For the second year in a row, the grade 12 pupils of Saint Francis College in Durban visited the Kruger National Park (KNP), and got the chance to meet one of the college's influential graduates - Dr Bandile Mkhize, Kruger's executive director. Visiting Kruger from September 21-23, 2006, the learners were accompanied by their teacher Zama Khuzwayo and chaplain Father Khumalo, both visiting the park for the first time.
As well as time spent game-viewing, the pupils learnt more about the careers available in conservation and Khuzwayo says that the Kruger staff were very helpful. She added that it was great for the children to meet Dr Mkhize, saying he was a very open person and an encouragement to them.
In the restful atmosphere of the park, Father Khumalo says that the pupils felt more at ease to talk to him and that together they learnt more about each other, and he was able to help and give advice on issues that would never have been brought up under normal circumstances.
According to Vusi Mkhize, from Kids in Kruger, a spirited discussion was also part of the visit, where the topic of 'land for animals vs land for people' was hotly debated by the group. This came after some of the learners asked why land was conserved for animals when there were people living in shacks without land for houses.
The role of tourism in a health national economy was included in the discussion, with Kruger's conservation of natural resources providing a prime tourism attraction. The visit was enjoyed by all, and there were high hopes that the teachers and other learners could return to Kruger next year.