A safari without rhinos? That’s the sad future we may be facing. Right now South Africa is home to eighty percent of the world’s rhinos, but poaching is reducing their numbers every year – in 2017, three rhinos were killed every day on average. Anti-poaching units across the country are fighting to protect these and other magnificent animals, and this week on The Rough Guide to Everywhere podcast we learn about one particularly unusual group.

Rebecca Hallett (@becca.hallett) speaks to fellow Rough Guides travel editor Georgia Stephens (@Stephens_GA) about the Black Mambas, South Africa’s first majority-female anti-poaching unit. This innovative team is drawn from the local communities, and they spend their days patrolling Balule Nature Reserve – without guns – and educating kids about the importance of conservation.

Georgia went to meet a few of the Mambas, and got to speak to them about gender, poverty and why you should never let a giraffe distract you in the bush.

To find out more about the Black Mambas, read Georgia’s article on her time with them. To donate to the group, visit blackmambas.org.

Subscribe to The Rough Guide to Everywhere now (iTunesSoundcloud) to make sure you don't miss any more of Series Three. Episode 3, discussing whether what “solo female traveller” means now (and whether maybe we should retire the term), is coming Monday July 2. And we'd love to hear from you – get in touch using #roughguidespod, and please do rate us on Apple Podcasts.

Thanks to our producer Alannah Chance of Reduced Listening (reducedlistening.co.uk).

Georgia flew to South Africa with South African Airways, which introduced the new Airbus A330-300 on its daily London–Johannesburg service in 2018. Return flights start from £957.01. For more information, visit flysaa.com.

Transfrontier Africa acts in its capacity as a host agent on behalf of the Extended Public Works Program (EPWP). The EPWP is a nationwide programme that was launched in 2004. The programme provides an important avenue for labour absorption and income transfers to poor households. It is also a deliberate attempt by the public-sector bodies to use expenditure on goods and services to create work opportunities for the unemployed. SANParks administers and accommodates the salaries of all our Black Mamba Rangers through the EPWP – Environmental Monitor Program.

Top image: Jonathan Pledger/Shutterstock

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