Category Archives: Community projects

Objectives of The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2018

On 21st January 2018, twelve intrepid ladies – and one man – will set off on horseback across the Waterberg Plateau in South Africa to gain an understanding of this pristine wilderness and learn about challenges faced by the rural community. Lying three hours drive north of Johannesburg, the Waterberg is home to the third highest population of rhino in the world. Poaching is so acute in South Africa it is imperative to guard this upland area where both black and white rhino can be protected.

A challenging section of the Waterberg Charity Ride

Would you help us to raise funds for Save The Waterberg Rhino, who are combating anti-poaching, and other community projects in this region?

LWS pupils with python
Visiting Lapalala Wilderness School

The riders are paying their own way, so every penny raised in sponsorship will go straight to The Waterberg Trust, a UK registered charity, who can send donations plus any Gift Aid, to these small but effective projects in South Africa. Funds go a long way to really make a difference in the Waterberg where they are administered by trusted conservationists with years of experience. You can meet those who are striving to Save The Waterberg Rhino and protect the wilderness while uplifting communities in the Waterberg, here:

TWT have already held three annual Waterberg Trust Challenge Rides. Those who took part were able to observe a number of white rhino living on Ant’s Nest game reserve, while being updated on anti-poaching initiatives by Tess and her husband Ant Baber who is leading the six-day ride.

The team then crossed the Waterberg hills on horseback, traversing Lapalala Wilderness managed by Anton Walker, who also appears in this film. He cares for wildlife reintroduced to the area thirty years ago by his father, the author and conservationist Clive Walker, seen here speaking to TWT riders in 2016:

LWS meeting Clive Walker
Riders meeting conservationist Clive Walker

This year riders will visit a new ‘Living Museum’ set up by Clive to educate local people and visitors about rhino and the history of this unique biosphere.

Riders will also get the chance to visit the Lapalala Wilderness School where teenagers from Vaalwater attend residential courses on wildlife conservation sponsored by TWT. Students testify how this experience changes their outlook on life, giving them an appreciation for their environment and the future of South Africa’s wild animals. The children take their enthusiasm into the community whose support is essential if poaching is to be combated.

After thirty-two hours in the saddle, the ride will end at the Palala River on Jembisa private game reserve.  Before leaving, riders hope to visit Lethabo Kids Club in the local township of Lesiding that minister to the poorest of the poor and ensure all children attend primary school.

50% of funds raised by the sponsored ride are going to Save The Waterberg Rhino and 50% to support community projects that uplift the people and place of the Waterberg.

Riding safaris at Ant's (60)

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP:

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As a UK registered charity, The Waterberg Trust can claim Gift Aid on eligible donations, and organise transfer of funds to South Africa efficiently. You can add a note to specify ‘Save the Waterberg Rhino’ or ‘Lapalala Wilderness School’ or another project with your donation.

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Itinerary for The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride January 2018

 

Are you up for a challenge?

Would you help raise funds for Save the Waterberg Rhino along with education, health and welfare projects that uplift communities in the area?

Following the success of our third annual ride this January, we are looking for fit and experienced riders to join our group on a sponsored horse safari, with back-up welcome from non-riding partners who will have the opportunity to fish and take game drives or ride mountain bikes.

In January 2018, Ant’s Nest have offered to take us through the private game reserves of the Waterberg on their lovely horses.

Riders’ overall dates: 20th Jan to 28th Jan 2018 + option of one extra night

Saturday 20th Jan: Fly out to Johannesburg – we suggest on Flight BA55

DAY 1 – Sunday 21st Jan You will be met off your 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 your arrival. After settling into the lodge we will go for a ride looking for zebra and wildebeest so that you can try out your horse. If you are not totally happy you can try a different mount the next day – there are about forty to chose from. It will be high summer in South Africa, so the bushveld will be green. We’ll be able to hear about plans for the ride as we have dinner by the fire that evening.

DAY 2 – Monday 22nd Jan We’ll spend the day riding up to Ant’s Hill, viewing game on horseback and looking for a breeding herds of buffalo, as well as rare sable and roan antelope. Any non-riders will have the choice of game walks, fishing or mountain biking. Each rider will pack a small bag with a swimsuit, wash bag and clothes for the next two nights on safari. As the sun goes down, you’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 third largest population of rhino in South Africa, so their protection on the plateau is vital.

