2017 World Challenge Namibia & Botswana Trip
At the end of the term last year Twenty Darwin High students and three teachers departed Darwin for their 2017 World Challenge adventure to Botswana and Namibia.
By teacher Heather Standley
Our trip began in Botswana, where we learnt survival techniques from the Kalahari bushmen (while they learnt Uno). After three days in the desert we travelled to Ranaka, where we were promptly invited to an African wedding. The next day we began trekking 30km over mountains and through Botswanan countryside to Manyana – where we spent our time entertaining the local children. We then set off to Marobela, where we helped build a library for four days as our Project Phase. We were challenged to a game of soccer against the Marobela team, where, after overcoming the earlier tragedies of the game (the skinning of Ocea’s leg) we triumphed: winning 4-2.
Okavango Delta was our second trek. We travelled to our camp on Mokoros (dugout canoes) – which were harder to paddle than they looked! Our evening and morning walks were incredible. We saw hippos, buffalos, zebra, giraffe and even an elephant!
We then travelled to Swakopmund, Namibia, where we began our ‘Rest and Relaxation phase’. After learning how to sand-board, we were given the afternoon off to explore the town, with many of us opting to barter at the local craft market. After two days we left for Cape Cross Seal Reserve, which was personally one of the more unique aspects of the trip. It was breeding season, so we saw thousands of adorable seals cubs (and hundreds of dead ones). We toughed the night in the wind chill, surrounded by jackals before dashing off to Etosha.
Rhinos, elephants, giraffe, lions – you name it and we saw it at Etosha National Park, our final stop. For three days we let ourselves unwind on safaris, swimming in the pool and staying up at night to watch wildlife drink at a floodlit waterhole. The perfect end to a life-changing journey.
After a month of braving spiders, fighting hunger and handling ‘responsibility’ we were back at home just in time for Christmas. All in all, the trip to Namibia and Botswana was not just a challenge, but also one of the most amazing experiences of my life.