In April 2017 the first group of Oxley students will interact with the students of Sedie School in Maun. As part of their visit the students will first visit Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe and then explore parts of Botswana before arriving in Maun
  • Day15

    Perth Airport Day 16

    April 22, 2017 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Well, we are back on Australian soil. Now awaiting our transfer to Sydney.

    I would like to acknowledge how supportive and well-mannered the Oxley students have been and it was a pleasure to take them back to my roots. I would also like thank Mrs Rani Ritchie for her enthusiastic support and we had fun together sharing our experiences with our students..Mr Michael Parker put in an inordinate amount of work to make our time at Sedie & Mathiba Schools a success and it was a pleasure to share this with him.

    And lastly I would like to thank all the parents for 'sharing' your child with us and also all those who enthusiastically followed our progress. The Oxley College students were fine ambassadors for Australia.

    Peter Craig
    April 22 2017
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  • Day14

    Maun Day 15

    April 21, 2017 in Botswana ⋅ ☀️ 17 °C

    Our last day in Botswana has finally arrived, much to our dismay, and we all packed before breakfast and then gathered in the restaurant. Leaving our bags behind to be taken to the airport later, we set off with Sei in his minibus for our last visit to Sedie School.
    We were greeted by the Sedie students and even a small group of Mathiba Primary students, all carrying trees ready for transplanting. Once everybody had arrived we walked to the nearby Sedie Community ‘tgotla’ (meeting place) where we were welcomed the local chairwoman whose speech was translated for us by a translator. Speeches from others including Mrs Senatla Moleele (Sedie Principal), Mr Parker and others followed (and plenty of group photos) before we moved to a nearby plot of land where a tree was planted. Unfortunately we had run out of time to plant any more and after several farewells we headed for our final organized event of our trip.
    Upstairs in a shop owned by the presenter, we watched a film about the life and times of the renowned wildlife cinematographer (and IMAX filmmaker), Dr Tim Liversedge. It was the story of an amazing life and there were some fantastic animal shots. Tim Liversedge had been a school friend of Peter Craig and it was a real experience to share his, and his wife June, life story. A great way to end our animal safari in Botswana!
    After that it was last minute shopping in the shops close to Maun airport before the slow process of checking a group though the airline and customs. A good flight on an Airlink plane and 1.5 hours later and we landed at O.R. Tambo International Airport (Joburg). Had to kill 5 hours so ate, drank, talked, debriefed and walked.

    Looking forward to seeing all parents at Sydney DOMESTIC on Saturday night meeting the Virgin Australia VA564 flight from Perth


    We have had a great time but I think we are all ready to come home!
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  • Day13

    Maun Day 14

    April 20, 2017 in Botswana ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    The Sedie students, their Headmistress and another staff member, had all stayed in tents for the night and we gathered together as a group at breakfast. From there we moved into Maun in two vehicles and the first activity of the day to catch-up with our primary students of yesterday at Mathiba. More activities followed, with Oxley College 'teaching' smaller groups and a lot of fun occurred and it was sad in the end - and somewhat poignant as the kids sang a farewell to us - to leave for the secondary school later in the morning.

    After a wait at Sedie School, the group departed for a visit to a local farm, some 18 kms from Maun. Crops included maize and water melons, with cattle and sheep in evidence.

    Returning to school for lunch, we ate the packed lunch that had been provided by Sitatunga Camp. After lunch we practised for the 'concert' and also tackled some problems set in an Ethics task set by Mr Parker.

    By 3.30 enough of a crowd of Sedie staff and parents had gathered for a presentation to take place. Both groups of students sang songs - the entire Oxley party sang 'Waltzing Matilda' - and the Oxley students introduced theatre sports to Botswana, with James Rapp producing an outstanding skit. After a rendition of 'We are the world' by all those involved in the exchange the 'concert' ended with a thoughtful 'thank you' speech by Tom Lloyd and a prayer.

