The Conserv Group and Marataba Conservation Camps recently hosted some donors and guests at the Marataba Contractual Park within the Waterberg. It was an amazing weekend of purpose driven travel where we would fit smart collars to six white rhino. Read the full story below…

Marataba, a 21,000-hectare (52,000-acre), privately managed section of the Marakele National Park, is uniquely situated where lush bushveld gives way to the Kalahari sands in South Africa’s Limpopo Province. A contractual National Park, Marataba is one of South Africa’s most innovative conservation models. From the vision of an iconic president to the unique public-private partnership that exists today, we protect the area’s diverse flora and fauna through modern and hands-on conservation practices.

The Conserv Group prides itself in aligning with like-minded individuals, projects and reserves. With that being said, the conservation team at Marataba Conservation Camps is wholly committed to the protection of all species, and especially rhino. A match made in heaven! With the current pressure they are under, there has had to be some innovation in the way in which they respond to threats and the actual monitoring of each rhino. A very intelligent solution has been found…

Dr SP Le Roux has developed a smart foot collar system. Basically, these technologically forward thinking devices transmit data that an algorithm learns from and creates a behaviour profile for each rhino. This is extremely important, as if a rhino starts to behave differently it will immediately send a signal to the conservation team. Say for instance two bulls are fighting, or a cow is about to give birth, or at worse a rhino is not moving, the collar sends a message to the conservation team so they can react instantly. Whatever the cause, they can ascertain if the rhino is in trouble. This is a great tool to help combat poaching and  respond to any poaching threats or incidences in rapid time. It is also a great way to know how your rhino population is doing everyday, and long term real time data will go a long way to learn as much about the population as possible. 

Dr Andre Uys heads up the the conservation team and is a world renowned vet and expert in the conservation field. He, along with all the important members of the team of ground are critical in the conservation of these animals. They are incredibly passionate and are out there everyday fighting the war against poaching. 

Thanks to the team, we had such a wonderful time, a real life changing experience. To touch, feel and really be hands on to help save a species is a wonderful feeling. We can dream of a day where this intervention is not necessary and rhino can just be, but for now we can only help and do as much as we can to help the people that put the effort in day in and day out!

Not only did we have a phenomenal conservation experience, the cuisine and accommodation at Explorers Camp was top class. Yvonne, the lodge manager and all round hospitality guru created some magical experiences. The game viewing was also spectacular, as we saw buffalo, cheetah and cubs, elephants, lions, and many other species. One of the highlights was a large male leopard that was flushed out by the helicopter during the rhino darting process and ran in front of the car.

We finished off the weekend with a boat cruise on the Matlabas River. Drifting slowly down river with a sundowner drink in hand, the Waterberg mountains as a backdrop and a feeling of complete bliss… 

Thanks to all the team at Marataba Conservation Camps and all that you do. It really is inspiring! To the guests and donors, your contribution and involvement is critical in the future of this species. Well done!

The Conserv Team.