Saturday, 13 January 2018

Gate 1, South Africa - Day 4, Hippos!

This was a travel day: bus to the airport, flight to Durban, brief stop to dip our feet into the Indian Ocean ("The Canadians", minus me, swam) and then a bus drive to the river where we took a cruise to see Hippos. My camera battery died and I didn't have my little camera on the boat with me so I have no photos. I will get Kristen's and Jason's photos when we get back to Canada and do this blog post then, so stay tuned.
It was amazing to float along beside the pods of hippos with them sinking under water and disappearing and then, minutes later, appearing (nostrils first) and just looking like brown bumps in the water until they raised their heads or stood up. I hope those photos are good.
Jason uploaded his photos to "the cloud" so I was able to access them and pick and choose, then crop and size. All the photos that follow were taken by Jason.

While waiting for the cruise to start we were treated to the antics of these Southern (or African) Masked Weavers. There were flocks of them going in and out of their nests, built in the reeds.

Brown lumps in the muddy river waters don't look like much

but then a head slowly emerges. Hippos!

It was a grey afternoon with occasional rain but we sat on the top, open, deck anyway, excited to see them in spite of the damp.

The guide on board also pointed out birds and the skipper tried to get us close for pictures. Cattle Egrets.

This magnificent Fish Eagle ignored the boat as we crept right up to him.

The Yellow Billed Kite

was a little more nervous and flew off.

Kingfisher (not sure from the birding sites, this may be a Giant Kingfisher)

But the real reason to be there was the Hippos and there were lots to see.

A couple of youngsters play fighting. What do I know? They may be kissing.

Most of the time they are just lying around, on each other

or wallowing in the water.

Often we could just see nostrils breaking the surface.

A Nile Crocodile was keeping a watchful eye near one pod.

The boat ride was about and hour and a half long and we saw many, many Hippos

up really close.

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