The Hippos at Lake Chamo, near Arba Minch, Ethiopia, spend most of their day submerged, eating grasses at the bottom of the lake. But every so often they have to surface to breathe, and I was lucky enough to catch this pod of four doing just that. Despite a slight red tinge to the water, which is likely due to the area’s bright red soil, Lake Chamo seemed clean and I was pleased to note that, other than boat trips to see the wildlife, there is very little development around it. Since a portion of the lake is located within Ethiopia’s Nechisar National Park, it has a good chance of staying that way.
As we motored toward the southern end in search of the hippos at Lake Chamo, I thought how nice it would be to stop and jump in for a dip. About that time, we rounded the corner of a small island with a pocket beach. Sunning themselves on the narrow strip of sand were three giant crocodiles with teeth the size of elephant tusks protruding from their lower jaws. Later, when the hippos began to show themselves, one launched out of the water like a breaching whale, revealing his immense girth and squared off snout. I decided I was perfectly content to stay in the boat. Heavens knows what other deadly creatures lay beneath those placid waters.