In December 2005, my wife, Sarah, and I traveled to Potchefstroom, South Africa, to visit our friends Kevin Smith and Katie Noble.  We visited several tourist sites, wildlife refuges, and national parks.  Below are some photos from our trip.

This is Kevin Smith, Katie Noble, me, and Sarah Hunt.  This picture was taken at Kevin and Katie's flat in Potchefstroom.  They were living in South Africa while Kevin completed a post-doc at North-West University.  Kevin and Katie are both biologists.  Sarah is a psychologist.  South African law requires that when three biologists are traveling together, they must be accompanied by a psychologist.

 

We spent our first couple of nights in Africa at the Dimalichite Holiday Resort along the Vaal River.  Kevin and Katie acted as our tourguides and naturalists wherever we went.  In this photo, Kevin is grilling ostrich sausages, while I'm drinking a beer.  Each according to his talents.  Note our fantastic transport in the foreground.   Several parts actually fell off the car as we traveled over the rough South African roads. 

 

These are blacksmith plovers, at a dam near Schoendrif.  We saw 111 species of birds on our trip.  Kevin is a herpetologist, but has become an excellent birder while in Africa.

 

We spent Christmas Day at Pilanesberg National Park.  Best.  Christmas.  Ever.  We saw incredible numbers of animals, including numerous species of antelopes, elephants, rhinos, hippos, crocodiles, lizards, warthogs, birds, and one sleeping lion.  This scrawny young giraffe was the first large animal we saw there. 

 

This mother white rhino was right next to the car, and was approximately the same size. 

 

This black-backed jackal seemed as curious about us as we were about him.

 

These two were part of a large troop of baboons that crossed the road in front of us.

 

Although the park has many elephants, we only saw a few.  This one refused to come out of the brush to allow us a better photo.

 

One of our day trips was to the aptly-named Rhino and Lion Nature Reserve near Krugersdorp.  Although, come to think of it, they didn't have any rhinos.  This drive-through preserve had large fenced areas containing many types of native wildlife, including the hunting dog pictured above. 

Sarah and I had a fantastic time in Africa--it truly was the trip of a lifetime.  We recommend that you have some of your friends move there so that you can visit them, eat their food, drink their beer, stay in their home, make fun of their car, and use them as unpaid tourguides on your trip.