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[ConsBio-ASI] update on facilities and what to bring to South Africa

Fred Roberts froberts at
Fri Jul 23 14:57:32 EDT 2010

Some further updates/instructions for the Conservation Biology Participants:

1. ARRIVAL IN JOHANNESBURG: You will hear from Merle Whyte with
information about your hotel in Johannesburg and how to get there upon
arrival, as well as when and where to meet for the van to the ASI. If
you have any concerns, you can contact her at:

Merle Whyte" <merle at>
cell +27 082-465-2827

Dinner and breakfast at the hotel in Johannesburg have been covered,
but alcoholic beverages are on your own.

2. WITS RURAL FACILITY: For those arriving July 26 or July 27: The
Wits Rural Facility is nice, but on the "primitive" side. So, don't
come expecting luxury. (The South African Wildlife College is
luxurious in comparison). All meals will be included. Students will be
lodged in 4-bed "dormitories" with bunk beds (unless you have made
prior arrangement for single accommodation). These dorms do not have
bathrooms. There are "ablution facilities" nearby. Mentors will be
housed in rooms with two single beds, with two adjacent rooms sharing
a bathroom. One of the rooms will house two people. Internet access is
limited and will be on a "voucher" system. Cell phones will work, but
you may want to purchase a South African sim card. There is no
shopping at Wits, though the town of Acornhoek does have a few banks
and limited shopping, as does Hoedspruit. The wildlife on the estate
includes Kudu, Waterbuck, Reedbuck, Impala, Bushbuck, Duiker, Caracal,
Serval, Monkey and Baboon.  It is a great place for birding
enthusiasts. Except for the occasional leopard, there are no large
dangerous animals.  However, the neighbouring private reserves do have
animals such as lions, elephant and buffalo.  There is a 6 foot
electrified fence between us and them so it is unlikely that any such
animals will come onto WRF, but there is always a possibility. Avoid
walking at night and don't walk alone.  

4. SOUTH AFRICAN WILDLIFE COLLEGE: Housing for students will be in
tents with ensuite toilet and shower, 2-3 students per tent (unless
you have made arrangements for a single). The mentor and lecturer
rooms will have a work area, bathroom, and refrigerator. There is good
wifi. Cell phones will work, but you may need a South African sim
card.  There is the possibility of arranging game drives and bush walks
at modest prices, especially if we have a group getting together. (The
game drive price would be about $7 a person for a group of 10.) The
SAWC is adjacent to Kruger National Park and there are no fences
separating them. There is a swimming pool. There is a laundromat in
Hoedspruit, though I am not sure when we would be able to go (I will
try to find out).

5. Things to Bring (Partial List):

     a. If you are a student and are staying at Wits Rural Facility,
bring a towel. Bedding will be provided.

     b. Definitely be prepared for cold weather in early morning or at
night. But basically the climate is mild.  

     c. Some cash (change at the airport ok or at the hotel) for
snacks, miscellaneous, and outings.

     d. A flashlight

     e. Malaria medication (this is a malaria area, though this is not
mosquito season, I am told)

     f. walking shoes if you want to go on a bush walk or hike (hiking
boots not required)

     g. Adapters for your electronic devices, including laptops. 

     h. sunscreen, hat

     i. binoculars

     j. swim wear if you want to swim at SAWC 

     k. warm hat or gloves for the cold mornings

Please don't hesitate to contact us if you have questions or concerns:

Merle Whyte" <merle at>
cell +27 082-465-2827

Christine Spassione: spassion at
office: 1-732-445-4303 (weekdays)

Gene Fiorini: gfiorini at
office: 1-732-445-0075 (weekdays)
cell: 1-484-919-2540

Fred Roberts: froberts at
office: 1-732-445-4303 (weekdays)
cell: 1-908-803-7851


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