Wildlife Parks Where you can find Hippos in Uganda
The Best places to see Hippos both in Uganda
Best places to see Hippos – Uganda is home to thousands of hippos found in its many lakes and river – visitors to Uganda will find them in abundance in four of its National Parks. Hippos are unique and one cannot mistake them for any other animal in the Ugandan wild. The full name for Hippos is Hippopotamus (Greek word meaning River Horse) – however, most refer to them as Hippos since it is easier to pronounce and spell. They are Herbivores and primarily eat grass – and grass they can eat – stripping the areas of their habitats such as Kazinga Channel and near the River Nile at Murchison Falls down to the stubble. They generally feed at night consuming up to a 150 pounds of mostly grass– during the daytime they stay in the water to shield against the sun – their bodies emit a natural sunscreen which is red in color and some refer to it as blood sweat.
They are the second largest land animal in the world, only the elephant is bigger –they are the third heaviest animal in the world, only elephants and rhinos weigh more. A full-grown hippo can weight between 1 1/2 to 3 tons…that is a lot of weight. Males are larger than females.
They are semi-aquatic since they spend so much time in the water -however, they do not swim but bounce on the bottom of the lake or river. Even though they may weigh 3 tons they are surprisingly fast – in fact, they can run faster than humans (30 to 40 kilometers an hour for short distances).
Some people assume that hippos are related to pigs, but they are actually related to whales and porpoises.
Their life span is 40 to 50 years, they both reproduce and give birth while in the water. They grow in size until they are about 25 years in age. They live in pods, male hippos are bulls, females are cows, and baby hippos are referred to as calves. Hippos are considered some of the most dangerous animals in the world and many a death in Africa is due to an encounter with a hippo by a fisherman or villager. When you are on foot and a hippo is near – keep your distance for your well-being.
Hippos are hunted for their meat, hide- tusks that are sold as ivory, and they are hunted because they are considered dangerous to the communities surrounding their habitat and that includes fishermen in their boats that are at times overturned by hippos.
Places to see Hippos in Uganda’s National Parks:
Queen Elizabeth Park – Kazinga Channel:
The 40-kilometer long Kazinga Channel connecting Lake George and Lake Edward has the highest concentration of hippos in all of Africa – during the Kazinga Channel boat ride you will see hundreds of hippos in the water and on shore – a most amazing sight.
You can also see evidence of their grazing habits on the shore where there is no grass – having been stripped clean by hippos. In the early 1960s, there was a large hippo cull since there were many more hippos than the surrounding area could support.
Local communities were given hippo meat and they developed a taste for it. The idea was even floated to sell cans of hippo meat and various ways of preparing hippo for human consumption was also looked into– They tested various hippo recipes but that idea died out after Uganda gained independence. Today you can see vast hippo herds at Kazinga Channel. You will also observe hippos in other parts of Queen Elizabeth Park – including the Ntungwe River in the Ishasha sector of the park.
There is nothing like a boat ride up the River Nile to the bottom of the Falls – along the route you will see many hippo pods and Murchison Falls Park is one of the best places to see hippos up close from the boat you are riding in and usually you have the opportunity for some great photo shots including open mouth ones, to hippos fighting with one another.
Next to Kazinga Channel – Murchison Falls National Park River Nile Boat Ride gives you the best opportunity to see hippos.
You can also find them on a downriver boat ride to Lake Albert and as you drive near Lake Albert Nile on a wildlife Game Drive.
Murchison Falls Park along the Nile is one of the best parks in Africa where you can see Hippos.
The Lake Mburo Boat Ride provides the opportunity to see a number of hippos that make Lake Mburo their home and habitat.
The boat moves along the Eastern Shore of the Lake and during that time you will see various pods of hippos – though not in the numbers found at the Kazinga Channel in Queen Elizabeth Park, the River Nile and Lake Albert in Murchison Falls Park you will still lots of them on a cruise of Lake Mburo along with crocodiles, wildlife and birds.
There are 5 lakes within Lake Mburo National Park and on game drives, you will come across them.
Hippos are not the reason come to Lake Mburo Park, they are however something that you will not miss while visiting the park.
Here you can find hippos in the Semliki River and if you take a boat ride into Lake Albert. One side of the River is in Uganda – while the other side is the Democratic Republic of Congo.
There used to be a very large population here but the disturbances, conflicts in the Congo meant harm to the wildlife including hippos. (the greatest number of hippos have been poached and slaughtered in the Congo – the value of their teeth)
Now both the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Uganda are focusing on the hippo population along the Semliki River for the conservation of hippos and other species.
Of course, the hippos do not recognize human-created boundaries, so they roam on both sides of the Semliki River.
Best places to see Hippos –Uganda offer many opportunities to see hippos – the above are 4 of the best National Parks where to do so…however do not be surprised if you come across hippos at other locations outside of the parks.