Archive by Author | Clay Osborne

Day 13 – Our Last Day

Other than a deep, guttural interruption by lions roaring at 4:30am, we had a pretty good night’s sleep. Our rangers picked us up at 7am and we climbed back into the safari vehicles for a morning drive. We started out by spotting some zebra, impala, nyala, heartebeast, and warthogs too numerous to count. Acknowledging we were up-wind, and taking into account our general position, we quickly realised that conditions were perfect for the lions to hunt. Two minutes later, our suspicions were confirmed when we noticed a female lion hunkered near a bush on a hillside. With her nose pointed into the wind and her ears flattened, her intentions were evident. Clearly, she was hungry and scanning the hooved smorgasbord below. We watched with great anticipation as soon her male companions flanked her on both sides at a distance of around 50 metres. They sauntered slowly in a wide, arcing pattern to the right and left in order to surround the unsuspecting game below. Eternal vigilance would pay off for the hunted as suddenly they raised their heads and became like statues. Moments later, the prey bolted, and sprinted down the hill and disappearing into the bush. Breakfast would have to wait for the lions as their targets would live for another day.

After spending about half an hour following the lions searching for food, we changed tack and went in search for more of outstanding wildlife. One of the groups even stopped to investigate one of the large, dome-like termite mounds.



There is always wildlife to find in the the South African wild and sometimes it finds you. A couple of our groups had interesting encounters with ‘Clyde’, one of the well known White Rhinos in the area. It turns out that Clyde is not particularly fond of safari vehicles, especially when his companion ‘Bonnie’ is is in the area. While travelling down a bush track, without warning Clyde charged out from behind a bush and rammed into the bull bar and caused some damage to the front quarter panel. As you might expect, this sudden jolt caused some screams of surprise and even laughter. It also served as a reminder that the bush is never a safe place to be walking around. With the sold construction of the vehicle and the height of the passenger seating in the back, no one was ever in any danger.

 (I don’t have any photos of ‘Clyde’ on this day, but if a tour student has any, please eMail it to me and I’ll put it in)

Nevertheless, the encounter with Clyde served as great conversation starter during our hot, coal-cooked breakfast. Bacon, eggs, sweet corn, toast, hash browns, toast and a homemade tomato chutney were only some of the delicious items available to everyone. A melancholy feeling began to set in for many students at the realisation that the tour was about to enter its final chapter and it was time to depart Schotia.


We drove the 40 minutes into Port Elizabeth and went back to one of our favourite places…Sinethemba Children’s Centre. We dropped off another bag of donations and shared the exciting news with Avril Landman and Mama Signoria that we will be paying their vehicle fuel bill, which has been a burden hanging over the heads of Sinethemba. This will allow Sinethemba to continue to provide transport to run errands and allow them to continue to drop the children off at school and pick them up at the end of the day.


Afterward, we went to Spur in Somerstrand where John’s wife and children met us for a planned celebratory lunch for his daughters 6th birthday. Everyone deserves to be sung to on their birthday, so the staff obliged and surprised her with their rendition of Happy Birthday. They even brought her a birthday dessert. With time quickly running out, it was time to make our way to the airport.  


Goodbyes are difficult, but especially when it comes to John. A chance encounter on a routine driving assignment 3 years ago has developed into an ongoing relationship with St. Stephen’s School and the South Africa Tour. Once again, he has really bonded with all of the tour students. He is no ordinary driver. All the tour staff and students are convinced that he is a superhero with a heart of gold and a passion for service. He worked beside us every step of the way and often provided students with direction and and guidance on their various projects. We are truly blessed to have him as part of this tour, and we all consider him to be ‘one of the family.’ As a token of appreciation for all he has done over the last 3 years, we presented John with a brand new mobile phone to replace his damaged one.

This is a bitter sweet ending to an amazing trip. Whilst we are very excited to be reunited with our families back in Perth, the beautiful people in South Africa have well and truly been etched into hearts. We came to serve but are leaving more impacted by the service of others. We are humbled by the generosity of Mama Signoria, Molly and especially John.

We may have arrived back in Australia, but there are more surprises to come in the next few weeks, so keep following the blog!

-Mr. Clay Osborne

Day 12 – Goodbye to JJH and Hello to Schotia

We woke early as usual and made our way down to the house and waited by the security gate to say our final goodbyes to the JJH children as they left for school. It was an emotional goodbye as laughter was replaced by tears and hugs. Many of the JJH children handed out individual letters to us. We dragged our feet with our heads down back up to the rooms and wrote notes for the children that they would receive after they returned from school. We had a delicious breakfast then went back to work for one last sprint to the finish. We were able to complete some final touches. There was a lot of rushing around the site till we had to leave in the early afternoon. The younger children came to the gate and hugged us goodbye. Many of them were crying as we drove away from JJH, some of the children sang as we hopped into the van. We drove off waving to the school age children as they were walking home from school.


