This photo was taken at a picnic area in Mlilwane Nature reserve in the Ezulwini Valley. My husband daughter and I had just been standing at the short rock wall pictured here and we saw nothing but warthogs and a pond. So we sat down for lunch.
Seemingly out of nowhere, a huge school bus rolled up and no fewer than 50 teenagers piled off in maroon school uniforms and bounced up to the rock wall. Then they just stood there for quite some time. Finally I wondered what could be so interesting that 50 teenagers would stand still for so long. I crawled up on the rock wall and looked down on them. This is what they were all entranced by - Africa's deadliest beast, the hippo. The students seemed to be aware of this and when the thing snorted they all backed away. After observing the hippo for over a quarter of an hour they all piled back on the bus and disappeared in a cloud of dust. We never saw the bus again while we were in the park. I have no idea how they knew where to show up and at what time to see the hippo, but they certainly saw it.
Technically speaking, I know this isn't the best picture, but as a teacher, I love the fact that in Europe we take kids to the zoo, in Africa, they take kids to see the real thing.
Critiques | Translate
Jeppo (17639) 2008-08-01 5:16
I have been there too Kate!
did you also sleep in the Bee-Hives???
and did you also have dinner or lunch there???
this is one of the most pleasant places I have ever been...a real peaceful and lovely place!
thanks for bringing me back this memory!
serp2000 (38355) 2008-08-01 5:30
Original composition! Funny shot! I like your POV!
Have a nice weekend!
Kielia (22967) 2008-08-01 5:44
really a funny shot! The heads of the kids are all looking equally and the hippo seems to be very interested. An excellent note! The problem with the real thing in Germany is, that when you take the kids out they are at once awfully misbehaving.
Have a nice day!
worldcitizen (6523) 2008-08-01 16:14
This is such a nice, candid capture! I like your POV, looking over the shoulders of the students. The hippo is great! This is really a lovely meeting between man and animal, and luckily you were able to catch it. :-)
noborders (1010) 2008-11-05 9:20
Children facing the beast... I like this series of heads looking mesmerized, the eyes looking lazy and peaceful are deceiving !
I enjoyed a lot reading your note which makes the photo so more real. Cannot understand how you had been sitting there without seeing the huge animal, then 50 noisy children arrive and this shy hippo arrives just to be observed ?
What a story, I love the whole thing !
About your photo, I would have cropped more of the top and a bit on the left, otherwise I find the light and the sharpness excellent. Very interesting post, really !
bernardec (2235) 2009-05-03 23:31
I like the ambiance of lurning of these little boys.
and the last words of your comments! you right.
I lived in Africa during 10 years and I perfectly know what you mean.
Here in France if you go with a school to a zoo, they ask you where is the next fast food!!!
- Copyright: Kate EarnestDeyoung (KateinDenmark) (1634)
- Genre: People
- Medium: Color
- Date Taken: 2008-07-02
- Categories: Daily Life
- Exposure: f/8, 1/250 seconds
- More Photo Info: view
- Photo Version: Original Version
- Travelogue: Swaziland and it's neighbors
- Date Submitted: 2008-08-01 5:12