Trip to South Africa
23 intrepid students were accompanied by three teachers from Archway School for the trip of a lifetime to South Africa over the Easter break.
This is the fourth time Archway School has organised such a trip, and the students experienced a range of adventures.
The trip started with a tour of Soweto, one of the biggest informal settlements in the world. Students were encouraged to investigate the role apartheid played in its creation and how tourism is now helping to regenerate the area. The large apartheid museum was visited, as was the Hector Pieterson memorial; the young boy who was shot dead in 1976 during a protest which sparked riots that brought the consequences of apartheid to the world’s attention. The group then travelled north to the wilderness and animals of Kruger National Park, spending time spotting lions, leopards, elephants, white rhinos and wild dogs, to name but a few. They got up close to elephants during a morning at the Whispers Elephant Sanctuary, where they learnt about conservation and the importance of ‘Big Game’ protection. Onwards then to the Blyde River Canyon, the third biggest river canyon in the world which left the students stunned by its beauty.
Leaving Kruger behind, the next stop was the capital Pretoria, visiting the Union Buildings and standing in the shadow of Nelson Mandela’s huge statue. From there a lion conservation project and chimpanzee sanctuary to gain an insight into the projects aimed at saving these animals across the continent.
The final stop was the Indian Ocean and the city of Durban; here the students were exposed to the extreme divide in the distribution of wealth within South Africa. The comparison was made between the affluent northern suburbs and the inner-city migrants struggling to make a living. From the base in Durban we had the opportunity to dive with some rather large sharks at Ushaka, the world’s fifth largest aquarium! The tour concluded with a boat trip around the magnificent harbour and into the ocean where dolphins were riding the surf of the boat. It was a great experience enjoyed by all which has inspired the students to think more about the world around them.