I never thought I would use the words kiss and hippo in the same sentence. But as Justin Bieber has taught me.. never say never! (I know it was cheesy to throw out a Justin Bieber line, but cheesy very much characterizes what you are about to witness.)
We took our students to Blyde River Canyon for their final excursion in South Africa. The directors, a fellow advisor, and I were driving separately in one of our cars when we noticed a sign for Jessica the Hippo. It said something about being able to feed and a pet a hippo. In case you may not know, hippos are extremely dangerous and cause more human fatalities in Africa than any other animal. To see a sign for a pet hippo just sounded ridiculous. One of the directors is a hippo fanatic, and we all thought it sounded cool. We drove on though, because we were supposed to arrive at the resort before our students.
That afternoon, after finding out that the tourism board in the area was on strike, we hit up the activities office to figure out what activities might still be available. We saw a poster for the hippo again and inquired about it. Then it dawned on me… I had seen a special on tv about this hippo years ago! We called the number on the poster for more details. When we found out that you get to kiss and massage the hippo as well, that was it- we just had to go. After our weekend in Blyde River Canyon, we took a detour on our way back to the village for what we hoped would be a life-altering experience ;)
The whole visit was pretty creepy, from the grounds and the family, to the fact that the hippo still mingles with wild hippos… meaning eventually she’s going to try to eat somebody. We watched an ‘intro video’ when we arrived, which was really just a news clip on a laptop. It showed the owner in the water with the hippo, just rubbing and kissing on it. She also mentioned that after seeing her partner with the hippo, that’s when she decided she had to marry him. Hear that guys? Just get a pet hippo, and the ladies won’t be able to resist you!
After the intro, we were given the chance to feed Jessica bread and then give her sweet tea. While she was drinking was when you got the opportunity to kiss her. The whiskers were a bit rough so it wasn’t as romantic as one might hope. Jessica then got in the water and everyone got the option to massage her back with their hands or feet. I’m happy to have visited Jessica, so that when she does attack one day, I can say that I survived!
Here’s a string of video clips narrated by the hippo fanatic herself. This will give you a brief idea of just how amazing it is to meet a hippo:
Have you kissed a hippo lately?