After we left JJH, we drove to Schotia Safaries for our 3:00 appointment. Everyone was fixated by the wilderness. A family of African Elephants drinking from a windmill pump walked right past us covered in mud. It was just amazing.

My tour group drove to see the hippopotamuses chilling in the water. Their relaxation was abruptly ended as the male Hippo launched up, flashing his huge teeth as a warning to all of us.

Click HERE to see a video of the Hippo

Giraffes were easy to spot, with their long necks protruding from the scrub. We saw 4 juniors and 2 older giraffes feeding on the tall trees.


Our ranger took us for some lion spotting. Surprisingly, we found them after about 20 minutes. We watched as the male circled around the herd of springbok, ushering them towards the female lion who was lying low in the grass. We couldn’t believe our eyes…we were actually watching lions hunt in the wild. It all happened so quickly, but the attack was unsuccessful.


After driving a bit more, we found some large Southern White Rhinos and stopped to watch them graze.


We went for dinner at the LeLapa, which was a secured, fenced in area in the middle of Schotia. After a relaxing and delicious dinner, we went back out on our night safari. We did not see as much as we did during the day, but we did find the lions again. It was pretty easy to locate the area of the lions as one of the males began roaring as he wondered off into the darkness, looking for the female. The volume and projection of the lion’s roar was incredible.

Click HERE to watch the lion roar (turn the volume up!)

Afterward, we were dropped off at our rooms and treated ourselves with our first hot shower for several days. We repacked our bags as we are leaving to go back to Australia tomorrow.

– Luke Gomez

Day 10 – Work Day 3 at JJH

Today at JJ Haven we began another hard day of work at 6:30 sharp. The painting crew started by sanding the walls and making them smooth for another coat of paint in the girl’s room. They proceeded to finish rolling the last coat on and looked to their next goal. Miss Erasmus entrusted Jazmin with the leadership duties while she went for more paint supplies. Jazmin did a good job keeping her team on task. After finishing the girls room, they started the cutting-in on the boy’s room. Mr Osborne’s table group got off to a bit of a slow start on their next few tables as they had to wait for most of the wood to be delivered. To make the most of their time, they measured and cut the last bit of remaining wood they had and drilled the holes. The crew also finished sanding and varnishing the two tables constructed the previous day. With their spare time, they looked to help other groups with their projects.

The Gazebo group moved quickly to finish the roof on the gazebo. They set the goal of finishing their first gazebo before lunch and worked well together to complete it. After a large lunch, they looked to dig the holes for the next gazebo. The group made sure to double check the alignment of each hole and then went about digging them. Due to the compacted African dirt, It took the group about 3 hours to dig four holes 60 cm deep. The group then put up the posts and lined them up perfectly. The last work of the day involved racing individual scoops of concrete approximately 100 metres up a hill to secure the posts in place.


Following hard day of work, the group was rewarded with a braai prepared sponsored by St. Stephen’s but prepared by Neels (Molly’s husband), his son-in-law Eugene, and Peter.  The braai was an amazing experience as all of the kids and the tour students had an opportunity to bond and spend quality time together. There was lots of music, dancing and the atmosphere energetic and warm. The night ended with a reflective debrief that was led by the students. We discussed the positive experiences we have had with the children of JJ Haven and how much they have touched our lives.

– Jack Hogarth and Lachlan Meagher

This entry was posted on 19-April-2018. 1 Comment

Day 6 – Jeffrey’s Bay

It was literally a ‘wild’ start to the day. There were plenty of amazing creatures active this morning. It’s still hard to believe that all of this is literally just outside our accomodation.





After breakfast some of us went to the Kragga Kamma cafe for coffee and chat. Afterward, we walked around the catwalk close to the wild cheetah enclosure and explored the area near our accommodation. We played some drama games with Miss Erasmus and Mr. Thomas outside the Cheetah Lodge. Eventually, the time came to climb aboard the bus and we left Kragga Kamma Game Reserve to go to Jeffrey’s Bay for the day.

The bus ride took about an hour and we all listened to music and sang along. Upon arriving at the Surf Village at Jeffrey’s Bay, everyone got out of the bus and we were really excited to get shopping and go down to the beach. We hit as many discount stores as time would allow. At 3 o’clock, the group went down to check out the beach. The water at the beach was FREEZING at the beach but everyone still had a great experience and didn’t want to leave.



