There are many, many hippos here, much more than I could have imagined. At almost every river bend (there are so many bends) there are hippos semi-submerged protecting themselves from the Kenyan sun. Believe it or not they have very sensitive skin requiring them to stay mostly submerged during the day. Hippos are nocturnal creatures leaving the river at night searching the land for food (grasses). Then, as the sun rises they make their way back to the coolness of the river. It is interesting they share the river with the crocodiles. They must feel safe as they out weight a croc by a pound or two.
I don’t know what you know about the African Hippo, or any Hippo for that matter. But these beasts have one heck of a sense of humor. We have some Hippos that are resident just outside our tent in a curve of the Mara River. We have counted many eyes and noses popping out of the river.
These guys grunt and groan in such a way that it sounds like laughter. Or maybe it is laughter. Regardless, it seems they are listening in to our conversations. Any time anyone makes a sly or funny remark, a big grunt occurs. It also seems to happen every time someone says something a bit inappropriate. All through dinner we would hear grunts, sparking laughter amongst us. I got the most hippo laughs. I usually say funny things. It’s what I do.
One day I went to the river’s edge to have a chat with a hippo. I asked him how he was and whether he was laughing at my jokes in particular. I got this:
Have you ever seen a Hippo repopulate their species? Talk about funny. Just imagine an immense animal, about 3,000 pounds, quite wide, stubby legs, on top of another immense animal, about the same size. That is what we saw in the Mara River. The female was below water with the male on top. We never did see the female. Hopefully, it was not one of our trip mates. As soon as the male was done he put on helluva grin. All he needed to complete the act was to light up a cigarette.
And remember, it’ all about the light.