On the spur of the moment (but the seed was planted a little while ago) we decided to take a break and take the boys to the seaside and combine it with a visit to Crocworld, about two hours’ drive away. Why Crocworld? Mr.A are CRAZY about reptiles at the moment: dinosaurs, dragons, snakes, crocodiles, turtles, lizards… with Dinosaurs and Dragons an all time favourite and crocodiles quickly taking up the third favourite position. Crocworld had not just crocodiles and snakes, but also some birds and farm animals, thus catering more to the whole family ;) and not just reptile lovers.
All things sea and sand
As it was raining for most of our visit (typical), we only got to the beach on two occasions, but we made the most of both. They have been to the beach before, but unfortunately it was quick “drop-ins” with no time to sit and play. So their first visit this time round ended up in them splashing in the high tide waves rolling out on the beach (no photos – too wet!) They had quickly met and made friends with various kids at the resort we were staying and the group of kids had a ball on the beach with us parents keeping an eagle-eye lookout!
On the second visit to the beach the boys and I had it mostly for ourselves, as the day started out overcast and not at all inviting. But it suited us 100%
First cautious “inspection”
They quickly decided to play amongst the rocks rather than in the sand, as we have a rather large sand play area at home, which especially Mr.R often plays in.
Mr.A exploring more cautiously.
Within an hour the clouds started rolling away and the sun extended not-too-hot rays out our way:
Mr.A posing as strong-sea-man.
Mr.R inspecting the “rock pool”.
Trees were made for playing.
Trees were made for playing… and to enjoy the view.
Those days that were spent at the resort were also “wet-wet-wet” action: the speed slide was an immediate favourite and at first when courage lacked, they did it together. After that I had to raise the “mommy-voice” often to remind them to be cautious! In the end there were no injuries and they had made a bunch of friends, of whom one family also turned out to be home-schoolers!
Calmer activities like putt-putt (miniature golf) where also tried, as well as table tennis (which is still a bit out of their league). And if you can’t decide how to hold the putter for putt-putt and become frustrated, then you light the way for your family, all around the course.
Statue of Liberty lights the way.
They have seen the Statue of Liberty in various of their favourite movies, thus it has become a well-known favourite with them.
All things Reptilian
On our last day the skies cleared and we had a beautiful sunshine day ahead of us. We took off early for Crocworld (view some of their videos here), and the promised day among all things reptilian. Mr.A was SO excited he could hardly keep it in. We were regaled with many, many informational tidbits about reptiles, more specifically crocodiles (glad the dino’s and dragons are laid to rest for the moment!).
The staff was amazing. On arrival they immediately recognised eager anticipation in his eyes and organised that we visit the baby crocs after the standard “feeding talk” that are held at 11h00 every day. As luck would have it (for us, not the victim), a baby Sacred Ibis fell out of a tree in one of the crocodile areas (they have four different types of crocodiles), and became instant croc-food. We watched in shocked fascination as those giant jaws locked around the baby bird (almost full-grown, but couldn’t yet fly) and how it went about drowning it, then later on breaking bigger bones to be able to swallow this unexpected meal.
One of these babies became lunch.
At this stage my camera’s battery ran flat, so I had to revert to taking cellphone photos for the croc-talk.
Mr.A drank in as much of the guide’s talk as he could understand and take in, while Mr.R (not such a reptile fan) kept an eye on the exact location of the restaurant for his promised milkshake and chips. As soon as the talk finished, he took off straight for the deck, and patiently waited there (always within sight) for us to join him at a more leisurely pace. This isn’t something I normally allow, but as I knew he wouldn’t stop and do something stupid like try to touch a crocodile, and knew he was perfectly safe there on the deck of the restaurant, I let it slide. He did however get a warning about safety as soon as we joined him. But this almost 5-year-old boy had taken the initiative and ordered chips and milkshakes for both himself and his brother, keeping a table for us as family and just relaxing there all by himself.
clockwise, top left: US alligator close-up; Nile croc open jaws; Nile croc; chicken feed
Oh! Did you know that crocodiles don’t have tongues?
After lunch we visited the baby Nile crocodiles. Upon entering the room, the guide told us to stand dead still, as one of the babies had climbed out of the walled enclosure and he first wanted to pick it up, before it escaped out the door! Yes, crocodiles can climb up trees (and brick walls), especially when younger and nimbler, but even older (wild) crocodiles had been spotted IN trees, that were at an incline, looking for prey, or maybe just trying to reach a sunny spot (?!)
Eagerness changing into uncertainty about holding a real live baby Nile.
If my big brother can do it, so can I, with Mr.A cautioning in the back ground.
Really touching and feeling the difference in skin texture (back vs. tummy).
Did you know that a crocodile can shed teeth up to 50 times in their life time? As they grow they lose the smaller teeth to be replaced by bigger ones! They do not chew, but swallow their food whole, that is why they often shake and hit the food on the water or rocks to break the bones and make it more “swallow-able”. They also have a sort of “kitchen” area under the water where bigger, tougher pieces of meat can rot away to become softer and more manageable to swallow.
We also had a walk around their snake exhibits, as well as looking in on the tortoises, and the very nimble Nile Monitor Lizard (likkewaan).
One of the older inhabitants.
This guy was super fast and not at all happy with humans around his enclosure, so we left him alone.
Mr. Snake, where are you?
Bull frog (no not a reptile).
But Crocworld are not just about scales and sharp teeth, no I had a chance to walk among birds, with one very curious pelican who kept following us inside this walk-in cage. His fellow pelican was a different story – totally camera-shy. There was also Isis the Fish Eagle who could be heard throughout the park, as well as owls and horned bills, and a very small Animal Farm-area with playful goats.
clockwise, top left: Isis the Fish Eagle; pelican; yellow horn-bill; flamingoes
One very tired but happy family got back in the car for a lazy, quiet last afternoon at the sea, or at least listening to the sound of the sea from our stoep (patio).
PS: We stayed at Suntide Beach Club, KZN Banana Beach, as part of the RCI holiday exchange programme. I whole-heartedly recommend them for a nice family-like, relaxed stay in either flats, rondavels, or small holiday houses.
Hope you enjoyed sharing our beach holiday and visit to Crocworld.
Chat again soon.