Saturday, August 4, 2018

Cape Hippopotamus

There are five species of hippo. Four years ago in East Africa we saw the Nile hippo, or great northern hippo (H. a. amphibius) and just recently in the Okavanga Delta of Botswana and along the Zambezi River between Zambia and Zimbabwe we saw the Cape or South African hippo (H. a. capensis) which is found from Zambia to South Africa and has the most flattened skull of the subspecies. 

Our most dramatic sighting was while we were in a motorboat in the Okavanga Delta. Our small boat got surprisingly close to several pods of hippos and we had the thrill and pleasure of watching the hippos snort, grunt, plunge, dive and splash  as they tried to get out of our way. I was a little concerned we might pass over a submerged hippo and have it come up and upend us, but fortunately that did not occur. That experience rates right up there with any animal experience I've ever had for awe and pleasure. 
Hippos with elephants behind in the Okavango Delta.
I love this grouping.
Big hippos and lots of them.

All of a sudden they spooked and we watched a commotion for the ages. 

Later that day, as we docked our boat, we saw a lone hippo in the swamp outside our Kadizora Camp, far from any deep water. 
Hippos outside Kadizora Camp.
The day before, with our guide K.T., we stopped for lunch and watched a small pod of hippos in a pond. We mostly just saw nostrils and ears, but we walked with K.T. right up to the edge of the pool, which seemed rather foolish. However, K.T. assured us that the hippos would try to avoid us and would probably run the other way if we got too aggressive. 
Hippos in a pool while groups eating lunch watch.

As we canoed down the Zambezi we saw some hippos. One was very near where we put in our canoes and a small pod was standing on an island as we rowed past, including a large baby. 

Later that evening as we had our Sundowner cruise on the Zambezi we got very close, in a very large boat, and watched a pod of hippos rise and submerge, rise and submerge, as we sat and watched them. One opened its mouth wide and gave us a good yawn shot. 
Hippos gathered around a tree.
Great view of the tongue and roof of the mouth. 
Our last day in Victoria Falls as we did a flyover by helicopter, we saw some hippos congregated on a small island in the Zambezi. 
Hippos on edge of an island in the Zambezi. 

1 comment:

  1. The Hippo Ballet we saw in the Okavanga Delta was better than any performance I've seen on the stage. The drama! The choreography! The costumes! And it was all a private show--just for us. It doesn't get any better.