Beyond the classroom: What we saw at Camdeboo
Monitor lizards are a family of lizard that ranges from a tiny species that never grow beyond 20 centimetres to the Komodo dragon that can reach up to 3 metres. Some of the extinct species of monitor lizards could grow up to 7 meters long. They all have basically the same shape and built, but differ in size. The difference in size between the smallest species and the largest is equivalent to the difference in size between a mouse and an elephant.
At 30 cm tall, a meerkat has to stay alert at all times. In order to remain safe, they constantly communicate with the other members of their group through vocal calls – essentially they chat with each other all day long. They have two distinct calls, one meaning "run for cover" and the less urgent "danger may be in the area".
The rock formations seen at the Valley of Desolation are the result of an interplay between erosion and volcanic activity. First, layers of mud and sand were deposited on top of each other, then volcanic molten rock flowed into cracks and crevices in the soft earth. Over time, the mud and sandstone eroded away leaving only the majestic dolerite columns.