For those particularly interested in conservation, Morukuru can offer the whole family a life-changing rhino conservation experience which assists the reserve in tracking and protecting their critically endangered rhino. The Morukuru family of properties are based in the vast Madikwe Game Reserve of South Africa, in the North West Province.
The day starts early and the rangers ensure they can locate the specific rhino to be tranquillised. After a safety briefing and detailed explanation of the process, the rhino is darted by a specialist vet from a helicopter while the family watches from a nearby game drive vehicle. When the rhino is safely sedated, you may join the vet and rangers as they ensure that the rhino is comfortable and then you can assist in their procedures.
Various samples and data are taken such as blood and hair samples and medical signs are checked including the heartbeat to ensure the overall health of the rhino. The ears are notched to assist with identification of the individual, and then a small hole is drilled in the horn of the rhino, into which a microchip is implanted.
This microchip allows the rangers to GPS track the rhino around the clock, alerting them to any suspicious movement and allowing them to intervene if they stray too close to unprotected areas. It also acts as a deterrent as, should a rhino be poached, any horns seized can be traced to the specific rhino and its location which gives vital evidence to help prosecute the poachers.
After all the procedures are completed, the family retreats to the game drive vehicle and you watch while the vet administers the antidote to the tranquilliser, which almost instantly wakes the rhino up, and immediately it stands up and walks off.
By the end of this experience you will have gained a detailed understanding of the ongoing rhino conservation efforts and the challenges they face. The procedures are all explained to your family before you begin so you know exactly what jobs you need to do and you can all work together.
You and your children are able to get up close to the rhino and give hands-on assistance to the vet and the ranger. This is such a moving experience, to be so close to one of these gentle giants whose survival is so uncertain, and to know that you are doing something tangible to directly contribute to the species’ survival.
Madikwe itself is a malaria-free reserve which makes it perfect for families with young children or people who otherwise cannot or do not wish to take anti-malarial drugs. The ‘Big 5’ can be seen on safari here and they are currently protecting both black and white rhino with rigorous conservation and anti-poaching programmes. One can also see packs of wild dog, and there are good elephant populations with over 900 elephants in the reserve, which roam in large family groups. Lions are also present in healthy numbers.
Morukuru has three exquisite exclusive-use houses, each with its own dedicated team of eight to ten staff which includes a private guide, tracker, chef, host and housekeeping. The Owner’s House, River House and Farm House are all suitable for families of varying sizes and can give you the most fantastic family safari.
Children of all ages are welcome at Morukuru and permitted on game drives. A host of activities are provided, where the amazing guides ensure that you have a safari to remember and keep the children entertained with spoor tracking, biscuit baking, beading and mini bush walks to name but a few.
A nanny service is available and the camp has a perimeter fence making this a safe haven for children. Other activities include game drives, bush walks and fishing, plus safari drumming, massage treatments and the Madikwe Hide. The highlights are the outdoor tub for starlit baths and a large heated infinity pool.
The rhino conservation experience must be arranged well in advance and the availability is considered on a case-by-case basis. It is of course subject to a rhino needing to be chipped, as well as the availability of the vet, rangers and helicopter pilot. Please do contact us for more information about family safaris or rhino conservation experiences.