Hippopotamus or Hippo is exceptional herbivorous wildlife species that can be encountered during safaris in Uganda. Hippos or Hippopotami mainly feed on grass weighing up to 150 pounds and are mainly found within water bodies. They mainly feed at night and spend most of their day in water to protect against the sun. Being in water makes them semi-aquatic animals although they cannot swim and only bounce on the bottom of the River or Lake. Their bodies release a natural sunscreen colored red sometimes referred as blood sweat.
Hippos are the second largest land animals after the Elephants and the third heaviest animals after the elephants and Rhinos. A mature Hippo weighs between one and three tons, whereby the males are obviously larger than their female counterparts. Interestingly, Hippos are very fast regardless of their weight and can run faster than humans.
They are mistakenly assumed to be related to the Pigs yet in actual sense are related to porpoises and whales. Did you even imagine something like that? But it’s true. Their lifespan is normally between 40 and 50 years, and copulate/conceive and give birth while in the water. Hippos always grow and increase in size until around 25 years of age. Live in schools or pods and the male ones are known as Bulls, the female ones are Cows while the young ones are calves.
The shocking but true fact about the Hippos is that they are the most dangerous animals in the whole World, even more than Lions that we all fear and most of the deaths of fishermen is caused by these animals. It is therefore advisable to keep a distance from them if moving on foot, otherwise you will not realize how they will knock you. However, they are threatened because of the high demand for their meat, tusks and skin mainly because of the danger they pose to the local communities. There have been cases of small boats or canoes being overturned by hippos but this should not worry you during launch trips because they can’t overturn the heavy motorized vessels and the activity is not conducted at the shores of lakes or Rivers.
Therefore, these large mammals can be sighted within the following places while on Uganda safaris;
Lake Mburo National Park
Participating in a boat ride within Lake Mburo offers unforgettable opportunities for seeing numerous Hippos since the Lake is their home and habitat. The motorized boats move to the Eastern shores of Lake Mburo where you will see schools of Hippos although their numbers are not as high as in Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth and Nile River or Lake Albert within Murchison falls National Park where their numbers are immeasurable.
Murchison Falls National Park
These animals can be seen within the Nile River hence can be spotted during boat rides to the bottom of the Murchison Falls. As a matter of fact, this site offers the best numbers of Hippos hence worth visiting on a safari. This Site comes after the Kazinga Channel in terms of opportunities for seeing the Hippos.
Semliki Forest National Park
Hippos are common within the Semliki River in this Park and when you undertake a boat ride to the Lake Albert, you will be amazed by the Hippo numbers in this River. Semliki River flows through the borders of two countries-the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda but the conflicts in the former makes it a high risk for the Wildlife species including the Hippos.
Queen Elizabeth National Park
The Kazinga Channel (of 40 kilometers long) connecting Lake George and Edward is a wonderful habitat offering the highest concentration of Hippos hence a perfect destination for a safari to see them. Therefore, schools of Hippos can be sighted when you participate in a launch cruise in the Kazinga Channel
In conclusion, Hippos are one of the important wild animals in Uganda and can be sighted within Lake Mburo National Park, within the Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth National Park, the Nile River within Murchison falls National Park and the Semliki River in Semliki Forest National Park