On arriving home at Hippo Haven from the longest time we have left here in over 27 years, 4.5 weeks, it was very hard in some ways.
I had the honour of giving my presentation about the hippos at the Royal Geographic Society, Ondaatje Theatre in London, meeting some amazing people.
We then went on to stay with my lovely friend Suzie Marsh and husband Doug Dale in Cornwall. Suzie is a very talented animal sculptor.
After Cornwall on to another great friend Jenny Bowen, who runs Sense Africa, which I highly recommend, and who has just had her first book published, Sense Africa Five Ways where you will find a chapter or two about Hippo Haven and the life here.
On to more fun in London with other great people and then our own holiday with just the two us. Coming home was bitter sweet in that I miss good friends and my own roots, having been born in the UK and the laughter and kindness of the people that I know.
The animals though knew how to welcome me home.
Vixen one of the wild baboons wanted to be stroked something she has not done for some time.
The hippos were chilled and peaceful, and young Steve, and later Richard, the two new calves showed off beautifully.
On the second day over 30 elephants came along to our piece of land at Hippo Haven and walked in the riverbed below the house.
Perfect as this allowed my dear Australian friend Mirinda to see them up close and personal, very unusual at this time of the year.
She deserved this having looked after Hippo Haven for all the time we were away and doing the most amazing job. Since then we have had lions and hyena calling, and the animals here have made me realize that this is where I do belong. I just wish I could import those lovely people who I have left behind overseas.
So I would like now to wish every one of you reading this and many of you who have helped these hippos for all these years, the very best of Christmas, or Happy Holidays if that is what you prefer.
I hope that 2018 will be a year filled with laughter, love, and lucky days but most importantly a year where our worlds animals, wild, domestic, commercial and those that share our lives will all have much better lives and that respect and love for them will grow in magnitude.
Until next year much love to you all Karen and the hippos xxx