A crafty heron found an ingenious way to ‘surf’ with minimal effort – by standing on a swimming hippo’s back.
Heinrich Gericke was on a safari holiday with his family in Kruger National Park, South Africa, on October 22 when he filmed the unusual sight in the water.
While the family pulled up to a dam to watch the elephants, the 42-year-old labour consultant spotted the bird taking its leisurely ride.
In his footage, the hippo emerges from the water for only a moment, revealing that the heron is comfortably standing on its back.
Heinrich, from Johannesburg, said it looked like the bird was gliding on the water as the hippo sank back under the surface.
He added: ‘I couldn’t believe my eyes, the heron really looked like it was surfing.
‘All I could think of was The Beach Boys song Surfin’ USA playing behind it.
Heinrich, who filmed the clip at the Kruger’s Lower Sabie Camp, said: ‘When I started filming I had no idea what was going to happen.
‘The hippo just looked completely oblivious to what the bird was doing.
‘I just thought the heron was sitting there but then the hippo took off and I could see it had been planning this journey all along.
‘I’ve never seen anything like it before but it was a really good idea. We were camping on holiday for a fortnight and this was one of the funniest things we saw.’
When Heinrich uploaded to Facebook, people were quick to comment.
One vieweer said: ‘I wonder if they fall off the first few times? Do they have to practice to make hippo surfing look so effortless?’
Another person commented: ‘What a way to surf without waves and wind, great idea. Smart heron.’
One person said: ‘Superb, surfer safari dude!’