The Time I Was Chased by a Hippo Whilst Wild Camping

Sunset on Zambezi River in Zambia Africa

The crackling of our camp fire sounded in my ears as I sat shrouded in darkness. I moved my feet in small circles, feeling my shoes brush against the soft sand which made up the sand bank. I gazed into the orange and red flames which lapped viciously at the night air. Beyond them was nothing but blackness. Yet I knew that concealed in the darkness were many, many animals.

My ears pricked at the gruff bellowing of a hippo which sounded eerily close. The accompanied splashing told me they must be wallowing in the Zambezi, but that was just a guess. Hippos made me feel on edge at the best of times but when I couldn't see them... well, the fear had just gone up a few notches. It was impossible to tell how near or far they were.

Our campsite was on a remote sand bank in the centre of the Zambezi river. We'd spent the entirety of the day canoeing here and being treated to numerous wildlife sightings along the way. I'd already seen first hand how dangerous hippos were when one tried to snap our canoe in half. It had been a rough start to the trip and I was secretly hoping that would be as close as I would get to a hippo this trip.

Just then another hippo called, this time from somewhere behind me. I jumped in alarm, noticing my fellow camp-mates also looking on edge. There was no denying it, we were completely surrounded by hippos. Would they venture onto the sand bank in the night? I winced when I realised I already knew the answer to that. When we'd arrived we had seen numerous hippo tracks zig-zagging across the island. I just prayed that they wouldn't venture too near the camp.

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