Hunting white rhino in South Africa

Hunting white rhino in South Africa

Hunting white rhino in South Africa is to complete the coveted Big 5 collection. Poaching of white rhinos is putting a strain on white rhino hunting prices with farmers forever having to apply new methods of protecting their assets.

This unfortunately costs money and the end-user pays for it. At Mkulu African Hunting Safaris we have tried to contain our hunting expenses so we can pass any savings on to you as a hunter.

Hunting white rhino in South Africa hunting laws stipulate that bow hunting white rhino is illegal.

Legal white rhino hunting only takes place once a sustainable population of white rhino exists on any property. Most of the world population of white rhino occurs in South Africa. Most white rhino are privately owned. In spite of white rhinos being in private hands, the authorities still regulate the hunting of white rhino in South Africa. White rhino may not be hunted in Zimbabwe and Botswana due to pressure on the sustainable numbers of white rhino left in the wild.

Issuing of government permits to legally hunt white rhino is done under strict control of the authorities. No legal white rhino hunt hunt can take place without a pre-issued permit or tag. Even if not for hunting purposes white rhinos may only be transported from one property to the next with permission from the authorities.

White rhino hunting in South Africa is legal subject to strict regulations being met.

White rhino hunting prices

White rhino hunting prices in South Africa are determined according to the length of the front horn.

Our white rhino hunting prices in South Africa are set according to the size of the horn of the white rhino you wish to hunt along with your budget.

Horn lengths are usually in 2″ formats

  • indicating up to 18″. This is for an entry level white rhino – usually 18″ white rhino are young adults.
  • from 18″ – 22″. Rhino’s in this price range are mature.
  • 22″ – 24″ White rhino in this horn size are fully mature.
  • The most popular horn size is 22″ –   24″.
  • Bull rhino have thicker horns that are generally shorter than cow rhino horns.
  • We have gold medal white rhino bulls and cows available for legal hunting.

Please contact us for a detailed pricing structure on the rhino of your choice.

Hunting white rhino in Africa
Historical background to white rhino

More than 40 years ago rhino were simply seen as game animals on ranches. They were merely tolerated as they competed for fodder that became scarce during the dry winter conditions in South Africa. Visionary individuals in the Fish and Wildlife government department started a comprehensive breeding and conservation project trying to raise the dwindling numbers of rhino.

With the initial projects being a major success, small groups of white rhino were made available to private individuals who started their own breeding projects. Over time these breeding projects became such a huge success with numbers increasing by such an extent that sport hunting white rhino was legally permitted.

Owning white rhino is a business. Every business must make a sustainable profit to secure jobs, and equally as important, to maintain sustainable animal populations. This is where legal sport hunting plays a vital role. Hunters pay to have the opportunity to hunt rhinos and with the yield the next generation of white rhino can be maintained and grown.

Please bear in mind that no hunter condones illegal hunting in the form of poaching. There is a huge difference between hunting and poaching. When we legally hunt white rhino in South Africa we pay a hefty tag fee to government. We pay a trophy fee to the owner. We pay taxes and we make a living. With poaching there is no permission sought, no tag fees are paid and there are no taxes. Mostly white rhino suffer in pain when shot with incorrect rifle calibers and wrong shot placement. Then they have their horns hacked off mercilessly with machetes. No hunter will ever allow such utter gruesome behavior get in their way to achieve a successful white rhino hunt.

Read our recommendations below with regards to calibers we recommend for white rhino hunting.

White rhino hunters must have nerves of steel. A charging and snorting white rhino an extreme intimidating experience.

Who are legal white rhino hunters

Legal white rhino hunters are usually wealthy hunters as white rhino do not come cheap. They are experienced hunters who most likely started hunting the Big 5 and have to complete their Big 5 quest.

Alternatively, legal white rhino hunters saved for a number of years for the opportunity of hunting one of these prehistoric looking pachyderms.

Poachers are criminals with bad equipment interested in a few dollars. They usually have two accomplices of which one is a tracker and the other a general laborer. These people should receive the full force of the law when caught poaching a vital part of South Africa’s natural heritage.

Why rhinos are poached

White rhinos are poached for their horns. The horns are used as ingredients for home remedies in the medicinal trade. In most cases the medication is manufactured for the people from the East. The medication is used as treatment for cancer and as an aphrodisiac.

White rhino horn is compressed hair and can be likened to finger nails. There is scientifically and logically zero health benefits in using rhino horn in any form for medicinal purposes.

However, the monumental issue we are dealing with is the centuries old customs and beliefs of a nation(s) which we believe will never be stopped. Until the very last white rhino is murdered into extinction. This is why hunter money can and will save white rhino populations. For as long as white rhino remain a valuable monetary asset, the owners will ensure the survival of the specie.

White rhino hunting gun scope

We recommend you only use premium grade ammunition when hunting white rhino in South Africa.