DAY 3 – Tuesday 23rd Jan We set off early, riding east through the reserve and onto sandy roads where we can canter for miles. We are planning to ride to the newly opened ‘Living Museum’ where we can learn more about rhino from the author and wildlife artist Clive Walker, one of South Africa’s leading conservationists. We’ll be joined for lunch here by any non-riders who will have had the opportunity to observe wildlife on the way over. That afternoon we hope ride through a reserve breeding rare golden wildebeest up to Triple B Ranch, the cattle stud owned by Anthony’s family for over a hundred years. There are beautiful gardens here and a warm pool. We’ll stay at Windsong Cottage – the farmhouse built by Ant’s grandfather, Alfred Baber.

DAY 4 – Wednesday 24th Jan We will ride through the Sesotho village on the farm and down through the game reserve at Horizon, which will give us the chance of seeing impala, zebra, giraffe and eland along with primate species as we might 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. We’ll have a long ride in the afternoon, as we make our way over the hills and through Lindani private game reserve for the night. There is a good paddock here for the horses, a pool and we should be able to see game from the lodge. Be assured we will see a large number of warthog.

DAY 5 – Thursday 25th Jan We will ride through Lindani, up a kloof to find game on plains that look down past a north-facing escarpment. We should see warthog, zebra, giraffe, eland, red hartebeest, wildebeest and greater kudu. We ride under high red cliffs, where vultures nest, to Jembisa, a private game reserve on the Palala River where we will have lunch. We’ll ride across the reserve and be able to relax at the lodge, enjoying comfy beds and hot baths.

DAY 6 – Friday 26th Jan The Waterberg Trust enables local children to go on a residential course at Lapalala Wilderness School near Jembisa. We hope to be able to see around this project before riding across Jembisa that morning. We should find hippos and perhaps see crocodile before meeting up with non-riders for lunch. That evening we will ride up to a view-point to grab a few photographs before bidding our horses farewell. There will be time for a swim before dinner at the lodge.

DAY 7 – Saturday 27th Jan After breakfast outside we will take a game drive to see ancient bushmen paintings on the reserve before brunch and drive back via an excellent sewing project selling curios and an educational project in the township enroute to the airport.

Sunday 28th Jan – Your flight will arrive back in the UK early am. Riders can opt to stay an extra night at Jembisa to unwind. This would cost £150per person, fully inclusive of drinks and activities. Depart from Johannesburg airport on the evening of Sunday 28th Jan to arrive back early morning on Monday 29th 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 only for the better! We are hoping for a group of 12 riders who need to be fit and experienced as there will be approx 25 – 40kms of riding per day.

Since we plan to visit a number of projects being supported by The Waterberg Trust you will get the chance to meet local people who would benefit from the funds you are raising.

The cost is £1,800 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 the flights specified. The cost for non-riding partners is £1,440 Your contract will be with Ant’s Nest. The contract for the extra day would be with Jembisa, who would invoice you separately. There would be 50% supplement for anyone wanting a single room. If enough people want to come for a day or two before the ride Ant’s Nest are happy to offer us a favourable rate.

We recommend coming out a couple of days earlier and staying on for one night. (Please note: Additional transfers will be charged if we don’t all travel together – There will be two vehicles.)

Flights, tips and travel insurance are not included. To secure your place Ant’s Nest need a non-returnable deposit of £600. The balance of £1,200 must be paid by 30th November 2017.

Ant’s Nest and Jembisa offer comfortable lodge accommodation with ensuite bathrooms. Windsong and Lindani are simpler and some will have to share bathrooms.

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 and take you to see established charitable projects in the area.

To participate you 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 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.

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Please contact Sophie for help with fundraising ideas and making a Justgiving page Tel: 01590 678438 sophie@sophieneville.co.uk

Flights and Transfers: We find it is best if people book their own flights to Johannesburg – try Trailfinders or Flight Centre or the BA sale. Do liaise and fly together. We suggest you take Flight BA55 that departs Heathrow at 18.10 on either Friday 19th Jan 2018 (when TWT Trustee Belinda Chaffer is flying out), or Saturday 20th Jan. They arrive in Johannesburg at 7.15 am. Book the Return on Flight BA54 on either Saturday 27th Jan or Sunday 28th Jan (with Belinda).

Should you need to arrive at other times, a private road transfer can be supplied but at an additional cost.

