Chobe River, Botswana: "Up close and personal"

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Hippopotomus: The most murderous creature of the Big Five:

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Ann, very nice series. The lens (400 f4) which one was it. And I agree, meeting up with one in the AM, on your walk to the river, when he is returning from a night of feasting would most likely be a once in a lifetime experience.
 
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Thank you all for your kind cooments.

Roy:
I took these with a 200-400mm f/4 lens from a small boat fitted with a powerful out-board motor and operated by an exceedingly skillful and watchful boatman.

He got me in as closely to the animals as he dared but these unwieldy-looking creatures can suddenly charge at 30 mph on land (and about 8 knots in water) and those massive 8-inch incisors can rapidly make pretty good mincemeat of one.

Eight of us had rented a houseboat on the Chobe River for a week on which we could sleep and eat between spending our waking-hours taking photographs from the little boats which we towed behind the houseboat.

The delightful girl who cooked for us during this trip was looking at my photos late one night after she had finished cleaning up in her galley. Everyone else had turned in for the night but I was editing photos in the saloon and she asked to have a look because although photographers are on board all the time she had apparently never seen any of their pictures.

When we came to the Hippo shots, she mentioned how much she feared Hippos and told me that her grandfather had been killed by one. He had apparently been fishing from the river bank when a hippo emerged from the river and charged at him. He ran but tripped and that was fatal.

I have found the 200-400mm to be the perfect lens for safari photography because we are often captive in a jeep or small boat so having a zoom lens is extremely helpful.
 
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Playing around in small boats on that river is probably "too close for comfort" in itself but I found the experience so totally engrossing that it never crossed my mind that it could be dangerous.

Motoring across a river along-side of a swimming elephant (with the camera at her eye-level) is indescribably thrilling.
 
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I am so pleased that you all enjoyed the hippos.

They look quite docile when they are sleeping;

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and can be quite family-oriented

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when they are not attacking something . . . or someone.

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Thank you so much for all the kind comments.

It seems that I somehow failed to post these two which I had meant to do:

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I was on the Chobe last year, it was quite a place to visit. We were there for 4 days. I had posted my trip on this site last year. I traveled from the top of South Africa to the bottom, also visited Vic Falls in Zimbabwe. Africa has such an array of animals to see that I'm not sure there's any place that can match the variation.
I very much enjoyed your photos as it brings back such great memories of being close to animals...
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Thank you so much for adding your photographs. Boating gently along-side a swimming elephant is quite an experience isn't it?!

I too have been fortunate enough to explore Southern Africa in considerable depth from the Cape to the Zambezi over numerous trips during the past ten years. I never tire of it and I always want to go back.
 

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