Hoedspruit is the ideal place for animals’ lovers. Nearby there are several rehabilitation centres where orphaned, injured or sick animals are welcomed and then released into the wild after having received the right treatments. The main purpose of those centres is essentially to preserve the local wildlife and repopulate some of the areas.
One of the highlights of these centres is the interaction with wild animals which is sometimes allowed. At the Endangered Species Centre (HESC, previously known as Cheetah Project) you will have the chance to make a guided tour inside the area where cheetahs and wildogs are protected and are in breeding programmes; in Moholoholo you can even pet cheetahs and feed a vulture; at the Elephant Whisperer, you will learn plenty about elephants’ life; in the terrarium you will be able to pet snakes and iguanas and it is not uncommon to hold baby crocodiles.
About 16 km away from Hoedspruit lives the famous hippo called Jessica to which you can give tea to drink. She was rescued by a hunter when she was just a calf and now she lives in the river as well as in the house of the family that welcomed and saved her.