After warming up and getting changed from the beach, we drove back straight to Sardinia Bay Beach in Port Elizabeth. We climbed to the top of some huge dunes and arrived just in time for the sunset. We sat on the beach for our nightly ‘debrief’ of the day’s events. It was a short and sweet debrief tonight, as today was a day designed for relaxing. We mostly discussed our day and plans for the days ahead of us. Once the sun set we went to dinner. We went to Nando’s for a delicious dinner. We then returned home in preparation for the next day.



-Nash Thorp and Zac Hollyock


This entry was posted on 15-April-2018. 1 Comment

Day 5 – Sinethemba and Alexander Road High School

Today we had an amazing experience; first waking up to the spectacular wildlife in the Kragga Kamma Game Reserve. We saw giraffes, springbok, ostrich, zebra and even a cheetah…all from the doorway of our safari tent. 


After breakfast, we took a drive to Sinethemba Children’s Centre for a short visit. Mama Signoria and a few of the youngest children greeted us with warm hugs. Mama and Mr. Osborne took us to look inside the centre to look in the living spaces and bedrooms. There was 3 bedrooms altogether, 1 for the little kids, 1 for the middle aged and 1 for the elder kids. The rooms were small and cramped but very tidy and with very few possessions visible.

After about half an hour visiting Sinethemba, we drove about 10 minutes to Alexander Road High School. Visiting Sinethemba and then ARHS, it really let us understand that life can be very different just a mere 5 minutes apart. Once inside, we were invited to join the whole school assembly. In the assembly, we witnessed a heart-felt tribute to the late Mama Winnie Mandela who recently passed. Overall, we enjoyed the vibrant atmosphere of the proceedings. At the end of the assembly, we were treated with a student-led rally to get their school teams pumped up for a series of sporting contests the next day. After the assembly, we were given a tour by Mr. Kevin Golightly and a few of his students. We were shown various classes and felt for the first time that we were the exotic ones, with our Australian accents being a great source of entertainment for the ARHS students and perfect material for a particular maths teacher, and resident comedian.


We met with Kyle and Declan, both students of Mr. Golightly, and we worked together to organise activities for Sinethemba later in the afternoon. We meet a few more of the students from ARHS and set off to set up for various sporting activities we had planned. The Sinethemba children arrived at 3:00pm. The St. Stephen’s students made an effort to stick to our plans but soon enough, children were everywhere. Various forms of sport and hysterical laughter covered the school oval. A 6-on-6 soccer game with some of the older Sinethemba children turned into rugby and lasted over an hour. It and was an amazing spectacle to watch some of the older boys demonstrate their skill and enthusiasm. The younger Sinethemba children enjoyed the attention and their laughter fuelled our hearts and pushed us well into the afternoon.

All the Sinethemba and the Alex kids joined us on the bus as we drove back to Alex High School. The ARHS students cooked up an unbelievably tasty traditional South African Braai. As we approached the venue we could smell the amazing food cooking from a long distance away. We really enjoyed ourselves chatting with all the Sinethemba and ARHS kids and playing with a hacky-sack.




– Lauren Vaisey & Kianah Connor

This entry was posted on 14-April-2018. 1 Comment

Day 4 – Kragga Kamma and Hearts F.C.

Today we left Cape Town and a short 1-hour flight later, we arrived in Port Elizabeth. There, we were greeted by our driver, good friend and overall legend, John Moketsi.

John took us to our accomodation at Kragga Kamma Game Reserve. Students were immediately impressed with the ostriches and rhinos before we even got to the check-in office.

Terri, our safari guide took us on a game drive. In just the first day we’ve already spotted springbok, wildebeest, bontebok, giraffe, cheetahs, impalas, monkeys, nyalas and warthogs.

After this amazing experience, we went to Fairview Soccer Courts where we caught up with our good friend Stephen Morgan and some of the boys from Hearts Football Club. We jumped straight into some mixed 5-on-5 games. Afterward, they organised a traditional braai and we all had delicious boereworse roll and salads. They were such terrific hosts and very accomodating. Our visit finished with the presentation of the soccer boots and equipment that has been donated by our friends and family back in Australia. Stephen Morgan and Heart’s F.C. will be able to disperse this equipment to underfunded clubs within various communities.

The evening culminated with our nightly ritual of a ‘debrief’ where we review the days events and share what we observed and what we thought about. It’s fantastic to see our students becoming better travellers each day.


– Mr. C. Osborne


This entry was posted on 13-April-2018. 1 Comment

Day 3 – Langa Lifestyle

We began our day by visiting the District 6 Museum. There, we learnt the confronting stories of the Apartheid era, especially of those affected in District 6. We learnt how the residents of District 6 were forcibly removed from their own homes, often resulting in their houses being demolished all because of the colour of their skin. We were all certainly touched and the next bus ride was very quiet to say the least.


