We started spotting wildlife the moment we drove in through the gates of Ant’s Nest, a private game reserve in the Waterberg. This young roan antelope was in our path.
Twelve riders had flown out from the UK and Australia, at their own cost, to learn about the Waterberg by riding across the plateau with Ant Baber and his experienced guides,
TWT Trustee Sophie Neville, who was once a horse safari guide in the area, met the group at Johannesburg airport and explained about projects supported by the Waterberg Trust, as she accompanied riders on the expedition.
Although we covered some distance on the first afternoon, the important thing was for riders to try out their horses and get used to the long-distance saddles while there was still a chance to make changes. Juliet Maddan, who had gathered the group together, was also wearing a hot-weather helmet for the first time.
It was a delight to come across wild animals who are used to grazing in the reserve with the horses and allow riders to get very close.
The wildebeest were unperturbed by our presence and the horses were relaxed.
We saw a variety of plains game and had time to take a few photographs.
Some riders came across white rhino with Ant Baber that very afternoon, and were able to learn a bit about their territorial behaviour.
Disaster struck at the end of the day when a gasket blew on a landcruiser as it was going up a steep slope. With no engine power the vehicle slid backwards but the riders were fit and jumped out as the guide steered it into a bush. It proved the start of an adventurous week.
That night there was plenty to talk about as we gathered around the fire and made plans for the long ride ahead of us.
For an overview of the Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2017 please click here
If you would like to make a donation to support the work of the trust please click here