Parents come to visit: Moholoholo, Kruger and Lajuma

New Years Eve, just saw some hippos, zebras and giraffes during a night drive at Moholoholo and everyone has gone to bed! It’s only 1030 PM and I’m not sure what to do with myself. Luckily some of the rangers were up for grabbing some beers and staying up to celebrate 2011 inconspicuously stepping in.

Midnight. Yay. Cheers. I wanted to kiss our local tree frog but he didn’t seem as keen.

The night before, I spent at Pretoria Backpackers and ended up getting dinner with an Australian park ranger. Wandering around at 930PM and trying to find a restaurant that was supposed to be in/around a hotel:

“Excuse me, do you know where there’s a place to eat in a hotel?”

“Oh a hotel, yes.”

“No, no, no to eat not to sleep.”

Awkward. After almost 45 minutes, we finally found it having walked passed it twice.

The next morning, I finally got to see my parents after 3.5 months and spent the next 6 days at Moholoholo, Kruger and Lajuma admiring animals, sights and people. At Moholoholo rehabilitation center, they let you get up close and personal with some vultures, cheetahs and a baby rhino along with other animals. So soft. Although, I still refuse to go home until I touch an elephant.

They’ve named my mother the Hippo Whisperer. After sitting at a water hole for 20 minutes and begging the hippos to just come out, they waddled out for a quick photo shoot before splashing back in.

The next day we spent at Kruger and saw some wild dogs and a herd of rhino and of course tons and tons of impala, elephants and birdies. Trying to speed out of Kruger before 630 PM (or else pay a heavy fine) after getting turned around due to a deep pond across the road, my dad proclaimed, “We aren’t going to stop for anything.”

What’s that in the road?

“We’re not stopping!”

“Wild dogs!”

Ok, stopping for some photos. Barely made it out at 6:31 PM, a successful day even if we didn’t see any leopard or lions.

The last two days, I got to take them home to Lajuma after passing through Blyde River Canyon for a river tour. We took a short walk up the chimney to admire the cliffs before a goodbye braai around a fire with all the Lajumies, parents and the stars: A great way to start the new year.

Now off to Mozambique with Anja and Demis for the next couple weeks: a holiday within a holiday. After trouble getting off the mountain (a flat tire but quick fix!) Anja and Demis will continue north through Eastern Africa until they hopefully reach home in Holland without having to fly and I will return to Lajuma to begin some serious research!

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