Your Wildest Adventure: Driving Lessons from a Rhinoceros

Posted on March 11, 2010 by

Your Wildest Adventure’ is a series featuring the most thrilling experiences from travel writers jaunting around the world. This week’s edition is an amusing yet harrowing story from Migration Mark who blogs over at Migrationology. He’s lived in America, Africa and Asia, documenting about his unplanned migration around the world.


Learning To Drive From a Gnarly Rhinoceros

“Gooooooo!” was exuberantly shouted as the the Suzuki revved to 8000 RPM’s and then hopped into a dramatic acceleration. A monstrous African White Rhinoceros at full momentous speed was moments from puncturing our dainty vehicle and overturning us in what the news would label an “animal freak attack.”

In Nairobi, the capital of Kenya in East Africa, there are no automatic vehicles. When we moved there, my father had the privilege of tutoring my mother and later myself and sister on operating a manual transmission vehicle.

Nairobi’s unpleasant traffic, lack of rules, zero lines, crater holes, negative regulations, and fundamental drivers don’t exactly cater to learning. However, Nairobi National Park, located on the outskirts of the city, offers a much more user-friendly (maybe not animal-friendly) environment for student driving.

We jerked around in our seat belts as the Suzuki jumped and revved from neutral to first and then to a stall on the dirt roads of the park. This process was repeated numerous times as such is the learning curve.

The Rhinoceros - Photo by Migration Mark

Frightened pulsating impalas, awkward giraffes, muscular wart hogs, shaking zebras, and robust cape buffalos were fluttering around us. In the back seat of the Suzuki, I spotted a rhinoceros across a small ravine about 50 meters away. My mother quickly pumped the breaks and we took turns gazing at the beautiful rhino with binoculars.

The ravine stretched about 50 meters across, and obviously we were checking out the rhino on the opposite side, while neglecting the presence of a drop-off ditch in our immediate surrounding. Within minutes after peering across the ravine, a beasty, territorial, rhino emerged from invisibility – angry and with full intent on charging towards our pitiful SUV.

On the jeepMy heart sank and reality turned slow-motion as I peered into his devilish eyes in between his sharp horn of a trophy and I acknowledged his leather skin vibrating on his stocky frame. He easily weighed as much as our vehicle and could effortlessly toy with us. The massive rhino face got closer to our worthless metal structure on wheels, until I swear I could have reached out the window and patted his coarse cheek.

That’s when the 8000 RPM’s of Suzuki force hurled me back into my seat, and luckily offset the straight charging line of the rhino, moments before striking catastrophe (rhinos apparently have trouble making turns of direction at full speed). The narrow escape of a rhino freak attack was an adrenaline thrill ride.

There is no more efficient way to learn how to drive a stick than to be forced drive full throttle by a gnarly 1.5 ton beast.


Mark Wiens (Migration Mark ) is a world wanderer, an adventure enthusiast, a cultural connector, a skilled spicy food connoisseur, a relaxing erudite, and a buffet finisher. On Migrationology, he writes about spontaneous observations from an unplanned migration of world travel.


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About Nellie Huang

Nellie Huang is a professional travel writer and blogger with a special interest in off-grid destinations and adventure travel. Her mission is to visit every country in the world. In her quest, she's climbed an active volcano in Iceland, swam with sealions in the Galapagos, built a school in Tanzania, waddled with penguins in Antarctica, crossed into North Korea and drank beer in Palestine.

10 Responses to “Your Wildest Adventure: Driving Lessons from a Rhinoceros”

  1. Melvin March 23, 2010 10:29 pm #

    Sounds like a nice date you won't forget too fast. :)
    Great that you saw rhinos! Even if one nearly got a bit too close. :)

    • admin March 24, 2010 4:50 pm #

      Melvin, I finally see you here! Yes, he was lucky to get that close to a rhino. I could only peek through my binoculars to see their silhouette, when I was on a wildlife safari.

  2. Samui Guy April 11, 2011 4:58 pm #

    Sounds like you have a close shave there; rhinos not only run faster than coyotes or humans, it can also slice through shrubs, scrubs and bushes like butter, and it horn can easily tear the SUV in two!

  3. scammer iorga eugeniu laurentiu August 3, 2011 8:25 am #

    Hi there, You have done a fantastic job. I’ll certainly digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I’m confident they will be benefited from this website.

  4. cure gum disease July 5, 2013 1:02 am #

    Innovation distinguishes between a leader and a follower. Thanks for sharing this informative post.

  5. Brizziana Faith July 25, 2013 3:24 am #

    This was such a great adventure.Only expert drivers can drive in this area for their are lot of wild animals roaming around. I'm so much impressed with your braveness.


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