Hey everyone,
I will be home soon and get to show you all pictures! Get excited! Just think hours and hours with me and pictures…what else could you think of that you would like to be doing?
So these past two days have been amazing. Saturday 6 of us went whale watching. I told everyone I could call the whales and Elayne didn’t believe me, but here was my chance to prove it. When I was little my parents let me adopt one of those “Free willy” whales. I learned how to make those noises from her. So right when we spotted a few in the distance I started making my noises and they put up their tales and their heads and whatever else whales have. They were Southern Right whales just in case you want to look up pictures before I get back.


After I got some blowhole spray on my face we took off again to St Croix. It’s a island off the coast of South Africa that holds the largest amount of African penguins in the world. It was very neat to see all the little guys swimming in the water and then ducking when the boat came. Apparently their biggest predator is a an Arctic Skua bird. The reason is that they eat the penguin eggs and the penguin chicks. They are pretty aggressive suckers that are black with a bit of white on the tips of their wings. One tried to dive bomb the boat. Apparently I have not been too lucky with the birds this trip. We also saw oyster catchers while we were by the island. They are endangered black birds with amazing red beaks and red feet. They are strictly costal and indigenous to south africa. I have a picture of them as well. Get excited that you get to see endangered species.
OK so I was disappointed that i didn’t see dolphins or great whites, however it was pretty good anyway. I am happy with the blowhole spray I had on my face and our skipper George was awesome.
Next amazing adventure…Addo Elephant park!!! Yesterday we woke up early and got into our most amazing van the entire trip. The seats reclined further than the ones on the South African Airways flight! Seriously…It was amazing. Our guide for the day was Peter. He is one of the most brilliant people I have met here so far. I have pages of information on the animals that we saw today. He also gave us some information on the constellations and such. Very brilliant, courteous and so funny he had me speechless at times. I know you are all thinking…”I have to meet this man.” How do we make Cortney shut up?
Anyway, we saw so many elephants I have pictures galore. Stacey…This is the perfect wedding day present for you. Elephants on your wedding day. Can it get any better? Babies and Big ones, drinking and playing…you will be ecstatic.
Peter taught us that the Eles. produce about 175 Kg of Dung/day to make up for the 200L of H2O they drink and the 200-300 Kg of food/day they eat. Amazing huh? Beats any of you boys…even a night after drinking. I will also give you one guess as to how many muscles are in the trunk of a regular size ele…..give up??? approx 60,000 and they can do everything with them except tie them in a knot. Seriously! They have a total of 50 L of blood circulating through their bodies and 12 of it is located behind their ears alone, so when they are hot they flap their ears…you didn’t think they flapped their ears to fly did you? (don’t tell anyone, but I did until peter told me I was dumb)…haha. They only process 40% of what they eat and one of the biggest reasons they die is due to malnutrition…not old age. What a horrible way to die?! However, it is actually congruent with the population in the townships of ZA as well (along with sickness). There are no such thing as ele. graveyards either. However, when they die the “car”/family of elephants will mourn the death for a very long time and even pick up bones with their trunks.
The Eles. breastfeed until they are about 4 years old, however they can eat vegetation long before that point. They give birth standing up and actually back up over the calf to help the birthing process (not quite sure exactly how this works). They are also the ones who encourage the calf to stand up. We humans are the only predators.
After that we went and watched them all gather at the watering hole for a bit and play and eat/drink. Then it was our turn for lunch. We filled our bellies and headed to our “real” safari. Peter loaded us up into a 4×4 real safari wagon. I sat up front so I could be the guide. If anyone knows what an awesome passenger I am…you would understand why Peter wanted me up there…haha.
I would like to remind you that in these 4x4s there are no windows and just in case a lion wants to eat us…they can. We got amazingly close to all of the animals. I will tell you some neat details about some of them just in case you ever want to go on jeopardy and give me half of your winnings….or just in case you want to play trivial pursuit.
We saw tons of warthogs…Pumbas if you will. They are supercute even though they are ugly. The males have 4 warts on their face and the females have 2. Bushpigs are similar to Warthogs however they are carnivores and warthogs eat vegetation/grass. They eat this vegetation and grass while kneeling on their front two legs by the way. No two wildebeasts are the same, they all have different blue, striped type markings that make them different; like how our fingerprints make us different. Impalas…which I have already told you about are awesome. They are like Mormons in a way (the old school way)…one man and many females. Another interesting fact about them…they can hold back their pregnancy for up to 3 weeks if they need to. This is due to food sources/scarcity issues. Impalas have scent glands on the back of their legs that are used to help other impalas track them if they are in danger. These scent glands do not develop until a while after birth (exact time I don’t know…so don’t ask…haha). They can also climb trees! Only up to 20% of their body weight though. Just in case you can’t tell an Impala either…they have a McDonalds sign on their butt.
Blesbok…these are antelope type animals that have a big white face. They are named this because in Afrikanns (one of the official languages) it means white/pale face (exact terminology…once again…don’t know). You can tell the difference between the males and females because the males have thicker horns.
Giraffe…The only double toothed ( split hoofed) mammel that is born with horns. The horns are born laying down and cartilageonous. They become hard and bony as they get older. The males have fuzz on the top of their horns and the females don’t (this is an easy way to tell the difference between the obvious girl/boy). They are also the only mammel that walk same sided feet except the camel. Pretty neat huh? They eat on a tree/bush called Cashakaroo (sp?). They can only eat on this for 2-5 minutes before it produces tenin(sp?). It starts to taste bitter after that. If tenin is produced then that tenin will let off phermones to close by Cashakaroo and it will also produce phermones. This could cause problems for the giraffes and feeding time if they aren’t careful.
We saw hippos and a rhino. Peter let me name the hippos Thelma and Louise. The Rhino’s name is JB. Rhinos cannot swim because they cannot lift their head above their shoulders hence their really thick necks. They also eat from the middle to whatever side their foot is out to. Ex…left foot out front…the head goes middle of the grass to the left foot. Pretty neat…and you never have to cut grass. Ingenious. I am getting one.
I saw a yellow mongoose. Cutest little things ever…and because I saw them…I felt safe there were no Cobras around. End of Story.
Now my most favorite story…the lions. So we pull up to one huge lion. He just lays there…kind of like Scout does on the couch. He just was laying there tired and wanted us to go away…no great shots. A little bit later we found 3 more. The male lion started biting the one female lion’s butt. There you have it people…there is your birds and the bees lesson. However, the flashes of the camera must have embarrassed them because that’s all that happened. Dirty people wanting to see more than that. Go watch animal planet. Haha. They were really beautiful. It was getting late so Peter used some lighting for us to get really great pictures with. I promise you that we were so close…almost even closer than that one that was sleeping in my bed that first week. It was crazy.
We eventually started to get cold so we went back to the camp for a braai. There was really great food and dessert and wine. Pretty much the best ending to an amazing day. To get back we had to ride in the safari jeep one more time and let me tell you that I got to see some little animal that hopped around (i can’t remember it’s name) and a few more that i just wanted to pick up and squeeze.
Anyway that was the end of the day. Yesterday we went to a jazz show at a restaurant and that was pretty fun. Rachel, Les and I danced for a bit. I have got the Afrikanns moves down so I will teach you all when I get back;)
I miss you all. Pray that I am not getting sick again. because my throat is killing me again!!!! I will be flying back on friday. I love you…take care.

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