Field School in Africa: An Introduction & 6 Key Benefits

Everyone agrees that studying can be a little tedious at times. Doing the same thing all day everyday can make even the most studious get bored. It is worthwhile to frequently be in nature, breathe in the fresh air, experience the sun on your face and see the wildlife in Africa.

Imagine learning in this environment instead of being stuck in class day in day out. At Bunduz, we believe learning can be both fun and engaging.

It’s why we pioneered the idea of learning while experiencing the beauty of Mother Nature. Thus the creation of our Field School in Africa expedition. So, what exactly is field school?

Field School: A definition

Field school is simply an outdoor learning experience.

It’s a training that involves taking students from the cold theoretical learning of classrooms, to the rich practical & engaging outdoor environment. Field school offers students an unprecedented opportunity to work directly with study subjects in their natural habitat.

Instead of examining a picture of an indigenous tree, you get to interact with this rare specimen in real life.

Field schools are becoming increasingly popular as a study technique. This is because they offer the following key advantages:

1. Better understanding

Simply being outdoors has numerous benefits to cognitive development. Children that learn from outside are more reflective and inquisitive. These are essential qualities needed for problem solving in real life situations.

During a field school trip in Africa, you can hold a class in a conducive environment which promotes better understanding.

2. Enhance self-reliance

Imagine going for a hike for just a week. Sleeping in tents and having only your team and guide by your side. By the end of the week you will be far more confident in your own capabilities, don’t you think so?

By being part of our field school, you will not only learn from books, but from nature itself. Depending on oneself is a core ability you’ll learn during your safari.

3. Enhanced communication skills

From personal experience, it’s safe to say that outdoor classroom activities provide an avenue for self- expression. By working as teams to solve problems on expeditions, you become a better communicator and team player.

4. Better overall behavior

 

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In contrast to a regular classroom, where the stifling heat and cramped seating can lead to restlessness, the outdoors encourages better behavior in individuals.

Nature helps improve social adjustment, group cohesion, confidence and self-awareness.

6. Increased motivation

Learning from a different location is non-conventional. This increases motivation especially for young curious minds.

They are always willing to learn but only if it is made both fun & engaging for them. This is the case created by field school since it has a relaxed vibe where you can get your hands dirty.

7. Change of attitude about the environment

It is sad how the human race has neglected Mother Nature.

Unfortunately, this negative behavior is being passed down to our younger generations who prefer to surf the internet while watching endless hours of entertainment.

Outdoor education influences how they view the environment making them develop a meaningful love for the outdoors. This creates a more responsible and environmentally conservative individual.

8. Reduced stress levels

Have you ever been outside, saw the sunset or heard birds chirping and suddenly felt better?

Hearing sounds of nature releases dopamine “the happy hormone”. Field school provides serene environments with exquisite views for you to conduct classes.

It is certainly liberating to be both happy and learning.

Conclusion

All these points vividly illustrate and prove the usefulness of incorporating field school as part of your curriculum.

Field school in Africa gives students an education, entertainment and life skills all in one bundle. Moreover, it is equally as useful for work colleagues in team building and teaching them new things about their job.

At Bunduz, we believe in shaping the young to not only be theoretical adults, but also leaders capable of out of the box solution thinking. We provide an immersive yet safe field school experience in Africa that will have a permanent impact on each and every individual.

To find out more about our next scheduled field trip or to organize a custom trip, contact us today.

Run Wild; Lewa Marathon 2016

“I have been running 26km every week since March, in readiness for this marathon! Grueling is what the terrain was, and the sweltering heat didn’t make it any easier; thank heavens for the misting stations along the trail! I am tired to the bone, but hey, it’s all for a good cause!” Said Fred after finishing the Run Wild Run For The Wild 2016 Lewa Marathon.

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On the road from Nairobi, I traveled with a bunch of happy, singing Hashers all set to take part in a marathon that has made it to the world’s list of top ten ‘must do’ marathons. The Lewa Marathon is revered in the world of runners as one of the toughest marathons in the world! Knowing this, I figured that the pomp and dance the Hashers had was something in the lines of a war-dance conjured to imply courage as they forged forward to the war; The 2016 Lewa Marathon!

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There’s never a dull day in the Hash House Harriers movement!

Commitment to conservation of wildlife and its habitat in Kenya was hallmarked as theLewa Marathon marked it’s 17th Anniversary; this time hosting over 1300 participants drawn from 28 countries all over the world. A growth in leaps and bounds from the 150 participants the marathon hosted in 2000, the inaugural year.

