The Hippo Series V – Lower Zambezi Valley


Earlier this month Piet and I were invited on a trip to the Lower Zambezi, where we stayed at a self-catering lodge called Munyemeshe. This lodge is on the Zambian side of the Zambezi River where wildlife wanders freely between the Game Management Area (or GMA) and the nearby Lower Zambezi National Park.

It is a rustic place.  There is no electricity, no wi-fi and – best of all – no mobile phone signal, so for seven glorious days we were cut off from the World, no worries, no cares, no constant pinging of the telephone.

Each night I would lie awake in the dark, listening to the bush sounds – the eerie call of the thick-knees,  hysterical hyena scrapping over some left-over lion kill, the deep belly laugh grunting of hippos echoing across the water or the rustle and crack of elephants grazing from the tree above our chalet.

One was kind enough to leave us his calling card.

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The days were spent on the boat, fishing, eating, relaxing, laughing and reminiscing with old friends about old times. And hippo watching.

In my last post I mentioned that I had rarely had the opportunity to photograph hippos out of the water.  My luck changed on this trip.

I don’t recall ever having seen so many hippos at one time. At every turn in the river, in each inlet and on every sand bank we were met with the glowering stare of at least one of these beasts. Pods of fat, shiny bodies sunned themselves, soaking up the weak winter sunlight – regardless of the time of the day.

It was a hippopotophile’s dream.

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