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One morning I had to take a horse riding safari with two couples whose special interest was to see at least 15 rhinos.  Just at the entrance to the stables was standing a tower of giraffes browsing coolly on the acacias.  My ride was into the western side of Borana, open grassland where game can be spotted in the distance.  As we were cantering along a cheetah and her cub from the long grass, I quickly raised my hand as a signal to stop. The cheetahs were calm and we watched them for a full 20 minutes before continuing on our way.

In the distance a big herd of buffalos along with a herd of elephants were drinking from a dam, and further up the valley were four rhinos.  Look! I pointed and my guests were so impressed by my good spotting! My guests loved seeing all those animals together and asked if it was usual to see them in one place.  I answered that it was due to the water and told them how important it was to construct dams; it is a way of bringing animals together because water is life.

After photographing this special scene we wondered back home and on the way we saw a troop of patas monkeys, which were busy feeding on the gum of the Acacia drepanalobium. As they had never seen these red monkeys before I explained that they are one of Borana’s special endangered species and how lucky they were to see them.

That afternoon riding to the east with the views of spectacular hills we encountered another rhino with her 11 month old calf, which made their day.  That day I recognised that being out in the saddle is the only way you can see the world.

David Etan.