Our Environmental Awareness Course with Mid Kent College is now featured in an educational catalogue!
Archive for Duke of Edinburgh Award
Our Environmental Awareness Course with Mid Kent College is now featured in an educational catalogue!
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
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.
Expedition Day 3
“Another s**t day in Africa” as Tony would say.
Started off early(ish), ready for the Dolphin experience boat trip for 7 o clock. Many of us were bitten to hell throughout the night especially George & Stuart. So we sat down and waited for the man to tell us what to do.
He arrived soon after and we were given a quick talk about how we would all get soaked and that if we didn’t strap ourselves adequately enough we would find ourselves floating in the water somewhere while the boat would leave us behind. You could tell at this point that the “dollar-a-day” had taken its toll. The tiredness in our faces and bodies represented lack of enthusiasm but that would soon change.
We soon followed him towards the boat (all but Glyn who had a ‘special’ coffee & Lottie who went scuba diving) and told that the girls would go to the back while ‘us’ guys would go to the front. Naively we all approached the boat prepared to jump on and set off. Thinking that the take off would be easy, the boat was released from the trailer and floated on the water. However this all changed, we all ran after the boat barely keeping up in an attempt to grab a hold of any part of the boat. When we did get into position we were battered by a wave; pulling Beth, Becky and a few others under the boat and tipping the boat vertically up. All I remember there on is looking to the left and seeing Ellie desperately trying to get on while one of the guys was pushing her up meanwhile we all would get hit by another wave. After she got on the boat I jumped on and strapped myself in.
From here on it got better. We were told that the Dolphins were just around the corner so we decided to chase them up and so headed straight for them. A few minutes later we saw a few dolphin fins popping up through the water. Approaching closer we came as close as about 5m to four bottle nose dolphins. Everything beforehand now seemed a distance memory and so we just sat in amazement that we were so close to the dolphins. We continued to follow them for about 20mins before heading off to find the whales. With Stuart guiding the skipper we found one whale further South seeing the huge creature appear up now and again from the water, occasionally shooting out a beam of water. Then finally heading up-shore northwards to see a final two more whales.
After giving us all a lollipop each we could see that we were heading for the beach, all bracing ourselves we had images of us going in at full speed with big collisions. This was because of the previous speech from both the workers and Tony who said things such as if you don’t hold on to the boat, it will stop but you won’t. However this was far from the truth, we actually landed very graciously (for a boat landing) hardly feeling anything. We all got off and you could see everyone enjoyed it from the smiling faces of everyone.
Next followed breakfast which was happily welcomed and everyone was just chilling out for the next few hours.
After everybody had recovered from the morning’s excitement, the first ever DofE beach rugby match took place. To begin with teams were Glyn, Nathan, Jess, Beth versus George, Peter, Ellie, Reagan and Glyn’s team won 5 tries to 4. Second round teams were Stuart, Charlotte, Peter, Beth versus Glyn, Nathan, Ellie and Reagan. The final score was Glyn’s team 3 tries to 2.
Everybody met up at bar 360 at 3pm which gave people a chance to visit the local tourist craft market which was the perfect chance to practice and enhance our haggling skills. George would go around with a similar speech for all merchants saying something along the lines of if you don’t give us a good price he would take all his customers to someone else. This went on for roughly an hour before most of us gave in and bought trousers, accessories or some other form of African style clothing.
Next we headed off to the 360 bar. Walking the same path as we did to the market we arrived having to walk up a steep hill to get to the top where the bar was situated. We all got our orders of food which was delicious and sat watching the scenery, before deciding to head back at around 5pm.
Nathan & Glyn
Kosi Bay – Historic Fish Traps and Beach
After breakfast at our Kosi Bay accommodation we all walked down to the historic fish traps where we were introduced to Elmon a local fisherman. Elmon took us into the water and gave us a tour of the traps and showed us how they worked. Unfortunately the tide was too high in the morning to catch fish so we went to the beach for an hour or so.
At the beach we split into three groups – sunbathers, paddlers and ball gamers.
When we returned to the fish traps in the afternoon, Elmon took a few of us back out to the fish traps and Beth, Glyn, Alicia, Lottie, Becky and Adam went into the fish traps to try and spear fish. Three fish were caught, one each by Glyn, Lottie (stabbing it multiple times and getting covered in fish guts/blood) and Adam. The fish were carried to shore and given to Elmon to take home to his family.
Glyn told to spear fish.
Glyn spear fish.
Day 5 – Wilderness Trail
Got up quite early and got ready for the over night wilderness trail. Not going to lie, sounded pretty scary, walking through the bush and then camping over night outside with people taking shifts to keep watch, but it was so cool!!!!! So the walk to the camp was quite long… we got a few breaks and a nice long lunch break (while Lottie went to the loo about 5 times!) but our guide, Joe, walked at quite a pace and seemed to have constant energy! But we got to camp early, and saw some hippos in the water near our camp, which was amazing! There were about 5 of them just there, staring at us. It was cool until we realized that we would be camping next to them and they could walk through our camp if they wanted, as could crocs, as could hyenas, as could ANY animal that wanted to, hence the night watch! Without even a sit down, we went straight into Croemalena clearing, which is an alien crop that kills some of the animals if they eat it. We were shown how to use the machetes and then we got to it. Anneka and me enjoyed it slightly too much I think! We proper went for it and got LOADS cleared away! We were pretty happy with it! Then we were finished for the day, I was really hot disgusting from the walk and the clearing… I hadn’t planned to shower, so I didn’t bring a towel or anything, but I went for an open air shower! It was AMAZINGG!!! Lots of hot water and a nice fire outside to keep my clothes warm. So good! Then we sat around the camp fire for a bit while it got dark and then…. it was BBQ time!!!! We had Nyala steaks, Wildebeest sausages, potato salad, beetroot salad and really yummy bread – an AWSOME bbq!! The we toasted marshmallows on the fire, which I’ve never done before! Smelt and tasted soooo good! Then people started going to bed and the night watch started for the first group. Nothing much came through the camp, but our night log became quite inventive, with a family of hippos scaring Beth near the toilet and me, Glyn and Alicia fighting off an alien invasion. The whole thing was a great experience. When else are we going to get the chance to sleep outside in the African bush?!!
Today started with one of tommy’s infamous wake up calls, violently shaking the tent yelling “Good morning my sleeping beauties” giving us all the shock of our lives before we fell into fits of giggles, even first thing in the morning this trip is exciting.
We expected today to be one of the quieter ones, due to a long boring drive to Swaziland, but as we’re quickly learning Africa is never what you expect. After only half an hours drive we came across something even more shocking than tommy’s wake up calls, a lone female lion crossing the road only meters ahead of us. It was an amazing sight, she was so calm and graceful, meanwhile we were bouncing around the minibus in excitement, we didn’t even have chance to calm down again before we drove past four giraffes grazing at the side of the road. I think what made all these encounters so amazing was their unpredictability, to think we were expecting a boring drive!
However i don’t think any encounter no matter how unpredictable or amazing will compare to the elephant interaction we experienced today. Just seeing these majestic animals walking towards us out of the bush made us gasp, they were incredible, I’ve seen elephants before but never noticed how calm and gentle these giants are.
The presentation was genuinely interesting, did you know after 50 years an elephant must sleep standing up or the pressure of their weight will give them a heart attack? Nope neither did i. Feeding the elephants was indescribable. While it was awe inspiring and enlightening, it was also funny and felt like being licked by a giant jack russell.
The drive again was another mini safari, seeing baboons, cheetah, impala, zebra and even more giraffes.
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!