South Africa Part II

F r i d a y ,  J a n u a r y  1 5 t h ,  2 0 1 5

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Alright guys…I’ve had a ton of questions about my trip to South Africa, so I wanted to do a full post on the details for those who have asked and are interested in traveling there! Without further ado, here are some FAQ:

What was the name of the trip? Was it with UConn?

The title of the trip was African Field Ecology, and yes it was indeed a study abroad through the University of Connecticut.

What part of South Africa did you travel too?

Okay this gets a little confusing, so bear with me. Our group left the states from JFK. We flew 15 hours to Johannesburg, then took another hour long flight to Hoedspruit. From there it was another hour and half drive to Sabi Sands, which is an area that consists of a collection of game reserves in Greater Krugar. The actual reserve where we stayed was Djuma, and our accommodations were at the Djuma Reserach Camp.

What was the name of the place where you interacted with the elephants?

If you didn’t already know from prior posts (or me going on and on about it in person.. ) our group was taken on a surprise trip. We knew a few excursions were planned for us, but didn’t know exactly what they were. When we pulled into the parking lot of Elephant Whispers, I started crying because I was so overwhelmed and happy about being there. (Side note I cried on and off for the rest of the day which was a little excessive, but I was just so excited and appreciative that we got to interact with the elephants). If you go to South Africa you MUST visit! It’s worth the commute from wherever you stay; I will never forget experience with the elephants and hearing their stories, it was unreal and life changing – plus Tembo is the most gentle giant I have ever met, and he totally has my heart!

Why don’t the animals attack you?

My immediate honest answer? Because the bush isn’t exactly like how it is portrayed on television. Yes there are moments of animals being hunted and killed and whatnot, but for the most part predators are just laying down or sleeping. It’s hard to explain unless you are there, but I never felt as though I was in danger. After spending three weeks in South Africa and only seeing one or two “hunts”, I can assure you that the animals aren’t out to prey upon safari vehicle passengers. Plus, most of the animals on reserves are used to seeing the vehicles, and the guides are experienced with driving in such a way that animals will not be spooked. Just listen to your guides and everything will be okay! Thanks Acima, Dee, Lee and Kersey(:

How long were you there? Was it hot?

Three weeks – it was during our summer so it was winter there. At night it was around 30-40°F, and during the day it varied. Some days it was 60-75°F, but towards the end of our stay winter was ending, which lead to a few days a bit hotter than that (I can only imagine the heat during summer there!).

What was a typical day like?

We would usually wake up around 5:30 am, which was rough in the beginning because of jet lag. However, after a few days something ignites inside of you and you cannot wait to get up and seize the day (it sounds cheesy, but I swear you don’t mind 5:30 because you are so excited). We would then get ready, have breakfast, and get into the vehicles by 6:30 for our morning game drive – also known as a safari. By 10:30 we would head back to camp for an early lunch, then would have a few hours in the middle of the day to write in our journals, nap, or just relax. Around 2:00 in the afternoon we would go back out for our second drive, while on other days we would leave a bit earlier to do some track and sign. The sun would set around 5:00, and we would sometimes stay out until 7:00 if the animals were really active in our area. Afterwards we would go back to camp to sit by the fire and have dinner. I usually didn’t last too long after that, so for the most part I went to sleep right after dinner.

Do you want to go back?

YESSSSSS! Whenever I get asked this my eyes light up. Like oh-my-gosh-yes-please-when-can-I-go-back?! It’s been almost 6 months since the trip and I am still talking about it almost daily, so that must say something, right? It’s such an amazing and beautiful place, and it really changes something in you.

So I also got around to FINALLY editing all of my videos and compiling them together into one cohesive film. It features some of my favorites moments, so be sure to watch! Thanks for reading loves!


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