Huberta's Journey

by Cecily van Straten (Tafelberg) ISBN 978-0-62-4-05502-0


This is a fictionalised account of the story of Huberta the hippopotamus, one of the most famous animals in South African history.


Huberta left her waterhole in the St. Lucia Estuary in Natal in 1928. She set off on the 1600 km journey to the Eastern Cape - a journey which would take three years. In that time Huberta became a minor celebrity and attracted crowds. There was an attempt made to capture her and put her in the Johannesburg Zoo. After this she headed south to Durban where she visited the Durban Country Club and caused dinner guests excitement enough for them to follow her to the beach. She reached East London in March 1931.


Along her travels people thought she was smiling at them. She would rest her head on her front legs like a dog. In spite of the fact that she was declared Royal Game, which means she was protected, she was shot by hunters. After a public outcry, the hunters were arrested. Huberta’s body was recovered and sent to a taxidermist in London. Upon her return to South Africa she was greeted by 20,000 people and can now be seen in the Amathola Museum in Kingwilliamstown.


This is a brilliant abridged version of the original. I highly recommend this outstandingly simple and true story


Dee Andrew


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