August 12, 2014

Downtime Adventures

Alexa Botha described a typical day out of camp while having downtime from a course.

"Now that we have finished the FGASA exams and assessments, some of us decided to explore the area around our home for the 28 days of the course and visited some of the tourist attractions around Hoedspruit.  

First on the agenda was a visit to a local celebrity, Jessica the hippo.  Now 10 years old, Jessica was rescued, only hours old, after the 2000 floods and raised by a local couple.  She has been the star of various documentaries and after 50 something days of learning about the amazing flora and fauna that inhabits these shores, it was a great treat to be able to witness one so close. 
Jessica turned out to be a great fan of sweet potato and a baby’s bottle fit for a giant!  I had been desperate to pay her a visit since I set foot on South Africa’s shores and was enchanted by her gentle nature.  Perhaps I have been in the bush for too long but I could not resist giving her a kiss as I fed her her bottle!!  So much for khaki fever!?  Such was the extent of our Eco-Training, I found myself knowing everything that the guide told us of her habits and statistics, to the point that I was even answering questions for other guests that he did not know!

After a delightful hour with her majesty, we stopped off for lunch at the Giant Baobab Restaurant and enjoyed a rich, but no doubt grossly unhealthy pancake before paying homage to the magnificent tree from which the restaurant bares its name.  Whilst not the largest specimen recorded in the area, I was dwarfed by its size and stood in awe in the shadow of such a creation!  Once again, my bush fever reared its head and I couldn’t resist a tree hugging moment!

Despite the day’s adventure, it was great to return home to Karongwe and regale the other students of our adventures.  What a great way to cap off an amazing 2 months!!"



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