THIRTY-four sporty students embarked on an African adventure to play hockey and rugby on a two-week school trip.

Children from Abberley Hall School, aged between 11 and 13, have recently returned from South Africa, where they also had the chance to learn more about the country's culture and wildlife.

The youngsters were accompanied by four members of staff who made sure the trip was about far more than just sport.

Deputy headteacher Nigel Richardson said: "We ensured that all the pupils learnt about the history, culture, wildlife, landscape, adventurous activities and political situation of the country."

The trip included a visit to Zingela, a rural and poor area of province KwaZulu-Natal.

Mr Richardson added: "Here we spent a very moving day at an Aids and TB clinic where a local doctor gave a fascinating talk to us all of the situation with AIDS and TB in South Africa and how they were tackling it.

"Two female patients gave poignant accounts of their personal experiences.

“The party then went on to stay at the Weenen Game Park where they viewed antelope, zebra and giraffe, plus black and white rhino. They also did some abseiling and white water rafting and generally had a pretty physical time and a lot of fun.

“Both the hockey and rugby teams were excited to be able to play against local South African children and there were some very competitive matches.

“All of the lives of those who went have been enhanced by the experience. We received countless comments from other travellers, air hostesses and staff at the impressive level of behaviour and maturity of our children. Although we expect those standards it was still satisfying to receive those comments."