November Student – Update 1

HESC November student

Chrissie holding a tortoise at the Khamai Reptile Centre

Since introducing her last Friday, we’ve succeeded in keeping our newest student really busy. Although we did allow her a bit of time off for some ‘Africa style’ sightseeing, which included communing with spiders and spending time with hippos.


My first week went past really quickly because I’ve been constantly busy. I’ve done things like feeding the big cats and playing with the four-week-old baby Vervet monkey that HESC adopted recently.

I went on a boat trip through the Blyde River Canyon, where I was lucky enough to see a mother hippo and her baby. It was so beautiful there, and the weather was perfect and cool too.

Yesterday I visited the Khamai Reptile Centre, which was something I’d really been looking forward to. After being greeted by two ostriches peering their heads over the wall, we were given a really interesting and in-depth talk and slide show about snakes and amphibians. I learnt an awful lot; including how exactly it is that snakes manage to fit such large prey into their long thin bodies.

We then got the opportunity to walk around and look at the Centre’s many inhabitants, which include such deadly species as the Puff adder and Black mamba. The highlight of the trip was definitely getting to hold a scorpion, but then the ranger brought out a rare, golden brown Baboon spider. I have a huge fear of spiders, especially big hairy ones, but with the help of Henk (the HESC guide who came with me), I was able to overcome my phobia long enough to let the spider crawl on my hand.  It took quite some time and a lot of convincing that it wasn’t going to bite me, but I did it. I still can’t believe it. It was a fantastic day.

I now have just over a week left to go here at HESC. I’m really looking forward to a whole day at the Kruger National Park, as well as my visit to Camp Jabulani! Remember to visit Facebook or Flickr to see what I’ve been up to!

Greetings from Africa,