Environmental educator for our Education and Outreach Programme, Matthew Dowling, then introduced the group to the fynbos, Ceder trees and hiking obstacles – in this case, rivers and rain! We hiked up to a large old Ceder tree where we had our lunch. Then began the race to the top, where it started to pour with rain and everyone was soaked by the time we reached the bus again.
The following morning the group went to Stadsaal, where they learned about the historical significance of the area, how it was used by the San bushmen and later as a stronghold and meeting place by the Boers in the Anglo-Boer war. The children enjoyed exploring the
beautifully sculpted rocks on their own.
They weren’t scared, but curious. They learned from their own observation that the snake had recently had a meal – there was a sizeable bulge in its middle. Seeing the puff adder definitely reinforced what had been said about how they need to keep their eyes open when walking in the veld.
The highlight of the trip for many of the children was the walk upstream to a beautiful pool where they could swim. They played in the water till they exhausted themselves and came out shivering but happy.
This was a great adventure for these children, outside of city life, a chance to breathe fresh air, drink clean mountain water, experience silence, run and play and just be themselves and feel calmness. ‘If only I could stay for two more weeks one girl commented, ‘I would climb every mountain.’
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