And They Say We’re the Lucky Ones!

Hippos are one of the most dangerous animals in the world, so who in their right mind would want to stay in a lodge surrounded by hippos and crocodiles? None other than the daring participants of ILSSO!

It may sound risky, but there is nothing better than waking up to the tranquilizing sounds of the dam where the hippos of Hippo Hollow Country Estates come for a swim every morning. After breakfast overlooking the beautiful river, we boarded our buses to enjoy not only agriculture, but some of the natural beauties of South Africa.

Our first stop was at Bourke’s Luck Potholes. After a curvy downward hike, we were met by the breathtaking waterfalls surrounded by mountains. We were able to get up close and personal with the organic rocks and falls as we explored the natural wonders of their gorgeous country.

To only add to the awe, we then visited Blyde River Canyon. This would be in parallel to experiencing the Grand Canyon in the United States, but the major difference is that while ours is arid, the Blyde River Canyon is covered with greenery. It was truly amazing to literally be hanging out in the clouds of such a beautiful site.

Seeing so many indescribable sights today it is hard to fathom that some Africans think we are the lucky ones since we have been in awe during this entire experience. It is so much better than we could have ever expected!

While the sight-seeing was incredible, it wouldn’t be an FFA trip without a trip to an agricultural outlet, which today was with Gerrit Roos on his family farm “Leeubank.” We began by touring his over 5,000 acre farm where he produces corn, soybeans, oats, Tuli and Pinzgaur cattle, and Merino sheep. We were able to enjoy a wonderful lunch provided by Mr. Roos and his hospitable family.

We winded down our day with shopping time at a local store in Pretoria where we were able to find some great cultural souvenirs to bring back to our friends and families.

With so many once-in-a-lifetime opportunities we have been given, it is easy to say that we are having the time of our life on ILSSO!

Forever blue,

Gina Locke
2011-2012 Tennessee State Sentinel

Lindy Bilberry
2013-2014 Kansas State President




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