Over the Easter break, 4 staff and 35 students from year 8 & 9 embarked on the trip of a lifetime to South Africa to immerse themselves in the sport and culture of the Western Cape. Cape Town was the first stop, with the excited students taking in Table Mountain, Cape Point, Chapman’s Peak, Seal Island, Boulders Beach and Simonstown all within 2 days of arriving!
Our first round of fixtures saw the girls lose narrowly to Pro Star Netball Academy before the boys A & B teams took on Durbanville FC, with both teams coming out victorious. Players, staff and spectators from both teams then enjoyed a traditional Braai (BBQ) hosted by the Football club, with the local hospitality being an excellent way to finish our first sporting experience in Cape Town.
Next up was the much anticipated trip to the Langa Township, where the students joined in with local children from the Township Primary school to facilitate a range of sporting activities. For many, this humbling experience was the highlight of the tour, which finished with the JOA students handing over the sports and essential school equipment purchased via the £1200 the tour raised prior to departing.
With spirits high, the group moved on to their second round of fixtures, with the girls kicking off proceedings by exacting revenge on the Pro Star Netball Academy in an 18-17 win. Inspired by the massively improved performance of the girls, both boys’ teams secured heavy wins over Bellville FC, with the A team winning 10-1 and the B’s winning 10-3.
From Cape Town, the tour moved along the Garden Route to our new base in Oudtschoorn, where the students visited the ostrich farm, wildlife park and caves of the Cango region as well as having a leisurely morning on Wilderness beach in Knysna.
Our day in Knysna also included our final round of sporting fixtures, with the girls kicking things off with an outstanding 12-1 win over Knysna School. This was followed up by an impressive 5-0 win for the B team and then a last minute 3-2 victory for the A’s in what was the most hotly contested game of the tour.
The final leg of the tour saw the group travel inland to the impressive Gondwana Game Reserve in Mossel Bay. After taking high tea, the students jumped in the jeeps for their first safari game drive and were soon greeted by an array of wild animals including Rhino, Giraffe, water buffalo, Impala and even 2 lionesses. The final day on tour started with a 5:45am wakeup call before jumping back in the jeeps for our second game drive before departing for the airport.
I would like to say a big thank you to all of the parents for their support and kind messages upon returning from the trip as well as everyone who donated towards our various fundraising efforts. I would also like to thank the staff – Miss King, Mr Clarke and Miss Bowden for all of their time and support with the trip. The final thanks has to go to the students, who were extremely well behaved and an absolute credit to St Joan’s’.