The guttural honking of hippos is as much part of the safari soundtrack as the cry of a fish eagle or the roar of a lion. The characteristic bursts of mist ejected from nostrils breaking the surface of the water bely the sheer mass of the creature suspended below it. Surprisingly graceful and manoeuvrable below the water, a hippo is an ungainly sight when on land – a barrel-shaped body propped upon four short, stubby legs, completed by a somewhat ridiculous flap of a tail relative to the size of the animal. This feature made more ridiculous when spinning like a miniature propeller to spread its dung in display. They may not be able to clear any terrestrial obstacle with any elegance, but a hippo hot-footing it along a game path, back to the safety of the water from its night time foraging, is a formidable force indeed. Beware the man or beast in its way. Yet, most of the time, a raft of these floating, honking, phff-ing behemoths is a very pleasant scene to behold.