June 5th, 2014 for Susannah Zani
My most memorable sundowner experience happened during my trip to Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park. We were parked at a vantage point overlooking the river. In the river below we could see crocodiles and hippos. Suddenly we heard some commotion below, and then we saw that a crocodile had managed to capture an antelope. The noises! The splash of the water, the distressing calls of the antelope and then… silence. But we were not the only ones who had taken notice, more crocs and the hippos became interested. The razor backs of other crocodiles came gliding towards the kill from all directions and dangling legs were grabbed before the customary rolling began as the crocs attempted to rip the antelope apart.
Their feasting was interrupted when an enormous hippo came to investigate. Most of the crocs quickly disappeared but the original hunter, still holding the bulk of the antelope in his jaws, was not so willing to abandon his prize and stubbornly went snout to snout against the hippo. It was like they were having a staring contest to see who would blink first. The croc eventually lost as the more hippos started to arrive. He abandoned his kill and fled. But what surprised me even further was that the hippo, which I had thought was a herbivore, started to gently chew the antelope carcass.
If you think this was exciting, ask me about the leopard we then discovered had been watching us as we watched this!