Our Environmental Awareness Course with Mid Kent College is now featured in an educational catalogue!
Archive for Albizia camp
Our Environmental Awareness Course with Mid Kent College is now featured in an educational catalogue!
First of all in the morning we all got up and had some breakfast that Victor made for us. After everyone was finished we made our way to the African Bird Of Prey Sanctuary. It was very good there. We all got to see and learn about different birds of prey we wouldn’t normally see in our country. We also saw a show at 10.30 to learn even more about these birds. I personally enjoyed it because I am not really a bird person, therefore it was really informative for me. We all managed to get some stunning photos to re-live the memories of the sanctuary. We also had some hotdogs after the show and spent some money in their gift shop.
After the bird of prey sanctuary we went to the Natal Lion Park. Before we went there Victor told us to go in with an open mind and make a decision about the zoo afterwards. Just from him saying this I realised that this zoo might not be of the best standard. And boy was I right. The enclosures that the animals were in were of very poor quality and none of the animals had any enrichment which is crucial in a zoo. I am not a very emotional person when it comes to most things but as soon as I saw the lions (my favourite animal) I literally just burst out crying. They were acting so unnaturally it made me angry more than anything.
I do understand that running a zoo takes time and money and that the owner might not have much. But there are such simple solutions to stop the animals behaving in this way. Even just a little enrichment would help. I know that if you want to work in the animal industry you have to see the bad side as well as the good. Therefore I am grateful that the college took us there. It has opened my mind to how some animals get treated and if anything it has made me more determined to succeed in the animal industry.
All in all I think it was a very good day!!!
Written by Jessica Randall
We went to the CROW rescue centre today. It was an unusual experience as it felt and looked like a zoo but this was not a zoo, it was an animal hospital. I enjoyed this visit as it was obvious these volunteers genuinely cared for the animals currently under rehabilitation. When we arrived instantly you felt out of place because no one else was around, this is not for the entertainment of humans so no one stood around staring at animals all day. The fact no one was near these animals showed us how serious crow was at keeping all outside stress to a minimum, it was made very clear to us by a volunteer that stress is a number one killer in animals and it gave us the understanding needed to keep our distance.
We saw an array of animals such as baboons, ducks, geese, tortoises, and ruibucks. These were the animals outside healing and preparing for release back into the wild. This was the main mission here, get wild animals back into the wild where they belong. When inside the information centre pictures of X-rays were displayed in the entrance. X-rays such as a monkey carrying a baby had pellets fired into her stomach and many birds that have swallowed badly discarded fishing hooks. These images hit me and many others hard, they were just so horrible to see so clearly what human beings are capable and willing to do to another living creature. it was a major eye opener for me. This made me and everyone else truly appreciate more what this organization was doing to help these animals. The motto that crow had pasted everywhere was ‘the best cage is an empty cage’, that was an inspirational motto and it will stay with all of us after we go home.
An inspirational experience that has opened our eyes x
Day 3 – muthi market / victoria street market
On day 3 of my South Africa trip. It was not a chill out day it was very much more serious. In the morning we got up, had breakfast, finished packing and off we left. We was on our way to the Muthi Market and the Victoria street Market, all of us were very nervous due to people telling us about there previous experiences and so we didn’t know what to expect or how we would feel. When we first got there we met our guide China who then gave us a brief description on what to expect and what the Victoria Street was all about. He explained that the Victoria Street Market was an indian Market and trade from all over South Africa. When walking around the Victoria Street Market I noticed that the people there were mainly selling Indian curios and spices. It was a maze of different things and i was very much interested in it. We then moved on to the Fish Market which stunk by the way, we were told that the meat we would find in there was not the typical meat you would find in england and when wandering round this market we noticed these things. There were various different fish being sold and goats head! Ergh!! Stomachs, hearts and other organs being sold from different animals (fish heads, intestines, tripe and sheep trotters). We then moved on to the Muthi Market, our guide warned all sensitive people to bare with him as some of the things we were going to experience would be very upsetting and so I knew then i was going to cry! Lol! When we first walked into there we were shocked to see so many horrible things. Live Chickens in such cruel living conditions, decomposed animals just hanging from the roofs. We went on to see an entire Monkey just hanging there dead, its facial features gave off an impression of fear it was horrible to see and affected everyone. Zebra tails and Lion skulls, things that I never expected to see and didnt want to believe actually had such an impact on how I look at things in life and about how the culture here in Africa is very different. The people who were working there seemed very wary of us students walking around and observing what they do and so some were not aknowleging us, some were and others were hiding things. When walking around the market you could tell how commited the people are about what they do and why they do it.
Although it was heartbreaking and made me very angry to see such cruel things, another reason why it affected me so much was because it was so sad to think that there way is all they know. Its there way of life, And will it ever change? No one knows. Even though the day was upsetting and full of many different emotions. I am so glad and very greatful that i was given the chance to experience the peoples way of life and can now take into account just how lucky I am, how peoples ways of life are so different and just how passionate i am about animals and the animal industry.
