Dr Peter Farrant, who works with The Waterberg Trust
Nursing Sister Grace Ismail has sent us more photographs of her work in the secondary schools of Vaalwater in the Limpopo Province of South Africa:
~Examination couch with linen covers~
‘We received a donation of examination couch which is helping a lot when learners are feeling unwell and can rest before the family takes them to the clinic.
~Grade 8 pupil with chronic illness under diet supervision~
‘We received disposable sanitary pads and bras, which were distributed to leaners of Meetsetshehla and Leseding Secondary Schools. This helped our girl learners a lot and gave them opportunity of attending classes without any worry of menstrual challenges.’
~Girls who received donated sanitary pads~
‘Health education was conducted to all grade 8 learners about hygiene and communicable diseases. These are learners from both Meetsetshehla and Leseding Secondary Schools.’ It was a form of welcome, educating them on the importance of hygiene and prevention of infections in schools. ‘The team from the local government clinic who are involved in youth and gender based programs (Love Life) were also present during the sessions as motivational speakers.’
~Learners participating during class health talk~
- ‘To reinforce early childhood development from primary school level and ensure the children are well-informed with various issues that will help them to cope in Secondary School.’
- ‘Meetings with stakeholders will continue as they also contribute to support our learners i.e. The Social Development, Local Government Clinic, Social workers, Police and the Community at large.’
- ‘To continue supporting girl learners with menstrual issues whenever we receive any donation of sanitary pads in order to keep them in school when menstruating.’
- ‘To ensure that all the learners with HIV are taking their treatment and adhering to the appointment as scheduled from the clinic.’
~Transformed learner witnessing to students~
- ‘To have our own library at the school where learners can utilize for study and do their homework. The library in our township is very small that learners are unable to fit in to search for relevant study information on internet and books because of congestion.’
~Women who prepare meals for more than 500 learners daily~
- ‘Learners have a project called UBUNTU whereby they collect unused clothes from teachers and then donate to the needy in the community, presenting clothes to needy children’
~Donation of clothes to the needy children in the community~
Two pupils represented the school in Provincial competition held in Polokwane City. One boy came 1st in the high jump.~Two who excelled in athletics~
Sister Grace says, ‘I still have more work to do with primary schools next term.’
If you would like to make a donation to support Sister Grace in her work, please click here
The Waterberg Trust instigated the role of School Nurse to minister to the young people and children of Vaalwater in the Waterberg, South Africa.
-A pupil with Sister Grace, using an examination couch donated by Dr Albert Poitier-
Nursing Sister Grace Ismail is the first school nurse assigned to state schools in the Limpopo Province. She is based at Meetsetshehla Secondary School in Vaalwater where she is in the ideal position to help the emerging generation face the HIV/Aids pandemic and cope with problems such as drug and alcohol abuse in the township of Leseding.
-Tree-planting with students-
‘500 learners were reached in class this term and offered different healthy topics ranging from hygiene, infection control in schools and HIV/TB prevention.’
-Sister Grace with the Community Workers programme-
-Sister Grace working with the Life Orientation Teacher at Leseding Secondary School-
Sister Grace has also been working with Life Orientation teachers and Community Workers at the schools, getting pupils keen on growing vegetables and planting trees. This encourages everyone to look to the future and care for their environment.
-Growing fresh vegetables-
‘Some learners have psychological trauma and can’t concentrate in class due to dysfunctional families and lack of support.‘ Others have nutritional needs.
Nurse Grace initiated a re-cycling project to generate funds to provide learners with sanitary products so they do not miss school. She gives counselling and careers guidance as well as providing First Aid.
While Dr Peter Farrant of the Northern Education Trust oversees the nursing work, The Waterberg Trust provide this NGO with a grant to pay for Sister Graces salary.
If you could make a donation or monthly contribution to support the school nurse’s life-changing work, please click here for details on TWT’s Donate Page.
-Sister Grace at work in schools in the Waterberg, Limpopo Province, South Africa-
We woke to the sound of birdsong and were soon up and off, walking to a site of historic interest that cannot be reached on horseback.
Being on foot gave members of the team a chance to study the insect life:
Some opted to reach the spot in the Landcruiser
which proved good for warthog-viewing.
