Hippos of Kazinga channel
Hippos of Kazinga channel: Kazinga channel is a 915-meter wide, 32-kilometer-long natural water channel in Queen Elizabeth national park. The Kazinga channel is the largest water channel in the world linking lake Edward in the west and Lake George in the east of Queen Elizabeth national park. The long water channel is an attraction of its own within the park and the main activity done here is the boat cruise.
The highest population of hippos in Africa is found in the Kazinga channel which is found in Queen Elizabeth national park. Kazinga channel is home to more than 2500 hippos that live in groups called schools. Different schools of hippos are seen on the Kazinga channel while exploring it using a boat cruise or while on the shores of the channel doing nature walks.
The boat cruise is the main tourism activity done on the Kazinga channel of Queen Elizabeth national park and it’s done to explore the channel as well as Queen Elizabeth national park. Hippos and crocodiles are among the wildlife species seen on the Kazinga channel during the boat cruise. Tourists will see more than 700 hippos on the waters as others are sunk in the waters.
Accessing Kazinga channel
Accessing Kazinga channel by air: Tourists can access the Kazinga channel by flying from Entebbe international airport or Kajjansi airstrip to Mweya airstrip within Queen Elizabeth national park or Kasese airstrip which is found outside the park.
Accessing Kazinga channel by Road: Travelers that are using road transport to get to Kazinga channel from Kampala can go through Masaka, Mbarara, Bushenyi, Rubirizi to the park or Kampala through Mubende, fort portal, and Kasese to the park where they will drive to Kazinga channel. The road transport journey is about 7-8 hours and these are full of stunning views of the surroundings along the way.
The Hippo census is another activity carried out on the channel where people go on to count how many hippos are still living within the channel. The hippos census is a thrilling activity done by two or more people who count the heads of the hippos on the water using a pair of binoculars while in the boat. The hippo census activity is best done in the evening hours when the sun is gone and they are planning to out of the water to go and look for food.
Facts about the hippos of the Kazinga channel
Hippos are the largest land mammals in the world after elephants and white rhinos. A young hippo weighs about 100 pounds and a mature hippo can grow up to 4000 pounds.
Hippos are actually good swimmers and they can take up to 5 minutes holding their breath inside the waters.
Hippos are herbivores animals which means they feed mainly on vegetation. During the day they stay in the water to cold their bodies and also prevent their skin from direct sunlight but at night they go out to feed on the fresh vegetation around the water channel.
Hippos do take 8 months which is about 243 days to give birth to live young ones. These babies are cold calves and they way 50-100 pounds when young.
Hippos are very huge mammals with hairless bodies that are full of fat which allows them to float in the waters
Hippos are active in the night hours although they are not among the nocturnal animals. They move out of the waters in the evening and move around the jungle to look for what to eat. After eating the whole night, they get back to the water early in the morning where they keep for 12 hours to 16 hours.
Hippos are the deadliest large land mammals in the world and they can kill over 600 people in a year. They use their strong teeth while fighting and can only attack people who have entered into their territory.
The recent census of hippos showed a decline in the population and this was because of the anthrax virus that hit some time back. The population is slowly increasing within the channel due to the increased number of new birth rates.
The hippo census on the Kazinga channel is always done twice a year and before counting, they do advertisements for tourists that would love to be park of the thrilling activity to participate. The hippos census activity goes for $100 for foreign non-residents, $80 for foreign residents, and UGX100,000 for East African residents. The permits can be bought at the park headquarters in Katunguru or Uganda wildlife authority in Kampala.
Apart from hippos, the channel is home to crocodiles which are also best seen during the boat cruise activities. The long water channel is surrounded by riverine vegetation cover which is home to water birds such as shoe bill stork, red-capped lark, lesser masked weaver, long-tailed cormorant, black-headed gonolek, red-chested sunbird, grey-capped warbler, African jacana, black bee-eater, pink backed pelicans, black crake, grew crowned crane, and marabou stork.
Areas around Kazinga channel have vegetation which is a source of food for different wild animals of Queen Elizabeth national park. The channel is also a source of water for these animals and during the dry season is when a high population is seen along the channel because most of the water sources around the park are dry.