School Camps

Ignorance breeds fear. The more you learn about your subject, the less fear it holds for you.
Brian Tracy


Our aim is to help children learn about:
the natural world around them to help dispel unfounded fears of harmless creatures and
the delicacy of natural systems with the hope that they realise their role in conserving the world around us.

Our goal is to provide hands-on practical experiences in an enjoyable format to assist learners to build conceptual frameworks in their minds that enable them to organise and understand the content they are required to learn at school. 
If you would like to make a group booking or inquiry, please send the following information to
  • Name of School / Group
  • Contact details (email and daytime phone number) for the people responsible for the:
    • booking
    • payment
    • children during the excursion
  • Grade of learners
  • Number of learners expected per grade
  • Course content to be covered per grade
Courses ranging from 1 day to 2 weeks or more can be provided. The longer the children stay the more content can be covered, the more skills can be taught and the more self-development exercises and fun activities can be included in the program (see durations suggested per grade).  
Day-time programs (additional information is provided in the sections below):
  • Educational activities to supplement the content covered in class
  • Self-development or team building activities
  • Fun activities

Evening programs for resident courses can include any combination of the following:
  • Indoor or outdoor games for fun only
  • Self-development games
  • Exercises to help improve observational skills, expand on data collation, presentation, analysis, interpretation and presentation.
  • Astronomy evenings as the stars can be spectacular on moonless nights which provides an ideal chance for your learners to view the milky way, planets, some constellations, different classes of stars, nebulae etc. 
If additional tailor-made activities are required to cover sections that are particularly challenging to teach in a classroom, these can be designed for groups of at least 50 children if at least one month’s notice is given. 
Happy Acres has been under new management since Jan 2017. Most facilities have been renovated, and the property has been secured with an electric fence and 24 hour armed response to give you the peace of mind while you are responsible for your learners. The course content has been realigned to the current CAPS syllabi and worksheets have been amended to cater for children of a wide range of abilities and interests.

Sections of the life sciences curricula that can be covered

An example of a program from the life sciences course
  Life, living and structures Earth and beyond, mechanisms
Grade 4 • Living and non-living things
• Features of plants and animals
• Requirements for growth
• Habitats
• Behaviour patterns of animals
• Objects in the sky: Sun, Moon, Earth, stars
Grade 5 • Food chains
• Life cycle of plants
• Life cycle of animals
• Senses
• Structure of Earth
• Surface of Earth
• Sedimentary rocks
Grade 6 • Environment and water resources
• Nutrition and food groups
• Healthy environment
• Animals with skeletons
• Types of movement
• Movement and mechanical systems
• Solar system: Sun, Earth, Moon
• Ecosystems
Grade 7 • The biosphere
- The concept of the biosphere
- Requirements for sustaining life`
• Biodiversity
- Classification of living things
- Diversity of animals
- Diversity of plants
• Sexual Reproduction
- Sexual Reproduction in Angiosperms
• Variation
- Variations exists within a species
• Relationship of the Sun to the Earth
- Solar energy and the Earth’s seasons
- Solar energy and life on Earth
- Stored solar energy
• Relationship of the moon to the Earth
- Relative positions
- Gravity
Grade 8 • Photosynthesis and respiration
- Photosynthesis
- Respiration
• Interactions and interdependence within the
- Introduction to ecology
- Ecosystems
- Feeding relationships
- Energy flow: Food chains and food webs
- Balance in an ecosystem
- Adaptations
- Conservation of the ecosystem
• Micro-organisms
- Types of micro-organisms
- Harmful micro-organisms
- Useful micro-organisms
• The Solar System
- The Sun
- Objects around the Sun
- Earth’s position in the Solar System
• Beyond the Solar System
- The Milky Way Galaxy
- Our nearest star
- Light years, light hours and light minutes
- Beyond the Milky Way Galaxy
Grade 10 • Diversity, change and continuity
- Biodiversity and classification
- History of life on Earth
• Life processes in plants and animals
- Support and transport systems in plants
- Support systems in animals
- Transport system in mammals
• Environmental studies
- Biosphere to ecosystems
Grade 11 • Biodiversity
- classification of microorganisms
- plants
- animals
• Reproduction – plants

• Human impact on environment: 
- Current crises
Extras Additional sections children have enjoyed:
• Impact on the environment
• Separating mixtures
- Sorting and recycling materials
• Sound
• Light


An example of a course schedule for a 5 day course which can be adapted for any age group.

The content covered during each activity will be tailored to the curriculum for each grade. Swimming, sports or games can be added whenever time permits.
Day 1

A GUIDED WALK along the Magalies River, through grasslands and rocky outcrops to see plants and animals in the context of their habitat, geology and environmental factors to explore concepts taught in class.

