The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2017

Following the success of our second annual ride in 2016, we have a group of ten experienced riders preparing to set off on a sponsored horse safari in January 2017.

They are busy getting fit and raising funds for Save the Waterberg Rhino along with education and welfare projects that uplift communities in the area.

Riding safaris at Ant's (1)

Riders’ overall dates: 14th January to 21st January 2017 + option of one extra night

Saturday 14th Jan: Fly out to Johannesburg

DAY 1 – Sunday 15th Jan  Riders will be met off their International flight at Oliver Tambo Airport, Johannesburg and driven north, about 3 hours, to Ant’s Nest Private Game Reserve deep in the African bush. Lunch will be served on arrival. After settling into the lodge we will go for a game ride so that everyone can try out the horses. As the sun goes down, they’ll meet white rhino living on the reserve while Tessa Baber gives a talk on the work of ‘Save the Waterberg Rhino’. The Waterberg is home to the second largest population of rhino in South Africa after the Kruger Park, so their protection on the plateau is vital.

DAY 2 – Monday 16th Jan  We’ll spend the day riding up to Ant’s Hill, viewing game on horseback and looking for a breeding herd of white rhino, along with buffalo, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest and antelope. Any non-riders will have the choice of game walks, fishing or mountain biking. We will meet up for lunch in the bush, hopefully by a dam where we can swim with the horses. We are hoping to find Sophie, a rhino cow with her calf Scorcher, before leaving the horses in a kudu breeding camp in the far north of the reserve and returning to Ant’s Nest for the night. Each rider will pack a small bag with a swimsuit, wash bag and clothes for the next two nights on safari.

Sophie Neville watching rhino

DAY 3 – Tuesday 17th Jan  We’ll set off early, riding north through the reserve and onto sandy roads where we can canter for miles on our way to Kwalata Game Reserve. We’ll ride up to a picturesque picnic spot, where we’ll be joined by any non-riders who will have had the opportunity to do activities on Ants Nest (Drive, walk, fishing, Mountain Biking or just relax at the pool).  After lunch we will ride through the reserve to leave the horses in an elephant boma while we spend the night at the lodge. We may get the chance to see elephant.

DAY 4 – Wednesday 18th Jan  We ride through Kwalata into Lapalala Wilderness, which will give us the chance of seeing white and black rhino along with primate species, as we should spot vervet monkeys and baboon. Lunch will be enjoyed at a dam with the hope of spotting hippo. Non-riders will be taken on a tour of this amazing area in search of game or iron-age settlements. They saw crocodile last year so opted not to swim in the river.

The night will be spent at the retro Kolobe Lodge where the leaders of South Africa have stayed. Hopefully the warden will be with us to talk on community projects.


DAY 5 – Thursday 19th Jan  We plan to spend the morning visiting a charitable project in the Waterberg when we can meet those running initiatives that uplift the local people while providing education.

We then ride to Jembisa, a private game reserve on the Palala River where we hope to find more plains game including giraffe, jackal, warthog and red hartebeest. We could sleep out under the stars if the weather is favourable – although last year we opted for comfy beds.

DAY 6 – Friday 20th Jan  We’ll ride across Jembisa hoping to find hippos and perhaps see crocodile before meeting up with non-riders at the furthest point of the ride to grab a few photographs before bidding our horses farewell. There will then be time for a swim before dinner at the lodge.

DAY 7 – Saturday 21st Jan After breakfast outside we will take a game drive to see the ancient bushmen paintings on the reserve before brunch and drive back via an excellent sewing project selling curios and educational project in the township enroute to the airport.

Sunday 22nd Jan –  Your flight will arrive back in the UK early am

Six riders are opting to stay an extra night at Jembisa to unwind. This will cost £150per person, fully inclusive of drinks and activities. They will all depart from Johannesburg airport on the evening of Sunday 22nd Jan to arrive back early morning on Monday 23rd January.

The ride is a unique opportunity to ride alongside wild animals in this beautiful area, now proclaimed a UNESCO biosphere. The itinerary may change – but hopefully only for the better! Riders who need to be fit and experienced as there will be approx 25 – 35km’s of riding per day, spending a total of 32 hours in the saddle.