Our preferred ammunition manufacturer for hunting elephants in South Africa is Hornady solid ammunition in 500 gr weight. Other premium grade ammunition manufactures you can use would be Federal Premium and others.


The reason we keep hammering on using premium grade ammunition is:

In South Africa if you shoot at an animal and blood is drawn, the animal is considered bought and paid for. If you use cheap ammunition that is inferior and causes blood to be drawn you pay even if we do not find it.

Gun scope for hunting white rhino

A premium 1,5 – 6 X gun scope is recommended for hunting white rhino in South Africa due to the expected short average shot distance.

In some cases hunters prefer to hunt white rhino with open sights. This is mostly done when they are hunting with double rifles in the old fashion. This happens if your vision is still 20/20 either due to being blessed, or due to age.

Caliber for hunting white rhino

When hunting dangerous game there is no need for caliber discussions or preferences. There are legal requirements that have to be met. End of story.

Here are our list of calibers for dangerous game hunting in South Africa. 375 is the official entry level caliber according to law. Yes, we believe a 9,3 X 62 and a 9,3 X 74R will be able to successfully kill dangerous game. No you cannot use it for two reasons: firstly, because it is the law, and secondly, it is the law.

375 (because it is a minimum legal requirement). Here you can look at using the following solid (FMJ) ammunition only:

  • Hornady 300 gr Full Metal Jacket (FMJ) at a muzzle velocity of 2 705 fps
  • Speer 300 gr FMJ at 2 550 fps muzzle velocity
  • Federal 300 gr Sledgehammer at 2 530 fps muzzle velocity and
  • Norma 300 gr Barnes FMJ at 2 493 fps muzzle velocity


416 Rigby have a look at using solid ammunition from the following manufacturers:

  • Norma 400 gr Swift A-Frame FMJ at 2 350 fps muzzle velocity
  • Norma 400 gr Barnes Solid FMJ at 2 297 fps muzzle velocity
  • Federal 400 gr Speer African Grand Slam at 2 370 fps muzzle velocity


458 Lott and only use solid FMJ ammunition from these fine manufacturers:

  • Hornady 500 gr FMJ at 2 300 fps muzzle velocity
  • Federal 500 gr FMJ at around 2 335 fps muzzle velocity


470 NE (Nitro Express) with solid ammunition from these suppliers:

  • Norma 500 gr Woodleigh FJ @ 2 165 fps muzzle velocity
  • Federal 500 gr Woodleigh solid at 2 150 fps muzzle velocity


500 Jeffery solids FMJ

  • 535 gr FMJ at 2 400 fps muzzle velocity


505 Gibbs or any other similar caliber.

If you have a preference for another specific manufacturer of premium grade ammunition that has NOT been field tested, you are welcome to use it at your own discretion.

Please follow this link for a detailed list of suggested calibers

Caliber for hunting white rhino South Africa
Hunting white rhino South Africa ammunition
Hunting white rhino

White rhinos for hunting in South Africa 2020

Below are several pictures of white rhino available for hunting in South Africa 2020. Please take note these pictures are not necessarily the same as the ones available for hunting. These pictures should give you an indication of the size of the rhino in terms of horn length and price. We have any size white rhino available for legal hunting on any of our concessions within South Africa.

Hunting white rhino in South Africa shot placement diagram

Rhino hunting shot placement diagram
Broadside shot

Shot placement on white rhino on a broadside shot is twofold:

  • you can opt for a heart shot, in which case you must aim in line with the front leg right on the roll formed by the thick skin,  or
  • go for a lung shot – this is by far the safest shot to take. If you have culled more than 100 white rhino, you should know where the brain of a white rhino is. We strongly recommend a lung shot if you are planning on hunting less than 10 white rhino in your lifetime. Between a heart and a lung shot, go for the lung shot as the size of the lungs are way bigger than the heart.

You will likely be very close to the white rhino before you take the shot. In this case your adrenaline will be pumping. Go for the safer shot option.

Quartering away shot

We strongly recommend you wait for a broadside shot. Penetration is very important.

Quartering to

Rather wait for a broadside shot due to the sheer mass of the animal.

Facing on

Only attempt a brain shot if you are an experienced rhino hunter. Brain shots are risky due to the front horn obscuring the relatively small brain area.

Frontal chest shots should not be considered. The anatomy of white rhino is such that a portion of the head, and specifically the mouth, will obscure a secure shot to the large chest area.

Hunting images of white rhino hunts from the past

Caliber for hunting white rhino
White rhino hunting price South Africa
Best ammunition to hunt white rhino

Interesting white rhino facts

When you are finally going to complete your Big 5 hunt by hunting white rhino in South Africa, it will be important to know more on your adversary. Below are a number of interesting white rhino facts that might come in handy.

