Here are some more details about the Lajuma, South Africa
trip/course, planned for summer 2012.
Trip date: Saturday July 28 –Sunday August 19
Course: Wildlife Ecology of South Africa (ABEC404; 3 credits; register in
Destination: Lajuma Research Centre, Makhado, South Africa
Planned Activities: Wildlife
of South Africa will offer you a travel and learning opportunity in
the Soutpansberg Mountains of South Africa. Lajuma Research Centre
is a privately-owned reserve, designated as a Natural Heritage Site
due to its unique ecology. We will spend
a little over 2 weeks living, learning, and doing field work at
Lajuma. We will stay at Wilderness Camp, in cabins (each houses 4-6
people). Cabins have beds, showers, hot and cold running water (as
long as we get a fire started), and toilets. Electricity is provided
for several hours every evening via generator. Most days will start
early (6 or 6:30 am) and will involve hiking
the Lajuma trails
search of the native wildlife. In particular, there are 5 species of
primate at Lajuma, and two of these species (Sykes’ monkeys and
chacma baboons) have habituated groups. Daily activities will vary
but will include such things as all-day follows of the primate
groups learning field observation and data collection techniques,
use of camera traps to study the more elusive species at Lajuma
(leopard, civet, genet, and several others); use of GPS to track
movements of the various primate groups, and other topics to be
developed. Lectures will take place either mid-day or early evening,
depending on the days’ activities. During the second half of our
stay at Lajuma, students will develop short-term independent
research projects. We will likely have an opportunity to work with
students from the University of Venda, one of the South African
Homeland Universities. This will provide a unique opportunity for
collaboration and cultural exchange. Numerous undergraduate and
graduate students from Europe and North America will also be at
Lajuma, and you will have the opportunity to meet them and learn
more about the projects they are working on. During the final 5
days of the trip, we will visit Kruger National Park and Mohololo
Rehabilitation Centre, a private facility known for its work
rehabilitating and releasing vultures. During the first half of the
fall semester, we will meet as a group weekly to complete the
research projects that were started at Lajuma. This will include
data analysis, write-up and presentation. Ongoing collaboration with
Venda students will be done via email and/or skype.
Wilderness Camp: Wilderness Camp is situated with a spectacular
view of the Soutpansberg. We are near the edge of cliff, so sleepwalkers
beware. The kitchen has gas-powered refrigerators and burners, and
plan our meals and cook together. You can sample
African specialties, such as pap and biltong. Computers, cameras,
and cell phones can be charged when the generator is on, however
note that cell phone reception is spotty at best. Fire-starting
skills are highly prized: if we want hot water, we need to get a
fire going (and we will want hot water).
Town: Once a week, Lajuma staff will drive us into the town of
Makhado for the day. We will visit the internet café, and do our
grocery shopping (and any other shopping) for the week. The Makhado
supermarkets are like any supermarkets anywhere—there is little that
you will not be able to find. Food during the stay at Lajuma will
run about $50/week, and is covered in the cost of the trip. The
water at Lajuma is excellent, but do bring 1 or 2 canteens or
refillable bottles. You will need these for long hiking days.
Wildlife: In addition to the five species of primates (Sykes’
monkeys, chacma baboons, vervet monkeys, greater and lesser galagos),
you can expect to see bushbuck, duiker, mongoose, and perhaps
African crested porcupines and rock hyrax (“dassies”).
Numerous rodent species live in the woodlands and rocky areas of
Lajuma, and you will almost certainly see some of these critters in
the kitchen, in your cabins, and possibly in your bed! Lajuma is
home to several species of venomous snakes. While these are rarely
seen, care should be taken when hiking through dense vegetation. A
stick may come in very handy. A number of large spider species are
resident at Lajuma; most are harmless, but best to let them be.
Some of them have the annoying habit of building webs at eye-level,
too! Lajuma is known for it’s leopards, but these are rarely seen.
Equipment: Plan on bringing a sleeping bag that is appropriate for
freezing or sub-freezing weather; cabins are not heated. Sturdy
hiking books and warm clothing are essential. You will be in long
pants and long sleeves, with multiple layers of clothing, most of
the time. A headlamp and a flashlight are essential. Once the
generator is turned off, it will be pitch-dark. A hot water bottle
is strongly advisable (temperatures will approach freezing at
night). Binoculars are essential. If you plan on using any
electronics, or even charging batteries, you will need an adapter
appropriate to South Africa. These can be found on –line, or at an
electronics store, and generally run under $10.
Kruger: During our travel to Kruger, we will continue to do some
communal cooking (most of the accommodations have kitchens) but
will also be dining at lodge restaurants, so expect to spend up to
day during this portion of the tip.
Travel Documents: You will need a valid passport. You will receive
your visa when you arrive in South Africa; it is valid for 90 days
and can be renewed once.
Immunizations: No special immunizations are required for travel to
South Africa, however typhoid and hepatitis A are recommended.
Lajuma is not in a malaria zone (too high), however malaria
prophylaxis is recommended for travel to Kruger National Park.
Consult with your physician and/or travel clinic.
will this fit into my curriculum?
ABEC majors, this course will count as a capstone course in the major. For
all other majors, this course will count as a Capstone course
Estimated cost per person: $3900 (does not include immunizations)
Sign up: Sign up for this trip will proceed in two stages:
Soon, there will be an application form with Tiffany. Please submit
this by December 1, 2011.
Formal commitment/enrollment will take place on December 16, 2011,
when the first deposits are due.
deposit due Friday, December 16, 2011 . Checks should be made
payable to “Canisius College”. Deliver checks to Tiffany in HSC
due Monday, January 31, 2012. Checks should be made
payable to “Canisius College”. Deliver checks to Tiffany in HSC
due Friday, April 1, 2012. These checks should also be
delivered to Tiffany in HSC 303A and made payable to “Canisius
If the trip is cancelled by Dr Margulis (or by any other agent
of Canisius College), your payments will be entirely refunded.
The price per person does include travel insurance. If the trip
is cancelled by the airline (due to weather or any other covered
contingency), the insurance MAY provide partial reimbursement
(or other benefits) as the policy specifies.
However, if your participation is cancelled by you, NONE of the
payments will be refunded. This is because the money will be
used to purchase non refundable air and ground accommodations.
Signup: This trip will be limited to 8 participants.
Interested parties should reserve a place by signing up in the ABEC
Office. See Tiffany in HSC303A.