Ah, with spring in full swing early on in the game, I was thinking back to last year where our spring/summer took so long to make it devout. Hippos were dying due to the lack of rain and I remember ever so clearly being upset about this. Hippo is in the top three of my all time favourite wild animals. October we usually see fantastic rains, most welcomed as they wash away all the dust, dirt and old oil on the roads away. But not last year – November saw our first rains. Sad as our wildlife really battled. This year, we have seen it all way early – now, September. Whoohoo (as she danced in the rain)
As a teen enjoying the lush beauty of a game reserve in Bela Bela, I stumbled upon a mommy Hippo nibbling on the river bed. It’s not often Hippos will come out in full view to nibble but the summers air was cool enough. About 50m from the Hippo was the swimming pool which I had come down to enjoy.
Here’s where my blonde moment #101 comes in. I’m born and bred African. I know the dangers of the wildlife so why did I think walking over to the Hippo to ‘pat’ it was an ever slight possibility ?!?
For some reason I thought – well, if it’s over this side of the river and so close to the pool, it must be ‘tame’. Hanging around the pool too where a gang of rangers. Watching me. Looking back at them, they knew what stupidity was about to happen.
I nudged a little closer, slowly . . . until . . . .
HELP – RUN FOR YOUR LIFE !!!
I was being chased by the Hippo. Where, what, when – the pool. I ran and dived into the pool then swam straight to the deep end faster than any olympic swimmer I bet.
Now what! Oh heck, Hippos live in water. She was lingering around the shallow end of the pool. I’m guessing no slope in or out held her back. Those wildlife rangers were laughing so hard, I bet they had sore stomachs the next day.
I felt like such a fool, stupid and embarrassed. There it was – her baby. We all know, you never approach a wild animal let alone one with young.
I laugh easily at myself as is, so no point not to join in the laughter with the game rangers.
Why? I asked them for sitting back in the know of what was about to unfold! Their response was ‘we couldn’t resist’ They knew this Hippo well apparently. Still to this day, I laugh at that video stuck in my memory.