White Rhino Safari
One day, ten years ago, on the way to safari, I was stuck at Francistown airport, waiting for a plane to Johannesburg. We talked with a neighbor, an elderly Catholic priest, about the animals mentioned in the Bible. I noticed that the description of the rhino seemed to be particularly strange, the existence of which the compilers of the holy book should not have known.
“You see,” the holy father reasonably answered, “the Bible speaks of an animal that was called re’em in Judea.” Apparently, when the Old Testament was translated from the Hebrew into Greek, the translators, not knowing the meaning of the word re’em, wrote monoceros (one-horned), starting from the meaning.
“But the unicorn never existed,” I replied. “The hoofed one cannot have one horn.”
– This is not the main thing. The bible unicorn is important as a symbol of purity and innocence, in view of the magical healing power attributed to its horn. In the legend of a virgin, he unmistakably recognizes her chastity and, if a girl is evil, pierces her with a horn.
I remembered this conversation, sitting with the Professor in the restaurant of the sporting club after two hours spent in the dash.
“And I saw a unicorn,” he said calmly. And, appreciating my surprised silence, he continued: “There was a dazzling sunset.” I do not cease to admire the African sunsets. After a light rain that spilled from nowhere, a rainbow flashed from horizon to horizon in a darkening purple-striped sky. The sun was a little higher than the distant low acacias, and the savanna between me and the bushes was sparkling with liquid silver. And in the middle of this bright world, in one hundred and fifty meters he stood sideways to us. A huge magnificent horn adorned his slightly bowed head. The silhouette seemed black. “Finally!” I exclaimed in a whisper. A serious safari caliber is a way to demonstrate our respect for the trophy. The animal took only a couple of steps.
My friend fell silent and plunged into the study menu. He did it thoroughly, like everything he undertook.
– And who was it? Rather, what was it? – I could not stand the prolonged pause.
– It was Oryx, my friend. Gorgeous oryx with horns of about one hundred and ten centimeters. Since then, I am convinced that the mythical unicorn is Oryx. First, everyone met the Oryx with one horn, as they often break them in fights, secondly, the second horn is not visible in the sunset profile, and third, it is the Oryx that uses its horns as a terrible weapon.
– And may well pierce the wicked girl! – I could not resist.
We burst out laughing.
– We have a simple Russian dinner today! – Professor announced to the waitress, who smiled at him as an old acquaintance. – We have pancakes, sour cream, black caviar and one hundred grams of vodka.
“But the Big African Five does not include the Oryx, but the rhino,” I said. “In the end, not a single antelope is worth a safari and a bruise on my shoulder!” I’m used to lighter, sniper calibers.
A little bit about the white rhino
Rhino is an event in the life of any hunter. The White Rhino is the largest member of the family. Actually, there is nothing white in it. In fact, the color of this rhino is dark gray, only slightly lighter than that of the black. Color often depends on the area, as rhinos willingly wallow in the mud. They live in the most abundant water forests and thickets. Swamps, wide, slowly flowing rivers, lakes with overgrown muddy banks are their favorite places. Rhino daily visits the pond to get drunk and take a mud bath. To wallow in the mud for him, as for many thick-skinned animals, is absolutely necessary.
The African white rhinoceros, especially old males, reaches in weight of three, and in some cases even five tons. True, now it is a rarity. Everything becomes shallow … Body length – up to four meters, height – up to two. He has two horns, the front of which is always longer. The absolute record belongs to the rhino, the front horn of which reached 1 meter 58 centimeters. The main function of the front horn is to push the shrub when walking and feeding. The rhino takes care of its horn and devotes considerable time to sharpening its protruding objects.
Of the sense organs, the rhino has the most developed sense of smell. Hearing and especially vision are rather weak. With a favorable wind, you can approach a grazing animal at a distance of 30-35 meters. The power of this beast is colossal. An animal may long pursue its hunters during a safari, exhausting them. It runs calm smooth trot at a speed of about 25-50 kilometers per hour.
– I will never forget my first rhino. – Professor frowned. – Here is how it was.
We were burned by the African sun.
We were torn by the spines of the savanna.
And we collected emotions.
Between South Africa and Botswana.
Three years in the Kalahari was a drought. And in our visit, she reminded herself of the hands of blackened trees and the dry thorns with their iron thrown up to the sky, hidden in fresh greenery. In fact, to call this place a desert is wrong. We must talk about the great geological depression of the Kalahari, covering two and a half million square kilometers, its deserts, semi-deserts and savannah. Imagine: two Italian sands, rocks and spines!