Having touched down in King Shaka International Airport, the South Africa Study Trip made their way along the coastline, through nature reserves, to Somkhanda Game Reserve in the mountains.
Once settled, students were taken out to explore the bush, the start of their amazing adventure, further developing their skills in tracking and the monitoring of animals. Each group undertook a night drive, a good way in which to see various types of animals who are nocturnal and only venture out into the African bush after hours. It can often become a game of survival for certain animals as predators roam the landscape stalking their prey. One group was fortunate enough to see a bull elephant and the other a pack of lions which had caught a wilderbeast. On monitoring drives one group tracked a herd of Buffalo and the other group located a pack of wild dogs.
From the Somkhanda Game Reserve student’s made their way to Moholoholo. There they learnt the art of birding and tree identification. Out in the bush again, they were able to put into practice their new skills, identifying animal tracks by location and browsing the surroundings for further clues of the species. This was hugely successful as they came across giraffe and hippo. Later on students were able to visit the community surrounding the reserve, which was really special, as the group learnt about their culture and way of life.
Later in the week students visited the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre, the Moholoholo Rehabilitiation Centre and the Hoedspruit Breeding Centre. Here students learnt about the conservation efforts focusing on cheetahs and rhino. They were also told about the devastating effects of poaching in South Africa (95 elephants a day!) and the efforts being undertaken to combat this.
Their journey continued on to Kruger National Park, which is the same size as wales! Whilst in Kruger they went out on game drives all day, spotting as many animals as possible. The national park is so full of amazing wildlife and the groups ended up seeing the big 5 twice alongside wild dogs, leopards, antelope and an array of birdlife!
On the final night there was a celebration of the week, the guides cooked the group a transitional braai (BBQ) which everyone sat round and enjoyed for their last evening in South Africa. It was an amazing experience and a great time was had by all, with memories made that will last a lifetime.
Interested in Animal Welfare? View our course here.