Hayley – ND2B
Mid Kent -Day 2 – sea life centre (and a monkey on the roof!!)
After spending an amazing day at uShaka water park the next morning was spent with everyone buzzing with excitement to what the day would lead to. The whole group generally get on really well so we all spent the morning eating breakfast outside by the swimming pool. Whilst eating breakfast we were all astounded to see a wild Vervet monkey join us for breakfast. It’s so liberating to see a wild monkey we were all in awe. After prepping our bags we set out into the mini bus and headed back to Ushaka marine park but this time to the sea life centre.
Driving through the city towards UShaka we’ve all seen first hand just how rough south africa can be. Never in a million years would i walk the street alone I’d probably feel more safe walking through strood on my own at night. If you know how dodgy Strood can be you’d get a slight idea on what all the back alleys and run down areas here are like. The more we travel through Durban it makes me appreciate what i’ve got back home in England. This experience will be one I will carry with me for life.
Once we arrived at the marine park we were led to the education centre. It was here we endured a very long presentation on the marine life and photosynthesis rates throughout the world and the science behind plankton. Once finished we had cups of tea and rusks. Over here in south africa they have thick squares of hard rusk. It’s not like the rusks we have back home and here it is like a delicacy. When we all first tried one we were like wow these are going to break our teeth. But the more we eat the easier it gets to eat and it turns out they are actually really nice!
We were then split into two groups with two guides and had our own personal tour of the sea life centre. Once finished we headed out to this massive arena where we watched a fantastic dolphin show! It is amazing to see how intelligent dolphins are. A girl in our group called Saffron was chosen to go down to the water and to her surprise was then splashed by all the dolphins. It was pretty humorous to watch as it really was not expected.
Half hour later the dolphin show had finished. We then went behind the scenes of sea life and learnt about just how much work gets put into maintaining the enclosures. The amount of equipment it takes to filter and clean the water is just astounding. We learnt that the sea life centre we went to uses water directly from the sea which was situated right next to Ushaka. After looking around the filtration systems we then got the chance to go into the breeding area. This was the room where sea life bred different marine species and kept all the nurseries. So many cute baby sea horses! After that we then went into quarantine. Quarantine was where they kept all the new species of fish and aquatics species to either cure diseases or ensure they have no problems with them whatsoever if they were new to the centre.
After a great day at the sea life centre we then headed back to the education centre for a talk on the dangerous animals which are found in south africa and the three different toxins these animals have. We then went into the dangerous animals exhibit they have at UShaka and got close and personal with different snakes, monitors, iguanas etc. It was pretty cool getting up close and personal with various different reptiles and we even got the chance to feed the bull frogs.
After the dangerous animals we then had an hour to go off in groups, do a little more shopping and to get some food. We went to Steers which is SO yummy. We all indulged in massive burgers and thick cut fries our bodies could not handle then headed back to the mini bus to go home. Once we got home Anton and Elle let us all go to the beach which was directly in front of our house. Some amazing views of the city in far distance and the sea here is so rough ! The waves are extreme here and frankly looking at the English waves back home they are pathetic ! Everyone decided to stand in the crash zone of the waves and everyone got soaked. Being a total pansy when it comes to water I decided to just sit on the beach with my friends. Have a giggle and just chill out. The sand here is so odd. I don’t know what to class it as but still the beaches here are just amazing. After spending an hour at the beach we all got home, got in our pjs and all just had a great laugh playing cards or just girly chats (and the boys). For dinner we had a classic burger and chips.
Overall the experience here is one I’ll never be able to replicate. I’m learning so much already and I’ll never forget anything here. This is truly all once in a lifetime and we are all so thankful to Elle for organizing such an amazing trip to South Africa.
Written by Naomi Motson ND2B <3
Day 1 – ushaka
Before heading to uShaka we were taken to a place known as Natal Sharks Board. We would’ve gone out on a boat, but unfortunately the storms the night before made the sea too rough. We went inside and learnt about the biology of the sharks before heading outside to observe a Shark Dissection. We watched the lady slice open a hammer head shark. She explained about the organs and and how the shark works, along with the statistics of their shark nets and the sharks abilities. Although it was gory and smelled awful, I really enjoyed myself.
Having not spent too long in South Africa, I’ve only just started gaining a feel of the culture. Our first day was mostly spent at uShaka. I myself thought this was just a water park (or at least I’d gained the impression) but boy, was I wrong. Getting to uShaka was full of surprises already, seeing the different variety of shops and market. People walking down the roads and motorways selling products or begging.