The cost is £1,600 per person, sharing, inclusive of all meals, local alcohol and soft drinks, accommodation, riding, game drives and bush walks, as well as road transfers to and from standard flights landing by 8.00am on 15th Jan and leaving on 21st January.

Flights, tips and travel insurance are not included. To secure your place we need a non-returnable deposit of £600. The balance of £1,000 must be paid by 30th November 2016.

(Please note: Additional transfers will be charged if we don’t all travel together!)

We can take non-riding partners. It will be high summer in South Africa, so the bushveld will be green. It can be hot and sunny and could be overcast or rainy but will not get cold.

The horse safari will be led by Ant Baber who owns Ant’s Nest. Sophie Neville, a trustee of TWT who became a safari guide in the Waterberg back in 1992, will lead the group.

Ant Baber

To participate, riders need to raise a minimum sponsorship of £1000 for The Waterberg Trust. As a registered UK charity, Gift Aid can then be added. 50% of sponsorship raised will go to Save the Waterberg Rhino Trust and 50% will go to community education and welfare projects in the Waterberg. While we encourage riders to find sponsorship some of us are raising the donation of £1,000 in other ways such as hosting a sale or asking for donations instead of birthday gifts.

makeapage_your_white justgiving

Please contact Sophie for help with fundraising ideas and making a Justgiving page

Tel: 01590 610586

Flights and Transfers: We find it is best if people book their own flights to Johannesburg – try Trailfinders or Flight Centre. It’s best if riders can liaise and fly out together.

NB: please book flights that arrive in S.Africa no later than 8.00am and depart from Johannesburg no earlier than 7.00pm. Should you need to arrive late or depart early, a private transfer will be supplied at additional cost.

Make your way to the information desk in the arrivals hall where you will be met and driven to Ant’s Nest for lunch. At the end of the safari we will arrive at Johannesburg airport at a time suitable for all flights departing after 7 pm.

Do I need a visa? Check your passport is valid for at least six months after your return date and has at least 3 blank pages. Visas are not needed for those with British passports.

What vaccinations do I need? We recommend your tetanus to be up to date.

What are the horses like? They have been carefully chosen from various South African breeds, known for being able to walk-out well while being able to cope with tough going. They live in the bush so are familiar with wildlife. Breeds include Friesan-cross, Boerperds, Anglo-Thoroughbreds, and the S.A. Warmblood. They range in size from 14.3h. to 17h. Tack is McClellan long-distance saddles and usually snaffle bridles.

Are riding helmets compulsory? Yes – bring your own hot-weather helmet and half-chaps.

What should I bring? Not too much: Comfortable riding clothes in earth colours – (not red) long sleeved shirts, riding helmet, bum bag, lip salve, sun cream factor 30, short boots and chaps, swimming costume, Barbour raincoat, camera with extra memory cards and extra camera batteries, small torch (or head torch) and toiletries. (Voltage the same but round pin plugs.) Do bring out any old children’s clothes, especially grey/black/white school uniform or sports wear as we can donate it to one of the schools or welfare projects in the Waterberg.

What is the accommodation like? Ant’s Nest and Jembisa offer comfortable lodge accommodation with ensuite bathrooms. Kolobe and Kwalata are simpler and some have to share bathrooms. We will have picnic lunches, evening meals cooked around the fire.

Single supplements? If you want a single room there would be 50% supplement.

Is there a laundry service? We hope to be able to offer a limited laundry service.

Do cell phones work?  Will be riding in areas of no coverage but take radio communication.

Useful contact numbers: These can be used the case of a badly delayed flight.  Please give loved ones the Ant’s Nest phone numbers: Tel 1 : +27 (0) 83 287 2885 Tel 2 : +27 (0) 87 820 7233 Tel 3 : +27 (0) 83 681 8944 (Emergencies only)

Money: We suggest you don’t change too much money into the local currency as your trip is fully inclusive – however there is a craft shop at Ant’s Nest that takes credit cards.

Ant’s Nest ~

Lapalala Wilderness ~

Kwalata ~

Jembisa ~

Save the Waterberg Rhino ~

The Waterberg Trust ~


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s