South Africa – Culture, Adventure, Wildlife & Community-15 Day Learning Community


South Africa: Safari, Culture & Nature: Eastern Cape and The Kruger National Park

A 15-day learning community retreat on the Eastern Cape of South Africa and in the World Renowned Kruger National Park. This retreat is complete with nature, wildlife, adventure and local communities.  

When: February 13th-26th, 2017

Where: Kruger National Park, Johannesburg, Wild Coast, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Status: Open & Accepting Applications


Early Bird: Reserve your space before November 1st 2016 *$2199:
* Early-bird cost for South African nationals $1899  


After November 1st, 2016 *$2449:
* For South African nationals after November 1st, 2016 $2199  

Who: 8-12 participants (ages 13-25) unschoooling, homeschooling, worldschooling or self-directed teens and young adults. 

A minimum of 8 participants is required to produce this learning community retreat




South Africa is well known for its amazing wildlife and breathtaking scenery and friendly people.  On this retreat we bring you both the dramatic views of rolling hills, beaches, forest and lagoons as well the experience of watching the BIG FIVE roam free in their natural habitats.

This Project World School retreat will have an emphasis on outdoor exploration and adventure as well as cultural immersion in South Africa. We will connect with Xhosa communities and paint our faces with clay and learn to make our own fishing rods.  We will learn about Xhosa culture, learn about the history of the region and discover some of the challenges of communities trying to live sustainably and make a living. We will drive through a section of the Kruger Park, reputes to be abundant in big five and other wildlife, and observe them in their natural habitats. The South Africa 2017 retreat promises community and adventure for every participant!

In the spirit of all Project World School retreats, we are not a typical study abroad program as we take advantage of the power of a learning-community to produce collaborative goals, knowledge acquisition, personal development, and changes in global perspectives. This is one you don’t want to miss. Join us in South Africa!



  • Full accommodations for the duration of the learning community retreat
  • All transportation from Johannesburg to Eastern Cape, Within the Eastern Cape, to the Kruger Park and within the park and all day trips
  • All ground transportation
  • Breakfast, lunch, and dinners during the retreat.  No lunches on the travel days: Day 2, 5, 9 13. 
  • All workshops, talks, and classes throughout the retreat
  • Community
  • Fun!

Does not include: International airfare, laundry services, snacks, and lunches during travel days and meals on arrival and departure days.   Also not included are extras such as souvenirs, toiletries, batteries, insect repellent, sunscreen or other personal items.


Schedule: *

Day 1: Arrival in Johannesburg

Day 2: Visit to Maropeng Exhibition, situated in the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site: widely believed to be the birthplace of humanity.  There are 2500 exhibits, focussing on the development of Humans and our ancestors.  You will see fossils, learn about how humankind was born, view stone tools up to 1-million years old, and much more. Oh and an adventure boat ride!

Day 3: Fly to the Eastern Cape and make our way to Bulungula Eco Lodge with Beach, Forest, Lagoon, Dolphins, Whales and Shooting Stars!  This lodge is somewhat of a legend in ethical travel. It is situated on one of the world’s most beautiful, unspoilt beaches in the heart of a traditional Xhosa village. The lodge and the village are seamlessly linked. There are no fences, there is no crime, no one will hassle you or beg.  In fact you can wander around the village (with or without a guide) and you’ll doubtless be invited into someone’s hut or rondavel for a chat.  You may end up having your face painted with clay patterns, or learn how to grind corn or brew the (very popular) local sorghum beer, umqombothi.  If you are interested in making your own rod and line to fish, someone will show you how. In fact, you can also learn how to throw a net, and catch octopus and crayfish by hand.  There are also great storytellers in the village.  You can also paddle between the cool forested cliffs that line the Xhora River. The birdlife and plant life are astounding, and fish have been known to leap into canoes.  Did we mention Nighttime Bonfires!

Day 4: Immerse ourselves in this paradise that is called Bulungula Eco Lodge.  

Day 5: Immerse ourselves in this paradise that is called Bulungula Eco Lodge. 

Day 6: Drag ourselves away from paradise and transfer to the picturesque town of Port St Johns where we’ll stay on the verge of a tropical rain forest only 2 minutes walk from a beautiful beach.

Day 7:  Go on a guided hike into the Umzimvubu Mountains  to meet a remote community and hear about their challenges.

Day 8: Volunteer Day in Port St Johns.

Day 9: Still in Port St Johns, meet with a Sangoma (Traditional Healer) and  learn about the medicinal plants in the Eastern Cape. 

Day 10: Fly Back to Johannesburg

Day 11: In Johannesburg, we will visit Gold Reef City Theme Park and catch a glimpse of the Johannesburg of the 1800s.  We will go on an underground mine tour and visit the Apartheid Museum. 

Day 12: Depart for the world-renowned Kruger National Park (KNP), where the Big Five (Lion, Leopard, Rhino, Elephant and Buffalo) roam free.  The KNP is unrivalled in the diversity of its life forms and is home to an impressive number of species, trees, fish, amphibians, reptiles, mammals and a whopping 507 species of birds!  