    Back to Sitatunga Camp by early evening where we moved into cabins for our final night. Much talk at dinner with tiredness catching up with everyone.
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  • Day12

    Mathiba School + Day 13

    April 19, 2017 in Botswana ⋅ 🌙 21 °C

    Today was our introduction to primary education as we visited Mathiba Memorial Primary School, a feeder school to nearby Sedie School. We were welcomed by 60 little kids all excited about the arrival of the 'Australians'. After introductions, we broke up into groups of about 12 Mathiba kids to two Oxley students who taught them new skills of speaking in English, colouring in, theatre games, etc.

    We rotated through the morning and finished a midday at which time we walked around to Sedie School where we joined the Sedie School students for lunch.

    After lunch we visited the nearby HIV/AIDS clinic for a talk given by the nurse who explained how the Botswanan Government had introduced programmes to prevent the spread of AIDS and educate the local people.

    From the clinic we bused into the town centre and wandered around for a while (generally in and out of fast food joints!) before we returned to our campsite at Sitatunga late in the afternoon.

    Once we all returned to the camp, plus 10 Sedie students who came to spend the night with us, we were lucky to be the audience for a talk given Mike Fitt of Wilderness Safaris about the reintroduction of rhinos into the Okavango, and the progress that the program was making. It was fascinating for both Australian and Botswanan students and appreciated by all. It was very generous of Mike to give up his time to talk to us.

    After dinner the rest of the evening was taken up with practising for tomorrow's 'concert', whether it is song, dance or theatre sports. We were joined by Senatla, the Headmistress of Sedie School, as well as one of their staff. A busy day for all!!
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  • Day11

    Sedie School, Maun Day 12

    April 18, 2017 in Botswana ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    After a late breakfast this morning we were picked up by Sei Letsapa in his minibus and driven the 13 kms into Sedie School. Once there we were invited into their staffroom where there was a gathering of local dignitaries to welcome us, including the local education office rep, chairwoman of the school council, many others, the Heads of both the secondary school and Mathiba Primary School, some of the school staff (not bad since they are on holiday), and all the Sedie hosting students. An impressive array listened to many speeches of welcome.
    After the welcome we were shown around the school from the computer room, to the agricultural beds that each Form 3 has to tend as part of their education.
    After familiarising ourselves we settled into a pattern of activities with sessions being organised by a Sedie science teacher, a Botswana history talk, an Australian history talk by Peter Craig, an ethics session (Michael Parker) and a music session to choose some songs for our final concert.
    Late lunch under the tgotla (the meeting tree) and then we dispersed to be hosted for afternoon tea by four of the Sedie families in their own homes. We found this experience most rewarding.
    We arrived back at Sitatunga well after dark for dinner after which we practised for our concert. It had been a busy day - but a good one
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  • Day10

    Sitatunga Camp Day 11

    April 17, 2017 in Botswana ⋅ ⛅ 25 °C

    Today we were up again at 6.00, grabbed a quick drink and we all went for a short walk, after being poled to a new, but nearby, island. Again, we saw an interesting cross-section of wildlife. Back to camp to pack up our tents and eat our last meal in the Okavango. By mid-morning we were on our way through the reeds, all 9 mokoros, returning on the 1.5 hour pole back to Boro base.
    We were met there by the ancient truck that had brought us, and after loading up and saying farewell to our poling friends, we were on our way back through Maun and out to our base at Sitatunga for a shower and lunch. Tents with our own ensuites (!!) and electricity.
    It was the end of the trip for our ATC tour staff who had brought us all the way from Zimbabwe. It was extremely sad to say farewell to Dumi and Gift who had looked after us so well for 10 days.
    Our Sedie hosts were waiting for us (10 students and 3 staff) but we definitely needed to scrub up after no showers for 3 days (but it was worth it).
    After lunch all 26 of us piled on to 2 vehicles and set off for our horse-riding safari, hosted by Rides on the Wildside's Dany Hancock. We were mixed up and split into 4 groups for a ride, a grooming session and initiative activities. The ride was fun because we were in a private game reserve and saw giraffe, oryx, eland and zebra. Finishing in the dark, we said farewell to our new Sedie friends and headed back to Sitatunga for a late dinner and bed immediately afterwards. It had been another day of great memories.
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  • Day9

