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Hippo
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Hippo

Where to see Hippo in Zambia

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 Zambia

Based on 398 reports by our travellers since Mar 2018, visitors at these camps in Zambia 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 Zambia holidays for hippo sightings

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


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Hyena Safari

11 days • 4 locations
VICTORIA FALLS AIRPORT TO LILONGWE AIRPORT

Mix relaxation and adventure on a safari combining the South Luangwa with Victoria Falls and the beaches of Lake Malawi. These three locations are among the most iconic in southern Africa.

US$6,580 - US$8,420 per person

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Puku Safari

11 days • 3 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LIVINGSTONE AIRPORT

Discover South Luangwa’s prolific wildlife before exploring the wildly remote pans of Liuwa Plain National Park and relaxing in one of the Livingstone area’s most romantic and exclusive hideaways. A safari of luxury, style and impressive diversity.

US$11,990 - US$15,940 per person

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Perekani Walking Trail

10 days • 5 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

Five smart but rustic bushcamps are the comfortable staging-posts for this walking safari in South Luangwa. The route offers outstanding seclusion and rich wildlife with top-quality guiding throughout.

US$8,730 - US$10,090 per person

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Duiker Safari

10 days • 3 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

Three luxurious bush-camps in stunning riverside locations, split between the South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi national parks, offer a wide variety of expert-guided safari activities in stunning game-rich environments.

US$7,670 - US$9,170 per person

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Crawshay's Zebra Safari

10 days • 4 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

This superb safari combines two of Zambia’s best national parks, the South Luangwa and the Lower Zambezi. The camps are small and high quality with excellent safari guides.

US$8,340 - US$11,530 per person

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Oribi Safari

10 days • 4 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

This is a great safari for those looking to immerse themselves in true wilderness, with few additional frills yet considerable, authentic comfort. The standard of guiding is consistently impressive and the walking safaris throughout are a real highlight.

US$11,360 - US$11,360 per person

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Hippo Safari

9 days • 4 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LIVINGSTONE AIRPORT

Combining excellent game with aspects of remoter safari in South Luangwa, as well as the cultural delights of Livingstone, this trip also makes use of long-stay discounts, making it an excellent-value and well-rounded adventure.

US$7,480 - US$8,580 per person

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Giraffe Safari

9 days • 3 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

A safari to the remotest parts of Zambia’s Luangwa Valley. Perfect for experienced safari goers and first time Africa adventurers. Explore with expert guides whilst staying at small bush camps.

US$7,600 - US$8,480 per person

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Civet Safari

9 days • 4 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

Combining 3 intimate bush camps in the quieter south of the South Luangwa this safari will appeal to those looking for a nice mix of walking and vehicle safari.

US$7,100 - US$8,680 per person

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Defassa Waterbuck Safari

9 days • 3 locations
LUSAKA AIRPORT TO LUSAKA AIRPORT

Stay in three intimate, owner-run camps during this exploration of Kafue National Park. Remote locations, true wilderness and a range of activities make for a real adventure off the beaten track.

US$7,480 - US$7,500 per person

View all holidays to Zambia

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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