Entabeni Education Centre

Entabeni Education Centre was established in 1993 as Crane Centre in partnership with the SA Crane Foundation.  After unpredicted growth the Centre has developed into a dynamic and professional environmental and outdoor education center catering for learners of all ages from around the country. In 2011 Entabeni became a corporate member and preferred provider for ISASA (International School Association of South Africa). The Centre is situated near Giant’s Castle in the central Drakensberg, on the Hlatikulu Crane & Wetland Sanctuary. 

Experience new things, have fun, find your sense of adventure!

Our well-trained personnel work with the group from 07:00 in the morning until 21:00 in the evening. Upon request and by prior arrangement the times may be altered to suit programmes and client needs. We try to maintain a ratio of 15 pupils per staff member to allow for a more personal service.  We have a range of staff bringing diverse and exciting ideas to Entabeni. This includes permanent staff from the local area, volunteer international interns and interns from around South Africa. All instructors show a clear passion within their role at Entabeni, and are qualified for the activities they lead. This includes Mountain Leadership, rock climbing, abseiling and first aid training up to level 3.

Programmes are tailor-made for each client group through a process of negotiation around the needs of the group. Here is a list and outline of the types of activities and courses we can provide…

Fun & non-threatening activities that ease interpersonal barriers and allow people to become better acquainted. These activities help to forge the bonds that grow over the course of the programme.

Group dynamic activities:
A broad range of fun (and often adventurous) group problem-solving exercises. The major learning in “GD’s” comes from the processing and analysis of the group’s analysis afterwards.
Leadership courses:
Leadership training courses are designed around the specific needs of the client group. Rather than focusing on developing leadership skills of a few individuals, our courses develop problem solving skills, action research ability and social competence in the group.

Entabeni has developed a leadership programme called ‘Risky Business’. It is aimed at developing an awareness of ‘group structure’ and how we interact as a team to achieve a set goal.

Obstacle course:
A chance for participants to challenge themselves physically, work together in pairs and build confidence in adventure activities.

Orienteering and map work:
Guided by clues and a map, participants search for specific points in the area to achieve the highest score. This is aimed towards not only gaining a sense for the environment, but teaching vital map work skills. Compass skills can be included upon request.

Almost always the highlight of the visit. Need we say more?
When requesting this activity, please bear in mind that it takes some time and is weather dependent. This activity is based on site; however it is about a one hour walk to the high point ‘abseil rock’.

We have a competition-grade outdoor climbing wall, which includes two routes of varying difficulties. Safety equipment is regularly checked and assessed before each session.

Bushman paintings:
The Centre is fortunate to have San painted sites on the property. Here is the perfect place to learn more about the cultural heritage of the country, part of the reason the ’Berg was awarded World Heritage Site status. Trips can also be arranged to nearby Giant’s Castle Main Cave Bushman Museum with our staff to interpret the paintings.

Ecosystem studies:
All ecosystems studies are hands-on and designed to be both fun and educational. Entabeni staff can align programmes with the syllabus and are aware of the aspects involved in CAPS, therefore facilitating education in the field. A range of methods are used, incorporating sensory activities to help “acclimatise” learners to the ecosystem they are working in:

• Wetlands are home to some of the most incredible (and weird) creatures. Studies can include biodiversity audits, water and soil studies. Sometimes, mud fights are unavoidable! 
• Indigenous Forests are not only mysterious and exciting but also provide ample opportunities for learning.  Entabeni has access to Hlatikulu (Zulu – big forest), one of the largest remnants of Afro-montane forest in the ‘Berg.
• Streams in the ’Berg are full of life and clean enough to drink. 
• Fire refuge sites are groups of boulders that are home to a number of forest and grassland species.  The sites are useful to demonstrate ecological succession and a range of other concepts.
• Grasslands are probably one of the most threatened habitats worldwide. When one considers that 75% of the world’s food is a member of the grass family, their importance becomes obvious.

The group is provided with ropes, barrels and life-jackets and is guided through the building of a raft to float on a large lake. The better the teamwork the more likely the raft will float. The aim is for all team members to cross the lake on the raft. Bridge building is offered as an alternative in cold or inclement weather.

Have a chance to learn just as Robin Hood once did! Entabeni has Olympic bows and can provide quality coaching for all. If this is the first experience, fear not, the instructors can talk you though exactly what is required for a fun and safe experience. We have bows of different sizes and protective gear for arms.

Mountain biking is an exciting and fun way to be active. We provide quality mountain bikes, helmets and gloves. Cycling is on forestry roads, district roads and single-track and instructors provide skills coaching and bike handling techniques.

Entabeni has Canadian canoes for 30 paddlers. We can either just have a casual cruise on local flat water, have canoe races or play a round of canoe polo. Paddling is good exercise and a great way to explore nature. We provide lifejackets and all Entabeni Instructors are qualified lifeguards.

Interpretive hikes:
Take a walk through the forest, up and into the mountains and learn along the way. This is a fun and exciting way to take in the surroundings of the ‘berg whilst thinking about environmental factors. Take a look at the animal tracks and figure out who they prints belong to. Investigate together as a group whilst taking in the surrounding views.

Crane Sanctuary:
As mentioned, Entabeni is based on the Hlatikulu Crane & Wetland Sanctuary. Our aim is to rehabilitate and release Canes back into the wild. We offer guided tours around the pens, showing Blue Cranes, Grey Crowned Cranes and Wattled Cranes. This element often excites and ignites a passion in the group and allows for further discussion within the classroom.

4 to 21 Day Journeys:
Entabeni offers the chance for exciting adventures over a 4 to 21 day period. We tailor programmes to suit your needs including mountain biking, kayaking, and hiking. Just a few activities we offer with our qualified tour guides and mountain leaders.

We also offer the chance to visit the battlefields to gain a real insight into the history of South Africa. We pride ourselves on providing a rewarding journey that will challenge the clients, giving them the best experience they can hope for. The journey can include trips to Lesotho for example, incorporating team work, development and planning. The list goes on! We also offer the opportunity for groups to carry out community work in rural communities, in which they help through giving time and effort; painting, building and showing support.

Entabeni Explore, working closely with links in the UK, hosts groups from across the UK to visit South Africa. We have since expanded this, and Entabeni is now able to offer South African youth overseas adventure travel. 

We work closely with trusted partnerships to provide safe, cost effective trips. We are open for new suggestions and areas that together we can explore.

For further information regarding expeditions, please do not hesitate to contact us and we will provide you with further information. 

We currently have space to accommodate 120 learners. Here is an outline of the facilities available:
• Dormitories with bunk beds, mattresses and a clean, fitted bottom sheet.  Learners are expected to bring their own bed-roll or sleeping bag. Dormitories are carpeted and have curtains.
• Good ablutions with plenty of hot water. 
• 120-seat dining hall with well-equipped kitchen. We are able to cater for all dietary requirements. Our food is tasty, nutritious and plentiful. Whenever possible, vegetables are supplied from our permaculture garden.
• Separate self-contained and fully equipped teachers’ cottage that sleeps 5 to 6.
• Separate bus drivers’ accommodation.

• You can call us and request a quotation. Alternatively, we can visit the school to discuss your requirements and needs for the trip.
• Once a date has been agreed on we will send you a detailed booking letter, Risk Awareness Form & equipment list and a Pro Forma invoice for a 25% deposit. Once we receive the signed booking letter and the deposit, the booking will be confirmed.
• Please check our website for details. We hope this provides the information you need.