Learning and Playing at Crafty Duck

Nontobeko Mbokazi Triandra Primary School (2)

Nontobeko Mbokazi Grade 6 Triandra Primary School holds the python. Photographer: Twané Clarke.

Learners from Triandra, Yarrow and Gartmore farm schools in Karkloof earned an outing to the Crafty Duck Animal Farm by creating the best artwork in the Karkloof Conservancy’s annual conservation project around the theme “The role of snakes in our environment and the imperative need to conserve them”.

The Crafty Duck, situated in Pietermaritzburg is well signposted, easy to find and home to a variety of farm animals from all over the world.

The day kicked off with a donkey ride that generated wide smiles. Each learner received a can of food to feed the farm animals and Oliver, the guide, took them on a tour – introducing the owls and teaching about nocturnal and diurnal animals.
The highlight was a visit to the Reptile Park. This was a great follow on to their previous lessons with herpetologist Pat McKrill. They were able to meet some of the deadly snakes that Pat had spoken about – that included a Black Mamba! They also met other reptiles such as Crocodiles, Iguanas and Bearded Dragons. After learning lots about reptiles, everyone was treated to a train ride around the park.

To end the day, Oliver brought out their very large (very large!) Python. Everyone had a chance to touch it. This was followed by a ‘fear factor’ challenge which involved actually holding the snake. Surprisingly, lots of hands went up to try. The learners’ confidence has grown in leaps and bounds since their first encounter with snakes and it was evident that they no longer fear snakes, but have a great respect for them. Oliver finished off by explaining that when they see a snake, they must not touch it or play with it like they did on this day, because snakes can be dangerous when handled.

After all of this excitement, the learners were treated to a grand picnic sponsored by the Karkloof Conservancy. We would like to thank the Crafty Duck for their warm hospitality and the Midlands Conservancies Forum for sponsoring the entrance fees through funding secured from the N3TC for school fieldtrips. Everyone had a day that they will never forget – learning while having fun is the best!