Welcome to Honours 2024!

Posted on February 14, 2024

Kicking off the academic year in style, the 2024 GGM honours students started the year with a refreshing camp at Marakele National Park. With the aim of fostering community spirit, to have all students across all programs get to know each other and their coordinators, and to impart valuable information about the upcoming Honours year, 33 students and 4 staff members departed for the Thutong Environmental Education Centre at Marakele National Park on 10 February, returning 11 February.

The camp allowed us to prepare for the year ahead in a fun and collaborative way. The weekend was filled with informative sessions that provided valuable insights to better prepare us for the year ahead, from resources available, to associations we should join and group discussions about field work. These meaningful conversations with department members created a supportive atmosphere where everyone felt valued and heard. After having these information sessions we now have the mindset needed to Kickstart our honours journey the right way.

The team from the national park were engaging as they presented the rich history of the park and facilitated exciting games that got out hearts racing. To beat the heat, we also enjoyed some team water activities. These activities nurtured a healthy rivalry amongst our peers and allowed us to work with peers that we had previously not teamed up with. We got to explore the park and learn how to appreciate the park with respect and safety in mind (never leave your car, never honk your horn, be patient and wait for them to move on), which came in handy on our way home. Even though the camp was short, it left us with plenty of great memories and new friends. We also picked up some amusing stories, from the monkeys swiping bananas, to facing our fear of moths.

We also got to see some of the Big 5 in the park and who could forget our encounter with two dozing rhinos blocking the road on our journey back? Remembering the advice from our camp leaders, we patiently waited until they moved, although they needed some motivation. At least we got a close up!

Throughout the trip, the overarching theme of fun added a vibrant energy to every activity from the water games to preparing meals while getting to know our peers. Working together this weekend allowed us to bond and make connections that would support us through the year ahead. As we continue our academic journey, we recognize the privilege of being part of such a prestigious institution, and with its support we look forward to the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

On behalf of the class of 2024, we extend our sincere appreciation to our dedicated departmetn for organizing a memorable and enriching camp. This camp allowed us to become more comfortable with the GGM staff members, giving us the peace of mind that we are cared for and not alone in this journey towards another degree. A big thank you to the Tuks Catering for keeping us well-fed with delicious food, providing us with a true holiday experience. A final thank you to the staff at Marakele National Park, and SANParks!

We recommend this camp to anyone looking to start the year with some fun memories, helpful advice and guidance on the year ahead. We now feel that we have the tools needed to have a successful academic year. This camp has reminded us of your continuous support and commitment to our academic success, to #flyUP

Also, have a look at our gallery of the trip.

Hilet, Marinet, and Martha on behalf of the 2024 GGM Honours class

- Author Department of Geography, Geoinformatics and Meteorology

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