Thursday, 29 December 2016

How camp teaches children to appreciate nature

The current health of our planet is a great concern. Everyone, from international organizations to typical families has been urged to practice living in a sustainable and environmentally friendly manner. “Going Green” is a fairly new practice for many households. However, at Sugar Bay Resort, a holiday camp for kids and teens, children are taught how to live Eco-friendly lifestyles and appreciate the environment on a daily basis. 
Here are 5 ways in which children are taught to appreciate nature and the environment at camp:

1. Recycling

Sugar Bay has separate bins placed at camp especially for recycling; one for paper, one for plastic and one for metal. On arrival, campers are shown where these bins are located and briefed on the importance of recycling at camp, and in our everyday lives. Food never goes to waste at the camp, as all leftovers are collected and delivered to the pig farm after every meal. Recycling is also integrated into the camp’s offices, where the staff has a special collection of “scrap paper” that they all make use of completely before recycling. 
2. Reuse of Household Items

Arts and Crafts classes ensure that most household items are reused and turned into something valuable instead of being dumped in the trash can. The camp collects cardboard, empty glass jars, plastic bottles, straws, newspaper, plastic bags and a host of other household items which they turn into useful props for stage production and beautiful artwork. A favourite is definitely the gel candles which is made in empty glass jars and used to light up the venue during final campfire. 
3. Energy Conservation

Although the camp is fully equipped with electricity, energy conservation is greatly emphasized on. Campers are always on the lookout to ensure electricity isn’t being used redundantly. If a cabin leaves on their lights or fans unnecessarily, the camp imposes a penalty on the group, ensuring they become more responsible with electricity usage. Making use of candles and lanterns during camp out teaches campers that they can live off the grid. 
4. Relishing the Environment

The natural setting of the camp, away from the urban areas, in a tranquil canopy of indigenous trees on a beautiful beach off the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal, is definitely worth relishing. Most of the activities the camp offers are set in the natural environment; land; sea or lagoon and involves constant walking through nature. This exposure to nature helps children experience the environment in a completely natural way and in turn, embrace it.

5. Environmental Education

Marine biology, nature conservation, and sustainability are just some of the topics in the environmental education category, which are taught at camp. The Director, Zoe Ellender, who is very passionate about sharks, hosts a shark talk and plays an interactive game with campers. This “Shark Talk” enlightens campers and promotes the conservation of these endangered species. A “beach explore” is scheduled at least once a week during every camp. Campers learn about the sea, marine species, participate in a fish dissection and undertake a beach clean-up during this program. Wildlife classes on reptiles are also held at camp. Campers get to interact, participate in practicals and learn whilst having fun. It’s never too late to go green; but the earlier, the better, and the longer the Earth lives. 

Send your kids to Sugar Bay for a vacation that ensures a balance of fun and learning. Your kids will come back home teaching you a thing, or two about living an environmentally friendly lifestyle and the importance of appreciating nature. 

Want an educational tour for your school? Call us now on 032 485 3778 and speak to our School Tours Liaison, Tayla. Check out this video of what we have to offer during our School Tours at Sugar Bay.  Alternatively, drop her an email at 

Wednesday, 28 December 2016

Sugar Bay Beach Bread Recipe

At Sugar Bay, we encourage our campers to get inventive with their hands. We're always getting creative with our hands by creating Arts and Crafts and taking Cooking & Baking classes. One of our favourite ways to do this is by making what we call “Beach Bread”. 
Yes, it's pretty much what it's called… Beach Bread is indeed Bread on the Beach! 
It's a tradition at Sugar Bay to head down to the Zinkwazi lagoon, go fishing, start a braai, and make beach bread. 

There's nothing better than delicious homemade bread – camp style. 
Now you can make your very own bread at home, just as we did at camp. 
Here's how we create Sugar Bay Beach Bread;

Beach Bread Recipe: 
You will need:
  • 4 cups white bread flour
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons dried yeast
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

1. Measure out all the ingredients into a large bowl and combine them together using your hands.

2. Leave for 10 minutes then knead again for about 2 minutes. 
3. Leave for another 10 minutes then knead again 1 minute.

