Hippos are a very popular animal to view on safari. Fortunately, they are well represented in major safari areas containing water resources, which they are dependent upon for protection from the sun’s harmful rays as well as from predators.
Hippos make fantastic honking noises and are often observed making threat displays (hippo yawns) or having mock battles with one another.
Hippo pools make a great location to stop for a picnic or sundowner. Imagine sipping on a gin and tonic while observing pods of hippos yawning and preparing to exit their ponds for evening grazing.
Best Places to See Hippos on Safari
South Luangwa National Park in Zambia is an ideal place to see high densities of hippos packed into a river home.
The Mara River in Kenya offers great hippo viewing, and often interesting interactions with crocodiles or migration herds crossing the river. This can also be seen from the Tanzania side of the Mara River, however camps are not nestled against the river banks on the Tanzania side the way you can find them on the Kenya side.
An interesting and unusual view takes place at Katavi National Park in Tanzania where hundreds of hippos try to crowd into disappearing water areas late in the dry season.
Northern Botswana offers excellent viewing of hippos from the many channels and lagoons of the Okavango Delta and Chobe River.
Shenton Safaris in the Northern region of the South Luangwa National Park, Zambia offers an exclusive “Hippo Hide” situated conveniently on a corner of the confluence of the Luangwa and Mwamba Rivers. Hundreds of hippos congregate throughout the season, and the hide offers an eye-level vantage point to observe their interactions.
For intrepid travelers, the Lower Zambezi National Park in Zambia and Mana Pools National Park in Zimbabwe offer canoeing adventures. Set out with an experienced guide to enjoy wildlife that come to the banks to quench their thirst. This most often includes observing the fascinating hippo pods before they shelter into the depths of the river.