The information is from personal observations over 24 years, but more scientifically from:

Smithers, R.H.N. 1983. Die soogdiere van die Suider-Afrikaanse substreek. Universiteit van Pretoria: 558 – 562

Rhino hunting prices South Africa


White rhino scientific name: Ceratotherium simum

White rhino can calve any time of year.  Gestation period of white rhino is about 16 months after which a single calf is born (black rhino’s gestation period is 15 months).

Territorial bulls sense when cows are in pre-oestrus and will court with the cow a long time before mating takes place.  Bulls will actively prevent cows from leaving his territory by chasing her and to use his horn until she is persuaded to stay.

Interested junior bulls will actively and violently be banned from with the territory of the dominant bull.

Caliber for hunting white rhino South Africa

White rhino habits

White rhino congregate in small groups that consist of a single, dominant bull, junior bulls and cows with their offspring.

Marked territorial boundaries are actively defended by the territorial bull.

Research in Natal showed that white rhino’s territory size is between 0,29 sq miles and 1 sq mile

Should the territorial bull stay into the territory of a neighboring bull, the offender will usually avoid confrontation by returning to his territory.

If the offender has the bad luck of the opponent having a cow in oestrus with him, a fight will follow.  This usually leads to severe wounds, one way or the other.

Is it legal to hunt rhino

White rhino average body weight

  • White rhino’s average shoulder height is 71″ or 180 cm.
  • Bulls average body weight is between 4 400 lbs and 5 100 lbs (2 000 to 2 300 kg.)
  • Cows average body weight is between 3 100 lbs and 3 500 lbs (1 400 to 1 600 kg.
  • Calves at birth weighs an average of 88 lbs (40 kg.)
  • White rhino are the third largest land mammal after elephant and hippo.
Hunting rhinos in Africa

White rhino habitat

White rhino have four basic requirements for a happy habitat:

  • Some areas must have short grass which they have an affinity for;
  • Availability of drinking water and wallowing puddles;
  • Sufficient rich vegetation cover; and
  • Relatively flat terrain.
Hunting white rhino in South Africa

White rhino description

White rhino have a vat-shaped body with short solid legs.  A long head is tipped by two continually growing horns.  The horn in the front is longer than the horn in the back.  The horns are compressed hair with zero medicinal values.  However the market for natural remedies that supposedly cure certain diseases are vast.  To change the embedded beliefs in the life- and world view of a centuries old traditional community is not going to happen overnight.

Pointed ears have hair on the top, with wide square lips.

The problem of poaching rhinos will only stop once the last rhino is mercilessly wiped off the face of the earth.

There is but one solution – legalize the trade on rhino horn.  Have farmers farm with rhino and harvest the horns as a commercial operation.

There are two known speculations as to the origin of the name = white rhino vs black rhino

Rhinos take on the color of the soil they dust baths themselves, or mud holes they wallow in.  White and black has nothing to do with the name of the rhino.

Firstly, the name originates from the early Dutch hunters that spoke of the witte renoster (white rhino) to distinguish them from the “black” rhino.

Secondly, the Dutch could have referred to the white rhino as having a wijd mond (wide mouth)”.  Pronunciation between wijd (wide) and wit (white) is not too far apart.  Most likely the British misunderstood wijd (wide) for wit (white).  If the one rhino is white, then surely to differentiate the other species it was logically going to be black rhino (Diceros bicornis).

Hunting white rhino in South Africa general information

The danger of hunting a charging Cape buffalo bull often gets more hunters smiling than any of the other members of the Big 5. Hunting white rhino really gets the adrenaline pumping and puts your sweat glands in overdrive because we sometimes get to within 10 yards from the quarry without it knowing we are there.

Hunting white rhino is not always the biggest challenge around. They are bulky animals with a severe eyesight problem. However, what they lack in sight is made up for by having the best hearing and smelling abilities in the bush.

Of late we can do a vita dart hunt on white rhino. This is immobilizing the animal with a tranquilizer while getting the full experience of a white rhino hunt. Please inquire.

Enjoy your hunt. Be sure. Be safe.


Tips for hunting white rhino in South Africa

To walk-and-stalk when hunting white rhino is the traditional way of going about it. Solitary bulls are common and can be stalked with some ease with a wind that consistently blows in your favor. Archery hunting white rhino is illegal in South Africa.

Extreme caution should be applied when on the final approach. Any sudden wind shifts will attract the attention of a weary white rhino and result in a no-hunt situation.


White rhino hunting average shot distance

The average expected shooting distance when hunting White rhino is 10 to 30 yards depending on the terrain you are hunting in.


Best time of year to hunt white rhino in South Africa

Due to the preferred open habitat of white rhino they can successfully be hunted any time of year. These large animals (pachyderms: thick skinned animals) have awful eyesight but brilliant hearing and smelling abilities.

The best time of year to hunt white rhino is from January to December.

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