Twenty six girls and four staff travelled to South Africa on  24 March for a ten- day tour of the ‘Rainbow Nation’. Following our overnight flight to Johannesburg we spent some time in Gold Reef City, where we went underground to explore a gold mine and saw how gold is smelted.

The following day we travelled to Kruger National Park, where we enjoyed three safaris during which we saw elephant, white rhino, lion, buffalo crocodile, gazelle and many other species of indigenous wildlife. We were very privileged during our evening safari as at one stage a small pride of lions walked alongside the vehicles and were no more than twelve feet away at times. After this safari we enjoyed some traditional South African “braii” under the stars with an armed guard patrolling just in case the local predators got a little too close for comfort! Thankfully we saw nothing other than insects, albeit they were often the size of small birds!

After spending a couple of days in Kruger National Park we travelled back to Johannesburg, stopping en route at ‘Chimp Eden’ a sanctuary for chimpanzees that have been held in captivity. In Johannesburg we visited Kliptown informal settlement in Soweto, an eye-opening and very emotional experience for us all. This was followed by a visit to the Apartheid Museum to learn about the long struggle for freedom for the oppressed black people of South Africa before travelling to Lesedi Cultural Village to see how various indigenous tribes live.

The final part of the tour was based in Cape Town. After our flight we settled into our hotel before travelling to the V & A Waterfront to enjoy some retail therapy before sampling Cape Malay cuisine that evening. The following morning we visited Robben Island where we were informed by an ex-prisoner about life in the prison in which Nelson Mandela was incarcerated. That afternoon we toured the Cape Peninsula, the highlight of which was the visit to Boulders Beach to see Chinstrap penguins up close.

Before departing for home we ascended Table Mountain in the cable car to enjoy spectacular views of the city and spent some time at Drakenstein Lion Sanctuary.

I hope the tour has left all the girls with lifelong memories. As party leader, I could not have wished for a more delightful group of young ladies to travel with. They were from beginning to end an absolute joy to be with as they fully embraced every opportunity and were true ambassadors of Luckley House School, impressing all they came into contact with.

Enjoy our short film produced during the trip!

Mr Gordon Cromb, Head of Geography