Hippo Attack in Kenya!
What to do on a weekend in Nairobi? When not meeting up with friends, we took weekend trips to one of the many National Parks in Kenya, mostly staying in one of the lodges. During high season, when prices would be at their peak, we would pack up our camping gear and head out for a more rugged night. This was always quite exciting and a bit of a thrill. Mind you, that was a few years back. I still enjoy camping (if the ground isn’t too hard!) but can do without the “extras” now.
My wife and I had been to this campsite right by a lake a couple of times but were never aware of the hippos roaming around before sunrise. Not until a friend pointed out this fact. Due to a sound good night’s sleep, we obviously had missed out on this.
To make sure we wouldn’t squander the opportunity, my wife and I picked the perfect weekend with a full moon. To further improve our chances, we pitched the tent right smack in the middle of a patch of high grass. And sure enough, this time we actually were woken up by the sounds of “swishes” and movement right around our small two-man-tent. I quickly unzipped the front of the tent in order to get a good view. And there, I finally saw not one, but several hippos grazing all around us! One of them was in perfect view about 40 feet in front of us. I was reaching for my camera and got ready to take the shot. Luckily, my wife convinced me otherwise.
Distracted by who knows what, this very hippo suddenly raised its head, stared right at us, and started to charge! “IT’S COMING!”, was all I could say. In disbelief we were staring at its massive body and wide-open mouth. There was no way out and neither was there time for it. The whole tent shook as the front flap went down. A loud bellows followed as the hippo rammed into the cords of our tent. All went dark inside as we clung to each other. We feared an immediate impact, but suddenly all went quiet. Shaking and utterly in shock, we didn’t dare to speak a word. Still stuck in our sleeping bags we couldn’t move either. Was the hippo still outside? Was there another attack to follow?
After what seemed like hours later, I risked a peek outside. No hippo in sight. What a relief!
Did you know? Hippos are responsible for the highest number of deadly animal attacks in Africa! Despite their size, they also can run as fast as a human.
Well, I don’t remember going back to this particular campsite, but this was not the end of our camping adventures. Stay tuned, for more animal encounters to follow!