Hunting Hippopotamus in Southern Africa

If you already have the big five, you might consider combining a crocodile hunt and hippopotamus hunt on your next trip in order to upgrade to a dangerous seven. Due to the fact that hippos are extremely dangerous, most hunters don't start out with them. Hippos are responsible for the deaths of many people in rural Africa when their canoes are tipped over by angry hippo bulls, or when a villager crosses paths with a hippo between the feeding grounds and water body.

Found throughout southern and central Africa, hippos tend to frequent water bodies such as streams, lakes and rivers, which keep them cool during hot summer days. We don't see much of them, since the bulk of their bodies are usually submerged under the water. Hippos are extremely territorial and become cranky with age.

The average hippo stands 52-62 inches at shoulder height, and weighs between 3000-5500 pounds. It is stout and has a non-aerodynamic body, however it can run up to 18 mph. It is hairless, apart from the brush-like hair at the tips of the ears and tail, around the neck and lips. The body is a gray-brown color, but when the animal is outside of water for extended periods of time, its glands will secrete a pink moisturizer that make them appear pink in color.

Hippos live for approximately 40-50 years. Older cows usually live in family groups, watching over the younger cows and their babies, with a dominant bull protecting his turf. Territorial challenges are often met with fights to the death with their huge muscular bodies and saber-like teeth, or until the weaker challenger runs for cover.


Pair a Hippo Hunt with a Crocodile Hunt for the ultimate Dangerous Game Hunting Experience


Crocodile Fact Sheet

Scientific Name: Hippopotamus amphibius
Gestation Period: 8 months
Male Weight: 1500 - 1800 kg
Female Weight: 1300 - 1500 kg
Height: 1.5 m
Length: 3.3 - 5.2 m


Hippopotamus Hunting Considerations

Speak to your outfitter if you wish to combine a hippo hunt with a crocodile hunt.

Hippo hunts may take place at night, which adds an adventurous twist to an already exciting adventure. Night hunting enables the hunter to intercept the trophy hippo bull traveling between the water and its feeding grounds. The average shooting distance is usually between 30-50 yards. The minimum legal requirement is a .375 Magnum, but we suggest you opt for good quality solids in a 7mm Magnum or a 300 (or 30-06) Magnum.

Harvesting the trophy bull requires precise marksmanship with the right calibre rifle. When shot in the water, the bull will sink down. After a while, the decomposition gasses will cause the hippo to float to the surface again, which may take up to two hours. Once your hippo is afloat, it can be retrieved from the water by the trackers.

Shot Placement

The hippo has a thick hide and a fat layer that makes it easy to wound the animal. If you're shooting a hippo in the water, head placement will be the only option, which means that you need the most accurate rifle you can handle to place a shot accurately between the eye and ear.

Hunting Hippopotamus in Southern Africa

Hippopotamus Shot Placement


Hunting Hippopotamus in Southern Africa

Hippopotamus Shot Placement


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