    Okavango Delta Day 10

    April 16, 2017 in Botswana ⋅ ⛅ 26 °C

    Up at 6.00 this morning, had a warm drink, and then we were taken by the mokoro polers to a nearby island where we walked for the next 4 hours. It was a beautiful morning and we split into 2 groups, led by either Andrew or Simon. They took us close to giraffe, zebra and we saw wildebeeste and elephant in the distance. As the day warmed up, we were glad to return to the mokoros and a very late brunch.
    During the heat of the day we sat in the shade of the campsite trees and either talked, read or dozed.
    At 4.00 we left again for a short mokoro ride through the reeds to a hippo pool to watch for hippos and the sunset. Unfortunately there were no hippos this time and the sunset was not as spectacular as the previous night, but that is the nature of being in the wild. We returned to the camp in the gloom for a great meal cooked by Gift.
    After dinner we sat around talking and started singing. Suddenly we were surprised by the entire group of polers and Gift who gathered on the other side of the campfire and began singing and dancing, much to our delight. They soon included us in their singing and then forced us to sing back to them (with us providing a rather ragged version of Waltzing Matilda and a few others). It was an hilarious and fun end to the day, with Andrew posing riddles and questions to end the occasion.
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  • Day8

    Okavango Delta at Boro Day 9

    April 15, 2017 in Botswana ⋅ ☀️ 27 °C

    Today was the first of 3 days we spent in the Okavango Delta. We left our bags in Sitatunga Camp guarded by Dumi in the truck, and taking Gift with us, with only day packs filled with minimum clothing, rattled our way through Maun on the back of an old 10-tonne truck to the Boro district of the delta.
    There we were met by 9 villagers who lined up to take us and our provisions in mokoros to the island, 1.5 hours away, on which we were to camp for the next 2 nights. It was an interesting ride through the reeds with occasional hippo pools and paths. Once we were on dry land we set up our tents and after lunch relaxed through the heat of the day, some talking, some sleeping.
    At 5.00 we were polled to a nearby island where we set off on a walk to a hippo pool. In all we walked for about 2 hours during which saw hippo and wildebeeste. A beautiful clouded sky allowed for magnificent sunsets as the night closed in on us. Dinner back at camp cooked by Gift and his helpers and we were all in bed reasonable exhausted after an interesting day
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  • Day7

    Maun Day 8

    April 14, 2017 in Botswana ⋅ ⛅ 23 °C

    We had a fascinating morning, one of the best of the trip so far. Up at 5.00, we were loaded up on 2 safari jeeps (along with 6 other visitors) and we headed off on the 1.5 hour trip southwards towards the salt pans. The countryside gradually became drier and drier and eventually there were no trees. And then suddenly we were upon a meerkat colony (a group of 17, with several burrows). What a busy group to observe! As they warmed up in the sun they became used to our presence and then they went off foraging with us following slowly afterwards.
    We had breakfast close by before moving to the Ntetwe Pan, part of the huge Makgadikgadi Salt Pan complex. A vast expanse of salt right out to the horizon. No water in sight. One felt quite insignificant on such a vast landscape.
    It was another 1.5 hour journey back to Planet Baobab where we took our tents down, had lunch and a last minute dip before heading westwards and Maun: an uneventful 3 hour trip. Supermarket shopping in preparation for our Okavango adventure followed and we headed for our nearby Sitatunga Camp where we put our tents up for the night.
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  • Day6

    Gweta Day 7

    April 13, 2017 in Botswana ⋅ ☀️ 15 °C

    Concerns about travel today were heightened by the huge pools of water alongside the road. Eventually, the water was over the highway - half a metre deep - but carefully driven by our reliable driver, Dumi, we made it through a kilometre of water following another vehicle to reach higher ground; and eventually Planet Baobab, a true oasis in the middle of the Kalahari. The pool was soon occupied by the entire Oxley group after we had pitched our tents. For lunch, we went to the nearby 'Cattle Post' where we ate a traditional local meal, including mpani worms, sadza, spinach, beans, etc.
    Later in the afternoon we went for a drive around the village of Gweta and were shown the important parts of the community (primary school, hospital, library). Camp fire dinner cooked by Gift was spoiled by a passing thunderstorm so we retreated to shelter to finish it off. And later to the lounge for cards and talk before bed.
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