CVQO Duke of Westminster Award Expedition to South Africa 2012
The Duke of Westminster Award Winners' South Africa Expedition
13th July - 2nd August 2012
News from the Expedition Leader was posted below, as it was received. See link to blog on right for further photos and news.
Thurs 2nd Aug: Everyone has arrived safely at Heathrow.
Colonel Michael Kingscote met expedition leader Mike Goodfellow and the cadets at the airport. Cadet Adam, is visiting relatives in Durban and will fly home at a later date.
Tues 31st July: Michael Kingscote's final report:
Yesterday's Battlefield tour of Isandlwana enthralled and captured the imagination of the whole Group, it was an inspiring tale and culminated in a walk up to the highest point on the Battlefield, The Sphinx. Lloyd G elected to remain at the bottom of the hill, on his own!
Thereafter the Group trekked the Fugitive's Trail (10km), crossing the Buffalo River to the Fugitive's Drift. Along the way they came across a cow that had been caught and recently died in a game snare. Snaring for bushmeat in South Africa is prolific and outlawed. But they at least had a glimpse of how hard life is out in the bush.
Precious, taken 'short' whilst near a Zulu village, was forced to use the facilities ... she approached cautiously and lifted the seat with an extended ... foot! Precious has become renowned and respected for her original turns of phrase!
Today is the Battlefield Tour of Rorke's Drift and the visit to the Zulu village.
Tonight, their last night in South Africa, there could be a party!
This is the last bulletin as I shall be meeting the cadets at LHR on Thursday morning.
Mike Goodfellow reported earlier that this had been "a marvellous expedition" and from where I sit it seems as if these young four-service cadets have taken full advantage of the generosity of CVQO, that's what it's all about ... Live life to the full, I do!
Mon 30th July: Following conversation with leader Mike, Michael Kingscote reports:
Friday went ahead as predicted. The cadets taught, painted the assembly area (2 classrooms) and achieved what they had set out to do, despite the chaos of the school practising for a major Zulu cultural competition.
Saturday: On Saturday morning they finished off all of the decorating jobs and then did some sports and teambuilding with a number of students. When asked if the cadets had achieved what they had aimed for, Mike Goodfellow replied: that there had been great progress with the school overall, but that the sporting side had not been as successful as it might have been due to the cultural competition.
As the cadets left the school they said their goodbyes and packed away the teambuilding gear and sports strips for next year ... otherwise it would have walked ...
Lion & Elephant sightings at close quarters!
A travelling day from Hluhluwe to Elandsheim (accommodation for Battlefields phase). As the cadets had not seen that many animals on their game drive, due to the poor weather, a decision was made to take the longer route through the Umfolozi / Hluhluwe Game Reserve. This turned out to be a good idea as they saw lion and elephant at very close quarters, great for all!
On arrival at Elandsheim there was dinner awaiting them and they were challenged to a game of fire ball hockey by a combination of Michaelhouse boys and a group of Welsh Rugby players; the result was that fun was had by all and there is a return match this evening!
Today: A frosty, sunny start will see the cadets learning about the Battle of Isandlwana (22 Jan 1879) led by Reggie Purbrick, our intrepid historian and guide! Therafter there will follow the walk back to the Fugitives Drift, crossing the Buffalo River enroute.
The next bulletin will be tomorrow Tuesday 31st July.
Fri 27th July: This morning Mike Goodfellow reported that a plan had been made with the school and work had started. Jessica G is not feeling too well as she still has the remnants of D & V. She will visit the GP today and hopefully make a recovery, as the others have.
Fraser is much better and eating like a horse!
The classroom teaching has kept our Cadets busy and probably today there will be some decorating to be done. There is a Cultural Week in progress and as a result sports afternoons have not happened; nonetheless the Cadets are making a contribution and having a great experience.
The next bulletin will be on Monday 30th July.
Wed 25th July: The two nights at Kosi Bay were enjoyed by most; unfortunately there was a ripple of D & V, ( upset stomachs for those who do not understand,) through the group. Eventually 7/9 went down with the lurgy, which obviously affected their health and put a dampner on the time spent at this beautiful location. Chemists have been visited and all are now on the way to recovery.
