In 1999, Advocate Francois and Sheila Junod acquired a prime property of 200 hectares in the Magaliesberg and dedicated the use thereof to education and conservation and for the benefit of young boys and girls. The crystal clear Maretlwane River, with its source in the magnificent Castle Gorge, runs through the entire property offering pristine rock pools and refreshing swims. The game conservancy boasts different species of game including nyala and giraffe. Rock pythons may be found in the mysterious Euphorbia Forest, the birdlife is abundant and indigenous trees and grasses abound. This “wilderness of sweets” has been enjoyed by over 3000 children along with hikers and nature lovers of all ages.
The property is owned by the Maretlwane Trust who’s objective is to guide the conservation and educational activities held on the property.
St John’s College are enthusiastic and valued partners of the vision of the Maretlwane Trust since 2013. The school has a strong ethos of sharing and community involvement and these values complement the Trust’s objectives. Their Grade 9 pupils make use of the Wilderness School facilities at different times of the year on a 4 week long residential experience.
MISSION & VISION
Maretlwane Wilderness Company provides holistic and diverse outdoor educational experiences for young people in a safe, welcoming and inclusive way. Programs are designed to integrate the intellectual, physical, emotional and spiritual development of young men and women, while at all times demonstrating as role models, our understanding of sustainable utilisation and conservation. Age-appropriate programs are safe, yet mentally, physically and emotionally demanding and aligned to the developmental trends of the group. While learning outcomes are highly individual, the broader focus is on development of character, grit, independence, group interdependence, trust and empathy.
To become a SADC centre of excellence in the provision of innovative, holistic, outdoor educational programs focused on challenging young men and women of all backgrounds to grow intellectually, physically, emotionally and spiritually while simultaneously upholding our core values of sustainability, inclusivity and quality.
The Maretlwane Wilderness School, the flagship of the Maretlwane facility, is custom-built for the residential model of outdoor education. This creates an environment and opportunity for holistic personal development – education and experience rolled into one. Fulltime academic, programme staff and support staff work alongside clients to produce and implement engaging, academic and physical adventure programmes. The Wilderness School also caters for shorter stay camps for students from high schools or universities, offering a range of options.
Our character is associated with our morals and ethics. It is demonstrated by our actions and is influenced by every decision and choice we make. Our programme takes young people on a journey of identifying their character strengths and then growing them. We achieve this by following a unique experience based process facilitated in our unique environment.
Maretlwane boasts an untouched river system, millions of years old. This gives us access to a nearly pristine environment to work with. Knowledgeable, skilled and experienced staff, offer a broad range of lessons developed in-house and by WESSA. Young people will have the opportunity to learn about the invertebrates of the river system or read the tracks and signs of the various wild animals roaming the property. The broader goal is to develop a deep sense of appreciation for nature and a realisation for conservation.
The flagship of the Maretlwane facility is the Wilderness School, custom-built for the residential-stay model of outdoor education. This creates an environment and opportunity for holistic personal development – education and adventure rolled into one.
Emotional Spark, Social Engagement, Novelty and Creative Exploration make up the ESSENCE of adolescence. Through an experential learning programme young people are given the psychological context of their adolescence allowing them to embrace it as a time to truly live out their lives.
Maretlwane boasts access to many outdoor activities. Swim in pristine pools along the Maretlwane River, test your strength and climbing skills along the cliffs of small gorges, visit the impressive Castle Gorge and kloof back to Maretlwane or attempt one of the trail runs and run alongside the zebra and other wildlife which roam the property.
Activities include: rock climbing, nature walks and studies, rock pools swimming, trail running, mountain biking, birding, kloofing (canyoneering), abseiling, orienteering and hiking.
Tucked away in the pristine Magaliesberg environment are seven clusters which are scattered and independent of one another facilitating the residential model of outdoor education. Each cluster consists of a kitchen and a dining area, two bedrooms and an ablution block. The bedrooms are able to accommodate four students each and consist of a loft-bed with desk and shelf space.