A Travellerspoint blog

Day Sixty Five – Kack-a-nacka Xampsite

26th November 2011

sunny 32 °C

“Many of the animals have moved away from here, for a bit” said the guy running Xakanaxa camp site, “Maybe they’ll come back a little bit.” OK, we thought, half understanding. Our camp site was literally three metres from the wet, grassy start of the marsh and two clear channels emerged from the grasses into our particular campsite. “Is that where the hippos come out?” Laura suggested, pointing to the channels. “Yes,” said our man, “they come out every night to graze.” How long exactly is a little bit? Are hippos not classed as animals? After a leisurely lunch and reading session, we went for a drive to Paradise pools, they were dried out. We came across a hippo skeleton and took photos and tormented a couple of still-living hippos as they yawned fear at us. (A hippos’ mouth looks manufactured from soft foam with the addition of several long sharp sticks stuck, almost randomly into it. The damage that cavity would do to you pales most other beasties into insignificance.)

The campsite was dark when we returned and that now familiar nyctophobia reared its ugly head once more. Splashes could be heard amongst the grass, close splashes. Less than twenty feet away splashes. The fire was now glowing embers, hot and expectant for the steak we had already prepared but, it lay fifteen feet from Redvers and my route to it was lit only by the pathetic 50p torches we had strapped to our heads. In the dark you’d never see the crocodile coming and it’d be too late by the time you realised you were in a hippos path. Laura carried on cooking whilst I scurried around Redvers pausing, listening for splashing, then checking the otherside by peering around the vehicles side before advancing and listening some more; all the time wondering if it’s even possible to run an angry hippo over. I made Laura stop cooking whilst I turned Redvers around and pointed his headlights out onto the marsh. There was nothing there. Suddenly the splashing in the dark to our left grew louder, this time accompanied by dripping noises and then a few minutes later, munching sounds. I persuaded Laura to let me turn the car around again as I switched on the headlights there stood a huge male hippo, at the other side of our fire munching on the weeds. It wasn’t a big fan of the light and it scarpered pretty quickly. That night at least, we’d seen the creature of our fears.

Posted by ibeamish 00:41 Archived in Botswana

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