“On the banks of the cool Shalimar..”

(This is the first of a series of Zambian posts, all from a glorious rainy season safari to Robin Pope Safaris’ camps Nkwali and Nsefu in the South Luangwa Valley. My guides were Fred, Bertram and Kiki, all hugely knowledgable)

More accurately, the headline should say “On the banks of the cool Luangwa..”, which is hippo heaven right now, when the river is swollen with the rains.  At night they climb onto the banks and graze in the lush grass, and at dawn they return to the river and wallow all day. This one, probably pregnant, was too greedy, and was still out and about in daylight.

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Most of the hippos slide happily down quite steep mudbanks:

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But this one had qualms:

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She walked along, desperate for a way back to the safety of the water, especially with my boat hovering threateningly offshore:

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But it was too big an ask.  Finally, she found a gully where another hippo had preceded her, and wedged herself in:

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For a moment we thought she was stuck, but she squeezed through, and headed for safety:

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with a final tidal wave:

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PS: For those of you who had deprived childhoods and don’t recognize the Flanders and Swann quote in the title, listen to this and all will become clear:

3 thoughts on ““On the banks of the cool Shalimar..””

  1. Hilarious!!! But the hippo is wonderful and touching, hard not to fall for a hippo! Great catch. I’m sending this along to Maria Matthiessen who grew up in Africa and of course has done numerous animal and birding trips with her deceased husband Peter, and may know the song! >

    Like

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