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SOS Children's villages escape to Pilanesberg NP on the 13-15 of January 2012

By donating 5$ on each booking for all our South African trips, towards SOS Children's villages, we allow local disadvantaged children to get to see the wildlife on their doorstep at Pilanesberg National Park.

This is a great opportunity to educate them about conservation issues and threat, while ensuring they have a great and inspiring escape from their every day life.


Week-end of 13-15th January safari experience in Pilanesberg NP

The last weekend for the underprivileged teenagers from the SOS Children’s Village in Ennerdale in the South of Johannesburg happened this year from 13 -15 January 2012.  The guides (Albert, Dirk, Maxwell and Larissa) were very excited to work with this group of young people.

The objectives were to give them the opportunity to see and learn about South African wildlife and also the different career possibilities in the tourism industry.

They left on Friday morning at 8 o’clock to meet 8 girls, 12 boys and 3 caretakers – all very excited to go on tour this weekend. After the drive to the Bakgatla Camp in Pilanesberg National Park, they learned how to pitch their tents or to prepare lunch, and were very motivated to help. 

On Friday afternoon they had the chance to meet Aubrey, the Restaurant Manager at Bakgatla, who gave the children a brief description about his own career, starting off as a waiter, his aims and dreams in life which drove him  to achieve these goals and succeed. The teenagers were shy to start off but then slowly started to ask more questions from the studies they have to follow to get in the different positions up to the biggest challenges in the different jobs. They appreciated the answers to their questions. Aubrey also motivated them to be smart in life to achieve their goals. It was a very interesting talk!

On Saturday they met two rangers, who also talked about their careers and gave advice on how to get into certain positions. Again the children took the chance to ask questions about their jobs, the wildlife in Pilanesberg and even made propositions how to reduce the rhino poaching.

During this weekend and especially during the game drives, the guides took the opportunity to explain more about their role and to answer the children’s many questions. 

They did 4 game drives throughout the weekend. All the children were intensely looking for animals. They saw rhinos, black-backed jackals, giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, kudus, springboks, impalas, tsetsebes, hartebeest, steenbok, dung beetles, different birds and also talked about the flowers and different tree species. The children were very interested and got really excited about the wildlife, especially when they stopped at the lunch spot and got out of the truck to observe a waterhole. At first there weren't any wildlife, when suddenly a hippo came out of the mud very close to them, to their great excitement!

The children couldn’t believe their eyes and became very curious asking why the hippo is making itself so dirty and if it will manage to come out of the mud completely because it looked very slippery. Unfortunately they couldn’t see it come out completely as the hippo decided to go back to sleep.

The knowledge of the children varied, some being able to identify some animals and others not knowing anything about any of the animals however by the end of the trip they all expanded greatly their ability to identify and describe all wildlife behaviour.

All of the guides believe the children learnt a lot on this weekend not only regarding the wildlife, but also the different career possibilities and team building and support. They really enjoyed working with the teenagers – it looked challenging at the beginning, but they are very happy with the result! 

Here is the feedback from some of the children:

Andries:

"The first day we came in the campsite and we worked as a team, and held the tents up and went to prepare lunch, and it was a really good feeling to prepare lunch as a team and at the same time learning from each other. After lunch we went of to the swimming pool and to the trampoline having fun in a positive way. Then the workers came and talked to us about how to enter different fields and motivated us in working hard and not giving up. Thank you for the wonderful opportunity and to expose us to wildlife and career opportunities."

Sarah:

"My first experience on safari was very nice, I got to learn things that I did not know, ex: difference between white rhino and black rhino, how long a giraffe can sleep and a lot more and I learnt how to build a tent! wow! This has lightened up my world and imagination on tourism and wildlife, so I would really like to learn more, Thank you for the wonderful experience!"

Tommy:

"To the tour guides of the safaris, I just want to thanks them for a wonderful experience. I first of all want to thank them for talking about their experience in their career, it was really fun. It was a great opportunity and fun experience, it influenced me with a lot of positive ideas about nature reserves. The things I enjoyed the most was when the game rangers came to us and told us what their job is all about. Thank you again for the great experience and for allowing us all the career choices in game reserves."

We are delighted to see the great success of this project and hope our contribution together through your bookings in our South African tours will allow to continue to offer this beautiful opportunity to the young disadvantaged children. 

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Wildlife discovery
Wildlife discovery
The team preparing lunch
Lecture on careers opportunities
Going on safari
rhinos in Pilanesberg NP
Enjoying lunch
Hippo in the mud
Setting up the tents
Zebra crossing
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