Two Happy Hippo at Kwalata
Kwalata Wilderness is undertaking to re-introduce as many species endemic to the Limpopo province as possible, bringing diversity while transforming the bush to host its original inhabitants. Over 25 years ago Kwalata Wilderness was a cattle farm which we have restored to pristine bush with abundant wildlife large and small . We have always longed to have hippos in our beautiful abundant dams. After a comprehensive EIA (Environmental Impact Assessment), we were granted permission from Nature Conservation SA to allow us to do so. The EIA is an extensive study which includes evaluating the sustainability of the land, types of grasses, water access and availability of permanent food and shelter for wild hippopotamus. Now, based on the findings of the EIA we have finally achieved our dream.
Many people heard of the plight of a hippo chased from its family pod when a cow gave birth. The unfortunate refugee then took shelter in a safari lodge’s swimming pool. This was the very hippo we offered to give a home to, and there was great anticipation at Kwalata but sadly, the animal died before it could be transported. We were rather disappointed but not long afterwards, we received news that we could purchase a mature cow and calf from another source in Limpopo province – not too far away. This was ideal, because long-distance transportation of these large animals is stressful for them and can have adverse effects. We were hoping for more than two animals but one cow was quite aggressive and kept chasing the other hippos away, preventing the capture team from obtaining more. But we were happy to receive our two, who bolted off the truck and thundered straight for the water. They are now settled in residence in the top dam of our Goud Rivier dams, along with a contented crocodile, multiple fish and birds.
Initially the pair were quite shy and did not truly appreciate visitors, only showing their nostrils. It’s an amazing sound to hear them shut off their nose valves before sinking into deep water. The inquisitive pair have been inspecting their new habitat and take nightly reconnaissance trips, walking as far as six kilometers and returning to the depths during the day.
We look forward soon to bringing in some hippo bulls to keep her company and start a larger hippo pod.