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We were staying at Finch Hatton camp in Tsavo west, this is before the renovations that have taken place, it is a beautiful camp named after Dennis Finch Hatton. The camp is set around natural springs and the main pool is home to a large school of Hippo. Through out the day they spend most of their time at the end near to the main building. Around mid-afternoon they start to move towards the other end of the pool, and by early evening they start to leave the pool to go foraging.

We were fortunate to have a tent at the far end overlooking the main pool where we had the pleasure each evening of watching the Hippo lining up in single file ready to leave the pool. You may be wondering if it is safe having all these hippo's coming & going? Finch Hatton camp required you to arrange with the Askari' (Guards) to be collected from your tent in the evening and escorted to dinner. Dinner at Finch Hatton' is a step back in time to when elegance & grandeur were the order of the day. The camp was not fenced, so again, you were escorted back to your tent by an armed Askari.

Tents are our favourite accommodation. I can think of no better way to go of to sleep than to the sounds of the African night and with only a piece of canvas separating you from the African bush. If like me you are a light sleeper, there are times when you are awoken by the sounds outside your tent.

During one night of our five night stay it was not any sound that awoke me but, a violent shaking of the base on which our tent stood. I sat up quickly, half awake & half in confusion. As I gathered my thoughts as to what had happened my eyes struggled to focus on anything in what was one of those pitch black African nights. There was no moon casting it's milky light and the power was off in the camp. I slipped out of bed while at the same time reaching for my torch which was on the bedside table. Using the limited range of my torch I could not see anything outside so I went back bed. My wife, who is not a light sleeper, had not moved an inch through out and was sleeping soundly. I settled down beside her and tried to get back to sleep, but I was still on half alert to what had caused such a violent shudder to occur.

I had just dropped off when it happened again, this time more violently than before, and this time my wife did wake up saying " Alan what are you doing". My wife is aware that I get up in the night if awoken to see what is outside. "that wasn't me" I said. Again I reached for my torch and slipped out of bed and shining my torch out of all available openings around the tent I still could not see anything. After about ten minutes I got back into bed and we lay there in total silence, not a sound, we thought that was strange. In the ink black darkness It was difficult to tell if my eyes were open or closed, there was no distinction between the two. We lay there holding hands, a little apprehensive, and I tried to assure my wife there really was nothing to worry about, and then it happened again, though to a lesser extent. There was no point getting up again so we moved closer together and eventually went off to sleep with no further incidents.

The following morning at breakfast we told our waiter all about what had happened. He listened intently and at the end of our recourse said "Oh that is Henry". "Henry?" we said. "yes" he replied. Henry is an old bull Hippo who after he has been out feeding returns to the pool, but does not go back into the water but sleeps under our tents platform until morning, then returns to the pool when the others return. Henry did not sleep there every night and when he did again he did so less robustly. Oh I do love Africa.

"Lala Salaama" (good night)






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Great Start thanks @@PHALANX.

Old Henry would of definately startend you.

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Holy Henry! Great story now I want to visit.FH!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Henry may well be pictured in one of the hippo shots. All that bumping into tents cannot be comfortable for Henry.

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  • 2 years later...

@@PHALANX  We're off to Finch Hattons in a few weeks time and will give Henry your regards!

Edited by PT123
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Hi, I am a little envious i must say. The camp is unrecognisable to when I was there, and for the better. Have a wonderful time.

I hope Henry behaves himself. :)

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