For sports teacher Andrew White it was a busy summer in Africa and it all kicked off with a school expedition to South Africa and Namibia in July. Twenty Dane Court students finished their exams and jumped on a plane and headed for the wonders of Cape Town, led by Mr White and Mrs Opperman. Over the next few days they explored the city and the wonderful Fynbos as they headed for the Namibian border. With the desert now taking hold they found themselves at Fish River Canyon, the second largest in the world. As they sat there to watch the sunrise they experienced complete silence for the first times in their lives.
With the sun up they continued north deep into the ancient Namib Desert, along the way the journey gave them glimpses of some of natures desert specialists. This included the majestic Oryx, whose noble presence gave an air of ease in this testing environment. They finally arrived at Dune 45, their climbing challenge for the trip, although not the biggest dune, its challenge comes in the desire to beat the rise of the sun and knowing the high sporting ability of this group Mr White was confident it would be achieved. Thankfully he was right and although tougher than many perceived they sat at the top and watched the most spectacular of sunrises, before the excitement of the journey down. "I loved it at the top of Dune 45, the sunrise was so beautiful and worth the climb to the top and then came the run down, It was so fun and made me feel so happy" said Anna.
The journey continued, peppering their hearts minds with love and amazement. We moved from the smells and sounds of a seal colony to the quietness of animal tracking in a dry riverbed. Each night they sat under the stars, eating scrumptious food, surrounded by their tents and the sound of the bush. Warmed by the campfire they would talk fondly of what had happened that day and tell stories of adventurers of the past.
They then took a break from the journeying and settled down into community life in the Erongo region of Namibia. Camping on the edge of a school. Here the students became part of day to day life, going to school, playing sport, visiting the orphanage run by the local pastors wife and helping with a few community improvement projects. Whenever we visit we are always lucky to be able to bring with us gifts. From glasses to toothpaste and a huge amount of sports kit, each gift is well received and the school would like to thank the kind help of The Dental Surgery in Broadstairs, Lions Club International and Frank White.
The final destination was Etosha National Park, a place that is always loved by the students due to the elephants and rhinoceroses. Thankfully they were not disappointed during their visit. As dusk fell, the air around the water hole was filled with a symphony of noise created by low frequency rumbles. Large herds of satisfied elephants drank, as impala and jackals danced between the maze of legs and trunks, searching for their own sip of water. Then in the depths of the night, a moonlit sky shone down on a female rhino and her calf. Dan said "Sitting by the watering hole and seeing rhinos, elephants and giraffes come and go was amazing... I really do think this place has changed me" These are moments of magic captured the heart of every member of the group and will stay with them forever. "Every second of every minute of every day was a brilliant experience" said Chloe.