Our Jenman Guide Goes Swimming with Hippos

On Wednesday 13 August a whole bunch of guides (which included Chantal – one of our treasured Jenman African Safari guides!) went fishing near Livingstone in Zambia…. Here is what she had to say: “Gerard the owner of Zambezi fishing was kind enough to arrange a small fishing trip for seven of us free of charge! He would have joined us that day but due to his lack of an ability to deal with a severe hangover from the night before he decided to stay on dry land. So, that meant 6 of us where off to fish on the Zambezi – well fishing was the goal of the day… however…..

I was keen to catch my first tiger fish – we got on the river and started ‘spinning’. Half an hour later, no bites from any fish yet… then suddenly there was a loud knock from below the boat and a violent tilt, and I found myself swimming in the mighty Zambezi! I felt like I was in another sequel of jaws, only it’s a river and the monster is a hippopotamus. Three of us were thrown overboard from the impact, the four still in the boat were all river guides and at some point managed to get the three of us back in the boat within 30 seconds…. Thank goodness! Hippo’s may look like gentle animals but that are known to have a vicious streak in them – so when one ‘knocks’/attacks your boat… you know that this doesn’t mean a friendly ‘hello’! And what’s worse – getting thrown into the water where they are swimming around (viciously) is well….SCARY! So that you don’t get curious and check it out for yourself the Zambezi is NOT as beautiful when viewed from within its waters. Luckily our nasty friend did not stick around too bite us and none of us were hurt.

However, he did manage to bite a nice big hole in the boat – which means we were about to sink so we had to take refuge on a nearby island. Thank goodness we had brought some beer, even though I think we were more in need of a stiff whiskey after that scary situation. We were then ‘rescued’ one and a half hours later, coolers empty and a new attitude of “eat that Kingsley Hallgate” we have a story of our own now. Our new attitude is “bugger the tigers we catch hippos”. Needless to say the rest of the night was spent in the pub retelling our tale and congratulating ourselves and each other on surviving an attack by the most dangerous animal in Africa.

Of course a few cell phones were drowned, mine seems to miraculously have survived the dipping. Jumping out of an aeroplane from 12000 feet is nothing to the fear I felt yesterday. I think I will be doing my fishing from the banks from now on, take my chances with the crocs rather….

Mom, Dad don’t worry I am fine and will be home in 3 weeks. Wazza I know some of what you went through. And Eli I will never tease you again for not liking the hippos too much. Have a great evening everyone, I know I will, because I’m still here.

_By Chantal

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