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It just another day of wildlife watching in Sabi Sands and Andrew Howard and his family were watching a herd of wild dogs and their pups play. Suddenly they spot a herd of impala and all hell breaks loose as the dogs chase them all the way to a watering hole some 2km away.  A pod of hippos were enjoying a peaceful afternoon swim and they sure weren’t happy when the dogs chased one of the impala into the water with them.

But now the dogs needed to get to their dinner and they strategy was simple. They surrounded the dam to block off all possible exits in order to catch the impala as it comes out. But some of the dogs got a little too close to the already irritable hippos and a bull decides to charge. But the dogs are determined to get their hard earned prey.

After the long chase and excitement, one of the impala dies of exhaustion (this is about 40 minutes later) and it drifts to the water’s edge. The dogs think that they’ve succeeded and they wait for the pray to drift to the shore. But the grumpy hippo has had enough of these intruders and decides to spoil their fun, refusing to let them get to their dinner.

Still, the dogs aren’t giving up. In an attempt to move the hippo away from their prey, some of them go into the water and splash to create a diversion while two others attempt to get back their catch.

Just when it looked like the dogs had it in the back, another hippo shows up and takes a slam at one of the dogs that squeals in pain and makes a narrow escape. It’s clear that the hippos are done playing games and the dogs finally back off, leaving the impala in the hippos’ possession. To end off the tale, one of the hippos takes his frustration out on the carcass, thrashing it around and biting it aggressively.

And so, another normal day in the animal kingdom draws to a close. Congratulations of Andrew for capturing the excitement so that all of us can share in the drama of the bushveld.

The story in photos

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  • Hey Guys.
    Just to let you know, these images were taken while staying at Chitwa Chitwa in the Sabi Sands.

    • Marthe Kotze

      Hi Andrew,
      My name is Marthe Kotze and I am the researcher for a Nat Geo Wild show called “Caught In The Act”. We have recently come across your “Wild dogs disturb a hippo’s afternoon nap – a photo story in Sabi Sands” photo story and our producers would really like to use it in the upcoming fifth series of “Caught In The Act”. This would entail us using your photos on a non-exclusive license(this means you still retain the rights), and doing an interview with you regarding your experience of that particular day. We are also hoping you have more footage of this incident.If you are interested in discussing this further, please fill in your contact details below and return this to me, after which I shall set up either a Skype or telephone meeting between yourself and our producer.

      Landline number:
      Mobile number:
      Skype address:
      Email address:
      Your Location:
      Please provide a brief backstory of your footage:
      Where:When:Who:How:I look forward to your response.

      Kind Regards
      Marthe Kotze

  • Kim

    The 10th picture of all the dogs facing over the river – stunning!!!! What a tale told in pictures

  • garydavidhill

    where about in the sabi sands was this?

  • Hi

    I really like this post!! Marvellous!
    Can I mention your post and publish one or two of your pictures on my blog about wildlife (dutch written)?




  • David Coetzer

    And I suppose the crocs had a feast after the hippo tenderized the impala. That’s nature and love it. Great sighting and story.

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