The perilous 1,000-mile journey to save Africa’s endangered black rhinos
28 October 2022
Children in the Wilderness (CITW) is proud to have hosted yet another successful Tri-Nations Camp at Mapungubwe National Park, in partnership with Peace Parks Foundation and the Greater Mapungubwe Transfrontier Conservation Area (TFCA) Trilateral Technical Committee. From 12 to 15 December 2016, the camp saw 15 learners from Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe enjoy three nights in Mapungubwe on this fun-filled, educational conservation camp.
Five children between the ages of 10 and 15 from each of the participating countries, Botswana, South Africa and Zimbabwe, were selected to attend this unique camp based on their enthusiasm for the CITW Eco-Club sessions that they regularly attend in their home villages during the year.
“The rural learners selected to attend this camp were given the unique opportunity to interact with, and befriend, their peers from neighbouring countries. Through shared experiences, both fun and educational, they learnt that it is only through international cooperation and friendship that we can save Africa’s wild places, and by extension, ourselves”, said Dr Sue Snyman, CITW Programme Director.
The Tri-Nations Camp was run by a team of CITW Eco-Mentors and volunteers who coordinated the various activities and ensured the children’s welfare on what, for some of them, was their first trip away from home. The camp’s innovative curriculum built on what the children had learnt in their Eco-Clubs and other environmental awareness programmes throughout the year and also included various life skills activities, such as a careers workshop that focused on opportunities in tourism and conservation. Other highlights included a visit to the Mapungubwe Interpretive Centre, a trip to the confluence of the Shashe and Limpopo rivers where all three countries meet and other fun lessons and games.
“In addition to having fun, making new friends and learning more about the Greater Mapungubwe TFCA in which they all live, we placed a lot of emphasis on teaching the children life skills and building their self-esteem, acknowledging their role as our future leaders and conservationists. Enhanced self-confidence makes finding new friends that much easier, and enables tomorrow’s decision-makers to recognise the importance of cooperation and mutual respect which can have far-reaching consequences beyond their own borders”, added Snyman.
This second Tri-Nations Camp forms part of a larger project, which has seen the three countries that make up the Greater Mapungubwe TFCA collaborate on a number of initiatives. These include CITW’s principal fundraising event, the Nedbank Tour de Tuli, a mountain-biking event aimed at promoting awareness of the area and ecotourism opportunities. Involving communities that live in and around the TFCA is of key importance, with rural schoolchildren identified as its future custodians.
Story and photos by Children in the Wilderness