MARAKELE – Marakele National Park became the first park in the Northern region of SANParks to host the “Walk and Learn On The wild Side Project” (WALOW). Marakele kick-started the programme in May 2016 were a total of 8 schools and 169 participants from both the Waterberg & Moses Kotane District were selected for the duration of the week to be a part of this life changing experience.
WALOW aims to support Conservation, Eco-tourism & Hospitality courses that are offered in the different institutions in South Africa.
The primary beneficiaries of the WALOW programme are Grade 10 &11 High school learners who are interested in a career in these fields. Different institutions such as Colleges and Universities are invited to present on their offered courses, admission requirements and possible bursary opportunities and in the end learners also get an opportunity to visit the stalls for more information.
The learners and teachers of the first intake were so thrilled with the programme and the experience they received and wished that more of such programmes could be offered in other industries “we have learned so many things in tourism such as housekeeping, hospitality and also learned that in tourism there’s no “I DON’T KNOW” as an answer. We thank SANParks for giving us this wonderful opportunity to experience nature and expose us to potential tourism activities and careers, we hope other industries will do more of this so to empower us young people.” said a learner from Raphurele High School.
The sentiments were echoed by another learner from Tshomankane secondary School who said “we are very thankful to SANParks for affording us the opportunity to come and learn a lot of things that we theoretically learn in class. We have gained a lot of information that we are going to share with other learners when we go back to school.”
SANParks is committed to socio economic and educational upliftment of local rural communities’ adjacent to protected areas. “We remain indebted to the communities adjacent to our parks that we always want to roll out programmes that will benefit them and their children” said Johan Taljaard, Park Manager of Marakele.
The programme is sponsored by TOTAL SA and facilitated by SANParks in partnership with the Limpopo and North West Provinces.