Desert Rhino Camp

Save the Rhino Trust

Based in the Kunene Region in Namibia's northwest, Save the Rhino Trust Namibia (SRT) is a non-governmental organisation working to protect the area's population of desert-adapted black rhino (Diceros bicornis bicornis) – the only truly free-ranging population in the world. It was founded in 1982 by a group of local conservationists concerned about the decreasing number of rhino due to poaching.

Save the Rhino Trust Namibia (SRT) works closely with Save the Rhino International in the UK, which supports a number of rhino conservation programmes in both Africa and Asia.

Living outside of a fenced protected area, the Kunene's rhinos are considered to be the largest truly free-ranging black rhino population left in the world. These rhino are protected and monitored by staff from SRT, in conjunction with Namibia's Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET) and local communities. A number of dedicated SRT patrolling and monitoring teams cover the core rhino range area of over 25,000 km22 (6.7 million acres). These teams deter poaching and record valuable data on individual rhino, such as age, sex, rhino horn size and shape, ear notches and condition. This information is shared with MET who maintain the Kunene Black Rhino database – one of the longest-running and most comprehensive databases on black rhino in the world. This data helps to inform biological management decisions on Namibia's black rhino population.

Other SRT activities include assistance to MET during translocation operations of desert-adapted black rhino into their former habitat to establish meta-populations, and to ensure the survival and growth of the species. Collaboration is fundamental to SRT success and part of their effort focuses on building up knowledge, understanding and skills within partner organizations – including communities, tour operators, government and the international community. An incentive-based training programme in certain conservancies provides community game guards with theoretical and practical training as well as field equipment, uniforms and transport – as well as incentive bonuses. A further activity involves presentation of scene-of-the-crime training courses to rhino stakeholders in the area.

Guests at Desert Rhino Camp can enjoy a unique rhino-tracking experience with SRT trackers, leaving camp in a 4x4 vehicle to search for the rhinos, before getting closer on foot – although not too close!