The day before we left Makalolo Plains was bittersweet. The team had made us feel very welcome and we knew we had made friends. On top of that, we had spent many hours watching animals at close range, and that was better than the best episode of a nature program.
Towards the end of our morning drive, Godfrey spotted this hippo that appeared to sleeping at the edge of a watering hole. We were fortunate as hippos tend to spend most of their time in water to keep their skin from drying out.
Known to be very aggressive, hippos are the third largest land animal, weighing somewhere between 1 ½ to 3 tonnes. But as we discovered on an earlier drive – when a leopard ran towards the watering hole where hippos were – despite their short, stubby legs, they can run pretty fast. In fact, they can outrun humans.
Godfrey parked and Judith and I got out with him. Sandra decided to remain in the jeep. Maybe it was the sound of the jeep that caught his attention – he got up and looked in our direction.
Although he didn’t threaten us, Godfrey was taking no chances.
The hippo stared at the water and began moving towards it and, as if he wasn’t sure what to do, turned away then plodded back to the water.
Finally, he waded in and disappeared.
I was hoping he’d surface and open his mouth for one of those typical hippo poses, but he didn’t. Instead, he trudged out.
It was time for us to go, too.
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