4. Leave the dough in a warm place for 30 minutes, with a clean cloth covering the top of the bowl.

5. Afterward, knead lightly and shape the dough into the desired shape (usually the shape of a bread roll).

6. Send a skewer through your bread roll, and leave to rest for 10 minutes. 
7. Bake the bread for 20-25 minutes/until the crust is golden brown in colour.

We usually bake our bread over the open fire in an uncontrolled temperature. However, you can bake your bread using your gas ovens at home at a set temperature of 180 degrees Celsius.

And that's how we make our very popular Beach Bread – Camp Style! 

There are many other Creative Activities that we offer at Sugar Bay. Head over to our YouTube Channel and become a subscriber to stay updated on all the creative and new activities at camp. 

Sugar Bay Exclusive Teacher’s Cabins

Sugar Bay knows just how hard our teachers work, this is why we have gone all out to ensure relaxing, luxury accommodation for all teachers who come to Sugar Bay during our School Tours. 

Nestled in our indigenous canopy of trees, in the convenient entrance of our sixteen-acre property, amid the scenic sports field and main hall, lies our private teacher's lodge. 
The teacher's lodge contains eight, two-sleeper rooms with ensuites, two communal kitchens, two communal bathrooms, private lounge, private deck, and a private heated pool. 
Each bedroom has been individually decorated by our Director, Zoe Ellender, according to the following themes; Almond, Blueberry, Coffee, Date, Elderberry, Fig, Ginger, and Honey.

The bedrooms each boast two single beds dressed in white percale linen (100% Egyptian Cotton), timeless antique furnishings, built-in cupboards with shelves, full-length mirrors, tea and coffee facilities, laptop safes, electric mosquito repellents, and ensuite bathrooms with showers. One of the specialties of the décor is definitely how we gave the rooms a personal touch by framing hand-painted artwork from our Director, Camp Manager and other artistic members of staff. 

Our teacher's lounge has multimedia facilities such as free wifi connection, flat screen television and dish satellite/cable TV. There are comfortable loungers, a dining table, veranda, and transparent blinds in case of poor weather conditions (to block out the wind, rain etc. whilst still enjoying the scenery). 

Our communal kitchens with honesty bar facility and bathrooms are situated alongside the lounge creating complete amenity. 

The highlight of the teacher's cabins is, of course, the private, heated swimming pool and deck. With our warm, tropical coastline climate, a swimming pool is an ultimate retreat for a cool dip and relaxation after a day full of fun. 
Our School Tours is an opportunity for you, dear teachers, to take a break while your learners are gaining new experiences and learning at Sugar Bay. 

Here are some other exclusive activities that we offer our teachers:
  • Sunset Cruise
  • Braai & Sundowner evenings
  • Pizza at the Beach
  • Cocktails at the Ocean Reef Hotel 
Watch the video below featuring some of the highlights from our exclusive teacher's cabins: 

What are you waiting for? Book a school tour at Sugar Bay right away and secure your school's spot for 2017. Check our School's Albums on Facebook to get an idea of what ur school tours entails. 

Monday, 19 December 2016

Choosing the Right Summer Camp

The opportunity of gaining new friends, independence, and maturity by sleeping away from home is best provided by a summer camp. Summer camps have been running in America for decades, however, they are fairly new to South Africa. There are also a variety of specialized summer camps nowadays; camps that focus solely on sports, drama, etc. This is why choosing the right summer camp is imperative. It’s best to find a camp that is traditional and allows your children to experience a little bit of everything.

Here are 5 important things to look for when choosing the right summer camp for your kids:

1. Find a camp that is technology-free 

A camp that doesn’t allow your kids to carry their mobile and gaming devices are usually the best option. These camps provide your children with a break away from technology and allow them to participate and gain the complete camp experience without any distractions.

2. Find a camp with an outdoor focus

It’s good to find a camp located in a natural environment. This will allow your children to get in touch with nature and find peacefulness from being away from the usual hustling city life. In the past, summer camps used their natural settings and encouraged children to play in an outdoor environment. However, today, this is not the case as many camps take place in restless environments such as college campuses.

3. Find a camp that offers both structural and non-structural activities

Most summer camps do not provide your child with the opportunity of selecting his/her desired activity. Neither do they allow kids to participate in non-structured activities. This isn’t a camp you should consider sending your child to. When children play on their own, they are challenged to figure it out and work together, which creates a phenomenal learning experience. As much as structured activities are great for balance and discipline, non-structured activities are great for freedom of expression and developmental growth.

