Sunday, February 19, 2012

Giant Grunting Sausages

How would you describe a hippopotamus to someone who had never seen one? The word hippopotamus is derived from an ancient Greek phrase meaning river horse, but that is no help at all. Hippos look nothing like horses, though as a general rule any racehorse I back tends to perform like a hippo. I think the best I can do is to describe them as a giant, grunting pork sausage on legs. It must be said though, that these pork sausages can be very dangerous. They are responsible for more human deaths than any other African animal except the mosquito. This is because they live in the same waterways that villages tend to spring up next to. The males can be very territorial and will attack canoes and boats that stray into their territory. At night the hippos leave the water to graze and people getting between them and the water can be trampled as the animals feel vulnerable on land and will rush back to the water for safety..

A wonderful place to safely observe this fascinating creatures is Foxes River Lodge in Southern Tanzania's Ruaha National Park. The lodge rooms are strong out along a stretch of the Ruaha River and the room at the end is right opposite the hippo pool, where a sizable pod of hippos like to spend their day, wallowing, grunting and generally enjoying themselves. You can safely sit on your veranda and observe them while you have a little downtime between game drives. That particular room is about two hundred metres from the main lodge building where meals are served. If you arrive back from your game drive after dark you are escorted to your room by one of the Masai security guards who will then come to collect you when you are ready to go for dinner and will take you back to your room once you've eaten.

If you're wondering what the Masai are doing in Southern Tanzania, it's because they loyally followed the lodge manager from another lodge in the Serengeti. You're perfectly safe with these guys escorting you and just occasionally you get to see a hippo out of the water grazing on the grass within the lodge grounds.
Here's a link to Foxes River Lodge as well as their other great lodges. All of which I can thoroughly recommend. Sorry, but you'll need to cut and paste it to your address bar to read.

Never let it be said that I don't offer variety. Take a look at the link below for details of an amazing tour through China and Tibet run by Travman Tours. I think it represents superb value for money and takes your through some the planet's most thrilling cultural and scenic sites.  Here's a quote from the Travman Tours website. 

"The fantastic journey takes you to explore mysterious Tibet & beyond, a land with remarkable monasteries and palaces. The Holy Express travels across the vast Tibetan grasslands and stunning snow mountain ranges."

Here's that link I promised you. Once again, you'll need to cut and paste it to your address bar.

For further information on any of the products featured or to make a booking, please call me - Peter Emery on 0449 689 447. Alternatively call Ucango Travel on 1300 822 646 and be sure to ask for me by name, or just drop me an email.


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