Source: Getty Images

Where Is 'Meerkat Manor' Filmed? Hint: It's Definitely Not Done in a Zoo


Jul. 3 2021, Published 3:07 p.m. ET

If you're tired of regular reality shows, why not try a nature reality show? The documentary series Meerkat Manor aired from 2005 to 2008 to critical acclaim, following the lives of meerkat clans in their natural habitat. Now, a reboot titled Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty has hit airwaves, and fans of both are wondering where the show is filmed.

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So, where is 'Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty' filmed?

Originally, Meerkat Manor began as a field study about the cooperative nature of meerkats. The study, called the Kalahari Meerkat Project, was focused on "the evolutionary causes and ecological consequences of cooperative behaviors in meerkats," according to Animal Planet's interview with Professor Tim Clutton-Brock before the show's release.

Meerkat pups from the London Zoo.
Source: Getty Images
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Cambridge University and the Kalahari Research Trust funded the project, which focused on meerkats living on the Kuruman River Reserve in Northern Cape, South Africa, near the border to Botswana. Professor Clutton-Brock has led the meerkat research project since 1993 and chose the area for its flat environment on the dry side of the Kuruman River. Previously, the project had been based out of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park, another wildlife preserve in South Africa.

Source: Animal Planet
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As a part of the project, most scenes from Meerkat Manor were filmed on location at the Kuruman River Reserve. It should be noted that meerkats featured in commercial or promotional material for the original show were tamer animals from the Fellow Earthlings' Wildlife Center and filmed in front of a green screen, according to their newsletter.

Subsequently, all new iterations of the Meerkat Manor study are also filmed at the Kuruman River Reserve. BBC America confirms that Rise of the Dynasty picks up where Meerkat Manor left off with three new clans of meerkats to enjoy. Sadly, the matriarch meerkat of Meerkat Manor, Flower, will not be reprising her role in this sequel series — Flower died of a snake bite in 2007.

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Source: Animal Planet

How many episodes are in 'Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty'?

Great news, wildlife fans! Beginning June 3, 2021, there will be 13 episodes released to the public in total. According to BBC America, the first six episodes will premiere in summer 2021, before a brief hiatus, and seven more episodes will release in fall 2021. Each episode is only 30 minutes long, which means they're perfect to binge in one sitting or indulge in a once-a-week viewing.

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Baby meerkats at the Bristol Zoo.
Source: Getty Images

There is no current news on whether Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty will get a second season, but due to the critical success of Meerkat Manor, anything could happen! The Kalahari Meerkat Project has been going strong for nearly 30 years, so perhaps in celebration of the 30th anniversary, the show will do something special.

Meerkat Manor: Rise of the Dynasty airs Saturday nights at 8 p.m. EST, but if you're worried about missing out (or want to catch up on the past four seasons of the show), they're available for streaming on BBC America, AMC, YouTube, and Discovery Plus.

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