4. Find a camp that practices environmental education

A camp that gets kids involved with nature in a hands-on way is exactly what you should be looking for. These camps schedule a time where nature can be explored and discovered, creating the perfect opportunity to get kids to appreciate the environment. The camp needs to practice what it preaches; they need to promote recycling and always work towards reducing their environmental footprint.

5. Find a camp that provides 3 good meals a day

It is essential that kids are provided with good, healthy meals three times a day. Often summer camps are criticized for their negligence in terms of providing healthy meals for their campers. You need to ensure the camp you choose follows a menu that is especially for the healthy growth and development of kids. Well-fed campers are happy campers. 

A technology-free camp, in a natural setting, that offers structural and non-structural activities, provides environmental education and good, healthy meals three times a day is the camp you should be looking for. A summer camp which checks all these boxes will be a camp worth investing in and provide the best camp experience for your child.

Sugar Bay is certainly a camp that checks all the boxes. Call us on 032 485 3778 to book one of the best camp experiences for your child. For more information, visit our website. You can also conveniently book online. Take a look at our facilities and what we get up to at camp by becoming a subscriber to our YouTube Channel.

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Sugar Bay - The Year in Review


Sugar Bay Resort, has had a pretty eventful 2016. 
We kicked off this year by completing our much-anticipated teacher’s cabins and achieved a three-star rating from the Tourism Grading Council of South Africa. Our exclusive teacher’s cabins have now been located in a tranquil setting with a view of our vast sports field.
The cabins boast superb facilities such as a private deck with loungers and a heated pool, teacher’s lodge with wifi, relaxation lounge with television and multimedia facilities, private dining area and verandas, and communal kitchens with honesty bars. The bedrooms have been individually and meticulously styled with integrated themes, hand painted artwork and antique furniture. Comfort and convenience have been prioritized, with white Egyptian cotton linen, tea/coffee facilities, laptop safes and ensuite bathrooms with showers. Now we don’t just have happy campers, but happy teachers too.

We cater for all age groups at Sugar Bay, and this year our seniors were very fortunate, as we decided to give them their very own private senior deck. The senior deck, overlooking our football field and close to the swimming pool area is a magnificent gathering area reserved especially for our senior campers. This deck is often used for special senior events and casual socializing and “chilling sessions”, just as our seniors would call it.
One of the greatest highlights of the year was celebrating our camp’s fifteenth birthday. It’s Sugar Bays tradition that camp gets a new present on our birthday every year, last year we received the bungee trampoline and this year, we went all out to give our campers exactly what they asked for. Our camp was gifted with another spectacular addition from our directors, three brand new, custom made, extraordinary waterslides. 
Overall, we had a sweet 2016 as we celebrated fifteen years of providing our campers with what they have described as “the best camp experience in the world”. We’ve had some exciting themed holiday camps this year, a total of twelve thus far. Some of our favourites were The Maze Runner week, Nitro Circus week, and Splash Birthday week.

During the Maze Runner week themed holiday camp, we turned Sugar Bay into the Glade. We had our campers running from Grievers, and we even went on a thrilling excursion to the Crocodile farm in Ballito, and on a themed “a night in the maze” camp-out. Nitro Circus week had our camper’s adrenaline rushing. A major highlight of this week was our excursion to indoor trampoline arena, Jump for Joy and the exclusive, live X-treme Motorcycle Exhibit by the Le Rice brothers. We certainly had our campers “on the edge” this week. The best camp, however, had to be during our Splash Birthday week. We officially initiated our waterslides, splashed away and celebrated with cake and parties all week long. 
We plan to end 2016 and step into 2017 in style. We’re looking forward to four more incredible holiday camps these upcoming December and January school holidays. 
Upcoming Sugar Bay Holiday Camps:
Finding Dory week: 9-16 December 2016
Candy Land week: 16-23 December 2016
Outrageously Crazy week: 27 December – 2 January 2017
Blast from the Past week: 2-8 January 2017

All in all, this year was marvelous! Here’s to more success and even sweeter 2017 at Sugar Bay.

