Meeting Jessica the Hippo, and Wonderful Views of Blyde River Canyon

We got up at 7 expecting to feed the hippo, but the guy was hungover so we ate brekky then waited for him to get up. In the end he appeared and we went down to the landing stage to meet her in the water. We gave her bush tea to drink out of giant sucky bottle. Then we fed her some dog biscuits, first touching her nose so she would open her mouth. The poor thing had cuts down her side from where a pregnant hippo had attacked her. There were loads of spiders on the pontoon which some people weren’t too keen about.

Jessica the Hippo. Image from:

Then we packed up and left Jessica the hippo, travelling to a giant baobab tree down the road. We had a group photo in front of it, including one where we all jumped up. It really was a magnificent tree and I had never seen anything like it apart from in photos.

The giant baobab tree. Image from:

After stopping at the baobab tree we slowly returned to Kwa Madwala via the Panoramic Route which was stunning. The Panoramic or Panorama Route is the name for the road which follows the top edge of the northern Drakensburg escarpment. We stopped at several viewpoints that looked out onto the wonderful Blyde River Canyon, including one called the Three Rondavels. Here you could stand right on the edge looking out at the view. I would say the view here almost beats that of the Grand Canyon, although I’ve never actually been there. At the Three Rondavels I bought a necklace, and the day was starting to feel pretty warm.

View from the Three Rondavels. Image from:

When we got to the second viewpoint, God’s Window, the cloud cover had dropped, so we couldn’t really see much. However, there were five guys there with their sports cars. Needless to say we didn’t stay long here and headed to the big shopping centre in Nelspruit for the first time. Nelspruit is one of the host cities for the 2010 Football World Cup held here in South Africa. Here I bought a new top and some flipflops in a shop which felt very similar to New Look, but with prices close to that of Primark. I also got some food and coke from the supermarket in the shopping centre.


The view we missed from God’s Window. Image from by Wayne 77.

Once back we got unpacked and had a braai in the boma. Then it was ‘party party’ time. It was really good fun, but the Afrikaaners annoyed us and were not at all friendly to one of the rangers, who didn’t feel comfortable around them anyway. After the consumption of some alcohol, one of the gappers decided to recite Pi to 50 decimal places to prove he wasn’t drunk. This could only happen in Africa. TIA as they say, ‘This is Africa’. Luckily Claudia, who worked for  The Leap, the gap year company most of the people were from, and her two girls had returned to Manyatta before this happened.


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