Hippos are amazing. They make extraordinary noises. Heavy long distance grunts and hollers. They secrete sunscreen. They spray feces with their paddle-like tails. They graze in fields at night. They run much faster than you. They are the most dangerous animals in Africa. Yup, see those teeth. If you trouble them they’ll have no compunction about disemboweling you on their way back to the water. Respect!
This river in the Serengeti is a Hippo hotspot. They gather in the eddies and pass the daylight hours in large groups.
The roiling waters aren’t always caused by the current. The Hippos sometimes snap out of their sedate reverie and swirl around furiously as they address their space issues.
A friendly warning is issued to a younger hippo who strayed too close.
With order reestablished, a Hippo feels comfortable cooling his exposed back and momentarily sunning his pallid feet.
A mother feels comfortable enough to encourage her baby to climb on the back of a submerged neighbor.
Farther out, a loner settles into the current and stands firm while the water races by.
A Red-billed Oxpecker gets a free ride on its roaming buffet. They can easily logroll a Hippo if it rolls onto its back, sprinting onto any available surface above water.
Yup, they certainly are fierce. I was glad to be on ledge near the pool with good visibility in all directions.
There you have it. Hippos from front to back. See you tomorrow folks.
Rufous-tailed Weavers like to hang out at the Ngorongoro Crater picnic area near the hippo pool. People lunching in strange circumstances are messy eaters and the birds take full advantage of it.
Keeping a watchful eye on the tourists, Hippos stay offshore but linger close enough to make you nervous.
This Great White Pelican takes a break from fishing with its friends to preen on the shore.
An African Jacana forages nearby, splaying its phenomenally large feet to stay out of the muck.
A Jacana pair tussle on their way across the pond.
The scourge of the picnic area are the brazen, bold, and fearless Black Kites. They will take a sandwich out of your hand or even your mouth provided it’s still open. They know exactly what lunch boxes look like and are on patrol every second of the day. Eat in the car or face the consequences.
If you don’t have food on you they are sublime and beautiful. If you are trying to gnaw on a dry roll or sort out how to open your juice box with one hand while shooing the birds away with the other, they can be downright scary. Enjoy some of the sublime moments below.
A Zebra on the Serengeti dines casually near the road.
A young Giraffe near Lake Manyara tries to blend in.
Wildebeest on the move in the Serengeti Plains.
A friend stretches near a crowd of hippos in Ngorongoro Crater.
Termite mounds make for good scratching posts. Another Elephant waits its turn.
Red Elephants abound in Manyara because of the rich volcanic dirt.
Maasai have lived in harmony with the land for generations.
A Leopard makes a rare appearance high above a rocky outcropping in the Serengeti.