Jessica The Hippo

Jessica the Hippo lives about 15 km outside Hoedspruit in the Limpopo Province, South Africa.

Hippos have been for a long time now regarded as one of the most dangerous and fearsome animals in Africa. Jessica is somewhat special and unique in the sense that she, although still a wild animal, interacts with humans in a way different to what nature intended.

Jessica is a 15 year old Hippopotamus who lives near Hoedspruit and loves interacting with people, in fact her caregivers find it hard to establish if Jessica considers herself human, or if she sees humans as fellow hipppos. Jessica has therefore become a worldwide phenomenon with her own international fan club. The Jessica website charges a minimal sign-up fee to gain access to her blog, gallery and videos so her fans can interact with her from anywhere in the world. For those lucky enough to be visiting the area, daily tours are offered where guests can feed, touch and interact with Jessica firsthand.

Jessica’s story begins in the year 2000, when after the devastating floods in Mozambique and South Africa, this newborn Hippo calf was found by the Joubert family still with the umbilical cord attached. The family named her Jessica and has since taken care of her and subsequently became her parents as it was realized that she would have a slim chance of survival if put back into the wild. Jessica weighs 1 400 kg and drinks about 20 litres of Rooibos tea a day – she loves Rooibos Tea. She is very much part of the Joubert family, sleeping on a mattress on the veranda with her mates, five English Bull Terriers.

Things to do and see

  • Daily tours
  • Video on Jessica’s life
  • Feed, touch & play with Jessica
  • Jessica Shop
  • Make a Donation


There is a nominal entrance fee of between R50 and R100. Please contact Jessica Hippo directly for confirmation of pricing and tour availability.


Summer months, October to March will experience average temperatures of between 16˚C to 31˚C with the highest rainfall months being between November and February.

Winter months, May to August will bring temperatures down to between 8˚C and 24˚C.


Flights are offered from both Johannesburg and Cape Town to the Hoesdpruit Eastgate Airport. Self-drive trips from Johannesburg will take approximately 5 hours. 

x Please note that we are closed between 12h00 and 14h30 daily

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