Come spend our last 3 holiday camps of 2016 with us. Call us on 032 485 3778 to make a booking. Alternatively, you can book online. Visit our website for more information about our holiday camps. Let's end the year together, Sugar Bay style! 

Get to Know - Tape

He holds things together, mends the broken pieces and is durable as ever! He's our head counselor and we call him Tape. Tape has been at Sugar Bay for almost 8 years now. He started off as a counselor in February 2008. 

Tape's favourite activity at camp is BMX-ing. This may come as a surprise, but Tape was actually the first-ever BMX Pro Counselor (PC) at Sugar Bay.

Did you know that Tape's other half is also a counselor at Sugar Bay?

His name is Sticky.

Hence, Sticky-Tape?

You get it now?

Tape describes the best part of his job as:

“Helping kids and counselors gain confidence; seeing them leading a song, acting on stage, or being an emcee to an audience of more than 200 people.”

Tape loves beach days and his favourite camp meal are hot dogs and chips.

But his absolute favourite at camp are indeed the waterslides!

“I may come across as a big, scary figure, but once people get to know me, they will notice that I have a warm heart.”

He even went on to further describe himself as a teddy bear.

Tape's best camp was Bubble week. He went on providing a reason for this specific liking by saying:

“We had a party-night setup in the main hall, we had a foam pit next to the pool, and, as the kids entered the hall, something special happened. We had a random gust of wind blow so uniquely that it caused all the foam to turn into bubbles. The result was the entire hall being covered in bubbles, almost like it came directly from the sky. This was not a coincidence.”

Tape described himself in 3 words as “Funny, entertaining and surprising.”

Tape has told us that he has had so many embarrassing moments at camp that he has stopped keeping track of them.

But that doesn't stop our big guy from going on.

When we asked Sugar Bay's self proclaimed “Teddy Bear” who inspires him from his fellow counselors and why? He answered;

“Paris. She has come so far since she started and has grown to become such a responsible woman who supports her team until she has nothing left. Paris is the mother figure of Sugar Bay and is adorned by all the campers and counselors.”

Tape's favourite part of camp is when the sun rises, because he says its the start of a brand new day at Sugar Bay, which means we get to have more fun, adventures, meet new friends, and create wonderful memories.

Tape says he knows that all the kids love being in his company because he practices equality, ensures everyone around him is happy and mostly, because he is absolutely hilarious.

We concluded our chat with our Head Counselor by questioning how he would describe his role at Sugar Bay?

He answered;

“I'm in charge of all the crazy, cool and eccentric counselors at Sugar Bay. My job is to train them, keep them safe and happy.” 

Here's more about our Head Counselor - Tape: 


Tape, and the rest of our counselors at Sugar Bay are looking forward to make new friends with all of you. We'd be delighted for you to join our team and one day become a Sugar Bay Counselor. f you want to be a Sugar Bay counselor too, head over to our website and book online for our CIT course.

Psychological Benefits of Camp

The camp experience is recognized by child development professionals as valuable in helping children mature socially, emotionally, intellectually, morally, and physically.

Camp activities and communal living in a natural environment are some of the tools used to provide for successful and healthy psychological development.

At Sugar Bay Resort, children’s self-confidence is strengthened daily through challenges integrated into their program. These challenges enhance learning and provide a feeling of belonging and contributing, which are vital factors in the building blocks of self-esteem.

An example would be a drama production. In this activity, campers work in groups and have no choice but to socialize with one another to achieve success as a whole. Not only are they building their social skills, but also their self-esteem by practising their skills on a daily basis in order to produce a perfect presentation. Working in a team provides moral support and encourages children to be the best possible version of themselves.

Life skills such as problem-solving, making social adjustments to new and different people, learning responsibility, and gaining new skills are an integral part of the camp experience.

Problem-solving is the key to success in most of the daily camp activities. On the first day of camp, there are many unfamiliar faces from all walks of life.

Ice-breaking activities help campers make social adjustments to new and different people and communicate effortlessly. Camp also offers the opportunity to be exposed to new things, which allows campers to reach beyond their usual limitations and discover new skills and talents.

Self-reliance is an important skill which all campers are individually exposed to. At camp, although there are counselors and fellow campers always ready to hold your hand; independence is also greatly promoted.

