Grosvenor Rugby and Hockey Tour of South Africa 2016
The tour of South Africa was an amazing experience for all involved. Visiting the historic city of Pretoria in Johannesburg, Port Elizabeth and Cape Town. The trip was filled with plenty of friendly competition, insight into the culture of South Africa and ended with four days of blissful relaxation
After nearly two years of planning for us at Chaka, the Grosvenor staff, the 1st and 2nd XV rugby teams and the 1st XI ladies hockey team arrived at Dublin Airport where they would fly, via Dubai, to Johannesburg to begin their summer tour of South Africa
Grosvenor Rugby and Hockey Tour of South Africa 2016
Johannesburg & Pretoria
Upon arrival in Johannesburg, the group was greeted by our local representatives, and although there were some weary travel heads, the group powered through and enjoyed an educational and insightful tour of the historic city of Pretoria. The group enjoyed visiting the Voortrekker Monument and other historic landmarks.
After a much needed nights rest, the group party embarked on a city tour of Johannesburg and an educational visit to the Apartheid Museum. After this the group headed to Kempton Park where the students would take part in their first training sessions and meet their first hosts of the trip.
After a very successful first night of hosting, the group assembled at Kempton Park and set off for a tour of Loftus Versfeld Stadium, home of the Blue Bulls and a lot of the tour funds were spent in the club shop! After a relaxing morning, it was time for the first games of the tour against Kempton Park School. Unfortunately the 1st XI hockey team fell to a defeat but learnt a lot as they had their first taste of playing on grass. The 2nd XV rugby side secured a fantastic 15-15 draw, and the 1st XV rugby side blew away their opponents to get the tour off to a winning start! Fantastic hospitality and a Braai followed with the Kempton Park players and parents, a memorable night was thoroughly enjoyed by all involved! The students once again stayed with their hosts, while the staff went on to celebrate a successful day!
The next day the whole tour took part in a team building and safari day at Dinokeng Game Reserve just outside of Johannesburg. The whole tour party stayed together before the next day’s flight down to Port Elizabeth.
After a midday flight from Johannesburg to Port Elizabeth, the group ventured to the SA Marine and Rehab Centre for an educational visit where they had the pleasure of interacting with some Penguins. After this the school made the trip to Cape Recife, where they would stay in the school hostel for two nights.
The next morning it was a relaxing trip to the spectacular Jeffrey’s Bay for some beach time before getting ready for the second match of the tour against their opposition, Cape Recife School. The 1st XI Hockey team showed they were quick to adapt to grass with a 3-0 win, the 2nd XV rugby team got their first tour win with a 17-0 win over Cape Recife 1st XV, and the Grosvenor 1st XV rugby squad stayed unbeaten with a great 22-0 win over a tough and physical Bergsig side. More great hospitality followed, and the entire group agreed it was a fantastic experience to stay in the hostel and see how some South African students live.
The next two days had a mix of action packed zip lining at Tsiksikama and animal interactions at, Monkey Land, Birds of Eden and the Elephant Sanctuary. The two nights spent in the stunning Plettenberg Bay were described as a tour highlight by Coach Gibson, and included the squads serenading the locals with multiple renditions of Ireland’s Call!
The next stop along the Garden Route was Knysna and the spectacular facilities of Oakhill Academy for a morning training session. The students then had the opportunity to meet their next hosts of the trip. The hospitality here wowed the students and ten of them even got to stay together in a 27 bedroom villa equipped with an infinity pool! The same evening the staff enjoyed a meal with our local representatives from Ascot Tours, and I’m told there was a sore head or two the next morning!
Before the third game the tour party embarked on a Whale and Dolphin cruise and took in the spectacular views of the Knysna Heads. The third Game of the tour got under way with the Hockey girls putting on a great performance against an immensely talented Oakhill team but unfortunately taking a 3-1 loss. The 1st XV & 2XV continued their winning ways against Knysna High School and remained unbeaten in South Africa! Superb hospitality followed from the guys at Oakhill, and another nights hosting beckoned for the Grosvenor students!
Day 12 of the tour started with a visit to Sports Academy George, where the group took the opportunity to interact and play football with local kids. The Sports Academy was set up by Wayne & Suzi McAfee and is a fantastic charity organisation which makes a massive contribution to the local community. It was then off to the Garden Route Game Lodge where the tour group had a spectacular night and got up close and personal with a few of Africa’s finest
The group were up early to take in another superb morning game drive before hopping on the bus to make the journey over to Cape Town. Game four of the tour followed that evening under lights at Bergvliet High, where all three teams finished the tour on a high with three wins. This meant the rugby boys finished the tour undefeated and the girls finished with two wins and two losses, a very successful tour overall on the playing fields!
Day 14 – 17
The next four days were spent relaxing in the wonderful city of Cape Town, taking in sights such as Robben Island, The Cape of Good Hope, Table Mountain, the Somerset West Cheetah Sanctuary and a final tour meal in the awesome Gold Restaurant.
The tour was an amazing experience for all involved, and there were a number of heavy hearts when it came time to head to the airport and fly home. A huge amount of thanks goes out to the staff, Gary Hunter, Alan Cowan, Jamie Wilson, Linda Knox, Caroline Adams, Jo-Anne Wilson and Alison Cowan, for being so warm, friendly and inviting, as well as putting in so much hard work to help make this tour so very special.
“Hi Mark, we are home safe and sound from what can only be described as the tour of a lifetime. The tour itself, and the planning prior to departure was nothing short of excellent. It was well thought through, offered a variety of experiences hosting/hotel/hostel and allowed our kids to get a real grip on what life is like for school children in SA. All accommodation was excellent, and special mention to the Garden route game lodge for just being extremely special. It was tremendous also to have Werner and Scott to assist over there, these two guys are top, top men, and their presence and help was invaluable. A Particular mention must go to how well they dealt with the hospital visits. Our tour guide Roger quickly became part of the gang and grew into almost a cult hero with the guys! A true gent who knew his stuff and a credit to his country and profession. Your team have committed so much energy and passion into this tour and it was superb to have David him join us in Cape Town. He truly invested of himself into our tour and went beyond the call of duty so often. His help at sorting the travel documentation/entrance into SA requirement/ extra activities/meal requirements/ bags/ opposition, really the list goes on and on. All in all Mark, huge thanks to Chaka and Ascot Tours, you guys have provided and facilitated an amazing life changing tour for 70 folks from Grosvenor Grammar School. Thank you and look forward to seeing you soon and working together in the future”.
(Andrew Gibson, Grosvenor Grammar School)
The tour would not have been the same without the fantastic attitude of all the Grosvenor students, from the first day to the last they committed to everything and got as much as they possibly could out of the trip. We can’t list all 62 names, but we’d like to wish the school leavers all the best with everything they do in the future, and for the stayers, good luck with your exam results and for the upcoming seasons! You are all a credit to your school and it was a pleasure to get to meet you.
An extra special mention must be given to Grosvenor’s lead tour organiser Andrew Gibson, a one of a kind individual, it’s easy to see why both the students and the staff hold him in such high regard.
Finally, it was an honour for Chaka Travel to be a part of this tour and it gives us great pleasure to hear how much everybody enjoyed it, we do not welcome our teams as customers, we welcome them as friends.