A unique, brand new safari experience from Marataba Conservation Camps that brings you right onto the front line of conservation in Africa. As well as your classic safari activities, guests can learn and assist in the daily goings-on of what it’s like to look after a National Park and its endangered inhabitants. From elephant monitoring, predator tracking, rhino ear notching, checking the reserve for snares and signs of broken fencing, and studying photographic data taken from camera traps…you can be as hands on as you choose. The camp is beautifully placed on the banks of the Marataba, and can house up to 8 adults and 4 children in four large tented rooms on an exclusive-use basis. For an intimate and educational view of life in the bush, in a malaria-free zone, this is a wonderful, adventurous camp. There’s also the chance to do some exceptional hikes at Founders; a day trip to an ancient gorge with sheer cliffs and crystal pools to swim in is a massive highlight!
ACCESS & LOCATION:
Marataba Founders Camp is located in the Waterberg Mountains region of northern South Africa, and is in the private Marataba Reserve – an area adjoining Marakele National Park. This is a remote, stunningly beautiful and unspoilt part of SA and has much lower visitor numbers compared to other parks due to it not being on the main route for day-trippers. The game here is slightly less, but it gives you a much more authentic experience and there is still much on offer! Elephants, rhinos, and a multitude of herbivores as well as good chances of seeing cheetah, wild dog, lion, and spotted hyenas, to name a few.
To get to Marataba Founders you’d fly from Johannesburg on scheduled light aircraft into the local airstrip, followed by a short 20-minute game drive to camp. It is also possible to drive from Jo’burg, which takes around 4 to 5 hours.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES AT MARATABA FOUNDERS CAMP:
This intimate property has just four large suites located right on the Matlabas River, all with private decking and views out over the water. The rooms are chic and airy, with glass windows, indoor and outdoor showers, enormous baths that face the water, and a large decking from which you can game view and enjoy your morning coffee. There is aircon and WI-FI and space enough for a child bed (under 15) in each. The main part of the lodge is made of stone and thatch – homely and elegant, with a comfortable, riverside lounge area and bar. Being such a small camp gives it the feel of having your own private safari villa in untouched wilderness! There’s a small pool for cooling off in the heat of the day and numerous great spots for inside and outside dining, while the excellent resident chef whips up a storm from an open kitchen.
ACTIVITIES AT MARATABA FOUNDERS CAMP:
Situated on the Matlabas river and with access to two park areas, the lodge has a wide-ranging and diverse list of activities, not least their conservation program which is an incredible USP. You really can get up close and personal with what it’s like to look after endangered species here.
Expertly guided game drives- Among the highlights are all the Big Five – lion, rhino, leopard, elephant, and buffalo. You can look out for smaller predators such as cheetah, hyena, jackal, serval, civet, honey badger, and the rare wild dog…while the herbivore collection features giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, and an excellent assortment of antelopes.
Walking safaris- Head out into the bush with an armed guide. As well as animal tracking and the area’s phenomenal birdlife, take a closer look at the reserve’s insects and plant life. Different levels and distances depend on the ages of your group. Classic walking safari has a 12 year old age limit.
Night drives- Head out at night when all the big predators come alive. Always an unforgettable experience watching what goes on in the dark of the night! You might see porcupines, genets, civets, bush-babies…and occasionally a larger predator with its prey.
Conservation- Join rangers on their tours and be a part of the program. There’s a huge amount that they do (as already mentioned above), but do chat to one of our specialists for more detail about what interests you! What you actually get up to depends on the day and cannot be pre-planned, which all adds to the excitement. However, rhino conservation experiences can be pre-booked at extra cost – these give you an insight into what’s being done to help protect the few that remain.
Hiking- This is a real highlight of Founders. Day-long excursions (with possible fly camping included) to the stunning Waterberg Mountains and visit a stunning gorge with its dramatic escarpments and clear rock pools.
Boating- With its prime location on the Matlabas, a river cruise is a lovely way to see the sights and get up close to the local resident hippos and crocs.
Cultural trips- Visit local villages and meet the people who grow produce for the camp. Always a rewarding thing to do!
Fly camping- Have a night out beneath the stars and experience raw, untamed Africa. After a short walking safari, dine out and sleep in the bush with the sounds of the wild all around.
*This property is unfenced and located in a wildlife area, so large and potentially dangerous animals do pass through. If you opt to stay here, always be alert when walking around the camp and request for a member of staff to escort you if you have any concerns. Any guest is escorted after dark as a matter of course.