Rhino Conservation and Community Levy of $100 pp will be added to the invoice. Guests staying at Bomani who have paid the levy are entitled to one rhino experience during their stay. As an extra benefit for guests staying at Camelthorn Lodge, which is located inside the rhino sanctuary, in addition to their scheduled rhino activity, they may also revisit the rhinos at any time during their stay (subject to arrangement)! And if the rhinos walk by the lodge, guests can opt to walk with their guide and join them!