We walk towards the waters edge to survey the Dombo Hippo Pool. It’s a peaceful, pretty scene. There’s a couple having lunch on a nearby picnic table under a viewing tower. Hushed French accents on our approach. They both look over with visible disdain and melt our egos. Sizzling nasty eyes. They hate our guts. For some reason.
Peter leans in and quietly says, “Well sorry for existing.” “Seriously.” We haven’t even said a word yet. “Guess they own this place.” “If you wanted privacy, maybe don’t park and picnic under the only viewing tower.”
As is customary for the biggest assholes on planet Earth, we wave politely and smile in response. Sadly, we receive nothing but turned away heads and audible sighs in return. Ok well we’re going up this tower regardless.
We get up top and break out the binoculars and telephoto lens. Oh yeah there are a bunch of hippos here. A quick count gives 8 on the left and another group of 6 to the right. They’re far off in the pool and hard to get a good view of since they’re mostly submerged.
Nice view up here
A couple of the hippos start getting at each other. Mark’s looking through the binoculars and points, “Oh, it’s on!” One is chasing the other. Leaping out of the water and lunging. Mouth full of knives, wide open and chomping at the other guy.
We’re watching from afar. Not sure if it’s friendly play time, a mating thing, or a fight to the death. They’re grunting and hustling through the water, causing a big commotion off in the distance. Jamie is chuckling, “I’m liking the Jabba the Hutt sounds.”
The two hippos chill out after the exertion and the aggressor settles back into the pool, spouting water from it’s nostrils high into the air. The other one burps at him. They go back to lounging in the water.
“Check out the scar on this one.” Mark hands me the binos. Oh yeah. One of the youngins has a big pink wound on its back. “Must’ve gotten into a gnarly fight.”
These birds keep diving into the water after something.
We kick it in the hide for a bit but there isn’t much action from these two bloats of hippos. Fun to watch but they’re a bit far away.
Another truck pulls up to the pool. Too bad our French besties have taken off cuz this truck rolls right passed the tower up to the shoreline, revving the engine and giving off a general dgaf attitude. The hippos turn towards the commotion with contempt and look to be moving away.
“Thanks, super douche.” To our surprise, an older lady gets out and immediately starts making tea on the hood of the truck. “Oh just kidding. She owns the place.”
Also surprising, after all of the commotion that you’d think would generally annoy and disperse any wildlife, the hippos seem to be coming in closer now. Ok, maybe we’ll stick around a bit longer then.
And soon another safari truck comes rolling in full tilt too. Crashes over the dirt and sand, right up to the pool passed the ‘parking’ area and tower as well. Comes to a jangly, rattle-bang stop. A couple gets out and slams the doors shut. Ka-chunk, ka-chunk. No fucks given. We. Are. Here. Everyone check it out, we’re here. The loud Ones. Here. Couldn’t miss us. Whatever animals are in the area can go ahead and suck it. We drink. We ride. We don’t care.
Mark’s courtesy alarm goes off, “Maybe we’re too nice?” “Well, I’m Canadian. I don’t know what you’re excuse is.” “Hit the road?” “Yep, bye bye douche brigade. Ciao hippos.”
The middle-aged dude from the more recent No Fucks Gang yells over at us, “Are you lookin’ at the river hogs?” And he is damn proud, all smiles of tossing out that term. I offer an enthusiastic, “Yeah! Pretty fun to watch!” He’s grinning ear to ear. A beer gets raised in the ‘Cheers, have a good one’ salute before he turns back to watching the river hogs.
We spin to go back to Belinda and the hippos start coming towards us. And with some pace too. Whaaaa? Ok fine, we’ll stick around a bit longer. One is getting too close to another one and it starts slapping it’s tail on the water annoyed at the space invader. Ears wiggling. Snout snorting.
They veer off to the left side of the pool. And they just lay side by side. A large white bird and 4 little birds come over and land on one of them.
But then another smaller group of them are literally coming right at us. They’re eyeing us up from a distance and romping on over.
“Maybe there’s a track here we’re in the way of?” “Certainly looks like they intend to come right through here.” “Ya, this line on the right here looks like it could be a hippo path.”
We watch these guys stumble towards us. Hmmm any closer might be a bit too close.
We stay by the edge of the pool a tad longer though since they’re finally in decent pic grabbing range.
Alright, he’s half out of the water and within charging range. That should do it.
The Hippo Pools was a good stop. “Watching humans is sometimes better than the wildlife, eh?” “Ha! That is very, very true. Astounding diversity!” We get a good laugh in about it. “I’m sure we make a right spectacle a lot of the time too though.” “Oh, for sure.” “Ya man, just look at Jamie’s shirt!” “Want to instantly turn off all French people in your area?” Point to Jamie’s shirt. lol
We pile back into the truck and spin around to exit the Dombo Pools. Not far North and East of here is a village called Khwai and after that we’ll be at the Mababe Gate to Chobe National Park. The Chobe River should undoubtedly be one of the highlights of the trip. Hopefully we can find a place to stay in there.