We then moved on to a driving tour of Langa Township and arrived at Mokone Public Primary School. We were overwhelmed with kindness when we were greeted by some beautiful singing by a group of the primary students.




After this, we engaged in some games of netball and soccer with some of the primary students. Who had the most points at the end of the games is not important. Let’s just say that Australia was well represented and in our eyes, we’re all winners.

After presenting Mokone Primary school with our boots, shoes, clothing and equipment donations, we went for lunch at Nomzamo’s Butchery in the heart of the township. We were provided with a variety of meats and a dish called ‘pap’ and we all tucked in with our hands, just as the locals would (except for our vegetarian and vegan students who were also well looked after).  We then embarked on an hour long walk around the township, learning the ins and outs of the Langa lifestyle. The Langa Township was a vibrant and cohesive community. PIC 3



At the Cape Town United School of Football, we trained with the Under 13’s team and got to know a lot of the players. We played some short games where they out-skilled us by far, meaning next year’s South Africa Tour Students should probably start training! After training, we then caught up with the Senior Soccer team where we presented them with their brand new track suits as well as several duffle bags of donated boots and equipment. We also donated several duffle bags of shoes and equipment for the affiliated women’s netball team.




We then invited some of the junior players and few of their coaches to join us in finishing the day with a dinner at LeLapa. This restaurant has operated out of a converted house since 1960. We enjoyed some fantastic live music and we all had fun learning how to play the instruments and dancing with the locals. The food was sensational. We enjoyed great music and enjoyed a great variety of delicious foods, including Kudu and Ostrich.




In all, this day opened all our eyes and changed our perspective of South African townships.


– Olivia Martin & Alex Avern-Taplin

This entry was posted on 12-April-2018. 4 Comments

Day 1 – Cape Town

After a long flight we arrived safely in Cape Town, where we received a hearty welcome from District 6’s Guest House. All in all, between flights and our homecoming, we enjoyed three breakfasts. We are all a little heavier as a consequence.
Needing to get the blood pumping, some students pondered a Table Mountain hike. The teachers however decided shopping at Waterfront will be a better cardio choice, followed by a cable car trip to the mountain top.
The views never cease to amaze, neither does the rotating floor of the cable car.
After a hearty meal at Spur, we headed back home, all in a Zombie haze. Donation packing and organisation lingered and was achieved in one epic group effort. We prevailed.

We were all very tired and headed off to bed early.

-Gillian Erasmus

This entry was posted on 10-April-2018. 2 Comments

We Have Arrived Safely!

Dear Tour Parents, Friends, Family and Colleagues,

Just a quick note to let you know that we have arrived safely in Cape Town with no problems. The students are really excited and really tired, which makes for an interesting combination. We’ve got lots to do today, so we’ll post more later.

Our contact phone number is: 0438605188 but should be used for emergencies only.

-Mr. C. Osborne

Departure Day

Tour Students,

Today has been a long time and coming. Your journey first started almost 10 months ago, when you first sat down and interviewed to go on this tour. In that interview, you convinced the tour staff that you have a desire for adventure, the willingness to get involved and work with other people, the entrepreneurial skills to fundraise, and the passion to make a difference in the lives of other people. I’m pleased to say that you have consistently demonstrated these driving forces over the last 10 months. The time has now come use the skills you possessed and the skills you have gained to make a real difference in the lives of others. Are you ready?! Are you as excited as we are?!

Tonight (Sunday, 8th April), we are to meet promptly at 8:00pm near the South African Airways check-in desk in Terminal 1. You are to wear a  tour shirt and school sports shorts or track pants with normal sport shoes. This is because we are a team and travel as a team. Therefore, we should look like a team. If you wish, you can change into different shirt/shoes, etc. during the flight if you like, but change back into your tour gear before we land in Johannesburg. You should either wear your tour jumper or pack it in your carry on bag as well. Please be sure that you have used a permanent marker to write your name on the labels of your clothing, especially your tour clothing.

Check to make sure you have your passport before you leave the house and check for it again when you get out of the car at the airport. Considering the weight of your bags, I suggest hiring a trolley to get your bags from the car to the check-in desk.

Today, you should relax and spend real quality time with your parents and siblings. Whether  you realise it or not, they have been with you this whole time, supporting you and this journey the whole time. Show them gratitude and make today a truly awesome day.

-Mr. C. Osborne

P.S. –> If you have any questions or concerns or need clarification on anything, please do not hesitate to contact me. I will be checking my eMail throughout the day.

This entry was posted on 08-April-2018. 1 Comment