I had wanted to go on this trip since I saw a presentation about it in third year, so, it’s safe to say that on the Saturday morning before we all met at Pocklington School, I was very excited, and I could not wait to get there.
However, trips like these come with their own set of obstacles, and I’m sure that all those who went along will agree that getting there was one of the first, but, after a four hour drive, an eight hour flight, a five hour layover, another three hour flight and countless sick bags, we made it to Livingstone.
At the airport, we met our driver, Captain, who truly deserved the title of ‘Trip Hero’ that he received at the awards ceremony on the final night. We arrived at the Livingstone Backpackers, and the food team went on the first of many trips to Shoprite, to buy and then cook enough food for 22 hungry people, after 26 hours of travelling.
A trip like this pushes you out of your comfort zone, and I think that became evident early on in the trip, for some people, visiting the Maramba old people’s home, going into a room filled with strangers, many of whom spoke very little English, was most definitely a challenge. However, with the help of juice, biscuits and some games, everyone was soon interacting in some way, and we all came away feeling not only proud of ourselves, but also with a sense of achievement, having overcome fears.
For some, the trek provided a whole new obstacle, covering long distances, over rough terrain, and cooking on open fires, on the banks of the Zambezi, is not something that many people can say that they were prepared for. As well as this, we slept on the beaches with nothing but a sleeping bag, looking up at the stars, but it was incredible.
The pace of the trip never slowed down – after the trek we started the project at Zambezi Sawmills School. To say that the plans made by the project team were ambitious would be an understatement. Nevertheless, we worked tirelessly for four days, and with the help of Liv’s numerous briefs and debriefs, we finished the project, and what we accomplished was amazing. I think I speak for everyone when I say that I was very proud of our garden!
For the final part of our trip, we drove to Chobe National Park in Botswana, crossing the boarder, over the Zambezi river, on a ferry that would more accurately be described as a raft, but we made it. In Chobe we went on three safaris - one sunset cruise and two game drives in 4x4s. It was amazing and we were very lucky - seeing hundreds of elephants, lots of giraffes, buffalo, zebras and even lions. One group also saw a honey badger, much to Doc Mac’s delight.
On our penultimate day, we drove back to Livingstone, and before we left we visited Victoria Falls which was unbelievable and definitely deserving of its title as one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World.
This trip was truly a once in a lifetime experience, and unlike anything else offered at school. I don’t think any other trip could bring together 18 people, across three year groups and make them so close, in so short a space of time.
This trip has inspired me and given me the ‘Africa Bug’, I will definitely be going back.