A lone hippopotamus lay half-submerged in Ampie se Boorgat, a waterhole in the Kruger National Park. What a far cry this was from the more usual scene of hippos wallowing together in a river pool. Alas, the nearby river was bone dry.
Keeping the hippo company was a pair of white rhinoceros bulls resting peacefully in the shade while Redbilled Oxpeckers worked over them to remove any parasites.
This idyllic scene was further enhanced by the arrival of an elegant-looking giraffe. It ambled up to pluck at the green leaves from a tree behind the waterhole and was soon joined by another.
Meanwhile, a white rhinoceros cow and her female calf made their way cautiously through the bush towards the waterhole.
It was as they neared it that the bulls got up languidly to have a drink.
The cows slowly moved closer then halted some distance away and waited. Behind them, two impala rams also waited expectantly while the bulls were drinking. After a while the younger bull looked their way and moved forward aggressively, causing the females to retreat a little distance, to pause and then to wait patiently for some time. Both bulls, their heads lowered, began to advance on them. The cows moved off quickly, skirting around the bulls and, in so doing, edged closer to the water. The impala edged forward too during the stand-off that ensued. At last the cows cautiously approached the bulls, which then shuffled away into the veld. Once they had put some distance between them, the cows moved forward to get a drink at last, while the impala remained at a respectful distance.