Luangwa River’s Sanitation Department

The Luangwa River flows through the South Luangwa National Park, giving life to thousands of hippos and crocodiles. But when two bull hippos clash over territory or females, one or both may be so severely injured, that death is the natural result. An adult bull hippopotamus weighs in excess of 2000 kilogrammes and that means of lot of meat on offer to hungry scavengers.

So when this happened, our guests at Kaingo Camp were presented with a spectacle that is not often seen. The carcass of the bull hippo was first seen downstream of Shenton Safaris’ hippo hide, with tens of crocodiles in attendance, some trying desperately to gain entry through the rents caused by the victor’s tusks. The rest waited patiently for their turn at the meat, as crocodiles are observed to do.

crocodile dead hippo

Over the next four days, as the odour of the rotting flesh permeated the water and flowed downstream, the number of  crocodiles swelled to almost two hundred!


This is not counting any of the crocodiles of two metres in length and shorter; of these, there were also very many, but they stayed away from the carcass for fear of becoming a meal themselves.


The floating banquet moved slowly downstream until we feared that its odours would foul the air around Kaingo Camp.




Fortunately, the numbers of crocodiles reduced the mass of meat to a lump of floating skin, by the time they drifted past our lower deck.


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