New Field Guide College settles in Marakele

Representing the More-family from left Jean More, widow of the late Nick More, Robert More, CEO of MORE, with his wife Brit and mother, Mrs Louise More after the unveiling of the plaque, officially opening the NJ MORE Field Guide College.
Representing the More-family from left Jean More, widow of the late Nick More, Robert More, CEO of MORE, with his wife Brit and mother, Mrs Louise More after the unveiling of the plaque, officially opening the NJ MORE Field Guide College.
The Six trainee Field Guides who are busy with their training course at the NJ More Field Guide College at Marataba, are from left to right: Zak Dakers, Alessandro Avesani, Sonja Kuschke, Caitlin Rabinowitz, Matthew Jurgensen and Jennifer Kucherawy.
The Six trainee Field Guides who are busy with their training course at the NJ More Field Guide College at Marataba, are from left to right: Zak Dakers, Alessandro Avesani, Sonja Kuschke, Caitlin Rabinowitz, Matthew Jurgensen and Jennifer Kucherawy.

THABAZIMBI – History was made Wednesday 6 August 2014 with the official opening of the NJ More Field Guide College, situated on the Marataba section of Marakele National Park.
Much has happened since the Dutch Business man, Mr Paul van Vliessingen, acquired the concession to become part of the greater Marakele National Park when he invested millions of rand during the early 2000’s to acquire 17 farms at the Northern border of the park to be incorporated as the Marakele Pty(Ltd) section of the greater Marakele National Park. This section would be developed with its own Exclusive Lodge, catering for the upper section of international tourists.
Although all the fences between Marataba section and Marakele National Park were removed, restrictions were laid down as far as tourist movement from Marakele National Parks to the Marataba section were enforced as part of the concession agreement.
Soon after the Lodge came into operation, Von Vliessinger was diagnosed with severe cancer which claimed the life of this entrepreneur who has previously obtained phenomenal success in similar ventures in other African countries, where he created a viable income to areas, similar to Marakele National Park, with a financial injection to ensure the vitality of the project. This was the conservation of an identified sub-region in terms of its ecological diversity and as a place of shelter for, not only endangered species, but for all game that used to be part of the Waterberg Bios-sphere before commercial farming had its impact on this area.
After Von Vliessinger passed away, his family still tried to live out his dreams at Marataba, but had to give up eventually.
The concession was taken over by a consortium of five individuals who took over the responsibility of running the Marataba section of Marakele National Park, which takes up about 23 000 ha of the greater Marakele National Park.
In order of giving Marataba new life, they signed an agreement in terms of which MORE, who is well established in the hospitality industry, was appointed to take over the general operation of the Marataba Section as a touris attraction.
MORE has been involved in the reserve since September last year when they took over the running of the Marataba Safari Lodge from the previous operators. As well as Marataba, they run and own a number of other lodges and hotels including Lion Sands, Madikwe Safari Lodge, More Quarters and The Cape Cadogan.
Through this whole transformation, Dr André Uys, General Manager of the Marataba Section of Marakele National Park, upheld the standard of conservation and laid the foundation for the further development of this section. As was mentioned by Greve de Bruijn, who represented the rest of the concession-holders during this opening function, the focus will remain on more than just the financial viability, and as far as the MORE is concerned, they are prepared to give their guests more than just a holiday break away.
This has been done. Their involvement includes the relocation of the Field Guide College from Lion Sands to Marataba, one of the most obvious ones in providing professional field guide services to their customers. The college can accommodate at this stage up to eight students, although plans of extending this facility is already in making.
The NJ MORE Field Guide College is named after the late Nick More (1967 – 2013), son of Mrs Louise More, head of the More Trust and brother of Robert More, CEO of MORE.
It was the initial drive of Nick More that lead to the establishment of the Field Guide College and his legacy will live on through this newly established venue in Marakele National Park. This college will become a cornerstone for safaris establishments even outside MORE.
The More Family Trust will also see to the empowerment of locals from all the feeding areas in which they operate, by sponsoring a scholarship place at the college on each intake thus creating awareness through education and making a difference for the future. Nick was the main drive to re-establish the College at Marataba as he had this vision to create the best college of its kind at Marataba.
The College is at this stage located at the initial tented site before the Lodge was completed. During the previous management, the tented camp was not used for accommodation anymore and became the home to many a roaming leopard.
This has all changed with a thatched lapa serving as lecture room and another thatched building was upgraded to supply the needs of a library, with comfortable couches and a nice fireplace that comes in handy during the winter months.