Day 13: We will Self Drive in the KNP and see how many animals and birds we can spot.  Lions, leopards, hyenas, cheetahs and and wild dogs are frequently sighted at this end of the park.  Giraffe, blue wildebeest, buffaloes and elephants are also regulars on this route.  If we are lucky we will maybe see an endangered Rhino or two too!   We will go on a guided evening drive with a Game Ranger to see the nocturnal animals starting their ‘days’ and try to spot a porcupine or 2, Giant Eagle Owls and hopefully see the cats at night.

Day 14: A visit to Jane Gooddall’s Chimp Eden, a sanctuary for the magnificent Chimpanzee’s rescued from the bush meat trade or the illegal pet market.  Drive back to Johannesburg.   

Day 15: Departures    

*Schedule is subject to shift


Space is extremely limited and this retreat will sell out!


Our Partner:

Zakiyya Ismail and Kaameel Chicktay


Mother and son Duo are born and have lived all their lives in South Africa.  Zakiyya is an unschooling mother of three that loves exploring new spaces but considers the Kruger National Park her happy space. She is the co-convenor of the Learning Reimagined Conference to be held in February next year (just before this amazing retreat).   Kaameel Chicktay is an 18 year old self directed learner embarking on new journeys of self exploration, tennis coaching and seeing new worlds.  Mother and Son have travelled fairly extensively with the rest of their family.



Bulungula Eco-Lodge

The Fair Trade eco-lodge is situated in the most beautiful location of any lodge in South Africa – on the breathtaking Wild Coast. The eco-lodge runs on solar power, The community of Nqileni village owns 100% of the lodge and is an integral part of daily life here. No fences, no crime, no beggars, no hassles, just friendly smiles.

Amapondo Backpackers Lodge

Amapondo 2

Amampondo Backpacker Lodge  in Port St Johns, Amampondo is a 2 minute walk from the beach nestled in the lush, dense forest of the Transkei.  Amapondo is situated just outside the buzzy town of Port St Johns with shops, restaurants, banks and loads of quirky folk.  Amapondo and the nearby surrounds offer a variety of fun things to do including hiking, waterfall trips, sulphur springs experiences, traditional village excursions, cultural meals, horse riding, river barge trips, sundowners, and lots lots more.

Amapondo takes Fancy Dress very seriously.  If you are lucky enough to catch us in a silly mood, we may just put a wig and fancy sunglasses on you right at the bar.  Although we don’t do it every night, when we do, it’s great fun and everyone gets involved.  Our fancy dress stuff is so cool that some folks even take it home.  We really don’t like that.  As you can imagine, it’s not easy getting Fancy Dress costumes in the middle of the Wildcoast.

Kruger National Park


Krugerview Lodge is situated on the banks of the crocodile river, where animals regularly come and quench their thirst.  It is a 5 minute drive from the Crocodile Bridge Entrance to the KNP. If we’re lucky there might be a giraffe or waterbuck quenching their thirst on the far end of the river while we’re catching a swim in pool.

Backpackers Ritz – Johannesburg

The Backpackers Ritz is the longest running hostel in Johannesburg.  Set in a large, beautiful mansion with a stunning garden and inviting swimming pool, the Backpackers Ritz is a clean, comfortable haven in Johannesburg providing an ideal base for our Johannesburg adventures.


The packing list for this retreat is here.   



All the lodges have a communal kitchen that are accessible to us to pack lunches for our day trips.  Since we’re going to be incredibly busy we have opted for catered breakfast and dinners.

Bulungula Eco-Lodge

Breakfasts are either cooked or just porridge and cereal. Lunches are usually huge toasted sandwiches or the option of a Xhosa traditional meal. At night you might eat Malay chicken curry with roti, lamb and butternut stew, or sausage with Nelson Mandela’s favourite, umnqusho (beans and samp). There are also vegetarian options.  There’s sometime the option of having a smoothie made in a bicycle-driven blender.  There are whispers about pancakes being possibly available for purchase – but they’re just rumours.

Amapondo Lodge in Port St Johns

Amopondo lodge has  a scrumptious à la-carte menu – great for both vegetarians and meat lovers.  We can tuck into one of their homemade burgers or delicious international dinners.

Backpackers Ritz – Johannesburg

At the Backpackers Ritz, we will have options for night time barbecues, curry and rice, mac and cheese.  Simple breakfasts of Cereals, Yoghurts, Fruit and Tea/Coffee.




We take the safety of everybody seriously.  We will never leave anybody to go off on their own or put ourselves at unnecessary risk.  The Eastern Cape is a safe and malaria free region.  The Kruger National Park is a malaria area and the use of malaria prophylactics are at your own discretion.  Mosquito repellent and long sleeve tops in the evenings are an important safety precaution.  We will be doing a lot of driving on this trip so as a precautionary measure, travel insurance is essential.

Buffalos KNP



In order to qualify for the early bird discount, you must get your application in by November 1st, 2016 AND pay the $1,000 deposit to hold your space. 50% of your deposit is refundable if you cancel 60 days prior to the retreat (December 13th, 2016).

Additional Information & Discounts

Project World School will be participating at the Learning Reimagined Family Conference, South Africa’s first of it’s kind conference on Alternative Learning. The conference runs over 2 days on the 11/12 of February in Johannesburg at a beautiful venue at the Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens in Johannesburg. The organizers are offering PWS participants (and their parents or siblings) a discount on the conference fees. If you are interested in attending, please let us know and the organizers will be in touch with you.


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