Sign of the times in Africa’s hippo town: Exploring a popular holiday spot where the VERY dangerous mammals roam freely

Mail Online | 8/12/2017 | David Whitley For The Mail On Sunday
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The warning signs along South Africa’s Indian Ocean coastline are rather unusual, to say the least. It’s not sharp bends or speed bumps you have to look out for – it’s hippos.

At the bottom of a gorgeously languid estuary system, St Lucia initially appears to be a happy-go-lucky holiday town. But despite the sunshine, bars, restaurants and boat trips, there’s also an ever-present menace from portly beasts.

Town - Miles - Durban - Pathway - Animals

The town, about 150 miles north of Durban, was built on a hippo pathway and every evening the animals leave the water to graze in grassy fields – the hippos have simply refused to acknowledge that they should shift.

If walking or driving after dark, there’s a strong chance that you might encounter one of the so-called ‘townies’. But as staff of the hippo-watching river cruises during the day warn, you don’t want to get too close to them.

Hippos - Deaths - Africa - Year - Mammal

Hippos are responsible for more deaths in Africa every year than any other mammal, which is quite something considering they’re vegetarian. Skipper Stacey Farrell, at the helm of the Shoreline Boat and Walking Safaris vessel, says it’s their temperament that’s the problem.

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