Hoedspruit, 1380, South Africa
Kissing Jessica the Hippo!After spending the week relaxing in our rustic eco-reserve watching the resident pod of hippos on the sand bar across from us, we decided to get out and meet one up close and personal. I'd always heard of "Jessica the Hippo" but hadn't given it much consideration, as I thought it would be too touristy. Yet, when we pulled off the dirt road up to the house, I saw that it was instead a humble scene, and we were greeted by a gentle soul of a man named Tonie who walked us down to his backyard river to introduce us to his beloved Jessica. He told us her story, grabbed a tub of raw, sliced sweet potatoes, and called Jessica over. "Hold on when she hops up on the dock! It's gunna tilt hard", he said. Then we each took turns to feed this sweet Hip girl and give her a kiss on her fuzzy nose. We basked in every incredible moment. Hippos have the reputation of being the most dangerous killers in Africa, (what, you didn't know that?!) so feeling her gentleness surround us was truly breathtaking. We were lucky to be the only ones that hour, but I hear it can get pretty busy. Be sure to call and tell Tonie you are coming, as he's only available a few hours a day, and his hours are truly 'Africa time'!