Africa Geographic Travel

A brighter future: day 2 of a Children in the Wilderness camp

Today camp followed the theme of the ‘Circle of Life’. Janet, the camp co-ordinator and head of CITW South Africa, offered the day’s first lesson on leadership values, and was followed by Pafuri guide Jeffrey, who detailed the circle of life, and the interdependence of the species on each other. Once the theory had been grasped, the children got into their teams to put theory into practice with group dynamics.

Children in the Wilderness camp pafuri kruger national park

Jeffrey explains the Circle of Life to a keen audience Photo © Andy Wassung

This was reinforced in games such as the well known, but seldom mastered trust exercise when one child falls, blindfolded, into another’s arms. In another game, everyone needed to work together in order to move the team through a string spider web without touching the web, which would cause bells to ring. Suddenly, all games were brought to a stop as a series of rumbles from above gave very brief warning of a heavy thunderstorm.

Children in the Wilderness camp pafuri kruger national park

Nyiko tries desperately not to disturb the spiderweb Photo © Andy Wassung

Judging by the humorous panic which followed, as blindfolded children darted for shelter, and others got themselves tangled in the spider web, it can be said that the downpour was unexpected. But in Africa, children sing in the rain, never mind dance in the mud, and so the afternoon’s cleansing passed by as per usual, blindfolded, tangled or anything else.

Children in the wilderness camp pafuri kruger national park

Books out and shoes off; Siwela learns how an ecosystem works Photo © Andy Wassung

When the heavens had finally had their say, it was game drive time! Excited shouts of anticipation followed as little legs pounded down the slippery deck towards the vehicles, and kids piled into blanketed canvas seats. The circle of life theme continued as rangers stopped to explain different aspects of the food chain such as grass going via elephant to dung beetle.  I was fortunate to witness the ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from our vehicle as a young, shy leopard darted across the road before disappearing into the wet thicket.

Children in the wilderness camp pafuri kruger national park

Come rain or shine, ‘Team Flowers’ goes out Photo © Andy Wassung

Before bed after a long day, children and adults alike were treated to one of my favourite movies, ‘The Lion King’, which further reinforced the circle of life. I’ve just had a great sighting of a porcupine crossing the path on my way to bed, from where I now spend the dying minutes of the day watching fireflies above the riverbank through the ‘mozzie’ net. The resident wood owls are right above me tonight, and a tree frog seems to have moved right in. I don’t mind…

Andy Wassung

I have grown up living in some of Southern Africa’s most beautiful places; from Cape Town, where I was born, and sandy Arniston Bay, to the shores of the great Zambezi, the pristine Okavango, and starry Namibia, with a stopover in Jo’burg for a few big city years, finding solace at boarding school in the hills of KwaZulu Natal. After a year of making beds and cleaning toilets in Scotland, scoffing one pound noodles on the streets of London, Swiss skiing, and Thai island-hopping, I set my sights on Rhodes University. There I finished a Bachelor of Journalism & Media Studies while blissfully and barefootedly dwelling in the revelry of small town living and learning to navigate the local Pick n Pay with my eyes closed. I have a deep love for this extraordinary country & the African continent, her people and her beautiful, fragile wilderness. Follow me on Twitter .

Africa Geographic