We all know that the docile looking hippo is responsible for many deaths in Africa. This happens when people on foot, get between the hippo and their beloved water. I recently had a fantastic experience that proves every encounter with an animal is unique, regardless of the statistics or stereotypes.
It was an early morning in the Kruger National Park when I came across a well-worn dust path that crossed the tarred road. I always stop to look up and down these paths for animals. I immediately saw something coming towards me. I shut the engine off and trained the camera as the big lady came through the thick bush. She was limping and slowly made her way towards me before she trained her eyes on me sitting in the vehicle in front of her.
Know your place
I managed to get a few photos before she started walking towards me again. I started the car and edged forward a few metres. You have to give animals space to decide what the next move should be. Discretion was indeed the better part of valour here.
She limped forward, staring at me. Then she proceeded to graze on green grass that grew alongside the path. I decided not to drive off and stayed to get a few more shots. After a few minutes, she limped across the road behind my car and headed down towards the river.
Treat all animals with the respect they deserve. They’ll reward you with wonderful memories in ways that you cannot always predict. Not all animals will react badly to human interaction just as long as you respect their fear zone.
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