“I was driving along a dirt track not far from home at about 7 o'clock in the morning. There was thick fog all over the area and suddenly there was this huge animal coming down the road at me! A hippo then veered off the road and disappeared into a thick copse. I was so stunned I did not even take a photo!”
Morag van Niekerk of Rhenosterspruit Nature Conservancy encountered this "fat lady" on Monday, 12 April. The Gauteng Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (GDARD) was notified and photographs were taken of the spoor left in the muddy road. There was no sign of the hippo, however.
Henk Wilz, manager of the PPC quarry adjoining the Conservancy, also received a report from a contractor that there was a hippo wandering around the quarry. Henk, who first regarded it as a practical joke, found the hippo and took a photograph of it.
The bewildered hippo took off at speed, crashing through fences and a dense wetland into the Conservancy and that's where it met Morag, driving along the dirt track next to the Notta River.
Later in the day Roger Wood, manager of Northern Farm, part of the Diepsloot Nature Reserve, also adjoining the quarry, reported that two fishermen had seen fresh tracks near one of the big dams on the Farm.
Nobody has a theory, however, as to how it could have got into the Jukskei River, if that is where it came from! And nobody has seen it since...