Jen and Garth Gill are long-time safari enthusiasts and good friends of the Tintswalo Family. They have visited hundreds of lodges in Africa over many years; and enjoyed many amazing experiences in the bush.
But a recent trip to Safari Lodge marked one of their best experiences in Africa; when they got to witness the darting an emergency treatment of an injured rhino in the manyeleti.
It all happened when Safari Lodge General Manager Alistair Leuner got a call about an injured rhino not too far from the lodge. Rangers and vets had asked if there was a way that Tintswalo could help fund an emergency operation; helicopter fuel, vets and medicine to treat the rhino. Jen and Garth happened to be in the lodge at the time; and through a combination of funding from Tintswalo and the Gills, we were able to sponsor the full operation.
We drove through to meet the rangers; where the vets were preparing for the expedition. After a few hours of searching in the helicopter, the team finally located the rhino and managed to dart him from the air. We drove the guests through the bush and finally found the great animal lying in an open clearing. The wound was not looking good. Vets had initially thought it was a bullet wound, but it appeared to be a gash from a rhino horn; possibly during a fight with another rhino.
The team quickly treated the wound — cleaning and applying antibiotics — while we gave them space to work. After they were done; there was time for one or two photos before the rhino was given the recovery drug. We watched in awe as the lumbering animal rose up from his slumber and wandered off into the bush — with his life ahead of him.
It was an amazing day for the lodge, for the ranger teams, and of course for our guests who will never forget the priceless experience of helping one of our ancient and endangered rhinos.