5 REASONS TO CHOOSE MATATANE CAMP
AS YOUR NO 1 OUTDOOR ADVENTURE
When it comes to reconnecting with each other, you can’t get better than Babanango Game Reserve's Matatane Camp! With Easter holidays fast approaching, this is where we believe memories will be made and last a lifetime in a no-frills, no-fuss, back-to-nature wilderness experience that's designed to immerse groups of friends and families in authentic Africa.
As many teachers and students will remember from our reputation of years gone by, it is also where we help to educate the next generation of nature enthusiasts through educational trips run by Babanango Outdoor Education (BOE), now based at Matatane Camp.
Here are some of the amazing things to do during your visit to Matatane Camp:
Learn about the environment and nature through a host of amazing education-based activities on a school trip with Babanango Outdoor Education.
Explore the reserve on horseback, taking in the impressive African wilderness from the saddle and getting up close and personal with Babanango's wildlife.
As a mountain biker’s dream location, it offers the opportunity to explore Matatane’s 130ha with various on and off-road trails, plus the additional option to request a fully guided experience through the greater part of the 22,000ha Babanango Game Reserve.
Game drives departing from Zulu Rock on prior arrangement, taking in the breathtaking landscapes and rolling hills that make this part of KwaZulu-Natal so special.
Hiking trails through one of the most impressive wilderness areas South Africa has to offer, discovering the small things so often missed on a game drive.
MEET THE TEAM
Matatane Camp Assistant Manager Lumka Zwezwe and her team are passionate about the job they do, especially where Babanango Outdoor Education (BOE) is concerned. Now that South Africa is on Lockdown Level 1 and the 2021 academic year has begun, she is looking forward to welcoming scholars and teachers from across South Africa to the camp and helping to facilitate their stay in the wonderful Babanango Game Reserve.
Her team consists of long-standing Camp Leaders Mphile Kunene (Moeps) and Siphisihle Sihlayi (Sphe) who together with Camp Facilitator Tumelo Sathekge are responsible for the day-to-day running of Matatane Camp and ensuring that all guests, whether local tourists or school groups, are well taken care of. As part of the AHC philosophy of pioneering with purpose, the team also includes a number of other conservation graduates, who upon joining the Babanango Game Reserve’s management team are able to gain not only experience but upskill into other positions within the organisation.
Lumka worked for Babanango's previous owners for two years before African Habitat Conservancy came on board in 2019 to develop the game reserve, working with local communities who own part of the 22,000ha wilderness. The past two years have seen her ease into a leadership position, starting out as a Camp Leader and moving into management. She hopes one day to become the Camp Manager.
"It's an amazing place to work," she says. Lumka has a National Diploma in Ecotourism and a Post-graduate Certificate in Education, specialising in life sciences. Like the rest of her team, she loves playing a role in helping children and young people discover and develop a love for nature.
Moeps with an Advanced Diploma in Nature Conservation has also been part of the team since onset. Whilst Sphe with a National Diploma in Ecotourism management refers to how working for BOE has changed her life. Likeminded Tumelo, wildly passionate about the outdoors, including mountain-biking also has a National Diploma in Nature Conservation.
UNDERSTANDING THE VALUE OF WATER
Water is something Babanango Game Reserve takes exceptionally seriously so it's fitting that this year's World Water Day on 22 March is focussing on valuing water, as access to clean, fresh water goes to the heart of our most ambitious community project to date.
The African Habitat Conservancy Foundation (AHCF) has been working hard to bring water to the communities on the periphery of Babanango Game Reserve through the installation of new boreholes designed to alleviate the water scarcity for both people and the livestock on which they depend.
To date, the AHCF has invested R470,000 in improving the water infrastructure in villages around the Babanango Game Reserve. Five new boreholes have been created, two new wells have been sunk, two solar pumps installed with four JoJo water tanks and piping attached for storage. Drinking troughs for livestock have been built and community cattle dips refurbished.
More than five conversions in surrounding communities have been completed and the AHCF is working to complete another five this year, representing an investment of more than R1-million.
DID YOU KNOW?
There is a 22km stretch of the White Umfolozi flowing through Babanango Game Reserve. It meets the Black Umfolozi River close to the south-eastern border of the Hluhluwe-Umfolozi Game Reserve where it becomes the Umfolozi.
The Umfolozi flows in an easterly direction to the Indian Ocean, which it eventually reaches at Maphelane, just south of the St Lucia River mouth and the Lake St Lucia wetland system in the iSimangaliso Wetlands Park - a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
In the 1950s an irrigation programme separated the Umfolozi from Lake St Lucia, altering the critical provision of fresh water to this estuarine water system. Happily, in 2016 the river and the lake were linked once more with the creation of a spillway.
Rather interestingly, there are no crocodiles in this river!
The owners, management and staff at Babanango Game Reserve would like to extend our heartfelt condolences on the untimely passing of Zulu King Goodwill Zwelithini. We mourn the loss of one of Africa’s great leaders. He will be missed.