If you are seeking a meaningful safari with extraordinary experiences, a stay at luxury Marataba Conservation Camps in South Africa may be perfect for you. Marataba are dedicated to balancing tourism with nature, so you know that your stay will help to fuel their extensive conservation programs.
As well as diverse and holistic conservation initiatives to protect the region and its diversity, Marataba protects globally significant populations of black and white rhino. They are assisting the continent-wide repopulation of rhino and re-expansion into their former ranges by translocating some of their own rhino to other protected conservation areas.
The entire purpose of a safari at Marataba is to immerse yourself in the solitude of the vast wild spaces and actively participate in the conservation projects that are run on the conservancy.
There are all the expected safari activities on offer here, such as day and night game drives, boating, walking in the wild with your guide and nature walks designed for younger families.
In addition to these, your safari will be elevated by taking an active role in the conservation activities, learning all about their modern conservation model, and seeing up-close the species that are thriving here because of it. This includes:
Rhino Conservation Safari: rhino poaching is the biggest threat to the species’ survival and the rhino at Marataba are regularly tracked and monitored to ensure their safety. As part of a three-day, specially arranged safari, you can participate in a rhino darting, notching and chipping exercise for conservation reasons, with a small group of up to 10 guests.
The rhino is located and tranquilised, the ears are notched to enable identification by rangers or camera traps, and microchips are placed in their horns and into their bodies. Tissue from the notches is collected for DNA sequencing and submitted to the Rhino DNA database in Pretoria. This can later aid law enforcement should a rhino sadly be poached.
Elephant management: assist in compiling elephant identikits and determine their growth rates which forms part of the elephant survey. You could also take part in the elephant impact assessment which takes part twice a year. Marataba protects their elephant population whilst monitoring the impact the elephants have on their environment – being habitat architects they can change the diversity of the region when they are in a small conservation area.
Elephant populations and impacts are monitored and some elephant are translocated to bolster populations in other protected areas.
Predator management: rhino, elephant, lion, cheetah and buffalo are ‘tier 1’ species of special concern which Marataba strives to protect. Since the consolidation of old farmlands into a National Park in 2000, many of these previously locally extinct species have been reintroduced and are thriving. You can learn how they have taken on this extraordinary project and in turn help to bolster other conservancies’ populations. You can join the rangers to track cheetah using telemetry, assess their behaviour and record it for the conservation team.
Community outreach programs: Marataba help local communities to maximise long-term sustainable opportunities so that they can earn incomes that are not negatively impacting the local environment and ecosystems. They support local sustainable enterprises, promote environmental awareness, and support skills training.
You can visit their local community vegetable garden and enjoy a delicious lunch fresh from the garden whilst interacting with the community.
Other conservation activities you can participate in on your safari include:
The accommodation on offer at Marataba comprises Founders Camp, Star Camp and Explorers Camp.
Founders Camp has four guest suites and one game-drive vehicle and guide, which we highly recommend booking out on an exclusive basis for the very best experience. This camp overlooks the Matlabas river and the suites are placed under trees with beautiful expansive decks from which you can watch the variety of wildlife as they come to drink and bathe in the river.
The main guest area has an indoor dining tent and an outdoor dining area where you can enjoy your meals under the stars and the vast African skies. There is also an interactive kitchen where you can watch the chef tailor your meals to your preferences, as well as a swimming pool to cool off in after a long day in the bush.
Explorers Camp has five guest suites and one family suite, all comprising beautiful tented rooms, which are available to share between two parties. There are two guides and two vehicles. The camp is situated overlooking a busy waterhole with the dramatic Waterberg Mountains on the horizon. This is a perfect choice for families with its large shady lawns.
Star Camp is NEW in 2021 and allows complete disconnection from the busy world from a simpler camp located in a remote area of the park. There are four tents accommodating eight guests, with a small bar and chill-out zone for evening drinks.
The camp is surrounded by mountains and gorges and is perfectly placed for a more active safari exploring the landscape on foot to connect with nature. We recommend taking this camp as part of a longer stay at Marataba Conservation Camps, by spending a few nights here after a stay at either Founders of Explorers Camps.
There are wonderful and educational experiences to be had here for children and we think it is so important for them to learn about conservation from an early age. Children of all ages are welcome at Founders and Explorers Camps, which are fenced to be safe from wildlife. This is also a malaria-free region so is safe for younger children or adults that do not wish to take anti-malarials.
At both Founders and Explorers camps, up to two children can share a tent with their parents. Explorers Camp also has the family tent which has an extra room for two children. Due to the much more rustic and adventurous nature of Star Camp, children must be over 12 years old.
Marataba is a 52,000 acre privately managed conservation area that makes up part of the Marakele National Park. It is located over a zone where the habitat transitions from lush bushveld into Kalahari Sands, so provides a stunning variety of wildlife.
Marataba Conservation Camps are between three hours and to three-and-a-half hours by private road transfer from Johannesburg. You could also take a one-hour flight from Lanseria International Airport or a one-and-a-half hour flight from the Sabi Sands to the airstrip followed by a ten-minute drive to the Camps.
If you would like more information about conservation and philanthropic safaris in Africa, please do feel free to get in touch. Alternatively you can read more about our various philanthropic safari opportunities in Africa.