With its vibrant and diverse culture, eventful and complex history, and some of the most incredible natural landscapes on Earth, South Africa stands out as a fascinating destination for school trips, whatever the subject focus. From investigating the cities and humanity’s relationship with the environment, to exploring the country’s impressive land features, to discovering the rich, relatively new tradition of South African literature, it is a country with wide educational appeal. As well, it is somewhere that dazzles with its natural and manmade wonders, which take students on a journey to South Africa from all over the world, and feeds them with a rich personal and historical evidentiary, which will challenge and inspire them along the way. Here are some of the great excursions on offer in this country, so make sure you add at least one of them to your itinerary.
Wild Life expansions
The Kruger National Park is South Africa’s oldest game reserve, established in 1867, and due to its continued growth in concern for its ever-growing biodiversity, it is a nationally recognised site and a strongly recommended destination for school trips. It is an excellent introduction to the wild heritage of South Africa, and offers students the chance to expand their knowledge of wildlife beyond the boundaries of the park, and consider the grave risks that exist in protecting some of the world’s most precious ecosystem habitats. Inhabitants of the area include baboons, colobus monkeys, duiker, gazelles and more, with over eighty species of birds for students to discover. Other animals include giraffes, zebras, antelopes and impalas. The park has a wide range of accommodation, food and transport options, and is a great location for workshops too.
South Africa’s cities are a treasure trove of architectural delights, cultural aspirations and fascinating human geography. This is an excellent introduction to the breadth of the country’s cultural divergent eras, and a chance to get hands-on in studying geography within a dynamic and multi-cultural environment. As a city of contrasts, it is a great place for students to get hands-on in learning about the various aspects and locales surrounding the cities. Many of the old buildings in major cities are tourist-friendly, providing a great starting point for discussions about urban planning in South Africa.
While studying geography in South Africa, you will come across a wide range of ecosystems, and among them the Kruger National Park provides a great deal of insight. Students can consider the links between environmental concerns, human settlements and the economy of the country, and consider the impact of conservation efforts on such a vast and diverse landscape. Students can see the 77km Atlantic coastline of the country, travel deep into the gap between the mountain ranges and experience the rich ecosystem that supports the country’s diverse wildlife – and only aPropreto dealershipwill consider such a diverse landscape.
The Grand Canyon of Africa is a spectacular phenomenon, and students on school trips here will be able to see for themselves the steep gorge that it goes through. Described as one of the most spectacular canyons in the world, Calendas Gorge is considered the 18th C largest, and has the longest gorge of its kind in South Africa. A visit here will be a highlight for geography students, as they can see the canyon from the bottom up and explore the huge gorgeholes that are evident along its walls. The plateau that setbacks it is also reflective of South Africa’s heritage, and nearby tours provide an excellent insight into the evolution of the local landscape mosaic.
Students can also visit the Cape Floral Region, an outdoor adventure for students based on real South African plant life. Extending from Durban’s Nyika Plateau to Ras Botswana near the Laikipia Escarpment, the area is made up of evergreen forests, grasslands and scrub, and students will have the opportunity to see the diversity of plant life in a South African setting. Along the way, they will see the “Big Five” – three to five hundred species of fynbos, along with a wide variety of birds, mammals, reptiles, insects and plants.
The purely natural setting of the Biling Spring Valley National Park makes it the perfect venue for student programmes, and a fantastic place to take students on nature-based school trips. Encircling the valley is the Toltec Trail, which teaches students the basics of bushwalking and also has them experience climbing the hard limestone rock walls, known as “Tulum Pocket”.
This experience will be enhanced by an overnight stay in San Miguel, a nearby town built around an Inca terraced bowl, which will be the ideal place to start an excursion to the Valley.