The location of Somerset College gives students a rare opportunity to explore their natural surroundings and to further their education in a unique and engaging way.
With convenient access to the nearby countryside, mountain trails, sea and camping facilities, the Outdoor Education Programme allows Grade 8, 9, 10 and 11 students to learn about life outside the classroom and away from home. In doing so, students learn to work closely in teams, and to appreciate the environment in a unique way.
Within the first three weeks of their time at school, all Grade 8's embark on a three-day team building and 'getting-to-know-you' camp run by their tutors and the school's prefects.
The students are exposed to physical, mental and social challenges all designed to allow them to integrate with other members of their grade, and with senior students and staff.
The camp takes place at 'Mizpah', in the beautiful Elgin / Grabouw surrounds, and the emphasis is on fun and participation.
The flagship of our Outdoor Education Programme is the Trek.
This is a 27-day journey of self-discovery undertaken by all Grade 9 students in November, during which time they cover 360km on foot, in canoes and on bicycles.
It is the only school adventure of this magnitude in South Africa, and is an outstanding educational exercise that teaches children to operate in groups, and to analyse their roles as individuals.
Students are given the opportunity to lead, make decisions affecting the group, prepare meals, write letters to family and friends and learn camping skills.
The nature of the Trek means they will be tested physically, mentally and emotionally, but will reach their destination safely, with new strength of spirit and memories of a life experience that will stay with them forever.
During a week in the Cederberg, Grade 10 students are taught to take responsibility for planning and organising themselves.
As well as being given the opportunity to hike in the magnificent Cederberg mountain range, students are also involved in campsite activities, visits to historic sites, and community work, where groups spend time at the local primary school helping children.
Grade 11 students are taken away for a week to the Elgin Forest for a series of activities designed to challenge them both mentally and physically.
Decision-making and reaching consensus in a group context is not always easy, but students learn to tolerate and accept other's views and opinions, while learning the necessary skills required for successful leadership.