Today, we had an animal filled adventure. We began the day by going to an elephant sanctuary. Here, we got up close and personal with these gentle giants. The three elephants we get to know we're named Marula, Jabu, and Thandi. These big girls were nice enough to let us feel around their big bodies in order to let us get to know these animals a little more. What interesting sensations! We also had the opportunity to ride these majestic girls.
After saying goodbye to the elephants, we went over to MonkeyLand. Here, we encountered many different types of monkeys and primates from all over the world. It was all open habitat so we were very close to the monkeys. They were very fun to observe because they were so active.
Our final animal adventure was to the Birds of Eden. This was also an open habitat sanctuary for birds from all over the world. There were birds from China, Australia, Thaliand, and many other areas. There were gorgeous, colored birds flying all around us. Morgan almost got dive bombed by one, but averted the attack with grace.
Posted by HPU Travelers | Labels: dolphin, dyer island, Jordan, Marine big five, Penguins, seals, shark, whales
Day three of our adventure has come! Today we left Cape Town and made our way to Stony Point African Penguin Colony at Betty’s Bay. The group got the chance to understand and observe African penguins within a natural and beautiful habitat. Unfortunately, African penguin populations have drastically decreased over the past couple decades and have been entered on the endangered mammals “Red list”. So as a group we also understand the conservation of this magnificent species as well.
After our stay at the penguin colony, we drove to Dyer Island to go on our whale-watching venture. The group got to experience, first hand, the “Marine Big 5” (whales, seals, sharks, dolphins, and penguins) all within the same gorgeous setting. Firstly, our spotter on our boat, the “Whale Whisperer”, spotted a pair of dolphins. After our boat got more centered in the bay, we reached Dyer Island. Where we saw a huge mass of seals and some African penguins, the same penguins that we got to see earlier in the day. Then our driver of our boat received a call that there were sharks within our area, an area that is know for shark sightings called “Shark Alley”. Where it is common to see great white sharks. Another boat threw chum into the water, and soon after we finally got to see a great white. Last and of course not least, we amazingly ended our sea adventure with the sighting of three Brutus “Bride” Whales, one of which was a calf (baby whale)! It was truly humbling seeing such gentle giants right in front of us.
Many of the students after the trip quickly ran to the gift shop, to get mementos of their time at sea. Soon after we had to leave to go across the beautiful African countryside to Oudshoorn in Klein Karoo. As soon as we entered our guesthouses we were graciously welcomed with a warm meal. The meal that we had was one that was new to many of the students, Ostrich! It did not take to long for the students to get to bed and wait for tomorrow’s adventure, seeing meerkats and going through caves.
Two African penguins interacting with one another at Stony Point African Penguin Colony.
A Group of African Penguins overlooking Betty’s Bay at Stony Point African Penguin Colony
An African penguin making its call, that is famously know for sounding oddly enough like a donkey’s. Making it receive the name the “Jackass Penguin”.
Two seals at Dyer Island interacting with one another.
Posted by HPU Travelers | Labels: Cape Town, Hyrax, In South Africa, Krystle, Nelson Mandela, Robben Island, Table Top Mountain
Day one in Cape Town has been quite the adventure! We started our morning off with a trip to Table Top Mountain (Pictured in the first four photographs) and got to see the city from way up high. It was truly beautiful. While up there, the entire group had the chance of seeing hyraxes, a relative to the elephant but similar looking to a groundhog. After leaving Table Top Mountain, we were given a tour of the city by our guide, Jacques. We learned about the history and learned a bit of the language (strand is Afrikaans for beach, in case you didn't know). We got lunch and boarded the ferry for Robben Island, the place that housed the prison cell for Nelson Mandela. At the island, we had a bus tour on which we learned that there are approximately 200 residents, including some ex-political prisoners of the island, and that 27 are children. Every time a child is born, the church raises a flag, blue for boy and pink for girl, to celebrate the birth. Robben Island is an incredibly beautiful place, but it's history is plagued as a place that was once used to send people with leprosy, then as a military base, a prison cell, finally being turned into an island filled with free residents. We reached the jail and the walking tour was led by an ex-political prisoner who, alongside Mandela and many others of the prison, was jailed because they had wished to end apartheid. After reaching Madela's cell, the group walked back to the ferry, the very same walk the prisoners took when they gained their freedom. We returned to shore and had dinner, witnessing the beautiful sunset behind the mountains. After returning to the hotel, we journaled about the day and the animals we saw.
We've arrived in Johannesburg and we will be catching a flight in 45 minutes to Cape Town. It's been a long 17.5 hours of flying from DC to this point, but it's so worth it. It's 6:20 where we are, so the eastern part of America has crossed into the same day at this point. Expect to hear more of an update when we've all caught up on good sleep. (The food on South African Airlines was delicious by the way.)
Today is the day! We are set to head to Charlotte Airport to begin our travels to South Africa!
Good Evening Followers!
This evening students that were still on campus joined Dr. Altman at her house for dinner. It was a wonderful time spent with Dr. Altman and Dr. Scheidt, as well as their husbands, Mr. Jack and Mr. Rob, and fellow classmates. We shared a delicious meal and learned about the adventures that await us in Africa (and gathered a few packing tips along the way). In under 36 hours, we will be leaving High Point University for Charlotte Airport on the adventure of a lifetime!
There are only five days until our group of 12 students and four adult advisors depart for South Africa to learn about animal behavior and explore our new surroundings. The picture above is the shape of South Africa, with its flag making up the the country itself. Over the next few weeks, expect to see pictures and posts about the adventures Sam, Devin, Gabrielle, Josh, Jordan, Jacob, Lexi, Jane, Morgan, Christopher, Zach and myself are having halfway across the world!
Learn About Your Blogger:
|Krystle is pictured on the right|
Krystle Grygo is a senior (graduating August 2014) psychology major at High Point University. She plans to attend graduate school in the coming years to attain her doctorate in psychology. Her home state is New York, but loves coming to school in the ever beautiful North Carolina. She is a sister in Phi Mu and recently ended her term as the secretary for the Odyssey Program, the social portion of the Honors Program. Krystle is looking forward to seeing the animals, but secretly is mostly hoping to ride the elephants.