Adventures in Namibia
In July 2018, 30 sixth formers from LEH and Hampton went to Namibia for 3 and a half weeks on a trip run by Hampton’s Adventure Society. Namibia, a country in south-west Africa, is distinguished by its beautiful Namib Desert alongside an abundance of exciting wildlife. This incredible trip allowed us to take part in a range of once in a lifetime experiences such as white water rafting, teaching in local schools and watching lions during feeding time.
On our first day in Namibia, we were thrown in at the deep end as we headed into the desert to sand-board down some of the tallest sand dunes in the country. While some students decided to brave the challenge standing up, the majority opted to lie down as they sped down the slopes, reaching exhilarating speeds of up to 50km/h. Later in the trip, when we travelled up to the Angolan boarder, we also had the opportunity to go white water rafting down the Kunene River. Although the rafting itself was a hilarious experience, capsizing into the crocodile-infested water was less so!
One of the highlights of the trip for everyone involved was spending time with the local communities. We visited two schools in very different areas of the country, both providing an opportunity to show us how bubbly, imaginative and diligent the Namibian children are, and giving us an idea of the varying cultures surrounding us. On both arrivals, to our delight, we were met with a sea of hugs, smiles and waves, which instantly made us feel at home. It was a privilege to share our knowledge with them, as we taught them subjects such as Maths, Geography, and even tried our hand at Agriculture! As we got to know the children better, they discussed their home lives and future plans with us, and we were truly inspired by the ambition they all possessed as they shared dreams of becoming doctors, teachers and even pilots.
On two occasions, we worked with a charity called Africat that works in conservation to protect populations of big cats such as lions. At Africat North, the owner, Tammy, took us on a safari to show us the lions that they monitor to ensure that they do not roam into dangerous areas. We were successful in finding a mother and her two cubs in their natural habitat, and were lucky enough to see an abundance of giraffes, zebras and other animals along the way! At Africat Okonjima, they specialised more in leopards and cheetahs, and under the guidance of experienced rangers we were able to step within 10 feet or so of a cheetah basking in the sun, having just enjoyed a large meal. We learnt so much about the importance of conservation from the incredible Africat team, and were able to get closer to the animals than we ever thought was possible.
The trip could not have ended in a more perfect way: we optimistically went to a waterhole in Etosha National Park, in the hope that we may encounter an elephant at bath time. Before we knew it, a herd of at least 40 elephants, including the babies, came running in from the distance, splashing straight into the water. It was a defining moment of the trip as we all stared in amazement, and an experience that we will never forget. We are so grateful to Mr Clarke for organising this incredible trip, and to the members of staff who helped to make it such a success.
By Alice (UVID) and Emily (UVIH)