When tourists believe wild animals roam the streets of South Africa, they are not entirely wrong, especially in the tiny town of St Lucia in KwaZulu-Natal. It is actually common for large hippos to stroll around the town and even stop to wait for traffic before crossing the road. Safety first!
The iSimangaliso Wetland Park in St Lucia is considered ‘hippo town’ with an estimated 800 hippos that roam the area freely. They frequent the estuary and ever so often wander into the town for greener pastures.
These massive mammals account for the highest number of animal-related deaths in Africa, so even though they are commonly found here, they should be avoided at all costs. Locals are accustomed to them wafting in and out of the area, and practise extra caution in their presence – tourists on the other hand need to be warned.
There are signs throughout the town warning people about the roaming hippos – and to be cautious at night because they are difficult to spot in the dark, even though they weigh a ton.
If you do come across a hippo in St Lucia, walk away from it slowly and try your best not to confront it or restrict its movement because that may cause them to charge.
You might not think so but these hefty hippos can run at an alarming speed of up to 24 km/h.
Another interesting fact is that hippos cannot swim, they walk along the floor of the estuary, which makes it seem like they are swimming.
Another roaming hippo was caught on camera on Monday, carefully crossing the road and making its way to lush grass. These sightings are always a treat!