Read Isabel Wolf-Gillespie’s report on our Limpopo Valley annual camps which took place in Mashatu Tented Camp in December:
Children in the Wilderness (CITW) Limpopo Valley was founded in 2009 and operates within the Northern Tuli Game Reserves Association. One of the association members, Mashatu Game Reserve, kindly donates the use of its tented camp to the program again for this year. Having recently joined the team as the Wildlife Education and Community Outreach Coordinator at Mashatu, I was asked to be the camp coordinator for this year. CITW Camps are about giving children an opportunity to learn about nature and wildlife, to experience a protected reserve area as if they were tourists and at the same time being educated about the value of reserves for the country, the tourism industry and also available career pathways within the environmental setting. The Limpopo Valley region is currently running the CITW camp for three local schools, and for two weeks in December we had groups of children from Lentswe Le Moriti Primary, Mothlabaneng Primary and Mathathane Primary school attend the camp. Throughout the year these children attend CITW Eco-Clubs run at their schools, and these camps are also a reward for their contributions and efforts made in Eco-Clubs.
Under the guidance of Tanya McKenzie, the CITW Limpopo Valley Regional Coordinator, alongside the staff at Tent Camp and with a dedicated team of volunteers from all walks of life, all three camps turned out to be incredibly successful. Life-changing impressions were made by amazing wildlife sightings, fun learning activities and lessons, rounded off with wholesome good food and a comfortable tent camp bed to sleep in. Every child was given the opportunity to learn about how the conservation of wildlife and nature and the tourism industry can, actually already has a positive impact on their very own lives. The learning experiences included wildlife photography, to tracking animal spoors, an anti-poaching presentation, to fun team building exercises and games. Each child left the camp feeling inspired and empowered, ready to become the future leaders of their communities.