The aim of the morning was to climb down the escarpment a little way
to find ancient bushmen paintings, preserved from weathering by overhanging rocks.
We learned about the original inhabitants of the Waterberg who called themselves the people of the eland, hunting with bows tipped with flint arrowheads.
After a quick brunch we drove into Vaalwater to visit Lethabo Kids Club in the township of Leseding.
A portion of the money raised by the riders went to help this outreach that supports little children in the community.
Lethabo Kids Club run a ‘Back to School’ project whereby families battling to kit out their children for school can apply for one item of uniform.
Most of them chose school shoes. These are fitted properly at a local shop who are able to give a discount as up to 160 children were brought along this year.
Riders were thanked and entertained with songs and dancing as more children arrived.
Some of the performances were excellent.
The riders also met Sister Grace who has begun working as a school nurse in Vaalwater.
The Waterberg Trust provide her salary and she has an office at Meetsetshesetla Secondary School. She gave a talk explaining all her job involves, including HIV/Aids prevention and awareness.
We then visited Kamatsogo, a community based sewing project, that has a workshop and craft shop in Vaalwater selling fine embroidery and beaded crafts.
It was great to learn about this not-for-profit enterprise involving local women.
While some riders returned to Johannesburg airport to catch their flight home, others were able to stay on for a last game drive and evening of celebration under the stars.
The Waterberg Trust would like to extend a big thank you to all the riders and their supporters for raising funds and awareness to uplift the people and place of the Waterberg.
On 21st January 2018, twelve intrepid ladies – and one man – set off from Berkshire to cross the Waterberg Plateau in South Africa on horseback. The aim was to gain an understanding of this pristine wilderness and learn about challenges faced by the rural community, while raising funds to support the excellent projects being run out there.
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.
Would you help us to raise awareness for Save The Waterberg Rhino, who are combating anti-poaching, and other community projects in this region?
The riders paid 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.
~Twelve inspirational women learning about community projects~
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 taking part this year observed 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 generously hosted the six-day ride.
The team crossed the Waterberg hills on horseback, meeting Clive Walker, a leading South African conservationist who appears in this film. He began reintroducing wildlife to the area forty years ago, becoming Chairman of the Endangered Wildlife Trust. He can be seen here speaking to TWT riders in 2016:
This year riders visited a new ‘Waterberg Living Museum’ set up by Clive to educate local people and visitors about rhino and the history of this unique biosphere.
Riders also visited Lapalala Wilderness School where pupils from Vaalwater attend residential courses on 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.
~TWT Trustee Sophie Neville with students at Lapalala Wilderness School~
After thirty-two hours in the saddle, the ride ended at the Palala River on Jembisa private game reserve. Before leaving, riders visited Lethabo Kids Club in the local township of Lesiding that ministers to the poorest of the poor and ensures all children attend primary school.
50% of funds raised by the sponsored ride go to Save The Waterberg Rhino and 50% to support community projects that uplift the people and place of the Waterberg.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP:
- Support the project on Social Media and receive news:
- Share posts on The Waterberg Trust’s Facebook page, please click here
- For Save The Waterberg Rhino’s Facebook page, please click here
- For the Lapalala Wilderness School’s page, please click here
- Find out more by clicking here: Save The Waterberg Rhino
- Make a donation to The Waterberg Trust, please click here for address
- Donate via The Waterberg Trust Justgiving page
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.
Following the success of our rides over the last three years, we now have a good plan for a sponsored challenge ride across the Waterberg.
If anyone is interested in joining us in 2018 please contact Sophie, the group organiser direct on firstname.lastname@example.org
Overall dates for 2018 TBC
Fly out to Johannesburg
DAY 1 – Riders will be met off an early flight arrving at Oliver Tambo Airport, Johannesburg and driven north, about 3 hours, to Ant’s Nest Private Game Reserve deep in the Africa bush. Lunch will be served on arrival.
After settling into the lodge we will go for a game ride so that riders can try out the horses. – there are about forty to chose from. Anyone not wishing to ride can go on a game drive in search of wildlife.
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 – We will spend the day riding across Ant’s Nest, 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 option of taking game drive or walk or using one of the mountain bikes to see the reserve.