Make your way to the information desk in the arrivals hall where you will be met and driven to Ant’s Nest.

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 tetanus. The area is classified Malaria free.

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 else should I bring? Not too much: it can be hot and sunny and could be overcast or rainy but will not get cold. Towels are provided. Bring comfortable riding clothes in earth colours, blues or greens – (not bright red) long-sleeved collared shirts, (men’s shirts are good), bandana, riding helmet, bum bag, lip salve, sun cream factor 30, short boots and chaps, Barbour raincoat, camera with extra memory cards and extra camera batteries, sun hat, sarong, sandals or flip-flops, summer dress & comfy clothes to wear in the evenings. (Voltage is the same but round pin plugs – so you need an adaptor.) Bring a small bag for your swimming costume and washbag, pyjamas and torch that we will take to Windsong and Lindani. Handbags are not a good idea but remember your passport.

Do bring out any old children’s clothes, especially grey/black/white school uniform or sports gear as we can donate it to one of the schools or welfare projects in the Waterberg.

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

Do cell phones work? Occasionally. Wifi is weak, We take radio communication and phones.

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 ~ www.waterberg.net

Windsong on Triple B Ranch ~ http://www.waterbergcottages.co.za

Lindani ~ http://lindani.co.za/

Jembisa ~ www.jembisa.com

Save the Waterberg Rhino ~ http://waterberg.net/save-the-waterberg-rhino

You can see photos from previous rides, along with information about the projects and info on how to make donations on The Waterberg Trust website: http://thewaterbergtrust.com

Highlights of The Waterberg Trust Ride 2017

Bringing you some of the best photographs from The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride in January, featuring each of the riders who took part and gallantly raised funds for Save The Waterberg Rhino and community projects in the area. Thank you for all your help and support!

-Ant Baber leading the riders in search of game re-introduced to the Waterberg-

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-Juliet Madden from North Yorkshire who gathered together the group-

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-Sam Scott from Cumbria with giraffe on Ant’s Nest in the Waterberg-

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-Tina Fox-Edwards from Berkshire riding across the Waterberg –

The rains had been late and we saw newborn animals

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-Hilly Collinson from Yorkshire, grabbing photos of giraffe-

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-Louise Horsely from Australia coming across a herd of buffalo-

-A white rhino arriving while we were being given a talk

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-Janie Beardsall from Yorkshire in her bush hat-

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-Elisa Spearmann from Wiltshire on her mare-

– A roan antelope photographed by Mairi Hunt-

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-Camilla Newton from Rutland-

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-Sisters, Mairi Hunt and Sally Milvertson being introduced to a python-

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-Claudia Smythe-Osbourne from Yorkshire with two very young giraffe-

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-TWT rider Lulu Ferrand from Leicestershire –

simon-williams-thomas-on-ground-support-for-the-twt-ride-2017-Simon Williams-Thomas from Hampshire on ground support –

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-TWT Trustee Sophie Neville observing the endangered white rhino-

Many thanks go to Tessa Baber for hosting the ride and having us to stay at Ant’s Nest

-The lodge at Ant’s Nest some three-and-a-half hours north of Pretoria-

twt-riders-and-back-up-guides-at-kolobe-2017-The team: TWT riders and guides at Kolobe Lodge on Lapalala Wilderness, January 2017-

– Sunset at Ant’s Nest photographed by Sam Scott –

The Last Day of The Waterberg Trust Ride 2017

TWT Riders climbing down the escarpment 2017While the horses were being transported back to Ant’s Nest, TWT riders grabbed the chance to descend the escarpment above the Palala River on foot to see ancient San bushmen paintings, pottery shards and tools, preserved under a rock overhang.

TWT Rider Juliet Maddan looking at Bushmen paintings 2017

We came across a number of things of interest including an agama.

An agama spotted on the 2017 TWT Ride

The team then drove to the township of Leseding outside Vaalwater to visit Lethabo Kids Club. 

TWT Riders visiting Lethabo Kids Club 2017The Waterberg Trust has been supporting their ‘Back to School’ project by helping to equip the children with school uniform, school shoes and bags.

TWT Riders visiting Leseding

Fundraisers were able to meet Marilyn Cook who has been running the project for more than sixeen years. They heard of her plans to provide sponsorship for tertiary education of the youth who have shown commitment to the project and help with the little ones.

