Hippos and Buffalo of South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Happy hippo pool, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Happy hippo pool, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Hippos spent most of their time in the water, we all know that. Coming out to dry land at nighttime to graze on grass and other succulent plants, before disappearing into their wet habitat before sunrise, leaving only footprints and piles behind. That was my personal opinion before arriving at South Luangwa National Park.

Surprisingly blue/purple skin on this grazing hippo, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Surprisingly blue/purple skin on this grazing hippo, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Nowhere else have I seen so many hippos out off water during daytime then here.

Weighing off options without aggressive behaviour, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Weighing off options without aggressive behaviour, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

I often scared a resting hippo off, driving around the corner. Sorry. There could be a number of reasons for that. Even though hippos had been heavily hunted and poached in the 1970’s, they seem rather used to humans around them.

Elephants crossing through a Hippo colony, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Elephants crossing through a Hippo colony, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

They have recovered so well, that an estimated 40 hippos per square km line the shores of the Luangwa River. 

Food and fashion in one, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Food and fashion in one, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

They populate all possible lagoons here as well, until the water evaporates completely, giving them no choice to find another wet environment.

Enjoying a mud bath, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Enjoying a mud bath, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Up in the Nsefu sector, a small herd was making the most off their muddy lagoon. They might have to move on as well until the wet season fills their pool again.

Hippo keeping a good eye out on the neighbours, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Hippo keeping a good eye out on the neighbours, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Hippos in high water lagoons kept a good eye out on the neighbours, but even that wasn’t too exciting it appears.

It wasn’t that interesting after all, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

It wasn’t that interesting after all, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Another interesting fact was their adaptation to their environment. The Luangwa River is fast flowing in some places.

Using washed out trees as current shelter, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Using washed out trees as current shelter, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Washed out trees give aqua dynamic shelter from this current.

Hippo beaver? South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Hippo beaver? South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Or a Hyde out.

All in line, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

All in line, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Where there’s none, a larger hippo creates a water flowing channel, for the weaker and smaller to take cover.

Not bothered by crocs, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Not bothered by crocs, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Sharing the river with Nile crocodiles and passing elephants doesn’t seem to worry them too much.

Grazing with an eye on surroundings, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Grazing with an eye on surroundings, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Despite a bad-tempered reputation, the hippos here seem rather relaxed. With raging flood waters in the rainy season, hippos stay put and dodge the torrent waters.

Juicy water flowers, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Juicy water flowers, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Hippos are with good reason in Africa’s so-called ‘Top 5’, the most dangerous animal to humankind.

A lone buffalo in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

A lone buffalo in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

In that category slips the African water buffalo as well.

Thick buffalo horns in thick bush land, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Thick buffalo horns in thick bushland, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

A powerful heavy (up to one ton) pure muscled beast with an iron skull flanked by impressive strong horns. Imagine that running towards you at full speed. If the whole herd comes towards you, then there is no escape.

A ‘small’ herd off buffalo in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

A ‘small’ herd off buffalo in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

These were my thoughts when I saw that huge herd slowly moving towards me. But none of that ever happened.

Resting and digesting in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Resting and digesting in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

In fact, quite the opposite. Again, it is important to read their body language.

Keeping an eye out or snoozing off? South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Keeping an eye out or snoozing off? South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

All the ones I have seen were more curious about the oversized zebra, I believe. Buffalo have fairly bad eyesight and depend on their sense of smell.

Buffalo moving through thick bush land in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Buffalo moving through thick bushland in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

The herds in the Mfuwe sector were rather small, and fortunately far enough from the road.

Coming out off the bush, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Coming out off the bush, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

The odd individual was spotted here and there, mainly in dense bushland.

There were so many hippos and buffalos for my camera to take photos of in this park.

2 thoughts on “Hippos and Buffalo of South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s