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The Safaricom Lewa Marathon is one of the major sporting events in Kenya and in the circles of runners all around the world. The energy of the event and its participants was almost tangible! As early as the first bird chirped to wake the world, runners could be seen pacing up and down their camps as they warmed up their muscles prior to the marathon. There are those that were to run the half marathon (21km) and the elite runners who would cover enter trail of the full marathon (42km).

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Early morning as the runners sponsored by MMC Africa Law get ready for the marathon

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The energy of the event and its participants was almost tangible!

The Lewa Marathon gave the spectators as well as the runners the exciting possibility of encountering wildlife on the trail. The picturesque landscapes were enthralling like snippets straight out of a Disney film! Like the proverbial bite and blow from a rat, I assumed the marathon was treacherous for the runners and the natural beauty of the Lewa conservancy was the reliever.

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Spectators were treated to picturesque landscapes as they cheered runners in the Lewa Marathon

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An ostrich stands vigilant at the Lewa Conservancy

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Mama rhino and child, out for a morning snack at Lewa

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Striped beauty of the zebra stands out in the Lewa plains

 

Young and old runners gave their best and pushed hard! Every pant, muscle cramp and foot sore being their symbol  of commitment to the spirit of wildlife conservation. Through the undulating dirt tracks cutting through the breathtaking Lewa Conservancy, runners sweat it out, with some running strong and others shuffling their feet with an aim to make it to the next water-point and eventually to the finish line.

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John Ruengo pushing hard. At 86 he is the oldest Kenyan marathoner.

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All terrain vehicles came in handy while moving from spectator point to the next

As I moved from one spectator point to the next, I was glad to have met one of the child competitors in the Lewa Marathon. The kids take part in a 5km race and are awarded medals on completion of the set distance.

“What is your name?” I asked the shy boy walking towards me with a medal dangling around his neck.

“Moses.” he replied in shaky voice. “I see you finished the race. What position were you?” I inquired.

“I don’t know. I am so tired, but happy that I got a medal.”

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Meet Moses. One of the finishers in the 5km Children’s race at the Lewa Marathon.

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Some ran strong while others shuffled on to the finish line

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Determination was written allover her face

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I will keep going, no giving up!

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Effective cooling; A runner goes though the misting station!

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A determined runner goes past other marathoners at the Lewa Marathon

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A 2013 Virgin London Marathon Finisher pushing to finish Lewa Marathon 2016

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“I have to keep going,” So James seems to tell himself.

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He entertained spectators as he asked for Tusker at every water-point

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Spectators cheered on the marathoners to the finish line

As Hal Higdon said, The pride in finishing a marathon is much greater than all the pain endured during the marathon! This was evidenced by the celebration from the various teams, after a grueling day on the trail. Closest to me was the team sponsored by  MMC Africa Law. After a few hours of cooling their heels at the Bunduz camp, it was back to party time!

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Finished the marathon, and had no energy to show off the medal

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Oh yes, we finished!

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The MMC Africa Law team celebrates after the Lewa Marathon 2016

I believe that many a runner will agree with me in saying that, Finishing a marathon is a state of mind that says anything is possible! To the runners in the Run Wild Lewa Marathon, the organizers, the sponsors of the various teams in the marathon, the journalists covering the event, the entertainers and the ever so kind spectators handing bottles of water and energy bars to the runners, we finished the marathon!

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Finishing a marathon is a state of mind that says anything is possible!

On The Rocks.. (Rhino Charge 2016)

On the rocks is how I wanted my drink served after a long day out chasing after charge cars. On the rocks is where every competitor and spectator that made it to the Gauntlet found themselves. On the rocks is where I found my relationship with Safaricom degenerate to when I found out that the gauntlet was their guard-post, yet there was no network coverage!

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On the rocks at the Rhino Charge 2016 gauntlet!

“Should you ever go to your village and not connect to your Safaricom line, this is the guy to call.” That is how I had been introduced (on the eve of the charge) to the signal guru that Safaricom had dispatched to the Rhino Charge 2016 venue. As I paced up and down the gauntlet, I couldn’t help but wonder where and how he had lost his mojo. I later met him and he explained  in an embarrassed mumble, from underneath a Safaricom branded cap that; it was difficult to get network coverage at the gauntlet because it was smack in the middle of a depression. I walked away and stripped him of the title guru in four steps; a letter down with each step.

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Communication satellites at Longonot on our way to Rhino Charge 2016

Rhino Charge 2016 was set in the vast and picturesque Narok County, the home of the world renowned wildlife reserve; Masai Mara! As we drove there aboard Ki-Pumpum, I wondered what adventure the charge had in store for us this time around. Would I be able to get good shots? Is the terrain taunting enough for me to maybe get a shot of a charge vehicle toppling over several times and back on it’s four wheels? Would I be in a position to visit most guard-posts and spy on charge vehicles as they tore ravenously through the thick bush in a bid to win the top prize? I had to wait until the charge day to find out.