Juliet Maddan with Marilyn Cook 2017

On their way to Johannesburg airport, some of the riders visited Kamotsogo sewing project, a community not-for-profit enterprise that employs women living with HIV/Aids.

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Others stayed on at Jembisa where they enjoyed the experience of being driven up the Palala River.

Driving up the Palala RiverThey then lay quietly on the bank taking a well-earned rest after meeting the challenges of The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride and raising significant funds for projects in the area.

The day after the ride - lying by the river as if nothing had happened

 

Visiting Lapalala Wilderness School on Day 5 of The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2017

TWT Ride Day 5 at Kolobe

Although the group of thirteen taking part in the challenge ride were briefed over breakfast, none of them guessed who they would meet that morning.

TWT Ride 2017 Day 5 at Lapalala Wilderness School

The beautiful snake, a rescued Burmese python, is an impressive teaching aid at the Lapalala Wilderness School. We saw how local teenagers reacted to reptiles during an outdoor seminar on nature conservation.

TWT Ride Day 5 at Lapalala Wilderness School

The students, who came from Metshesethela Secondary School in Vaalwater, were being taught about the importance of protecting South Africa’s wildlife and the environment.

TWT Visit to Lapalala Wilderness School 2017

Their 3-day residential course at Lapalala Wilderness School was sponsored by The Waterberg Trust. The riders explained how funds were being raised in the UK and Australia.

Explaining how TWT Riders raised funds to send pupils to Lapalala Wilderness School

Two of the pupils delivered a carefully written speech of thanks, saying how the course keyed in with their school curriculum. None of them had been to the eco-school before.

Pupils from Meetshesethla School thanking TWT for sponsorshsip

TWT riders were able to met the staff, some of whom had originally come to Lapalala as school children themselves. The eight educators do a wonderful job of inspiring others and run a Youth Development Programme, which entails taking promising individuals from disadvantaged communities and attempting to bring hope and direction to their lives.

TWT riders meeting the staff at LWS 2017

Learning about the history of the school, now it its 31st year, was fascinating. Many confirm that attending a course here was a life-changing experience.

TWT Riders 2017 learning about Lapalala Wilderness School

They aim:

To promote an appreciation and respect for the extrordinary diversity of Africa’s natural world and to develop and encourage a passion and commitment to conserve nature and ecological processes, where possible identifying and nurturing the conservation champions of the future. 

The Lapalala Wilderness School does this through a schools’ programme and by reaching out into the surrounding area through broader youth and community projects. The staff are supported by a Board of Directors, several of whom have an active role in activities.

The plight of both black and white rhino is brought to the attention of students and those visiting the Interpretative Centre at the school where the skulls of poached rhino are on display.

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As the learners put on life-jackets and went to experience paddling a small boat deep in the African bush,

TWT riders were given a tour of the school and its vegetable garden by the director, Mashudu Makhoka, who briefed us on their exciting plans for the future.

TWT Riders looking around LWS 2017

It was evident that by teaching children to recyle, conserve water and plant food, the Wilderness School’s community projects are a huge force for the good in South Africa today.

This March, The Waterberg Trust is sponsoring approximately 60 children and their teachers from Mokolo Primary School in Vaalwater to attend a 3-day course at the school. This video shows how they will be impacted:

We enjoyed meeting both the pupils, educators and the python, and would like to extend our thanks to Lapalala Wilderness for accommodating both riders and horses.

~ TWT Trustee Sophie Neville with students from Metshesethela Secondarary School ~

Lapalala Wilderness School

 

Another successful TWT challenge ride

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-Ant Baber leading The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2017-

Twelve intrepid riders from around the UK, and one from Australia, successfully completed the third Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride covering 181 kilometers at some speed, crossing rivers and rocky terrain.

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-Riders from Yorkshire crossing the Melk Rivier on horseback-

The six-day expedition proved a real adventure, traversing four different private game reserves and stretching everyone to the limits.

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-Climbing up from the Palala River on Jembisa game reserve-

The horses were beautifully looked after by the guides and back-up team from Ant’s Nest who hosted the expedition.

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-Riders from Yorkshire encountering white rhino at Ant’s Nest on the third TWT Challenge Ride-

Riders, who paid their own travel and safari costs, had to raise a minimum of £1,000 each for The Waterberg Tust to support community projects in the Waterberg.