We will meet up for lunch in the bush, hopefully by a dam where riders can swim with their horse. We’ll ride back to Ant’s Nest for the night. As the sun goes down, we will meet the white rhino living on the reserve, while Tessa Baber gives us a talk on the work of ‘Save the Waterberg Rhino’.
DAY 3 – We set off early, riding north through the reserve looking for antelope and along sandy roads where we can canter for miles over the hills on our way to Kwalata Game Reserve. Non-riders could spend the morning fishing or cycling.
The horses will be stabled on the property while we take a game drive to the lodge where we are staying the night.
DAY 4 – We ride into Lapalala Wilderness, which will give us another amazing opportunity to see game. We have the chance of seeing white and black rhino along with other species such as vervet monkey, baboon and even lion.
Lunch will be enjoyed at a dam with the hope of spotting hippo, afterwhich we will ride further through this vast game reserve.
The night will be spent at Kolobe Lodge where the leaders of South Africa have stayed and hope to be given a talk on the wilderness school and community projects.
DAY 5 – Wednesday 16th March – Lapalala hosts the Wilderness School, which assists with giving environmental education for up to 2000 under privileged children a year. We are hoping to fit in a visit this morning.
We mount our horses and ride to Jembisa, a private game reserve on the Palala River where we hope to find hippo, crocodile and more plains game including giraffe, jackal, warthog and red heartebeest.
DAY 6 – We’ll ride across Jembisa hoping to find hippos and perhaps see crocodile in the river before meeting with any non-riders at the furthest point of the ride and grabbing a few photographs before bidding our horses farewell. There will then be time for a swim or a long hot bath before dinner at the lodge.
DAY 7 – After breakfast outside we will take a game drive to see the ancient bushmen paintings on the reserve before lunch and drive back via an excellent sewing project selling curios en route to the airport.
Your flight will arrive back in the UK the next day
The itinerary may change – but hopefully only for the better!
The cost is per person, sharing. This includes 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 9.00am on morning of Saturday 12th March and returning pm on the last day.
It does not include flights, tips or travel insurance – Ant’s Nest will require a non-returnable deposit. The balance must have been paid 6 weeks before the trip commences.
We can highly recommend coming out a couple of days earlier and staying on for one or two nights. We are happy to assist with booking this. Additional transfers will be charged if not coming in and out on the scheduled transfer.
Riders need to be fit as there will be 25–42km’s of riding per day. You must be someone who rides at least twice a week, be comfortable at an extended canter and be able to cope with long hours in the saddle.
We can take non-riding partners who will be able to enjoy guided walks, game drives, mountain biking, swimming, fishing and exploring the area which is rich in iron-age sites. It will be high summer in South Africa, so the bushveldt will be green. It can be hot and sunny and could be overcast or rainy but will not get cold.
This is an exploratory venture, indeed a unique opportunity to ride alongside wild animals in this beautiful area, now proclaimed a UNESCO biosphere.
The group will be led by Ant Baber who owns Ant’s Nest and Sophie Neville, who became a horse safari guide in the Waterberg back in 1992, and is now a trustee of TWT.
If you have any questions please contact Sophie Neville ~ email@example.com
To participate riders need to raise a minimum sponsorship of £1,000 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.
Would you help us raise funds?
We can help you with ideas.
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 and then gaining matched funding.
Information on the camps:
Lapalala Wilderness ~ website: http://lapalala.com
Kwalata ~ website: http://www.kwalata.co.za/
Flights and Transfers: We find it is best if people book their own flights to Johannesburg – try Trailfinders or Flight Centre. It’s great if riders can liaise and fly out together.
NB: please book flights that arrive in S.Africa no later than 9.00am 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? You must be in possession of a passport that 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. Please check if you come from elsewhere.
What vaccinations do I need? Vaccinations and malaria medications are not required however we recommend your tetanus to be up to date.
Are riding helmets compulsory? Yes, hard hats are mandatory and you will not be able to ride without one and suggest you bring your own hot-weather model. We do not provide half-chaps but do have some available for purchase.
