Lake Manyara National Park

Hippo Pool

The hippo pool is part of the Simba River. With its large collection of water birds present and the lake shimmering in the background, it is a lovely spot to pause for a while.

Hippopotamuses are large animals and weigh on average 2,000 to 3,000 kilograms (4,409 to 6,614 pounds). Their bodies can overheat easily and need to be cooled in water, which is why they spend most of the day submerged. They swim very well and dive for periods of about three minutes before coming up to breathe noisily. At night, and occasionally on wet overcast days, hippos leave the water to graze the vegetation. They can eat up to 60 kilograms (132 pounds) in a night, mostly feeding on a sedge that thrives on the alkaline flats close to the lake shore. Females give birth to a single calf either on land or in the water. The calf is suckled on land for the first few weeks and then in the water. Mothers are very protective and teach their young to swim and wallow.

As you watch hippos you will most likely hear them grunting and might see them spreading their dung with vigorous wagging movements of their short, strong tails. You may notice scars on the backs of the males. These are inflicted by teeth of other males during fights. It is safe to watch the hippos from the bank as they bask in the water, but they should be avoided if found on land. Hippos are usually placid creatures but can become very aggressive if an intruder gets between them and their pool.

There is a track that leads from the pool and rejoins the road; however, if it is wet you will have to retrace your path back to where you left the road.

Birds at Hippo Pool
1. Grey heron
2. Black-headed heron
3. Great white egret
4. Cattle egret
5. Marabou stork
6. Yellow-billed stork
7. Saddle-bill stork
8. Abdim's stork
9. Crowned crane
10. Fish eagle
11. African spoonbill
12. Sacred ibis
13. Glossy ibis
14. Hadada ibis
15. White pelican
16. Pink-backed pelican
17. Spur-winged goose
18. Egyptian goose
19. Knob-billed duck
20. Hottentot teal
21. Red-billed teal
22. Yellow-billed duck
23. Fulvous whistling duck
24. White-faced whistling duck
25. Jacana
26. Greater cormorant
27. Water thicknee
28. Little stint
29. Avocet
30. Black-winged stilt
31. Greenshank
32. Blacksmith plover
33. Spurwing plover
34. Crowned plover
35. Pratincole
36. African pied wagtail

Special thanks to Thomson Safaris and Tanzania National Parks for contributing Tanzanian information.


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