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Where to see Hippo in Namibia

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.


Max. speed on land


Max. length of canines


Max. nightly wanderings


Max. grass consumed nightly

The top camps for seeing hippo in Namibia

Based on 81 reports by our travellers since Jul 2018, visitors at these camps in Namibia 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.


Our best Namibia holidays for hippo sightings

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

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Rock Hare Self-drive Safari

20 days • 12 locations

An in-depth look at Namibia from the Namib Desert to the Caprivi, with additional stops in Botswana and Victoria Falls. This three-week adventure includes an unrivalled mix of environments and is great value.

US$5,300 - US$7,530 per person

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Pygmy Mouse Self-drive Safari

18 days • 10 locations

A truly epic southern African self-drive safari adventure from Namibia’s mountains and deserts, along the lush Caprivi Strip to Botswana and Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, staying at luxury lodges throughout.

US$6,250 - US$10,500 per person

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Sable Self-drive Safari

12 days • 7 locations

A great-value southern African self-drive adventure from Namibia along the Caprivi Strip to Botswana and Zimbabwe, combining other-worldly landscapes, unforgettable wildlife spectacles and rarely visited places, and ending at Victoria Falls.

US$6,200 - US$8,370 per person

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Great Egret Safari

12 days • 4 locations

This wonderfully varied adventure combines Botswana's Okavango Delta and a live-aboard houseboat safari on the Chobe River, with big game in Zimbabwe's dry Hwange National Park and the stupendous Victoria Falls.

US$9,270 - US$17,180 per person

View all holidays to Namibia

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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