Hippo Jessica
Hippo Jessica
4.5
9:00 AM - 11:00 AM, 2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Monday
9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Tuesday
9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Wednesday
9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Thursday
9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Friday
9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Saturday
9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
2:00 PM - 3:00 PM
Sunday
9:00 AM - 11:00 AM
About
Meets animal welfare guidelines
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See what travellers are saying
  • krugerandmore
    Mbombela, South Africa428 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Wonderful Thanks
    Thanks for your kindness . We were a group of 3 that really enjoy our afternoon at Jessica. The show and interaction was real cool and nor forced. The owner was kind and answered all our question. Really great experience. Thanks Dave
    Visited September 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 6 September 2023
  • Lindy M
    4 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Awesome experience
    This was such a great experience. They are truly majestic animals. I am South African, and a conservationist. I know very well the danger of wild animals, but there is a misconception about hippos. If not threatened, they are gentle, peaceful creatures. The love and care they receive from Tonie is reciprocal. When they hear his voice they make cooing sounds, which they do not make for anyone else. They trust him, and he trusts them, it is a relationship built over 24 years. I do not condone petting zoos, or exploiting animals for financial gain, but this is not what this is. Tonie has dedicated his life to these hippos and had to make a lot of sacrifices to care for them. It is a full time job. The small fee he asks for visitors is what he uses to feed these 2 ton animals. I highly recommend booking a stay in his chalet or treehouse. Although it is not luxurious accommodation, it is clean, safe and comfortable, with an amazing view of the Blyde river and wildlife. Book a couple of days, see what it's all about.
    Visited March 2024
    Travelled with family
    Written 3 April 2024
  • Bushbaby
    Hoedspruit, South Africa1 contribution
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Once in a life time experience and now offers accommodation, can't wait to book a night
    What an unbelievable experience to see the love and dedication Oom Toni has for his hippos. Will be back soon. Really great to support this local excursion. Jessica and her baby were the cutest, thank you Oom Toni
    Visited April 2024
    Travelled with friends
    Written 29 April 2024
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles538 reviews
Excellent
355
Very good
115
Average
37
Poor
9
Terrible
22

Skye
Johannesburg, South Africa4 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2020
From the moment you walk in you'll discover that this is now all about making money, and Jessica is the tool for this.

Booking is essential as 'numbers are limited,' but on this given day 60-70 people were shipped into the tiny seating area (it was during corona and they were not enforcing mask wearing or following distancing protocol). We waited 20 minutes for the 'tour' to begin. The owner then sat behind the bar taking money and smoking, so the covered area smelt like cigarettes and booze. The introduction involved a hard-to-hear, bumbled speech about where Jessica came from, and a 10 year old DVD to watch. Richie was not mentioned at all. You could feel that they absolutely did not care about providing any information and were purely ticking boxes to ensure they got your money.

The huge group was then split into 2 to see Jessica, not taking into account who had arrived first and been waiting, so the late arrivals went down first.
The mumbling owner then took to the barge (mask on chin) and started randomly gesturing at people to feed mielies to Jessica. He barked orders about where to stand and where to take photos, but didn't have much interest in ensuring everyone got to see Jessica. About 30 people were clogging the barge at any time and the same ones filtered back to Jessica multiple times. He then disappeared for 30 minutes to 'make tea' while everyone had to wait around; he was having a few cigarettes.

I have visited Jessica many times over the years, but I won't ever again. Rather donate your money to an animal rehabilitation centre where it will go to looking after animals.
Written 29 September 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

1.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Family
Be sensible and a responsible tourist by considering that:

1. There is nothing good or right about hippos eating from your hand and living in a human’s home.

2. It is absolutely not true that two baby hippos landed in the same garden 10 years between each other - this is clearly a commercial business that has been set up for the sake of entertainment and for making money to the man running the business. It is obvious that the man bought and brought the hippos here for selfish reasons.

