More than 70 children from Uplands College in White River and 30 learners from a school in Hazyview were introduced to indigenous ecological knowledge on a 'survivor-styled' weekend at Skukuza. "We used elements of surprise, challenge, competition and fun to give the grade nines an opportunity to add to their portfolios," says Dr Llewelyn Taylor, head of biology at Uplands College.
Activities included visits and talks at the buffalo project and rhino boma, the alien plant project and the Stevenson-Hamilton Library and museum. A visit to the 'My Acre of Africa' facility near Phabeni Gate gave them time to demonstrate and expand their animal and tree identification, as well as route map reading abilities, while learning more about the diverse cultures found in the area.
Saturday night saw them strut their stuff at a "Natural Products Fashion Show" where all the garments had to be produced only from indigenous material. The weekend was aptly ended with topical presentations and discussions about Kruger's present elephant management policy and options, as well as the Greater Limpopo Transfrontier Park.
"It was such an amazing opportunity to be so close to rhino and buffalo", said the Nguni group. Shosholoza said: "Many of us thoroughly enjoyed meeting fellow learners from Hazyview and sharing our experiences." "
It had to be our group that received the most technical tent to pitch, taking the group of 15 almost 30 minutes of struggling only to discover the tent poles were hidden in the tent bag!" - Ingala. "One of these (Survivor activities) was eating 'cultural food' - this proved to be more like Fear Factor!" - Mopani group. The Baobab group took great pride in winning the cultural food eating session.