The fact that campers are away from their parents and at camp by themselves is the first step to self-sufficiency. Camp teaches children that there are many things that they can do for themselves by themselves, which is indeed very important.

One example would be decision making. Camp allows kids to make their own choices, by allowing them to choose what they eat, how they dress and how they spend their days. This is how they learn that they are actually capable of being independent.

Camp is an experience that offers psychological benefits such as self-esteem, life skills, and amiable qualities like self-reliance. This is achieved in a nurturing environment without the modern-day distractions of life.

Book a camp at Sugar Bay these December holidays and allow your child to reap the psychological benefits of camp. Check out some of the highlights of our upcoming December Holiday Camps and check what we get up to on our Facebook Page.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

10 Questions to ask when booking a camp


There is no shortage of summer camps in North America, they are even part of the culture. The concept of an American-style summer camp is still new in South Africa and thus it is important for parents to ask the right questions when choosing a camp for their kids. Parents should be searching for a camp that prioritizes safety, educational and personal development, in a safe and fun environment.
To find a reliable and responsible camp it is necessary to ask the right questions. It's best to begin with the basics such as; how long the camp has been running and what licenses the camp holds, etcetera. However, to properly judge their credibility and suitability for your child, you will have to ask questions that go beyond these basics.


Here are 10 Questions to ask when booking a camp for your kids:


1. What is the camp’s philosophy? 

As a parent, you need to be comfortable with the camp’s philosophy as your children will be guided by the camp’s philosophy during their stay.

2. How does the camp train and recruit its staff? 


You need to find out how the camp counselors are trained and if the camp recruits them based on experience and merit. It’s always better to know that in the case of an emergency, your children will be in the care of people who are at least trained in emergency first response. 

3. What is the return rates of campers and counselors?


According to the American Camping Association (ACA), who stipulate the camp industry's standards, a 40 – 60 percent return rate is a good indication that the camp is reputable. It's reassuring to know that half or more of the children return after their first visit, and also makes it more likely that your children will enjoy the camp and want to return too.

4. What is the ratio of campers to counselors (a.k.a supervisors)?


The American Camping Association guidelines for overnight camps call for a 1:6 ratio for ages 7 and 8, 1:8 for ages 9-14; and 1:10 for ages 15-18. Day camp guidelines call for 1:8 for children ages 6-8; 1:10 for children ages 9-14; and 1:12 for ages 15-18.

A camp that can offer quality supervision is better than a camp that only offers full-time supervision. It's easy to claim to offer full-time supervision, as a camp can have one counselor looking after thirty children all day. However, if a camp offers quality supervision by allocating one counselor to supervise only three children, you can be assured that your child is getting the full attention they need and will not be neglected.

5. How old are the counselors?


The American Camping Association recommends that 80 percent of the staff be between 18 and 35 years old, and a minimum of two years older than the campers they supervise. 

6. How equipped is the camp for basic medical care and serious emergencies?


The American Camping Association recommends that overnight camps should have a licensed physician or registered nurse on the site every day. There need to be medical staff working at the camp and backup facilities nearby. Should your child require medication, have food allergies or a chronic medical condition; you need to be reassured that the camp will be able to handle their needs.

7. What is the camp’s approach to discipline? 


The camp’s practices need to be in line with your parenting principles. In the case of a conflict between campers, you need to know that the camp handles these situations carefully. Find out what the camp’s rules are and what breaches would result in a camper being sent home. It’s important to discuss the rules and regulations with your child so they can adjust where necessary before they arrive. It is also a good idea to enquire about how the camp deals with bullying.

8. What does a typical daily schedule look like?


There needs to be a balance between the level of physical and social activities held at camp. If your child favours one activity over another, it would be great to know that they could participate in this particular activity more than once, should they want to. Camps that offer a free choice of activities are definitely the better option for your child to be able to participate in activities of their preference, instead of being forced to participate in a compulsory daily program. 

9. How reliable is the camp’s transport?


If the kids need to be transported to different venues to and from camp, you need to be certain that their transport is reliable and safe. Enquire about who drives these vehicles and what qualifications these drivers have in order to be responsible for the transportation of campers. 

