The Great Trek

The Great Trek was the migration of about 12 000 white pioneers into the interior of South Africa from 1835 onwards.

Use this printable file folder project to learn all about the Voortrekkers and their Trek.

Reasons for the Trek

Part 1: The Voortrekker Lifestyle

Part 2: The Events of the Great Trek

  • The Trichardt and Van Rensburg treks
  • Potigieter’s trek
  • The arrival of the Maritz party
  • The arrival of Piet Retief
  • The arrival of Piet Uys
  • Map of the Great Trek
  • Disputes
  • The Voortrekkers in Natal
  • The Battle of Blood River
  • The Day of Reconciliation
  • The Republic of Natal
  • The Voortrekkers in the Transvaal
  • Voortrekkers in the Free State
  • The Voortrekker monument
  • Date Summary of the Great Trek


In this convenient printable ebook, you will find all of the above-listed reference information about The Great Trek as well as the mini-book templates to make the file folder project.

It is aimed at children between the ages of 7-11 but can easily be adapted to include both older and younger children.

Working with mini-books enables you to break the subject matter into manageable topics, which can easily be completed and not overwhelm young children.

It is ideal for the homeschool situation or for classrooom use.

The Great Trek lapbook

Sample of completed file folder of The Great Trek



1. A file folder project will enable your children to work on and review key information about the topic being studied.
2. It will develop auditory and comprehension skills as well as the ability to search, sift and find answers in a written text.
3. The hands-on activities are fun and develop fine motor skills.
4. Children love to learn by doing!
5. The creative possibilities are endless. Children can be creative and add their unique touch to their projects.
6. File folder projects are ideal for multi-level learning.
7. Project packs can be incorporated into unit studies, supplement topics of study or stand alone.
8. A project gives the children a reason for writing and drawing.
9. File folder projects are compact and easy to store.
10. A file folder project can become part of a child’s portfolio of work and are a great tool for reviewing completed work.



The wagon – a mobile home

Ox wagons at Voortrekker Monument, Pretoria

The Voortrekkers prepared carefully for their journeys, loading their wagons carefully with the most essential items:

  • rusks
  • biltong
  • clothing
  • small wooden chests
  • medicine chests
  • beds
  • stools
  • ammunition and guns for hunting and protection
  • pots, pans and chicken pens hung under the wagons.

A wagon was drawn by about 8-16 oxen, usually led by a young servant boy called a voorloper, who carried a whip or sjambok. The driver sat on a chest or wakis.

When on the move, two or three wagons would travel abreast along with large herds of sheep, goats and cattle belonging to the trekkers. Thus progress was slow and only about 10km were covered in a day.

When rivers or mountain ranges had to be crossed or there was thick bush to be hacked through, then the pace would be even slower. At times, wagons even tumbled down steep cliffs!

The trekker wagon was known as a kakebeenwa (jawbone wagon) because it was shaped like an ox’s jawbone.

It consisted of three parts: the chassis (onderstel), the bottom boards and the body (buikplanke) and the hooped canvas canopy.

A wooden yoke (juk), linked by a pin (jukskei) was attached to the necks of each pair of oxen.

When the oxen were outspanned the jukskei was used for the game that is now a traditional sport – jukskei.

After a day’s trek, the animals would be outspanned and kept in a kraal ringed by thorn tree branches to protect the animals from predators. The wagons would be arranged in a laager for protection.


The Great Trek


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