On a Friday morning in mid-March every year, a beautiful tradition unfolds at Oakhill School in Knysna. The entire school excitedly forms a human corridor to send off the Grade 10 students on a very special journey called The Odyssey. With everything they need in their backpacks, they head off on foot with a map, directions and the Oakhill flag in hand. Their route will lead them through the magnificent natural environment of the Garden Route and Langkloof, through forests, over mountains, across semi-desert and along lakes, rivers and the breath-taking Southern Cape coastline. They cover around 400 km on foot, bicycle and kayak and are due to arrive back at school 21 days later to hoist the Oakhill flag. What happens between taking down the flag on Day 1 and hoisting it again on Day 21 is a rite of passage that sets Oakhill and its students apart from ordinary schooling.
Oakhill has been offering The Odyssey for seven years now and has refined it to be the gold standard for similar experiences around the country. More recently The Odyssey has attracted interest from other independent schools and for the past two years Oakhill hosted pupils from various schools in Gauteng on what has informally become known as the “Jo’burg Odyssey”.