10. Ask for references


You need to find out about other camper’s experiences. Ask the camp for the links to their social media channels like Facebook and Google Plus. These social media channels allow people to publish reviews about the establishment which you can then read. This will give you a good idea about what other people are saying about the camp, and whether or not they are up to your standards. Alternatively, you could request quotes from past campers and the camp should willingly share this information with you. A camp that’s comfortable and proud of their practices will not refuse to share this information with you.

These are definitely the top 10 questions to ask when booking a camp for your kids in order to attain the best camping experience and ensure happy campers


Give Sugar Bay camp a call on 032 485 3778 and we'll happily answer these questions for you! Or you could head over to our website and read our Parent FAQs. When you're satisfied with our answers, you can book your camp online.


Monday, 14 November 2016

Sugar Bay’s President’s Award Program

Sugar Bay Resort isn’t just a fun getaway for kids and teens, we also offer courses to assist in youth empowerment, such as our Counselor in training (CIT) course and the President’s Award Program. 
History of the President’s/The Duke of Edinburghs Award: 

The Duke of Edinburgh’s Award was founded in the United Kingdom in 1956 by the Duke of Edinburgh, Prince Philip. This award recognizes adolescents and young adults for completing a series of self-improvement exercises and is renowned internationally by 144 nations.

In South Africa, the award was first established in 1983 under the name The Gold Shield Award. In 1992, after the appointment of Mr. Nelson Mandela as the first president of a democratic South Africa, the name was changed to The President's Award for Youth Empowerment. 

In its 33-year history of youth engagement in South Africa, the Award Program has reached over 150,000 young people in the country.

There are over 14,300 active participants in South Africa and the Award Program is currently being used by over 250 Award Units nationally (community youth groups, residential youth facilities, schools and correctional centers) as a workable framework for youth empowerment. 
It is being increasingly sought to provide a framework for youth-at-risk, providing them with a positive, affirming alternative to the social challenges which they face within their communities.

What does the President’s Award Entail? 
The President’s Award is an exciting personal challenge for young people between the ages of 14 and 24. 
There are 3 levels to the President's Award (Bronze, Silver and Gold) and each level requires completion of certain minimum requirements in each of the 4 categories.

The 4 Categories include:

1. Service To learn how to give useful service for others.
2. Skill To encourage the development of personal interests and skills.
3. Physical Recreation - To encourage participation in physical recreation and improvement of performance.
4. Adventurous Journey - To encourage a spirit of adventure and discovery whilst undertaking a journey in a group.

The Award Program is not a once off intervention but is a longer term process, taking between 3 and 5 years to complete all three levels of Bronze, Silver, and Gold.

Benefits of the President’s Award:

  • Looks great on university applications and job applications.
  • Builds self-confidence.

  • A great way to give back to the community.
  • Provides leadership opportunities for youth.

  • Provides recognition for young people in the extra-curricular sphere of the school environment.
  • Provides a simple, meaningful framework for self-development, self-discovery and self-reflection.

How to achieve the Bronze Level at Sugar Bay:

For the Bronze Level in the Adventurous Journey category, participants will be required to complete a 2 day, overnight journey consisting of 6 hours of planned activities each day.

At Sugar Bay, we'll achieve the first day's requirements by completing a 12 km beach walk and 5km hike through the sugar cane to reach our final destination of “Camp Out”. 

Campers will be led by an Adventurous Journey Instructor who will assist in teaching them shelter and fire building skills in order to set up camp and cook their meals before resting their weary bodies after a day full of achievements. 

The next day, campers will follow a similar route along the Zinkwazi Lagoon in a kayak, eventually arriving back at Sugar Bay with time to reflect on their journey before dinner.

When is the program offered & who is eligible? 
This unique opportunity will be available to pre-registered President's Award participants ages 14+.

Our next President’s Award Hike will be taking place during the following holiday camp:
The President's Award Program at Sugar Bay is the same cost of the camp during which its held, there are no additional fees. There will be an additional packing list and questionnaire required as part of your regular camp paperwork.

If your child is interested in completing this Bronze Award during their week at Sugar Bay, please ensure that they are already enrolled in the President's Award program,and that they bring all their documentation to camp.

Call us on 032485 3778 to book for our President's Award Program.
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