There’s nothing quite like a peaceful kayak ride through warm waters – unless, of course, you’re surrounded by a pod of hippos. Then, it’s more like a white-knuckle adventure. Hippos are massive animals, and they’re not known for being particularly friendly to humans. In fact, they’re one of the most dangerous animals in Africa. Nevertheless, there’s something incredibly magical about being in their presence. And, if you’re lucky enough to kayak with hippos, you’ll want to be sure to follow a few simple rules.
What Precautions Can You Take While Kayaking?
The best way to stay safe while kayaking with hippos is to follow the guidelines set forth by your tour operator. Here are a few other things to keep in mind:
1. Keep your distance
Hippos are large, powerful animals, and they can be surprisingly fast. They’re also known to be aggressive, so it’s important to give them plenty of space. If a hippo does get too close, paddle quickly in the opposite direction.
2. Stay together.
Kayaking with hippos is safest when you’re in a group. Not only will this help you stay visible to the animals, but it will also give you some protection if one of the hippos does get aggressive.
3. Avoid making noise.
Loud noises can startle hippos and make them feel threatened. If you need to communicate with your fellow kayakers, do so quietly and calmly.
4. Don’t touch the hippos.
It may be tempting to reach out and touch a hippo, but resist the urge. These animals can be very dangerous, and even the slightest touch could trigger an aggressive response.
5. Don’t kayak at night.
Hippos are nocturnal animals, so they’re more likely to be active at night. It’s best to avoid kayaking during these hours.
6. Watch for warning signs.
Hippos are usually calm and docile, but they can become agitated quickly. If you see a hippo opening its mouth wide or making loud grunting noises, it’s best to move away quickly.
7. Respect the hippos’ territory.
Hippos are territorial animals, so it’s important to respect their space. Do not enter an area that is clearly marked as a hippo territory.
8. Be prepared to get wet.
Hippos often cool off by submerging themselves in water, so you may find yourself getting sprayed by one of these animals. It’s best to wear clothing that can get wet and to keep your camera safely stored away.
9. Follow the rules of the park.
If you’re kayaking in a national park or reserve, be sure to follow all of the rules and regulations. This will help you stay safe and avoid disturbing the natural habitat of the hippos.
10. Trust your instincts.
If something doesn’t feel right, it probably isn’t. If you have any doubts about kayaking with hippos, it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid these animals altogether.