Thunk..Thunk.. Thunk …Thunk …
Everything is quiet except for the sound of large, heavy feet hitting the dirt.
We sit and marvel at the spectacle in front of us. Two flesh and blood tanks engaged in a battle of will and muscle.
Against all reason the rhinos move gracefully. Their bodies oddly light as if they had tiny springs attached to the soles of their feet. Only the thick red puffs of Madikwe soil rising into the air belie their immense weight.
Territory is everything, so they fight. The king chases the intruder in and out of the bushes. Round and round they go until the offender turns and they are face to to face, eyes bulging, nostrils flaring, and for a moment everything is still.
Their horns touch. At first it’s soft like a kiss. A dueler’s handshake perhaps? And short-lived. Surging forward their faces connect with a sickening smack. We watch, awestruck, as the adversaries dig in with their back legs and thrust into the other. I imagine they are Sumo wrestlers, each determined to plow the other into submission.
And then, suddenly, it’s over. The king is victorious.
An imperceptible truce has been negotiated.
Bloodied, they begin to graze.
~Seen on my first game drive during my stay at the Molori Safari Lodge in South Africa