Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Harry the hippo!

We spent two days on safari, at Kichaka Lodge, about an hours drive from Port Elizabeth. Highly, highly recommended. Wonderful staff, unbelievably good food and very good rangers. The 'animal in residence' (whenever he felt like it) was Harry, the hippo. He preferred being by himself, so he kept to the pond close to the lodge. You could hear his outburst now and then as he surfaced briefly. During the days we stayed there we would see his brow coming up now and then, but he kept away from our cameraes. However, while we were waiting for our transport to the airport the last day he decided to deign us with an appearance. He decided, for the first time ever, to enter under the bridge and go too close to the lodge. The staff was not too happy about that, but we were thrilled! One meter from one of the biggest and most dangerous animal in the African animaldom! Ok, so we were standing on a bridge, safe, but still.....
Seeing him this close you realise how incredibly BIG this animal is! I swear the distance between his nostrils were close to 30 cm!
He did not like us taking pictures, though. He got a little huffy and dived like a big submarine and dissappeared. We could follow his trail out in the pond by the bubbles popping up, followed by the mud he dislodged as he walked along the bottom of the pond. He ended our visits by getting up off the pond to graze, sending us a long look while we waved him goodbye. 'Ah, finally these little pests are leaving me alone. Good riddance,' was probably his final thought as we left.

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