Month-long expedition to Tanzania for Westholmers
On 6th July 2012, twenty nine intrepid students accompanied by Miss Edgar, Miss Incerti, Mr Hiller and Sam, the Mountain leader, set off to Tanzania in East Africa to undertake a month-long expedition. This was the third expedition organized by Westholme, having visited Kenya in July 2008 and Borneo in 2010.
The Expedition was split into four phases:
Community Work, Wildlife/Environmental Work, Mountain Trek and Safari
The Community phase took place in small villages in northern Tanzania near to Tanga and Moshi. We lived amongst the local community and helped with projects to improve the quality of life in the villages. These included building a house for a local family, refurbishing classrooms at local schools, building desks and dining hall tables and learning how to weave palm leaves to make a roof. The girls had the opportunity to teach English to local children and learnt how to cook local dishes such as chappati.
The members of the communities made us feel incredibly welcome and in return for our hard work we were invited to a wedding which took place in the village. We also had the opportunity to meet the local Maasai people and learn how to make beaded jewellery.
Our wildlife / environment phase took place in a bush camp called Ndarakwai. It was incredibly beautiful as out tents were surrounded by acacia trees, and wildlife such as vervet monkeys, baboons, zebra and antelope. During our time here we cleared furrows and watering holes to allow the zebra to drink.
As part of the trip our students had the opportunity to climb Mount Meru. At 4562 metres it is a challenging trek. Despite feeling the effects of altitude 26 of our students successfully reached the summit.
We were extremely lucky to visit two of Tanzania’s top National Parks as part of our safari. The Tarangire National Park is home to huge herds of elephant, giraffe, zebra and buffalo. Our second day was spent in the Ngorongoro Crater which is a huge volcanic caldera in the Rift Valley. Here we spotted lion, hippo, hyena as well as lots of zebra, gazelle and buffalo. Some of the lions were less than a metre from our safari vehicles!
The whole month was a magical experience which girls and staff will never forget!
We are now looking forward to our next Expedition in 2014 – we are planning to visit Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands in July 2014. On Friday 14th September during assembly time a representative from Camps International will come in to school to talk to Years 10, 11 and the Lower Sixth about the expedition. We can’t wait!