Chirundu to Mana Pools, part 2
On our second day we started seeing lots of animals. There were hippos everywhere. We also saw monkeys in the trees along the river and birds. Mid-morning we had a small herd of bull elephants cross right in front of our canoes.
We watched the elephants graze for about 20 minutes before crossing to the other side of the island, where a large herd of hippos were lazing in the sun. Once they saw us coming, they quickly ran into the water, to safety. Hippos are one of the most dangerous animals in Southern Africa. They only feel safe in deep water, and will go right through a canoe if the canoe comes between them and their safe place. Hippos are very territorial, so when we were crossing a place in the river that Shine knew had a lot of hippos, he would stand up in the canoe and slap his paddle on the water. When he did that as many as 25 heads would come popping out of the water. We tried to stay close to the shore and paddle as far away from those submerged heads as we possibly could. If the hippos were grazing on the shore, we would pull our canoes over and try to scare them into the water before we got to them. We didn't want them go through us on their way in! At one point on the river we came to a hippo that didn't want to leave his grazing place. We had pulled over to the side, and he started coming over to us. Shine yelled at him and waved his arms and the hippo decided that he didn't really want to mess with us.
|It's amazing how closely hippos can pack together in the water!|
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