What do I see on a meerkat visit?
Very early on a Sunday morning, your host at the Van Zylsrus Hotel or the Leeupan Guest Farm brings you to the KMP research station where you are greeted by the researcher who will take you out to the veld. You’ll set out when the dawn breaks, on foot or by car depending on how far away your meerkat group currently roams. On the way, the researcher will brief you about the visit, and about how to approach the meerkats.
You’ll arrive at their sleeping burrow usually before they get up, so you’ll probably witness the first meerkat head popping up to greet the day. Eventually the entire group gets up, and you can watch them while they sun to get warm, groom each other, yawn, stretch or play. Listen to their sunning calls, or take pictures as you like. In the breeding season (approx. October to April), chances are quite good to see pups (young meerkats), or even watch the tinyest when they emerge from their birth burrow for the very first time. Meanwhile, the researcher will go through the research routine and weigh each meerkat, but he or she will also try and answer any questions to the meerkats you may have.
After an hour at the sleeping burrow – sometimes more, sometimes less – the meerkats set out to go foraging. You may follow them, guided by the researcher, and see how they dig for insects or scorpions, or how the sentinel meerkat watches out for predators. It can even be that you experience a predator alarm, if the sentinel identifies that little black speck on the horizon as a predator, and the entire group dashes into a bolt hole. Or you may be lucky and witness a group encounter, with two rival groups attacking each other until the weaker group gives way. The majority of the time, however, is spent with foraging.
Eventually the day heats up, and the meerkats start their siesta in the shade. This is the time for you to return to the research station where you will be picked up by your host.
How to book
You can book your meerkat visit only together with a stay at either the Leeupan Guest Farm or the Van Zylrus Hotel. Please mention that you would like to do a meerkat visit at the time you book your accommodation. The hotel/guest farm will enquire with the research station whether your chosen date fits, so please contact them well in advance.
To book your stay,
Attention: Meerkat visits are currently only available on Sundays!
A few notes…
Please take note of the following rules:
- Visits are currently only possible on Sundays.
- The maximum group size per visit is 3 guests.
- The minimum age for visitors is 12 years. Visitors younger than 16 years are to be accompanied by an adult.
- There is no guarantee of seeing the meerkats; especially on a cold, windy or rainy morning guests might only see a head briefly.
- The KMP meerkats are wild animals that are used to human presence. They are no pets. The meerkats may choose to come near the guests, or even climb them. But guests are not allowed touch the meerkats, or otherwise disturb them.
- Visits with commercial background, e.g. for film crews, professional photographers or journalists are to be organised via the KMP (click here). You may use photos and footage taken at the KMP for your own personal use, but not publish or sell them.
- The KMP reserves the right to reject guests, or cancel a visit, in case guests do not comply to these rules.
- The KMP, its agents and/or representatives do not accept any liability whatsoever and will not be held accountable for any injuries, death and/or loss of personal property whilst guests are at the KMP.
- To sustain the research project, a nominal entrance fee will be levied by your accommodation host.