We got to uShaka and I was already excited, but confused for the layout. There was no sign of the water park. We gained a paper entry wristband of some sort, and went through the barrier, which led us to shops. Now, I as a gamer, was very excited to see a game shop, full of titles of new games like Fifa 13 but also games for the Ps2! Anyway, enough of that. We walked past the shops and restaurants which led us to the water park.
I was really excited, you had to walk past the rides to get to the changing rooms, so essentially we knew what was coming.
After changing we went from one side of the park to the other, going on every slide and ride in order. Apart from the tallest drop slide. (me and Carly did that slide 4 times. It hurt.)
There was a disco area over the pool where music was played and we got to see the mascots dance to their own song. Some other students made them Dance the Gangnam style, which was hilarious to watch.
Although I enjoyed it, I realized the water park is actually quite small. My mind let on to debates with myself about how africa is known for being dry and people suffer from dehydration, yet they can have a water park? I’m starting to think their priorities aren’t in order. Anyway after the water park we went shopping for things (games and food were sorted) and I managed to find interesting drinks. Monster energy resealable cans, Kreme soda and sparberry soda. I think I enjoyed myself a little too much. (I think I spent too much also). I also found great restaurants like steers. Steers is amazing.
There are lots of dodgy people around. Men will approach and flirt with random girls. Makes me glad i’m a guy. I’ve had to save some girls from awkward men at the water park. I’m generally intimidated by the Africans anyway, let alone the fact I find everything socially awkward.
With all that being said, I was tired and ready to go. We left to our accommodation where we had pasta (spaghetti) with each other and I gained more friends. That’s probably the most important thing i’ll leave here with.You know. Minus the life experience, the drinks not available in the uk, and the curios and souvenirs.
P.S. Sorry if it’s brief, we did so much in the day that it’s hard to sum it into words
P.P.S Hope you enjoyed it.
P.P.P.S Written by Simon Johnson, ND2C
(Jo M, Victoria & Randall says Hi family!)
There were a lot of tears last night and then again today at the airport. Cries of “I don’t want to leave”, “let me stay and play with the cheetah again!” and “when can I come back” are still ringing in my ears as I write this!
Well, of course you can come back, just contact Tony about volunteering to help with the group next year or if you’d rather, bring your family and do a very similar trip that Anton can set up for you!
The last day of the expedition started with the usual groans of apprehension. What followed was to be a great day of walking down to the border between Mozambique and South Africa.
The morning started with everyone getting up and preparing their kit bags for the day ahead. Tents were to be cleared out of all kit although some people forgot their clothes which they had left to dry on the washing line (trees around their tent) What followed was a quick final breakfast down at the dive center then bags on and off walking for 8am.
Walking the road past the market followed by some very quick haggling with the locals for the last items from them, then off again down the road and on to the school we were at all those day’s before. Followed from the local village by the usual entourage of kids all of which were coping with the heat better than the rest of us.
As time went past a giant game of leap frog started to occur between the 3 different groups all trying to reach the border first helped to while away the hours as did loads of energy sweets and the constant chatter of random topics of conversation ranging from what we had done, what was left in store for use to some very random topics which are too strange for words. This would only occur when we were not observing the sky’s for the odd bird of prey (kites and a Fish Eagles mainly but there was a snake eagle)
It was as the final kilometers drew into view the final realization that we were leaving Mozambique began to kick in memories came flooding back of what we had done in Mozambique. At the border we were greater with the wide embrace of Tony and Anton (Ha it was more of being thrown through the border bags into the van and the shout of scavengers over here). As well as congratulations from Lacey (who was, I think, taking 100 pictures a second) and Charlotte. On the other side of the border we where greeted by Meva and then driven back to Anton’s where we were treated to Meva’s famous Lasagne.
From the whale watching to climbing signal hill and the tremendous fun we had with the locals in the schools and orphanage none of us would forget what we have achieved.
So, before I get onto the poor tent building and our terrible dancing, it’s the next morning and sitting in front of the watering hole is a picture of perfection… Back to yesterday, after a long drive, which, in pretty much any other country, would have been boring and tedious was yet another journey of excitement, beautiful scenery and lots of wildlife kept us all entertained. We arrived at our destination buoyant from the drive, only to realise that we had to put tents up. What started out as a mess of poles ended up as a mess of a tent, but at least sleep-able, well for someone else, my tent was as sturdy as a brick house (thanks to Camping King Stuart). Tents up, Anton decided nose-breaking American football in the dark was a good idea, with Lottie letting the Lions know exactly where we were (screaming from a football flying at her face) poor light eventually called time on the play, perfect timing for dinner. Dinner was a good old old English Shepards pie with an African twist, yum…
With dinner demolished and beer in hand, we were treated (that word would seem to be overused, but seriously every turn is a surprise and the next thing is the new best experience of my life) with Swazi dancers, with lots of noise and lots of flare the dancers showed the rest of us how to do it and in return we showed them how not to, and on that bombshell, bedtime listening to the lion calls!