Alice and I admired the lovely, noisy weaverbirds just across the river of our exotic tents in the Maasai Mara. Then, we dropped off our bags and went for our Safari ride. We stayed out long enough to see the sunset with silhouettes of animals across the horizon.
After dinner, when it was very dark we went back to our tents. I was viewing my pictures when I received a text from Alice next door, “Do you hear something outside?”, I simply replied “LOL”. Soon after, I began hearing the sounds. They quickly became louder and louder. It rose to a cacophony of splashing, pounding, very loud breathing, snorting, squealing and loud night birds. When I heard the huge splashing, I realized among other things we most likely had a pod of hippos outside our tents.
Knowing that hippopotamuses are one of the most dangerous animals in Africa, I questioned my safety. At my bedside instead of a phone there was a whistle attached to a lantern, the accompanying notice said “use in case of emergency”. Not too comforting. At the back of the tent was an attached solid bathroom, I thought, well, if they come in, I’ll head there.
Excitement stirred in me. I wanted to go outside and see the incredible sights. Caution over ruled my curiosity. I unzipped and peeked out my window and the bottom of my tent door, I didn’t dare to unzip it all. I couldn’t see a thing! I dared not to go outside, after all, a creature it seemed was on Alice’s porch. No, I went to bed, listening to the magnificent sounds. Laying there I felt some fear, but more than fear, feeling alive and happy to be in the middle of wild Africa.
At 6 am, I had my wake up call, I asked the man “are those hippos?”. Now, brave because I had a Maasai man at my side, I stepped off my porch and looked into the river in the dawning light. By this time, the hippos were asleep under the water. Hippos, I later learned rise to breathe every 3 – 5 minutes automatically even if asleep. All I could see were their nostrils occasionally emerging, sometimes with a snort. Great way to start a new day. The next morning the man showed me the crocodiles. Africa is wild.