Day 3 & Night 3 – Hippo Jacuzzi, Moremi

The hide

   

Self-Drive Game Drive to DOMBO HIPPO POOL aka Hippo Jacuzzi

After  bush breakfast I went back over the bone-rattle bridge to ask the camp scout if the flooded road I had tried the day before to the Dombo Hippo Pool was safe to try and pass through. The scout was nowhere to be found but instead I met a really friendly guide who knew exactly the spot I was talking about and he gave us complete reassurance it would be fine, so confident with his experience and advice, I drove back to the flooded part of the road.There was a moment of sitting and waiting at the water’s edge, set up the revs and charged through the flooded pool to the other side, safe and sound.

Hippos in the Hippo Pool

I were very finely rewarded by getting to the amazing Dombo Hippo Pool. The elevated viewing platform overlooking a very large hippo pool is very well worth a visit. I loved this place. The platform/ hide itself is very well built and one of the sturdiest structures I’d encountered on the trip so far. It had even had toilets built at the base. I took a chair up into the hide and sat down. The pool itself is exquisitely pretty, and in its brilliant blue depths these magnificent animals went about their business about 40-50 feet away, oblivious to us. Other people turned up around 11am but I had the place to myself then. The communication between these animals was amazing. The deep rumbles and gurgles, the ‘honking’, one would start, and like an echo, the sound moved across them. Occasionally there’s be a scrap, and a few wide-mouthed, teeth-baring yawns. Young with mothers and the huge scarred males, all of them together in their pods, like piles of great smooth pebbles. The sparring between the males made gripping viewing. But I just loved watching them sink silently below the water and then some time later bob back up again so you could just see their protruding ears, eyes and nostrils, their skin slick and dark.The Dombo Hippo Pool was the equivalent of the most sumptuous spa you can imagine, it was Hippo Heaven. They had plenty of lush hippo grass to chew, the cool deep waters when they got too hot to cool skin which can’t sweat, and then soft muddy banks to wallow on when they want to get warm. From the pool to the mud I was reminded very much of a Spa I had attended in Berkshire a month or so before. That place had been called Nirvana. This was the same for Hippos.

Dombo Hippo Pool

 We’re English so of course one of the greatest thrills about The Bush for us was the endless opportunities for bottom gags and toilet humour. At the Dombo Hippo Pool I enjoyed the magnificent hippo fart. I am certain that there are people out there who would feel that such an opinion is degrading to the animal. Oh well. As I arrived at the pool a huge male hippo blew water from one end in a tremendous gurgling gush, only to match it from the other with an equally tremendous gurgling gush. It felt like a trumpeting ‘hello’ and greeting, all part of their chattering. In no time they were all at it, and the calm waters of the Hippo Pool bubbled away with Hippo flatulence – Hippo Jacuzzi!

The road on from Dombo Hippo Pool to Qua Ledibe was closed and although I believe it is very beautiful I wasn’t going to find out just how difficult a flooded road in Moremi was going to be.

Night 3 

That night back at camp was a Sunday and I listened to one of the most magical sounds I’d heard in Africa, which was the sound of the local villagers from Khwai village singing. The group of voices and the drums were no doubt playing Catholic hymns as Botswana is a staunchly Catholic country but their voices and the drums carried on the wind sounded so ancient and magical it really was heavenly.

I cooked a magnificent lamb stew that evening using the cast iron cooking pots and one of the packet mixes from home, and once again enjoyed hyena sightings before going up the ladder to the tree house.

 

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