I have this thing for hippos...

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Sep 7th, 2004, 08:43 AM
  #1
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I have this thing for hippos...

My husband and I are STILL trying to put together a safari trip for Sept. 2005. My husband wants to make sure he sees elephants (no problem there, right?) And I want to try to see hippos. There's something about how they rest their heads on top of the water, tiny ears poking out. Oh, so cute!

At any rate, we are now thinking that we don't want to stray too far from Joburg (Sabi Sand, Kruger, etc.)

Is it possible to see hippos in this area? We are strongly considering Singita - they have river access - does that mean they have hippos?

Any help would be appreciated. I'm a first-timer.
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Sep 9th, 2004, 06:32 AM
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Unashamedly this is to make you jealous!
Last year I was in Phalaborwa and we went for a sundowners cruise on a local dam/river. The heavens opened with a welcome cooling thunderstorm, but we all got thoroughly soaked. And enjoying the water along with us were more hippo than I have ever seen. Several groups of 10 to 12 at a time all up the river, thank goodness the boat was too large for them to tip it! And they were quite brave, waiting until we were almost atop them before ducking under the water.
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Sep 9th, 2004, 07:38 AM
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This won't help you for 2005, but I think the hippo capital of the world may be South Luangwa in Zambia...and it's a great area for elephants, too. Ellies and hippos make themselves at home in nearly all the camps in this area. For seeing them from your chalet, Flatdogs, a budget option may have eveyone beat. There were hippos grazing at night outside my chalet...and in the river all day. When things dry out in June or July, the ellies virtually move into the land the camp is on. That means that you often have to take walking detours to avoid them (they have watchmen to keep tourists on foot away from the big animals). Early one morning I heard some noise outside my screened window, and went over to check it out. There was an ellie munching on a tree right next to the window screen...we were eye to eye! (I was peeking through the curtain...so close it was a bit disconcerting.)

So if you are planning a trip in the future, keep South Luangwa in mind. It's a super holiday and very reasonable as safaris these days go.
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Sep 9th, 2004, 10:05 AM
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My wife & I just came back from our trip which included canoing on the Zambezi in Mana Pools, Zimbabwe. We estimated, with our guide, that we saw 800-1000 hippos in 3 days/nights.

If you really "have a thing" for hippos, and are willing to take on some risk (i.e., canoeing thru hippo pods & crocs) I'd highly recommend this trip. Although my wife enjoyed it, she said she will not do it again - scared of hippos after listening to a few stories our guide told us at lunch time the second day after I asked if he had had any close calls.

Besides canoeing, we did two 1.5-2 hour walking safaris.

Our guide was outstanding. Besides being extremely pleasant and knowing everything about every animal, bird & plant, he had very pointed viewpoints on Zimbabwe politics (he lost his family farm to Veterans and relocated in Zim.), as well as on South Africa & Botswana.
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Sep 9th, 2004, 11:02 AM
  #5
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All of these accounts with mass amounts of hippos sound amazing. Unfortunately, I now have to limit myself to the Kruger/Sabi Sand area due to time constraints.

Do the outings run by Royal Malawane, Londolozi, and/or Singita generally include one or two hippo sitings? I really only need to see a few and I will be sated. This is my first safari.
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Sep 10th, 2004, 06:04 AM
  #6
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We saw lots of hippos when we stayed at Singita Boulders.
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Sep 10th, 2004, 10:07 AM
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There are hippos galore in the Rifiji River, southern Tanzania. At night their "chatter" lulls you to sleep. While swimming in the pool at Sand River in Selous, you can actually see them in the river, which is just a few feet away. At night, Sand Rivers staff have to put a large log across the pool stairs, as the hippo have a tendency to move from the river into the pool!!! Fascinating creatures!
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Sep 10th, 2004, 11:30 AM
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Whole lot of hippos in the estuary at St Lucia in South Africa's Kwa Zulu Natal region too!
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