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This week’s focus was on our scaly and slippery friends; reptiles and amphibians. Fresh from a week off, where people explored the delights of Kruger and the surrounding area, we returned ready to tackle these interesting topics.

Reptiles – Photo by Jon Villis

With the theory under our belt, we embarked on several game drives to obtain the practical experience needed. From tortoises to crocodiles, the reptiles proved easier to find than their amphibian friends.

Drinking tortoise – Photo by Jon Villis

As an Englishman, I cannot remember going 6 weeks in my life without significant rain. We were really in need of the life-giving moisture here, but the heavens finally opened this week, leading to some fantastic frogging opportunities. We have identified 14 individual species this week, and heard the calls of a few of the more elusive frogs.

Mating frogs – Photo by Jon Villis

One evening we all converged on a waterhole for a night of frogging. As the sun went down, all students enthusiastically leapt into the shallows, competing in teams to find the most frogs and toads.

With the competition heating up, things soon turned physical: a couple of playful shoves escalated into an apocalyptic mud-wrestling session! Our white shirts turned out to be a poor wardrobe choice, turning immediately brown as the mud flew!

Muddy during frogging – Photo by Eugenio Guasina

We also had time for a Wildlife Photography workshop this week. From composition to vehicle positioning, we discussed all aspects of this important topic. The practical session produced a wide variety of photos; from potential award winners to ‘more work needed’ – needless to say, we’re all going to be focussing on our technique over the coming months!

Photography lesson – Photo by David van der Meer

Finally, it would be remiss of me not to mention the most important date this week: Valentine’s Day! Everyone embraced the occasion, with heart-shaped biscuits and a themed night at the local lodge. I certainly enjoyed the romance of Valentine’s dinner with my wife and 19 other students!

Hearts – photo by Sophie Barrett

Muddy Valentines! – photo by Eugenio Guasina

Blog by Jon Villis

Jon Villis – photo by Sebastiaan Kroon