Karkloof Kids Love Reptiles

Learners from Triandra, Yarrow and Gartmore schools in the Karkloof earned themselves an outing to the Crafty Duck by producing the best artwork in the Karkloof Conservancy’s annual conservation project.

In April this year, Pat McKrill, a remarkable Herpetologist, gave a fantastic lesson to the schools around our chosen theme “the role of snakes in our environment and the imperative need to conserve them“.



We invited Penny Mitchell, a retired art teacher, to come and give our children a more structured art lesson, which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.


Penny added colour to the learners’ lives by teaching them how to use pastels. They were introduced to the idea of warm and cold colours, which tied in with the snakes being cold blooded.


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. After a brief introduction from our guide, Oliver, 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 farmyard tour – introducing the owls and teaching them about nocturnal and diurnal animals.


The highlight was a visit to the Reptile Park.

8This was a great follow on to their previous lessons with 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 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.


1 thought on “Karkloof Kids Love Reptiles

  1. David Clulow

    A great start………….the children of RSA should all be exposed to themes which lead to respect for creatures great and small………….small beginnings may lead to greater things



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