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Service Leadership in South Africa: Conflict Reconciliation Through Social and Natural Change


This expedition is all about ethical leadership: fostering social awareness and environmental stewardship.  We will tackle questions of environmental and social change in the complex terrain of modern South Africa. Seldom other places on Earth offer such fertile ground for considerations of ethical leadership: both social and environmental.

By participating in World Challenge South Africa, you will be able to apply lessons on inequality, social change, and environmental justice in your lives and careers back in the United States.

You will have the opportunity to:

  • Push yourself out of your comfort zone on a trek through the high-altitude Drakensberg mountains

  • Conduct a joint environmental clean-up with former students of D-E Faculty member Mr. Chris Kelly, in a township outside Durban

  • Walk in the footsteps of where Nelson Mandela was captured during the anti-apartheid fight

  • Visit a museum which chronicles labor under apartheid, and discuss modern African conservation visiting a premier game park (Hluhluwe) in the St. Lucia region.


Students will immerse themselves in the many cultures of South Africa, discuss the power dynamics socially and naturally, and visit historical sights. We hope that the students are able to reflect on themselves and reflect on the various communities that each student is a part of when working in and out of community service. Even more so, we hope that the trip helps develop each student’s leadership skills as they plan their projects and navigate the groups travel throughout the countryside.

Day 1

Depart for South Africa. Try to get some rest ahead of the life-changing journey that awaits, double-check you have everything you need, say goodbye to loved ones, and head to the airport for your long-awaited expedition.

Day 2

Arrive in Durban. After touching down in South Africa’s third largest city you’ll be met at the airport and taken to your pre-booked accommodation.

Durban, known as eThekwini in Zulu, is a cosmopolitan city which claims to be the sporting capital of South Africa. You may have seen the brand new stadium that was constructed for the 2010 World Cup on TV!

Day 3-4

Service and Immersion. You will have the unique opportunity to spend a couple of days helping out a community in South Africa, delving into their culture, and interacting with locals. Like all parts of South African society under the system of racial segregation called apartheid, the city of Durban enforced strict discriminatory laws based on skin color. The KwaMuhle Museum is located in the building previously used by the city’s Native Administration Department—and memorializes those oppressed at the hands of “labor control” measures before democracy.

By visiting the museum and seeing the way apartheid was enacted in Durban and its surrounding shantytowns, you will gain a small sense of how a national system of oppression affected local Durbanites—the very people and sons/daughters of people who you will meet during your time in South Africa. You will meet Martha Bishai, your project host at Umkhumbane Schools Project in Durban. The Umkhumbane Schools Project is a non-governmental organization (NGO) working just outside Durban to promote STEM education, environmental awareness, and environmental protection through targeted partnerships with local underserved schools. Your service project will involve collaboration with local South African high school students—you will work together on a joint clean-up effort, making lifelong friends across national and economic lines. Additionally, you will have the opportunity to talk with the organization’s leadership and discuss the legacy of post-apartheid education, moving toward educational equality, and local issues of environmental injustice. In so doing, you will network with municipal leaders, UShaka Marine Aquarium in Durban, and most directly, the Umkhumbane Schools Project.

Day 5

Explore Durban. Today you continue to explore Durban and what this vibrant city has to offer, from miles of golden coastline to colorful street markets along the water front. Your morning challenge will include a beachfront scavenger hunt. You’ll then spend the rest of your day planning your menu, finalizing other logistical plans and heading to the shops to buy your provisions for your trekking phase.

Day 6

Transport to Howick Mandela Capture Site. Many international tourists familiar with the life of iconic anti-apartheid activist and first democratic President of South Africa Nelson Mandela are only acquainted with where he spent most of his time in prison: Robben Island, off Cape Town. But it was on this rural road halfway between Durban and the Drakesnberg Mountains that the racist regime first apprehended Madiba (his affectionate clan name), thereby starting the next phase of the revolution toward democracy.

It might stir the soul to realize that Mandela was captured on August 5, 1962, almost 57 years to the day when we will visit. As the team strolls around the site and thinks about Mandela’s place in South African history, you will imagine what it felt like to end up in custody— on a crisp, wintry day in the grasslands of eastern South Africa. Today, one’s reflection is aided by a world-famous sculpture commemorating Mandela and this event, and a museum on site. Additionally, the team will discuss where South Africa is today and the complicated quarter century of democracy so far. Arriving at Khotso Horse Farm you will see that it is surrounded by beautiful mountains and is run by our In-Country Agent, Steve Black and his wife Lulu. Steve knows the area very well so will be able to answer any questions you may have about your trek in the Drakensberg Mountains.

