Exploring South Africa

Mackenzie with students at the Sgagula Village school

Whether you’re camping in your backyard or exploring the savannas in Africa, the natural world has so much to appreciate!

This summer, Mackenzie, a Girl Scout Senior from Malden, traveled across the world to South Africa on a Girl Scout Destination trip. She first heard about Destinations while at Camp Cedar Hill, and went on a trip to London, England, when she was 13 years old. “That trip helped reinforce my love for travel,” Mackenzie says. “It also showed me how much fun it can be with a group of people I’m not familiar with. Given that my trip to London was so successful I knew I could step outside of my comfort zone and go further away for a longer amount of time.”

In Johannesburg, Mackenzie and her travel companions explored the Sterkfontein Caves, which is one of the richest paleoanthropological sites in the world. They also visited the Cradle of Humankind World Heritage Site and the Apartheid Museum. In Cape Town, she visited a penguin colony and the Cape of Good Hope.

Her favorite part of the trip was the safari at Kruger National Park, staying overnight at Timbavati Safari Lodge. “It was surreal to be able to see everything I had seen on television growing up,” Mackenzie recounts. “One night we were all outside because someone noticed zebras walking around our huts. It was so cool to just walk out and see zebras right in front of you.”

They also visited a school at a nearby village, and were treated to a song by the younger students.

“I learned about myself and the world around me. Seeing how different life is in South Africa made me look at my life from a different perspective,” she says. While visiting Soweto, a township outside of Johannesburg, she noticed many families live modestly in homes made of sheet metal and other materials. “This made me realize just how privileged I am to live in the United States and how many of us do not use our resources wisely.”

Experiencing new cultures and landscapes is a learning experience as much as it is an exciting adventure—check out the many Girl Scout Destinations available!

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