Jessica the Hippo of Hoedspruit

By Focus Online Team on September 12, 2019
Have you ever met a hippo?

Having a up-close and personal meet and greet with a hippo is not a claim to fame everyone can make. However, it can be one you make after a visit to Mpumalanga. So, who is Jessica the Hippo and what’s her story you may be wondering, read on to find out!

Jessica hippo mpumalanga

Introducing Jessica the Hippo

Hippos are portrayed as being some of the most dangerous creatures in Africa due to recorded attacks when people invade their spaces and interrupt their routines. Jessica, however, is slowly changing the stereotype with her love, friendly demeanor and endearing characteristics.

Her story began in March of 2000 when the the combined Blyde and Olifants Rivers flooded and swept the newly born calf away from her mother. Fortunately, Jessica happened to end up on the property of Tonie and Shirley Joubert who, realising she was only a few hours old, took her in and created a milk formula to help her regain strength. From then, Jessica was a part of the family and even became friends with the couples’ dogs. As she wouldn’t survive on her own in the wild, she stayed with her ‘parents’ Tonie and Shirley.

At the age of 1 and a half, Jessica became a world-famous movie star for her role in “Mr Bones” with actor Leon Schuster. Since then, the friendly hippo has grown in leaps and bounds, found a new friend in Charlie – a bull Tonie saved from a concrete reservoir who later returned the favour and saved Jessica from a pregnant hippo cow. Charlie lived with the family for a while after which he was sadly shot.

Jessica lives wild with neighbouring wild hippos but often returns home – especially for her treats! – and is very affectionate. The typical lifespan of a hippo is between 40 and 50 years, so at the ripe age of 18, Jessica is very much in her prime.

Jessica the hippo

What Does A Visit Look Like?

A typical visit with Jessica consists of a video showing her full history and life so far, snack time on the raft and 2 bottles of her favourite tea followed by giving her a lovely back rub with your feet. After that, guests are invited to just sit with Jessica for a while and experience her gentle, fun nature. These interactions are totally family friendly and even accessible by wheelchair so everyone can enjoy the experience.

An entrance fee of R100 per adult and R50 per child (6 – 12) while children under 6 enter free. Opening hours Monday to Saturday 09h30 – 11h30 (last vehicle at 11h00) and 14h30 – 15h30 (last vehicle 15h00). On Sunday’s 09h30 – 11h30 (last vehicle at 11h00).

Located just an hour and a half from Jessica the Hippo, 30 minutes from the Panorama Route (Graskop), and 10 minutes from Kruger National Park, Perry’s Bridge Hollow is the ideal base from which to explore Mpumalanga’s greatest treasures. Come and experience the magic of the Lowveld with us and book online or email today!

Image Credits:
Jessica the Hippo
The Jonsson Journey
Traveler’s Log

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