David B. Collinge's Trip to Pretoria and Kruger, June 2015

db_collinge -at- hotmail.com

For the second time within six months, I took off on the infamous 6 am flight with KL591 on 20th June to Amsterdam, and from there to Johannesburg, arriving at 21:30. Saw summer vegetation in North Africa then to fade to being green only near river courses at the northern edges of the Sahara, before becoming empty desert, which continued for a couple of hours. Then clouds and the green Congo rain forest appeared in between before dark took the view away.

Entry into South Africa was rapid. No immigration forms to fill, just a short interview with the officer. What a contrast to so many other destinations! Met by a shuttle (with his sign for Prof Collinge) to take me to the Bwelani Guesthouse in the rather posh district of Brooklyn, Pretoria, about 150m from the main entrance to the Pretoria university main campus. Big villas of the sort found at the posh end of Birkdale near where I grew up. The greeting was warm but it was cold inside. As in a Victorian town house in Birkdale! Discovered the joys of electric blankets, and realised that I simply had not brought enough clothes with me for the evenings and resorted to wrapping myself in about four layers of woolly blanket. Africa? OK mid winter.

The purpose of the trip was a PhD exam and workshops at University of Pretoria. Itinerary:

Bird list for whole trip: here