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Bunduz adventurers relaxing on arrival at the venue. Ki-Pumpum rests in the background.

For the past 27 years, why does a group of people get out into the wild to find a new trail where millions of shillings are torn away in the form of all-terrain vehicles that maneuver a 12 point circuit spreading over approximately 100km, in a duration of 10 hours? One would wonder. Year in, year out, why do spectators throng the often harsh environment to witness embellished vehicles clamor over rocks and tear through bush while driven by enthusiastically calculative crews that stop at nothing unless their vehicle is reduced to a heap of junk metal? As I retired to my safari chair right by the Bunduz camp bonfire, I watched spectators share their tales from the charge day that had just ended. As we braved the cold dark night of the Masia Mara, I quietly scrolled through the shots I had taken, and that’s when it all dawned on me; the spirit of the Rhino Charge is one charged with the resilience of a people committed to the conservation of the Kenyan wildlife, nature and catchment areas through the protection of mountain echo-systems. The spirit of the Rhino Charge will stop at nothing to see that conservation is upheld!

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No Bush Too Thick! No obstacle will stop the spirit of Rhino Charge

This year, the Rhino Charge raised Kshs. 139,000,000.00 for the Rhino Ark and Kshs. 4,400,000/- for the host community! Of note is that the top two fundraisers were indigenous Kenyan teams. Team Magnate Chargers and Car #23, led by Stanley Kinyanjui and Peter Kinyua respectively. In celebration of the success that Rhino Charge 2016 was, I made sure to bring you some shots of the action…:-)

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Spectators follow the Rhino Charge from a vantage point

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Spectators look on as Car #36 clamors over a rock

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Rev up that rock!

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A runner leads Car # 42 out of a thicket

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A Masai Moran adorns Peter Kenneth a spectator in traditional regalia

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As they pondered the best route down

 

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The host community loved the show

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A Rhino Ark official looks on as Car # 40 maneuvers a rock

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Let that model pose not fool you. The ladies driving Car #19 had super skills!

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No lugga too deep!

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A spectator engrossed in the action packed gauntlet

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Through it all, and stopping at nothing!

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Just a scratch, let’s push on!

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There is only one way down this rock!

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A contortionist of a vehicle! SimTank #TeamChomz

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Team Frying Squad had spider looking modified vehicle

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Off to the next guard-post

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Go straight through that bush!

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Hang on, can I find a better route?

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Team mates hang on the side to stabilize Car #40 as they leave the gauntlet

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This is the winner of Rhino Charge 2016!

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Car #62 was the highest fundraiser towards Rhino Ark. They raised Kshs. 14,500,000.00

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Car #23 driven by Peter Kinyua raised Kshs. 11,000,000.00 towards the conservation efforts of Rhino Ark

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From the full adventure cooler box Stronger Simtank, refreshments flowed freely as spectators enjoyed.

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A charge car leaves the venue. It was time to say goodbye.

The Ultimate Trip (#Day 5) – Kigali – Lake Bunyonyi

Eventually we had to leave the beautiful land of Rwanda. It was evident that most of us wished our stay here would have been longer. Kigali had certainly treated us well and I personally loved it! With all the Kigali city exploration and the good old partying, we were quite spent on this day of departure.

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Hotel Bausejour. Kigali, Rwanda.

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Adventurers take a nap on our way to Lake Bunyonyi from Kigali

The trip back seemed way longer than it was when we were heading to Kigali. We eventually got to the Lake Bunyonyi Overland Resort in the late afternoon. I was glad to see her beauty and splendour still intact.

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Lake Bunyonyi

We had a lot of time to relax here after having a sumptuous lunch prepared by the ever ready Bunduz.com chef. Some of the adventurers opted to spend the afternoon in their rooms, probably sleeping to recover from the party hangovers of Kigali, while others decided to indulge in a game of poker and enjoy a drink or two. I was definitely with the latter group of adventurers and sure had some fun!

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Let’s play some poker!

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Taking in the beauty of Lake Bunyonyi

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The locals enjoy time at the Lake Bunyonyi Resort with their families

Time seemed to fly and before long it was time for dinner. The chef had promised to give us a grand barbeque and he certainly did not disappoint!

 

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Mukhtar the Trip Captain helps put together the barbeque

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Dinner is served!

 

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One Mr.Mbugua couldn’t resist posing with the ladies!:-)

On this night we retired a little early as we had a long way down to Kampala the next day.