Best time to travel to Tanzania

Watching Active Hippos in Tanzania 2024

Hippos may seem lazy when lying in a muddy, stinky pools, but quickly they can burst into loud fighting for territory and females. You can witness the spectacle during the dry season

Best time: June–October

Watching Active Hippos
Watching Active Hippos
Watching Active Hippos

Anyone who has never seen hippos might think they are fat, grey, and harmless animals. Commonly seen during safaris lying quietly in the water, they are thought to be friendly and lazy. But they are the most aggressive creatures in Africa. You'd be amazed, but they really kill more people than any other animal in Africa.

These huge semi-aquatic mammals, weighing up to three tonnes, can be fast reaching speeds up to 30km/h. Being unpredictable, they are considered as one of the most dangerous. They can easily smash you with all that huge running power.

Hippos also make loud sounds, like snorting and fighting, while in the water. This is especially true when it is the end of the dry season, and there is not enough space for everyone. They fight a lot, biting one another and bumping into others. When you watch the hippos in pools, it seems like a natural colosseum.

The most important aspects of a hippo’s life—mating and giving birth—takes place in the water. Male hippos can have up to 10 females and the small pool they have chosen is considered as their property. Another male just cannot enter this territory. Even crocodiles keep their distance. When night comes, hippos start grazing in the darkness, looking for food. Such walks can take them as far as 10 km. Thus they usually mark their route to find the way back to the water.

When the dry season comes, hippos have to share water pools with around a hundred others of their kind. They look like huge grey stones lying in the water with only their backs or nostrils up. The best place to see these giants is Katavi National Park. It is a huge wetland with Katuma River and a few seasonal lakes. This place is home to large groups of hippos. At the end of the dry season, almost 200 hippos can be found in one place. As too many males are together, fighting is almost certain. Serengeti is one more good spot to see these animals in its several rivers, each of which hosts hundreds of hippos.

Practical info

When is the best time to visit Tanzania to see active hippos?

If you want to witness active hippos in Tanzania, then visit during the dry season between June and October. During this time, hippos become more active, constantly moving around and engaging in territorial and mate battles. At the end of the season, you can spot almost 200 hippos in one spot, creating a magnificent spectacle for visitors. Show more

Where is the best place to witness the hippo fights in Tanzania?

For hippo fights, the perfect spot in Tanzania is Katavi National Park. Its beautiful wetlands are home to seasonal lakes and Katuma River where large groups of hippopotamus reside. During the end of the dry season, about a hundred hippos battle each other to claim territory and mates. Apart from this, Serengeti is another place where you can easily spot hundreds of hippos lounging in several rivers. Show more

How heavy can a hippo weigh and how fast can it run?

Hippos, semi-aquatic mammals, can weigh up to three tonnes. Though large, they are fast runners, reaching speeds of up to 30km/h, which they use to hunt their prey or defend themselves. Along with their large size and weight, their strength makes them incredibly volatile and dangerous, which is why they are one of the most dangerous creatures in Africa. Show more

Why are hippos considered the most dangerous animals in Africa?

Hippos have the most number of human fatalities among all animals, making them the most dangerous in Africa. Despite an image of being friendly and sloth-like, hippos are one of the most aggressive creatures of the continent. Their unpredictability, massive jaws, and weight can quickly crush a human being. Hippos being quick runners make them one of the most dangerous animals as well. Show more

How do male hippos claim their territory and what happens to other males who try to enter it?

Male hippos take over limited space by claiming a small watering hole, which they make their own. They can mate with up to 10 females and exclude other males from this area. These hippos become extremely aggressive and will fight with any intruders furiously. During the end of the dry season, when more than 200 hippos can be seen at one place, maximum contention between intruder and territorial hippos is expected. Adding to this, female hippos also fend off males from approaching their offspring. Show more

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