At Kosi, Adam, Lloyd and Jordan caught decent sized fish that provided supper.
They left Kosi early this morning and are now at their accommodation above the Mbonise Project. Their work at the project begins tomorrow morning, hopefully by then they will all be 100%.
Monday 23rd July: Monday morning, a little overcast and the cadets are still in bed at 0800 RSA local time!!
Their intrepid and gallant leader, Mike, has been fishing since dawn and just caught a Tiger Fish! The two days on the Pongola River, the first ever Outposts Ltd group to go there, has been deemed a great success by the Group. The tranquillity of the river, coupled with good weather, aside from this morning, with much to do has been great fun.
Lloyd caught a barbel and the others, if not successful, have at least had the opportunity. The bird of note that they have seen is the Fish Eagle, in addition to many other species on the river bank.
Mike reports that they are all fit and well and looking forward to their next adventure, Kosi Bay. For those readers with Google Earth, Antons camp is at 265333.09S 325127.64E
They will arrive at Kosi later today.
Saturday 21st July: Communications have been intermittent whilst the cadets have been doing their wilderness walk in the Swaziland Bush, but all is well they have arrived back in South Africa and are just setting off to paddle down the Pongola River. (Lunchtime Saturday).
Thursday and Friday were exciting and enjoyable camping out in the bush and putting into practise all they had learned on their environmental awareness course. Whilst doing their wilderness walk the Group saw buffalo and rhino, getting very close to rhino. In addition to the big game, they saw plenty of plains game on their walks.
Each cadet had to do a night stag by the fire as the duty guard for the Group; some enjoyed it so much they stayed awake all night; was this being conscientious, or was it fear!? Whilst Adam particularly enjoyed sleeping under the stars, some of the girls were a little apprehensive. They all survived!
The weather has been very hot and so the opportunity to lazily float down the River Pongola, swimming, relaxing and fishing will be welcome to all.
Next communication will be on Monday 23rd July.
Wed 18th July: It has been raining a lot, indeed, they all got very wet on Monday as they cruised on a boat in the Great St Lucia Wetlands Park. Notwithstanding the rain they saw masses of hippos and crocodiles.
The weather settled this morning and the Group went to Hluhluwe for a game drive that started at 0600 and finished at 3:15PM. (Hence the delay in this report.) The drive was good, but there were not that many animals about to see, most were sheltering from the rain. However they did see buffalo and rhino. On their way back to camp they visited the elephant experience and had a most enjoyable time there.
This evening they are packing their kit, reflecting and preparing to set off to Swaziland tomorrow morning for their walking trail.
In all, everyone is happy and enjoying each new event as it happens. There are plenty more new experiences to come!
The next bulletin will be on Saturday 21st July.
Some photos that have just come in taken during the Environmental Awareness Course.~i
Monday 16th July:The journey from London to Durban, via Johannesburg was uneventful and the Group were met by Tommy, their guide, at Durban.
On Saturday evening they settled into their tented camp and relaxed after the journey. The introduction to the Environmental Awareness Course (EAC) stared on Sunday out in the Bush with Tommy and Anton, their host. It was during this familiarisation that Cat C announced that she thought a Mongoose was a bird! They also were introduced to snakes and spiders.
Today they will have the next lesson on snakes and complete their anatomy presentation; this involves a hunter culling an impala, or similar beast, and then the Group dissecting it to see how perfect is nature. The girls normally lead on this, but we shall see!
Overall the weather is fine, though a little windy, a cold front is forecast but at least there is no rain.
The next bulletin will be on Wednesday 18 July.
Friday 13th July: The Group assembled at Hammersmith Cadet Centre and were met by Mike Goodfellow, the expedition leader, Fee Bellamy and Michael Kingscote from Outposts Ltd who facilitate the expedition for the CVQO. The expeditioners were all given their Outposts sweatshirts as a present and then went through the final Expedition details. This included the Risk Assessment and establishing their Code of Conduct whilst on expedition. They then went out to dinner.