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Hippo
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Hippo

Where to see Hippo in Kenya

The noisy territorial calls of the hippopotamus create a signature soundtrack to Africa’s wild rivers and wetlands. Despite the endearing smile, however, this heavyweight aquatic herbivore has a notoriously aggressive disposition.


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Quick facts about Hippo

Scientific name: Hippopotamus amphibius Habitat: Freshwater rivers & wetlands
IUCN status: Vulnerable Adult weight: 1,300–2,600kg

The hippopotamus leads a double life. Uniquely among Africa’s large herbivores, it spends daytime in water, where pods of up to a dozen – generally an adult male plus females and young – laze in the shallows, often showing just their heads.

By night, hippos leave the water and disperse to feed, wandering far in search of grazing. On land, they are solitary, the calves staying with their mothers.

During the dry season, as waterways shrink, pods congregate in large herds. A hippo’s rotund body, naked hide and elevated eyes and nostrils are adaptations for its aquatic lifestyle. Its huge incisors and canines serve not for feeding but for threat displays and fighting; rival bulls contest violent territorial skirmishes.


30km/h

Max. speed on land

50cm

Max. length of canines

15km

Max. nightly wanderings

68kg

Max. grass consumed nightly

The top camps for seeing hippo in Kenya

Based on 145 reports by our travellers since May 2018, visitors at these camps in Kenya have the best chances of sighting hippo.


Best chances to see

Good chances to see

Some sightings

No sightings yet

Top 10 camps for hippo

% of travellers who saw hippo

Top 10 camps for hippo

% of travellers who saw hippo

Where to see hippos in Africa

Hippos occur in most major rivers and wetlands across sub-Saharan Africa, their presence betrayed by their resonant calls and distinctive ‘highways’. Nervous and potentially aggressive, they always demand respect.


Top tips for viewing hippos

Large aggregations of hippos are an impressive sight on any safari. Major rivers in a suitable habitat, such as the Chobe, Zambezi, Victoria Nile and Luangwa, allow excellent viewing, while wetlands such as Botswana’s Okavango Delta have their landscapes shaped by these heavyweight herbivores, which plough channels and waterways. Elsewhere, hippos often take up residence in smaller waterholes, sometimes cramming into the smallest of mud wallows.

Boat trips in some parks allow close viewing on the water, while guided canoe trails offer more exposed, adrenalin-charged encounters. Hippos may wander past waterside lodges at night, allowing you to watch how they crop the sward with their lips and scatter their dung with a flicking tail. Always keep a safe distance.

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Our best Kenya holidays for hippo sightings

Based on our travellers' reports, these ideas for Kenya safaris are likely to give the best hippo sightings


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The Highlights of Africa

17 days • 7 locations
CAPE TOWN AIRPORT TO KIGALI AIRPORT

An epic adventure taking in some of Africa’s most incredible sights and wildlife experiences, from Cape Town to the Okavango Delta, Victoria Falls, the Maasai Mara and an encounter with mountain gorillas.

US$12,440 - US$15,040 per person

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Black Kite Fly-in Safari

10 days • 4 locations
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

Explore Kenya in-depth with visits to Nairobi and Meru National Parks, the Mara Conservancies and Amboseli. Nestled in remoter regions, four camps provide fantastic access to rich game, a range of activities and beautifully diverse landscapes.

US$8,380 - US$9,630 per person

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Gabar Goshawk Fly-in Safari

10 days • 4 locations
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

Experience Amboseli, the Maasai Mara ecosystem and Laikipia during this economically priced safari. Two simple camps offer adventure before a stopover in Nairobi and a final stay in the charming, wildlife-rich Il Ngwesi Eco-Lodge.

US$4,790 - US$4,790 per person

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De Brazza Monkey Fly-in Safari

9 days • 3 locations
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

Enjoy a range of activities in the remote wilderness of northern Kenya before exploring the wildlife-rich plains of the Mara ecosystem. Private vehicles and guides heighten the personalisation of this highly immersive safari.

US$9,700 - US$11,350 per person

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Martial Eagle Fly-in Safari

9 days • 3 locations
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO KILIMANJARO AIRPORT

This stylish fly-in safari visits two of Africa’s most iconic parks, the Maasai Mara National Reserve in Kenya and the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.

US$10,500 - US$14,310 per person

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Gorillas and Maasai Mara Safari

9 days • 3 locations
KIGALI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

This trip combines two of Africa's most unforgettable wildlife experiences – Rwanda's mountain gorillas and Kenya's Maasai Mara.

US$9,750 - US$11,620 per person

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Golden Jackal Fly-in Safari

8 days • 2 locations
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

A contrasting safari of a lodge and a tented camp, action-packed activities in Laikipia and wildlife-filled game drives in the Maasai Mara, yet overall a consistently high quality experience.

US$8,050 - US$10,300 per person

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Rothschild Giraffe Safari

8 days • 3 locations
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

A luxury Kenyan safari, starting at the iconic Giraffe Manor before fabulous stays on the spectacular Solio Reserve and Sala’s Camp in a remote corner of the Maasai Mara.

US$9,200 - US$12,650 per person

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Hamerkop Fly-In Safari

8 days • 2 locations
NAIROBI AIRPORT TO NAIROBI AIRPORT

Different wildlife, contrasting camps and a whole host of activities, this is a safari for those wanting to get out and about and not just sit in a vehicle.

US$5,500 - US$8,280 per person

View all holidays to Kenya

More information about hippo in our other destinations

Click here for detailed information about hippo in other countries, including the places for sighting hippo.


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