This is the dramatic moment a group of hippopotamuses rescued a wildebeest from certain death. The wildebeest had gone down to the watering hole to get a drink when a large crocodile popped out of the water and sunk its teeth into the leg of the poor wildebeest.

72 year old pensioner Mervyn Van Wyk and his wife Tokkie know just how lucky they were to be in the right place at the right time to capture this amazing footage.

Mervyn explained: “It was a fabulous Friday morning and at approximately 09:30 we were driving close to Transport dam on the on the H1-1, about 2 kilometres on the S66 between Pretoriuskop and Skukuza.

“As we approached the dam we noted that blue wildebeest, zebras and impalas were happily grazing on the opposite side of the dam. I turned the car into position so that my wife had a clear view as she wanted to take a few pictures.”

“We happened to notice that one unlucky wildebeest was grabbed by a crocodile on his right rear hoof,” Mervyn told officials. “This began a game of tug of war that lasted for around 8 minutes. The wildebeest would try dragging itself out of the water whilst the croc would pull it back in. You could see the exhaustion that the poor wildebeest was experiencing. Tokkie kept the cam rolling while I observed the area in close vicinity. I then noted what I thought were more crocodiles approaching but then saw it was actually 2 hippos.”


“The hippos approached the scene cautiously and then suddenly sprang onto the croc forcing him to release his grip on the wildebeest. This amazingly allowed the wildebeest a chance to escape even though he had a broken hoof.

“We could not believe the rarity of this situation. I have never seen a hippo coming to the aid of another animal, it was simply astonishing. Remember in Kruger never rush away and always be patient because these amazing sightings are everywhere to be seen.”

While this might seem that the hippos were rescuing the wildebeest, it is most probably hippos showing territorial behaviour. Hippos don’t like sharing their turf and might have seen the wildebeest as an intruder, thus attacking the wildebeest to get him out the water.