3. It is clear that the man’s wife was killed by the Jessica hippo during the night Jessica lost her baby hippo. How on earth it could have happened otherwise…

4. It is not fine to let visitors believe that hippos should be touched and fed - it’s an extremely dangerous situation. When I visited the place, there were about 20 people on the pier next to the male hippo, and I felt horrified by the lack of attention given to the health and safety of the people and the hippo, too. I refused to touch and feed the male hippo that is residing there now, and the owner got angry at me and he was trying to convince me to get closer by applying a peer pressure on me from amongst other visitors.

5. We found it hypocrite that the owner plays a 15-year old BBC video showing one of the journalists visiting the hippos back then. It is misleading consumers by suggesting that the media would be supporting this practice. Times have changed and the BBC would not accept this kind of animal abuse and risks to people today.

We can vote with our wallet. If you don’t want to support unethical animal protection practices and poor health & safety standards, then do avoid this place altogether and question the practice in any conversation you might have with other people.
Unfortunately, the local laws are not strong enough to protect us and the hippos from this kind of commercial activity, which is why we need to vote with our wallets.
Written 23 June 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

egberts
Eindhoven, The Netherlands8 contributions
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2024 • Family
we visited Jessica because a hotel employee mentioned herl. We did not consult a website before going there. We were very disappointed by the location and the unfriendliness of the host, who had an imperative attitude. This is a money-making project, and has nothing to do with care for animals. The hippo's are used to make money. We were not aware of an entrance fee, it was not mentioned upon arrival. we thought it was all about the taking care of a poor hippo. R150 per person is not nothing, we had to pay cash as there was no internet conncetion. It smells.
Go see the hippo's in the Kruger park!
Written 27 February 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Natasha Vrany
1 contribution
1.0 of 5 bubbles
Nov 2021 • Family
Myself and my cousin were brutally attacked by Richie the hippo on the 14th November at Jessicas place. We were rushed to Zaneen hospital having several operations and infections setting in. No comment and lies from shirley Joubert and Tony Joubert owners of Jessica's Place. I urge anyone not to put yourself or your family at risk. This hippos are not tame and cant attack at any time. Im disgusted that they are denying everything and i want all to know what they should expect visiting Jessicas place.
Written 30 November 2021
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Dwatkinsuk
Egg, Switzerland444 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Aug 2022
Hmmm….for small kids it may be fun, the best bit is seeing a hippo up really close but that’s it. Feeding a hippo tea from a giant baby bottle…..really ? They say she runs free….but ultimately it’s nothing more than a hippo in a large enclosed area that’s been stuck there for 20+ years. Save your time and goto a decent game park and see them for real, as they should be….
Written 5 August 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

JenBauer
Hartbeespoort, South Africa132 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2019 • Family
Wow what an amazing experience. Getting some info regarding hippos and history about Jessica. Then feeding her & even giving a small kiss. All handled with greatest respect for animals still and caution. Then we gave her a back massage with our feet or you could touch her with hands. She is free to roam around in nature and no signs of captivity
Written 14 January 2020
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sandra Dickason
7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2022
Tony's journey with Jessica and now his latest rescue Seun is very heartwarming.

We enjoyed that the Hippo's are not in captivity and yet out of their own free will allowed us to interact with them.

Tony, thank you for opening your home to share your love for them with us!
Written 2 April 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

krugerandmore
Mbombela, South Africa428 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Sept 2023 • Friends
Thanks for your kindness .
We were a group of 3 that really enjoy our afternoon at Jessica.
The show and interaction was real cool and nor forced. The owner was kind and answered all our question. Really great experience.
Thanks
Dave
Written 7 September 2023
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Danielle T
Gosport, UK73 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Feb 2022 • Couples
Such a unique experience and what a beautiful animal she is. We were made to feel welcome by the owner and gave Jessica some food and bush tea. The owner also has another hippo that visits daily with Jessica who we also gave some good and bush tea too.
Great value for money
Written 24 February 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Leslie F
25 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Oct 2022 • Friends
This was an amazing, unique, and surreal experience. Being able to feed Jessica & Sein sweet potatoes and tea and interact with them up close was the experience of a lifetime! The owners Tonie & Shirley were very friendly and informative. If you are an animal lover and visiting Hoedspruit, this is a do-not-miss event! I hope to return in the future and look forward to following Jessica’s story.
Written 22 October 2022
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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HIPPO JESSICA (2024) All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

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