Rhino Conservation Safari & Conservation Week
If you’ve had enough bad news about Africa’s rhinos, then here’s something to put a smile on your face: there is one place where both black and white rhinos thrive and you have an opportunity not just to see them but play a part in their conservation too.
Set in the malaria-free Waterberg, Marataba is a privately-managed game reserve in the Marakele National Park, an hour’s flight from Johannesburg. It is home to the Big 5 – lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhinoceros – and it’s these rhinos that really set this reserve apart. With Africa’s rhino population in sharp decline across the continent, Marataba’s rhinos have become a vital part to the survival of the species.
But a big healthy rhino population still needs looking after, and although Marataba employs expert, innovative conservationists, there is always a need for extra hands in the field. So to mark World Conservation Day on July 28th, Marataba is offering a unique Rhino Conservation Week, split into two experiences of three nights each: the first begins on August 9th; the second on August 12th.
You’ll enjoy game drives and star-lit suppers of course but this is no ordinary safari: you’ll also be on foot in the bush, tracking and monitoring rhinos, collecting DNA samples from tranquilised animals and taking part in ‘notching’ – the process of marking a rhino’s ear to give it an identity and facilitate conservation. It’s an exciting, meaningful experience and very much part of the public-private conservation ethos that drives the reserve.
How to do it? From either of Marataba’s safari accommodations: Founders Camp has riverside suites and can be booked on an exclusive-use basis for up to eight adults and two children; Explorers Camp can sleep up to twelve with two children and looks out over a productive waterhole. Safari programmes at the camps are flexible and built around interests and ages; there are both day and night drives as well as walking safaris and boat cruises, and the camps welcome children of all ages.
This exclusive Rhino Conservation Week is offered only once a year so make an enquiry as soon as possible; you don’t need to book out the whole camp but can book on a room-by-room basis, making it easy for singles and couples to experience as well as groups and families. And don’t worry if you can’t make those dates in August: you can book a 3-day Rhino Conservation Safari at Marataba any time between February 1st and October 31st although the Conservation Week offers the best value.
If you are looking for a similar programme elsewhere in South Africa, then there are hands-on experiences in the Madikwe Private Reserve and the Eastern Cape as well as in KwaZulu Natal, long at the centre of rhino conservation – contact us for more information.