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Funds raised will be divided between Save The Waterberg Rhino, Lapalala Wilderness School and Lethabo Kids Club in the township of Leseding, with support also being given to other health, welfare and educational projects. The 2017 riders were able to visit projects already supported by The Waterberg Trust. They all took part in an inspirational workshop on the importance of wildlife conservation at Lapalala Wilderness School on the Palala River.

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-Meeting the educators at Lapalala Wilderness School-

The Waterberg Trust riders’ fund-raising efforts in 2016 made it possible for 125 children and their teachers to attend a residential course here. We met the first group from Meetsetshehla Secondary School in Vaalwater:

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-Some of the 125 students sponsored by The Waterberg Trust-

Students from Mokolo Primary School in Vaalwater will be able to come another week. As The Waterberg Trust also paid for pupils’ transport, local children from all backgrounds will be able to gain a grounding in environmental awareness, develop leadership skills and establish contact with a mentor who can help with wildlife issues.

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-Pupils from Meetshesethla Secondary School learning about treats to wildlife-

Having said goodbye to the horses, riders saw an anti-poaching security post donated to Save The Waterberg Rhino by The Waterberg Trust Riders in 2016.

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-Save The Waterberg Rider’s new security point ready to be manned on a 24 hour basis-

They also met children at Lethabo Kids Club in Leseding township who showed-off the school uniforms purchased with grants from The Waterberg Trust in 2016 to ensure every child goes to school.

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-Lethabo Kids Club that has been running for 15 years in the township of Leseding-

The needs of older students who have shown more than ten years committment were discussed. Some are seeking sponsorship for tertiary education.

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-Meeting the youth who help with Letabo Kids Club in Leseding-

It was a joy to meet the people of the Waterberg, learn of their cultural heritage and explore the bushveldt so rich in natural history.

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-TWT Riders on Jembisa-

The ride was led by Ant Baber following in the footsteps of his great-grandfather E.A. Davidson, who explored the area on horseback in early 1900’s.

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-Ant Baber who has been leading horse safaris for more than twenty years-

The Waterberg Trust, a registered UK charity, was represented by trustee Sophie Neville who, along with the twelve other riders, whould like to extend heartfelt thanks to our hosts, the land-owners and all those who sponsored the ride, especially Ant’s Nest and Jembisa.

If you would like to make a donation to support The Waterberg Trust please click here.

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A fundraising talk by wildlife film producer Alastair Fothergill

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Multi award-winning filmmaker Alastair Fothergill, who’s produced most of the landmark natural history series presented by Sir David Attenborough, along with five feature films for DisneyNature, flew from Los Angeles to speak at our charity fundraising event in Yorkshire hosted by TWT rider Juliet Maddan and her amazing team on Saturday 3rd December.

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Every penny raised by the talk will go straight to The Watberg Trust who have a cost-effective way of sending it to small but effective NGO registered projects in South Africa.

50% of funds raised will go to Save the Waterberg Rhino and 50% will go to educational projects benefiting the rural community including Lapalala Wilderness School and Lethabo Kids Club

Sponsorship was found for a drinks reception held before the talk when TWT riders served wine and canapes

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This enabled people to meet Alastair

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and learn about projects in the Waterberg

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Former High Sherrif Mrs Caroline Gardner with Vice Lord Lieutenant Peter Scrope

The Yorkshire Party Company supplied delicious things to eat, while others kindly donated wine. Asygarth School gave the use of their auditorium and facilities free of charge.

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Juliet Maddan saw everyone was settled in their seats

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before Alastair’s multi-media talk on his series ‘The Hunt’ made for BBC Television.

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It featured animal behaviour never before captured on film.

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We also learnt quite a bit about how the sequences were made.

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A couple of questions from the audience were taken after the talk.

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A fundraising raffle run by Jolenta Henderson was drawn for a case of proseco donated by Edward Theakston, Alastair’s book, an Elfinglen tray and other lovely prizes.

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TWT rider Mairi Hunt painted two watercolours of rhino for the event, one of which is depicted on this special limited edition Elfinglen tray, now available for £100

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To buy one of these large handmade trays made in aid of The Waterberg Trust please contact Elfinglen by clicking here.

Limited edition bird trays are also for sale for £100 each

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A sculpture of a rhino with her baby by Unity Heald was sold in a secret auction.

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 Very many thanks to all who supported this memorable event

that has been covered by The Northern Echo and other regional newspapers.

Here are some of the film clips Alastair showed us: