Country: Zimbabwe by Lisette
I’ve been dreaming for a long time to meet a hippo up close and personal. Marlowe always jokes that I would jump in the water at first sight and try to hug a 7,000-pound animal. When I heard hippos lived close to Victoria Falls, I naturally wanted to start arranging for sights to see and do as soon as possible after arriving at the Falls (in spite of an enormous tiredness that fell over me after our long journey from Maputo).
We talked about canoeing, a sunset cruise, horseback riding, hiking, eating, helicopter rides and more. When told there was chances of seeing hippos during the sunset cruise I wanted to go the same day. The boys agreed and I got to go boating.
An hour later, dark clouds started hovering over the town. Next thing I knew, it started to rain. Worriedly I wondered if I would get to meet and greet a hippo. Would it just stay under water (it can for 6 minutes if the hippo closes its ears and nostrils) and hide from me? I couldn’t bear the thought!
Slowly the weather changed and carefully the sun broke through the clouds again to kiss us folks on earth. In the mean time we enjoyed a cuppa wine and some finger food. Suddenly the boating crowd got excited, hippopotamuses were spotted in the water!
Curiously my eyes glanced over the water, where was this big mammal hiding? There.. See that ripple? Yes, I recognized two little ears and then slowly its eyes came above water.. I started shooting pictures like crazy.
Lazily the animals stayed in the cool Zambezi River while we lingered and lingered around, hoping to see more and more. But no, they kept to themselves, protecting their babies. As the boat cruised further we enjoyed bird watching, seeing the steam of the falls rising high into the air and chatting away in the fading sunlight.
Suddenly, the guides started ushering us animatedly to the other side of the boat, this time we were closer to a group of hippos! Breathlessly I took more and more pictures. One of the hippos didn’t seem to keen on us though.. He revealed himself and started flicking his tail. I was in awe of this large animal that was able to stay so quiet in the water we probably would never have seen it with our inexperienced, square, computer eyes.
The rest of the evening was great, but that one moment I cherish. Hello Mr. Hippo, nice to meet you. Keep well and hopefully we will meet again!