TWENTY teenagers are looking forward to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to explore the lush jungles of South Africa. In the pristine game reserve of the Lapalala Wilderness School in northwestern Transvaal, the youngsters will learn about ecology, environmental conservation and study a variety of animals and plants. They will also have a chance to meet and learn from 20 Johannesburg students who will be taking a five-day course with them. The African Wilderness Tour is sponsored by Cathay Pacific and is supported by the local environmental agency Green Power. The organisers hope the team members will help raise environmental awareness upon their return to Hong Kong. Leading the trip will be Green Power chairman Dr Simon Chau Sui-cheong. and legislator Christine Loh Kung-wai. Disc jockey Candy Chea from RTHK will provide on-the-spot coverage, while a television crew will make a documentary. The students, who leave tomorrow for Lapalala, recently met each other and quickly became friends. They were all excited about the trip. Form Five student Joanna Fuller of South Island School, who ''hates to see animals mistreated'', has been actively taking part in environmental activities. ''Hong Kong doesn't offer many opportunities for teenagers to learn about conservation. I expect to learn a lot during this trip,'' Joanna said. Marymount Secondary School student council assistant co-ordinator Melvina Cheung May-king said: ''It's boring to learn about ecology from textbooks. I think the tour will make me truly involved in the subject.'' Queen's College head prefect Gordon Tsui Siu-kay was a member of the school's Environmental Protection Unit last year. ''I'd love to talk to South African students to learn more about their life, especially after Nelson Mandela became the country's first black President.'' Dr Chau, who helped in the selection of the 20 delegates from over 370 applicants, hopes to set up ''a Hong Kong Lapalala Club to carry on our work upon our return''. Ms Loh said the trip would be a great opportunity for her to get to know Hong Kong youths, as well as those from South Africa, by being with them for several days.