In half term 27 Woldingham students embarked on a ten-day netball and hockey tour of South Africa. Upon arrival in Cape Town, the heat was a shock! Having come from freezing autumnal weather in England, our bodies were going to have to adapt fast to the scorching South African sun. This was my first visit to South Africa, so I was ready to embrace everything.
We began with a day of rest, which was perfect as heat, fatigue and sport would not have been a good combination. We visited many different viewpoints where, as predicted, we took masses of photos. Boulders Beach was a sight that will remain highly memorable for everyone – the soft white sand was covered with penguins waddling around, sleeping and caring for their chicks.
Our most demanding day came next – the first day of sport. This very full day saw us training in the morning and playing matches in the afternoon and it was particularly challenging for us because of the incredibly hot weather to which we had not yet quite acclimatised. This definitely tested our resilience, but everyone was very supportive of one another and helped our teams through it. Our first opposition was Bellville Hockey club. Our teams were true soldiers and ‘Elephants’ won 3-0, before ‘Rhinos’ lost a tight match 0-1. Afterwards we were dripping in sweat, but it was worth it. Once the hockey games had finished we made our way to the netball matches against De Kuilen School. Again, we all played fantastically, the ‘Lions’ winning 24-9, a fiercely contested game resulting in a 9-8 win for the ‘Cheetahs’ and an honourable defeat for the ‘Tigers’.
Part way through the trip, we toured a township called Langa. This really opened my eyes to how some people have to live – we were told that 200 people lived in one small two-storey block alone. I think the moment that most touched everyone’s heart was when we visited a kindergarten and the children were hugging us and touching our hair. This short visit has made me decide that, in my lifetime, I want to do as much as I can for people who live in such difficult conditions.
Over the following days we also played fixtures against other local schools, Settlers and Luckhoff, with many successes and I have to say that all of our tour opponents were extremely pleasant and welcoming.
The highlight of this fabulous trip for me was towards the end when we arrived at a beautiful game reserve, with an amazing pool. We went on a wonderful game drive and saw lots of incredible animals up close, including elephants, rhinos, lions and a giraffe.
We commenced our trip as members of Years 10 and 11 but, by our return, we had become one united tour squad, with many new friendships formed. Going to South Africa was the most amazing experience and it continues to be an endless topic of conversation.
Harriet, Year 10