A hippo walking into the water with a bird on its back in South Africa
Hippo in South Africa

Where Do Hippos Live? (Location And Habitat)

Hippopotamuses live in Africa. They spend about 16 hours a day submerged in water to stay cool, moist and out of the sun. During the night, they graze on food. Hippos are usually found within 3 miles of their watering hole or lake.

Geographical Territory

Over the years, the hippos’ natural geographical territory has changed, and you will often see hippos in countries located south of the Sahara Desert. Also, you will find the presence of hippos within National Parks.


  • Angola
  • Botswana
  • Benin
  • Burundi
  • Burkina Faso
  • The central African Republic
  • Cameroon
  • Côte d’Ivoire
  • Chad
  • Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Equatorial Guinea
  • Ethiopia
  • Gabon
  • Ghana
  • The Gambia
  • Guinea Bissau
  • Guinea
  • Kenya
  • Rwanda
  • Somalia
  • Swaziland
  • Senegal
  • Sudan
  • Sierra Leone
  • South Sudan
  • Mozambique
  • Malawi
  • Nigeria
  • Namibia
  • Niger
  • Republic of Congo
  • South Africa
  • Sierra Leone
  • Togo
  • Tanzania
  • Uganda
  • Zambia
  • Zimbabwe

Which African nations have the most hippos?

The location with the most hippos is East African nations, such as Kenya, Uganda, Zambia, Tanzania, and Mozambique. In these countries, the estimated population of hippos is around 70,000.

Western Africa

Hippos also live in Western Africa. Countries, where hippopotamuses are next commonly found are Angola, Gambia, Somalia, and Togo. However, the population count has dropped in these regions. 

Central Africa

You can also find the habitat of the hippos along the main river in the forest zone of central Africa. However, their numbers have declined drastically in Congo. The decline is due to poachers hunting them down for their enormous teeth. From a population of 30,000 now, only around 1000 hippopotamuses are left in this region. 


Hippos have become almost extinct in Egypt, Liberia, Mauritania, and Algeria. These countries previously used to have a massive population of hippos, but things have changed.

National Parks

Hippos live in Africa’s national parks, like the Murchison Falls National Park, Serengeti National Park, Chobe National Park, and Queen Elizabeth National Park.

Sadly, hippos have lost much of their habitat due to deforestation and reduced grazing lands. Also, climate change is leading to the disappearance of water bodies or patches. Many hippos end up in national parks for protection and a home.

Pygmy Hippos Live in Different Habitat

Unlike the common hippos, the habitat of the pygmy hippopotamus is usually found around stream banks, swamps, and forest areas. The location of the pygmy hippopotamus is in four nations only. 

Pygmy Hippos Location

  • Ivory Coast
  • Guinea
  • Sierra Leone
  • Liberia

Do hippos live in the jungle?

You will not find hippos in the jungle. Instead, they prefer places with a wet-tropical climate, such as the Sub-Saharan region.

Why do hippos come out of the water at night?

They only emerge out of the water at night to travel to areas where they can graze. The reason to feed at night is that it helps them keep their skin moist and help keep their delicate skin protected from the sun’s harsh rays. 

If the hippos are not grazing on grass, they might venture into the African lowlands. Often, these lowlands are several miles away from the water bodies. But they mostly love to remain submerged in water.

Hippo’s Favourite Daily Activity

Hippos love to spend their time wholly or partially submerged in rivers, freshwater lakes, and sometimes saltwater estuaries.

Threat Of Being Submerged 

The main problem with this deadliest animal is that they share their home space with crocodiles. There is a threat of crocodiles attacking young hippo calves due to sharing water space. 


Well, it’s a known fact that hippos are the most aggressive mammals. They are highly unpredictable and can attack humans and other animals if they feel threatened.

Ideal Water Conditions

Hippos love to spend their time in clean water bodies that don’t move very fast. The water needs to be just the right height, not too deep or too shallow. 

They prefer the ideal water depth to submerge their body and keep their nostrils, eyes and ears up to monitor their surroundings and breathe. Hippos also choose water that doesn’t contain many rocks, as they can injure themselves.

What is a group of hippos called?

Hippos love to live in groups called bloats. 

There could be around 10-20 male and female hippos in one bloat. But at times, the number might go up to 100 hippos. A dominant male hippo always leads the group. Other group hippo names are schools, crash, pod, herd, dale or siege.

7 Different Group Names:

  1. Schools
  2. Crash
  3. Bloat
  4. Pod
  5. Herd
  6. Sale
  7. Siege

How many hippos are left in the world?

According to an estimate presented by the Internal Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), around 125,000 – 150,000, hippos are left in the world. 

Hippos can be easily regarded as vulnerable and endangered species. Their numbers have drastically dropped between 7% and 20% since 1966. 

In some African countries, where they once used to thrive, they have become extinct. 

It’s imperative to protect them; national parks do a fantastic job at this.

Are hippos endangered?

The hippos are classed as an endangered species due to their fast-declining numbers. Since 1966 the hippo population has dropped between 7% and 20%, leaving only between 125,000 and 150,000 hippopotamuses worldwide. This is due to poachers and a lack of habitat due to human intervention and deforestation.

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Teresa Milne

Teresa is learning zoology and loves to share her knowledge through her articles. She is also a avid binge watcher of wild animal documentary's. Teresa has some pets that she adores two dogs, two cats, and one hamster. She has also studied canine behaviour and canine nutrition.