Dad and I quickly realized how short his trip to SA was. After our safari day in Kruger, he only had 3 nights left in country! On our was back down to the Graskop area, we made a short detour to do something extremely unique: visit Jessica the Hippo and interact with one of the most dangerous animal species in Africa!
Now, Jessica is a semi-domesticated hippo that was rescued after a flood about 13 years ago. Her “family” will tell you she’s still completely wild, but wild hippos do not eat bread and sweetened rooibos tea….I had mixed feelings about the visit for several reasons, and was horrified at the “funny” (aka extremely offensive and racist) story the host told us about a local printer. However, it was really cool to get up close and personal with a hippo, including feeding her, giving her some tea, kissing her, and giving her a back massage. I’m fairly sure this is a VERY unique experience, and was worth the money. For kids, it would be an amazing and once in a lifetime experience….heck, it was still that for my Dad and I.
After shrugging off our slight misgivings about Jessica the Hippo, we continued on down the Panoramic Route and stopped off at the Three Rondevals, Bourke’s Luck Potholes, and God’s Window. The fog because extremely dense at God’s Window, so the employees let us in for free. Though we didn’t get to see the view, we did get to play around a bit on a slightly flooded and sparsely maintained rainforest trail.
Our last big adventure was ziplining, which we did in Hazy View. There weren’t a whole lot of ziplines in Limpopo, but this one made up for that. It was a 3 hour, 9 line, 1.6km long zipline course. And WOW was it fun! I had been ziplining before, but this one was longer and a bit more…rugged than the last. Very African, but in a good way. The one I did on the Garden Route in 2011 was more strict, straight-laced, and formal feeling than this one….but I still felt 100% safe. Our guides were great, and our small group of 8 or so people were a fun bunch. One lady was pretty afraid at first, but seemed to have a blast. I fully intend to do another zipline in SA, and would HIGHLY recommend it to anyone!
The day after ziplining, we headed back to Pretoria. On the way we stopped at the Sudwala Caves. I was a little let down by this attraction….the tours were tame, with big groups and lost of kids, and the guy talked extremely fast….I had to translate the English for Dad, and I even struggled to catch some things. It would be fun for kids, but it was underwhelming, though a nice break in the drive back.
Dad left the day before Easter, and I swear the saddest place in the world might be the airport departure gate. Or else the lonely Gautrain ride back to Pretoria. 🙂 He’s already talking about coming back, and my Mom wants to as well. Guess who is excited for that?! 😀