Here at RCB in Maun, we’re very excited to have taken delivery of our new rhino monitoring vehicles.
These sturdy trucks are specially adapted to cope with the unique challenges posed by the watery environment of the Okavango Delta – and fulfil their important mission: to keep Botswana’s rhinos safe.
So what makes these vehicles so special?
First, we take a Toyota Land Cruiser 4x4, arguably one of the toughest off-road vehicles around and Map’s personal favourite. Then we increase the size of the wheels to get more clearance in sand and water. We add extensions to the breathers on the differentials and gearbox to place them above water (gears and water do not mix!).
We add a ‘snorkel’ to the air intake to allow the vehicle to drive through water with the engine completely immersed. This allows our rhino monitoring teams to cross flooded plains and channels in the Okavango.
We ‘rubberize’ the load bed and inside of the cab to prevent water from reaching the metal body work and to protect against wear and tear. The bull bar and side rails are designed to protect the vehicle during off-road operation, while bashing past logs and trees following rhino tracks.
The back rails support a seat for security personnel to have a high, 360-degree view and there’s even a canoe rack, so that our indomitable patrols can take to the water if a river is too deep for the vehicles to pass.
The combination of a powerful 4.2l litre diesel engine, combined with ‘bullet proof’ gear box and differentials, is what makes the Toyota Land Cruiser so reliable in remote and rugged environments – and we cannot wait to put our new vehicles through their paces.
Thank you to our partners
RCB is very grateful to our partners, Fondation Segré, for supporting the purchase and maintenance of these patrol vehicles for the next two years. The Foundation is also generously funding six monitoring teams (two men each), which will enable us to patrol a greater area as Botswana’s growing rhino population expands and needs more space.
After interviewing over 100 candidates, our new rhino monitoring officers have begun their training. The first eight recruits will take over the vehicles when they are deployed across southern Botswana.
Things got off to an exciting start when the RCB team was called out to a remote outpost to rescue a mother black rhino and her calf who had strayed into dangerous territory. Watch out for more about that later!