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Mid Kent College Animal Care Course 2013 – Day 7

(Pictures to follow soon!)

A really early morning this morning!

We left at 5:30am to go on a game drive in one of the oldest reserves in South Africa. It took around half an hour to reach the park, it is quite cold in a safari vehicle on the open road, but we soon warmed up when we got to the park.

It wasn’t long before we saw our first animals which were Zebra. We saw lots of animals including giraffe, rhino, warthog, elephants, nyala and wild dog. The wild dog was a rare sight, people go to the park for years specifically to see them and they remain unlucky. We were exceptionally lucky to see them on our first trip to the park, especially as they had their cubs with them. As if this wasn’t enough, we got to watch the cubs play fighting while the adults were looking for food, they were funny to watch!

For lunch we had a braai in the picnic area which is what they call a BBQ in South Africa. When we got to the picnic area lunch was already ready which was good as we were all hungry even though we hadn’t had breakfast long before. After lunch we helped to tidy things away and put it back in the truck, we made sure that all litter and food was put in the bin so that we didn’t attract the baboons to the picnic site.

After lunch we saw lots of different African birds, they are quite colorful and can be really noisy. Then we walked down to the river and saw our first nile crocodile – he was huge!!

We saw a single elephant first, but there were too many cars surrounding the elephant and the elephant started to show signs of stress. The elephant mock charged at a car because the other cars were getting too close to the elephant and the elephant had nowhere to go. Our guide was pointing out all the behaviour that the elephant was displaying like flopping his trunk over one of his tusks. We turned the truck around and there walking along the side of the road we saw the rest of the herd of elephants. It was like in the movie Dumbo where all the circus elephants walk one behind the other!

We also saw a white rhino with a new born calf, but it wasn’t old enough to stay behind its mother which is where it would normally walk. It was surprising just how small they are to start with.

It’s an amazing experience to see animals within their natural habitats, rather than be enclosed in an enclosure. This is once-in-a-lifetime experience and I’ll never forget how it felt!

When we were driving back to the the lodge we got caught in a thunderstorm! It started off dry but with lots of lightning and rumbling but it started raining eventually, we got back to the lodge in one piece – but soaking wet!

Good job the showers are hot!

-Anita

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