Happy Hour with the Hippos by Anne Simpson

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Those of you who are avid followers of this blog know a traditional part of the afternoon game drive is the “sundowner” stop to stretch your legs, watch the sunset and of course eat and drink (because it has been a couple of hours since the last meal).  It is also a chance to swap stories with rest of the “beaver lodge” who may have spied a different animal or two.  We’ve seen some pretty cool stuff while standing around with a cocktail in hand.   Baboons in Madikwe, a rhino and her calf in Mala Mala and last night three hippos.

_DSC7683Our group’s two land cruisers stopped beside a good size waterhole where the rangers and trackers set up the a table with snacks and beverages.   Our entertainment this evening as the sun goes down is two adult and one adolescent hippopotami lounging in the pond.  Lounging is the best way to describe what we are seeing.   They kind of bob around with just their ears, eyes and nostrils above the water, then take a dunk down and pop back up wiggling their ears as they emerge.  We had learned in Vumbura that they stay in the water all day only coming out at night to graze.  They are susceptible to sunburn if they aren’t careful!   This evening we learn from Sam, one of our rangers, that hippos kill more people than any other African animal.  They do not see well, but they hear and smell and you do not want to be between them and their water in the morning.  Apparently hippos will go out of their way to “eliminate” a threat.  Check out the size of month on our sundowner neighbor!

_DSC7690As it gets darker the rangers begin to get anxious about packing and loading up as this is the time when these cute little guys start getting hungry for dinner.   We’re all a bit slow with our cocktails enjoying the the evening when waves start forming on the pond and two hippos head for the shore, fortunately not the one nearest us.  An enormous body is attached to to what now appears to be a rather smallish head, all things being relative and Sam announces “he is going to toilet”.  As the hippo stands in about a foot of water he starts wagging his tail, swinging his rear end and distributes poop in a large area behind him.  Then, as all hygiene conscious mammals would do, he washes up by retuning to the deep end of the pool.

What a way to enjoy a gin and tonic!

8 thoughts on “Happy Hour with the Hippos by Anne Simpson

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