This fun and laid-back camp from Marataba Conservation Camps brings you right into the action of frontline conservation in Africa. As well as enjoying 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, to studying photographic data taken from camera traps… you can be as hands on as you choose. The Waterberg Mountains provide a beautiful backdrop and also offer the chance to do some exceptional hikes through ancient gorges with sheer cliffs and crystal-clear pools. With an excellent permanent watering hole as the focal point of the camp and a wide range of safari activities, this is a great option for a malaria-free safari and for those who want to do something a little extra and outside the box! The camp can only be booked by two groups at any one time, making it “semi-exclusive” and perfect for larger parties.
ACCESS & LOCATION:
Marataba Explorers Camp is located in the Waterberg Mountains region of northern South Africa, and is in the private Marataba Reserve adjoining Marakele National Park. It’s a remote and stunningly beautiful part of SA and has lower visitor numbers than other parks as it isn’t on the main route for day-trippers – you get a really lovely, authentic safari experience. Although game here is slightly less than some of the busier parks, there's still lots on show, including the Big Five. The camp is fenced amidst gorgeous gardens and located right next to a busy watering hole, so some of the animals will come to you!
To get to Marataba Explorers, 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 and can be cost effective if you are a larger group.
ACCOMMODATION & FACILITIES AT MARATABA EXPLORERS CAMP:
The camp has five regular tented suites and one larger family unit comprising two connecting rooms. Raised on timber decks and nice and spacious, both options are fitted with everything you need for safari without the height of luxury. All have en-suite bathrooms with flush loos and showers, the beds are comfy, and there’s a fan and a tea/coffee station. The main part of the camp is made of stone and thatch, with a large decking area looking out over the firepit and watering hole, and the Waterberg Mountains beyond. There are inside and outside dining options and a comfortable lounge area for relaxing between safari activities. The pool, perfect for enjoying during the heat of the day, is larger than those at most other safari camps!
It is worth noting that some of the rooms look out over the watering hole while others have views of the plains. Both sides of camp are great, but if you’d like to see regular elephants wandering down to drink then this is worth mentioning while booking, availability dependent.
ACTIVITIES AT MARATABA EXPLORERS CAMP:
With access to two park areas, the lodge has an excellent list of activities, not least the conservation program, which is the main reason to visit this property! It’s pretty incredible getting up close and personal and helping to look after endangered species. Please note that the special rhino program needs to be pre-booked and at extra cost.
Expertly guided game drives– Among the highlights are all the Big Five – lion, rhino, leopard, elephant, and buffalo. You can also look out for smaller predators such as cheetah, hyena, jackal, serval, civet, and honey badger, while the herbivore collection features giraffe, wildebeest, zebra, and an excellent assortment of antelopes.
Walking safaris– Why not head out into the bush with an armed guide? As well as enjoying animal tracking and the area’s phenomenal birdlife, you can take a closer look at the reserve’s insects and plant life. Different levels and distances are available, depending on the ages of your group. Classic walking safari has a 12-year age limit, but there are little routes close to camp that can be done with younger children.
Night drives– You can also venture out at night, when all the big predators come alive. It’s 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 by all means chat to one of our specialists for more information 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– The camp offers day-long excursions (with possible fly camping included) to the stunning Waterberg Mountains, where you can visit a stunning gorge with its dramatic escarpments and clear rock pools.
Boating– Due to the camp’s great location close to the Matlabas, a river cruise is a lovely way to see the sights and get up close to the local resident hippos and crocs. And great for sundowners!
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 – always memorable! This activity needs to be pre-booked.
*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.