Day 7-9

Giants Cup Trek. Giants Cup Trek is likely to be one of the most challenging but most rewarding phases of your expedition. Steve from Khotso Horse Farm will drop you off at the Sani Pass in the Drakensburg, where your trek will begin.

The uKhahlamba Drakensberg, the highest mountain range is southern Africa, is noted for its magnificent summits. Be sure you wrap up warm and pack extra layers in the top of your pack in case you need them as it can get cold in the mountains!

Herds of Eland, the largest antelope in the world, roam the mountains. If you aren’t lucky enough to see the real thing, you might be able to see them depicted in San Bushman cave paintings along the way.

At the end of the trek you will return to the Khotso Horse Farm for the night where you’ll have a well-earned rest before your R&R in St. Lucia.

Day 10

Travel to St. Lucia. The Greater St Lucia Wetland Park boasts five ecosystems which are: the marine system, the eastern shores, the lake system, the Mkhuze and Umfolozi swamps, and the western shores. It’s this massive variety of scenery and diversity that makes the Wetland Park a highlight for any traveler on a South African safari.

The town of St Lucia is located in the Elephant Coast region along the north-eastern coastline of KwaZulu- Natal. The town itself is mostly a base from which to explore the seemingly never-ending range of sights, attractions and activities on offer in the Great St Lucia Wetlands Park in which the town falls.

This incredible wilderness reserve is a World Heritage Site and encompasses 280 kilometers of coastline and some 328000 hectares of spectacular scenery including swamps, mangroves, lakes, forests and dunes.

The town of St Lucia is a popular base with anglers and is home to an assortment of shops as well as many seafood restaurants. Catch up on laundry, enjoy a nice dinner out in town and take some time to discuss conservation challenges in KwaZulu-Natal.

Day 11

R&R St. Lucia Safari. The Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Park stretches between the White and Black Umfolozi Rivers. It’s the oldest existing wildfire sanctuary in South Africa and one of the largest too. The Game Park holds a quarter of the planet’s entire white rhino population!

St Lucia is a great official Heritage Site to see nature at her best with whales in the sea and in the wetlands: hippo, crocodiles, many birds, monkeys and the endemic chameleon. The park is home to elephant, lion, black and white rhino, giraffe, buffalo, leopard and wild dog so you’re sure to see some amazing sights. It’s well worth taking some binoculars to share with your team.

Mandy at Heritage Tours has looked after World Challenge teams for over 10 years and has amazing experience looking after all your R&R needs while in St Lucia.

Day 12-14

Travel to Durban. Enjoy a leisure morning in St. Lucia and get your last minute souvenirs. Return to Durban, organize your pack and prepare for your journey home. Arrive Home. Getting off the plane, you’ll be bursting with stories and photos to keep family and friends entertained for hours! Saying goodbye to your team will be harder than you’d imagine as you’ll have become lifelong friends but the excitement of a shower, clean sheets, a comfy bed and catching up on all the news at home will make it easier. Don’t forget to keep the experience alive and put your images and videos up on YouTube, Facebook, and Instagram and remember to tag them all as World Challenge so you can compare notes with other returning Challengers.

Cost:  $6,850

Dates:  August 5-18, 2019


An adventure awaits!

  • To download the South Africs Trip, Summer 2019 Flyer (PDF), click here.
  • To download the D-E 360° Travel Application Form 2019 (PDF), click here.
  • To register, click here.

Total trip costs $6,850 (non-refundable). Early registration is encouraged and allows us to guarantee D-E 360° offerings as soon as enrollment is sufficient.  Registration deadline is December 1, 2018.  A $1,000 non-refundable deposit must be submitted at the time of registration.   Balance due by March 1, 2019.  Cost does not include trip cancellation insurance. 

Questions? Email or

An Important Note about Schedule Changes: D-E 360° reserves the right to change, alter, or amend the daily itinerary for this trip at any time. Changes can be made for various reasons including changes in flight or program schedules, changes in the schedules of various external operators or partner organizations, changes due to weather or safety concerns, the addition of new activities into a trip, or the substitution of a new activity for an old activity. The itinerary shown here provides our best projection of the daily schedule for this program. As with any travel program, some changes may occur.

Questions? Email

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