FUN ACTIVITY to encourage learners to explore the diversity and wonders of life to help dispel unfounded fears and phobias of “creepy-crawlies” and to encourage learners to learn names of trees, flowers, grasses and animals.

BASICS of GEOLOGY can be explored by looking at the wide range of soil types and rock formations around Happy Acres.

Evening: Group game and consolidation of lessons learnt during the day

Day 2

PLANT STUDY. Our educational greenhouse provides a prepared environment for your learners to be introduced to the evolution of plants from spore bearing mosses through to advanced flowering plants that have specialised adaptations to grow and reproduce in most parts of the world. The understanding gained in the greenhouse helps learners understand the dynamics of plant life in natural habitats.

PROJECTS. Self-study projects that encourage children to learn the names and interesting facts about the plants and animals in the area to encourage children to appreciate the arthropods, trees, plants and birds that they would expect to find around their own neighbourhoods with the aim of encouraging children to conserve the natural world around them.

RECYCLING. Learners will be given the opportunity to recycle their own waste to demonstrate the value of recycling and the importance of separating waste to enable cost effective waste recycling.

EVENING. Bonfire and evening of star-gazing and age appropriate lessons about the night skies.

Day 3

ANIMAL STUDY. The live animal display provides a prepared environment for the learners to compare the structures of the parts of various animals in a range of classes which enable survival in various habitats while avoiding being eaten by other animals.

ARTHROPOD EXPEDITIONS. Learners are given the opportunity to explore the surrounding grasslands, rocky outcrops and rivers to catch crabs, insects, scorpions and other arachnids in their natural habitat. The various factors that affect the distribution of arthropods and their importance in the ecosystems can be explored.

LEADERHIP/SELF DEVELOPMENT GAME. A wide range of activities are available to suit the age and requests from the group.

EVENING: Group game and night walk

Day 4

POND STUDY. Exploring the tremendous biodiversity of life in ponds by catching and examining whatever they can find in the ponds. Most groups should catch dragonfly or mayfly nymphs, various water insects, amphibians, and many other life forms available for the more observant learners to find. Food pyramids and maps of the niches occupied by the various life forms can be constructed based on what the different groups found in the pond.

STRATEGY GAME\GROUP GAME. A wide range of games can be played to enable learners to recap concepts learnt in a competitive game or a strategy game can be payed to help explore interpersonal interactions or group dynamics.

SELF DEVELOPMENT ACTIVITY.  A variety of activities can be included to help learners understand the difficulties encountered by the majority of world’s population that live in poverty.

Day 5

PROJECT. Children can be given a project to reinforce content learnt over the previous four days with tasks designed to teach the skills appropriate for the age group.

Suggested course duration

Grade Life Sciences Self-development / Leadership Fun Total
4 1.5   0.5

2 days, 1 night

5 2.5   0.5 3 days, 2 nights
6 2.5   0.5 3 days, 2 nights
7 2 0.5 0.5 3 days, 2 nights
8 3 0.5 0.5 4 days, 3 nights
10 2 1   3 days, 2 nights
11 2 1   3 days, 2 nights

Grade 5 and 6 resident courses

Happy Acres has been the destination for school camps for most Gauteng schools for several decades. The courses are closely linked to the school syllabus as explained below while introducing children to the outdoors to help spark an interest in nature for many children.
Suggested duration: 3 days and two nights

Grade 10 Ecology project

Hands on ecology practical course on the hill and by the river. The diverse environment allows learners to see examples of interactions between biotic and abiotic features with the effect of water, temperature, wind, light and soil type within the habitat. They get an opportunity to identify trees, small plants; grasses, arachnids, insects and birds. Once they have surveyed their allocated section they draw a map of the area and a cross section including geographic features. They then count the plants and animals draw a histogram showing the distribution of the various life forms. There is also the opportunity to learn some of the traditional uses of plants and the impact of exotics and humans on the environment.
Suggested duration: Ideally the course should be over 3 days, to allow a comprehensive project to be completed while including several fun and self-development activities.
The main strength of Happy Acres is organising activities that encourage children aged 7-19 to collaborate or compete when working towards common goals. We have a wealth of experience gained from running childrens’ camps which is used to run leadership courses tailored to the specific needs of the group.

Themed courses based on popular leadership books or courses are also available on request.
If the needs of your group are simply to have fun on “get-to-know each other” camps at the beginning of a year or to unwind after a tough period, we can arrange a wide range of fun activities used during our 7 holiday camps that see children coming back holiday after holiday.
Many groups use our facilities to run dads-and-lads, choir or drama rehearsal, sports, fitness or other camps.

Our cooks prefer to cook on an old coal stove which takes a while to get used to, so we suggest you allow our cooks to prepare all food for your group.