What should I bring? As well as comfortable riding clothes and your hard hat, please bring the following; Bum bag, lip salve, strong sun protection cream factor 20 or higher, short boots and chaps. (Long rubber boots are not advised), swimming costume, light weight long sleeved shirts, raincoat, camera with extra memory cards and extra camera batteries, small torch (head torch style highly recommended) and toiletries. (Voltage the same but round pin plugs)
Is there a laundry service? We hope to be able to offer a limited laundry service. When packing do bear this in mind as it helps not to have too much luggage. We can normally turn laundry around within 48 hours (excluding the 30 or so days a year that it rains!) Do bring out any 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 may have to share bathrooms. We will have picnic lunches, evening meals cooked around the fire and hope to sleep out under the stars on one night, weather permitting.
Single supplements? Bookings are taken on a ‘willing to share basis’. If you want a single room there would be 50% supplement.
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. the 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.
Do cell phones work? Will be riding in areas of no coverage but take radio communication at all times for emergencies.
Useful contact numbers: Please give loved ones who may need to contact you for any reason 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)
These can also be used in the case of a badly delayed flight
Money: We suggest you don’t change too much money – however there is a craft shop at Ant’s Nest that takes credit cards. Gratuities are at your discretion and can be paid in pounds, euros or dollars.
Thanks to our dedicated group of riders and their donors, the Waterberg Charity Ride 2015 raised more money in sponsorship than ever imagined.
The ride finished on 31st January 2015. By mid-March we thought a total of £16,000 had come in. This far exceeded the original £1,000 that each rider had been challenged to find, on top of paying for their own flights, travel insurance and the cost of their food, accommodation, transfers and horses.
However thanks to press coverage and huge generosity from supporters, cheques and Justgiving.com donations have kept coming in. One rider raised funds by selling some of her shoes, another, who lives in deepest darkest Herefordshire asked her friends to help her to sell home-grown mistletoe for Christmas decorations. A rider from Perthshire in Scotland threw a party and asked for sponsorship instead of gifts for her 50th Birthday.
Together with some matched funding and the Gift Aid now recovered we are able to send £22,784 to help people of the Waterberg. Of this sum £10,000 is allocated for the education of children in need and £12,784 for training auxiliary nurses, in line with the requests received from the donors themselves. If more money comes in, we will forward it to South Africa where it really will transform lives. Our Justgiving.com page is still open!
It is a huge amount, received with enormous gratitude. The riders were all so enthusiastic and all gave so much of themselves. A sponsored ride demands a great deal. The effort involved isn’t immediately apparent as it ranges from getting fit to organising fund-raising activities while making arrangements for animals and families to be looked after in the rider’s absence. It wasn’t quite the same as going on holiday!
The organisers of the Waterberg Charity Ride would like to extend their grateful thanks to all those who supported the challenge in the Waterberg, especially Laura Dowinton, the directors, guides, drivers and staff at Horizon Horseback Adventures who hosted the ride.
We owe thanks to David Baber for allowing us to traverse Summer Place Farm and Koshari Game Reserve who put the riders up for the first two nights, amazing us with the sight of a debra – a cross between a donkey and zebra.
The riders were not only guided through Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill Game Reserves, where they learnt about wildlife management, but were treated to a drinks party where they met an orphaned rhino and his friend before being driven off to find four more white rhino in the bush, which was very special.
The group arrived at Lindani soaking wet from having ridden through a rain storm and were grateful for comfortable beds and hot showers.
Refreshed by swims in the pool and the sight of great herds of game the next day, spirits were high by the time the riders reached Jembisa, a private game reserve on the Palala River. After a tough climb up the escapement they were greeted by a well deserved lunch.
After spending a night at Kingfisher Cottage where they watched hippo wallowing in the river, the riders pressed on to the most northerly point on the property and were truly grateful for the hospitality extended to them by everyone who looked after them at Jembisa Bush Home at the end of the ride.
The lodge staff at Jembisa put on a special celebratory dinner under the stars, relished by the hungry riders. We worked out that they had covered approximately 200km on their exploratory journey across the Waterberg Plateau from the Melk River to the Palala River.
The group much enjoyed visiting the Waterberg Welfare Society hospice where they met nurses, staff inspiring to become nurses and a number of young people at Timothy House who entertained us with cultural dancing.
The support and enthusiasm we were given has spurred us on to consider mounting other rides next year! Contact us via the Comments box if you’d like to come.
One of the riders wrote saying, ‘Thank Goodness I had that wonderful adventure in January with you r riding safari in the Waterberg – it was so much fun and such lovely people! An experience of a life time!’