Category Archives: Limpopo Province

Objectives of The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2018

On 21st January 2018, nine 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

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.

They then crossed the Waterberg hills on horseback, traversing Lapalala Wilderness run 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

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 in the area.

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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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

 

Riding across Jembisa on Day 6 of the Waterberg Trust Ride 2017

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Waterbuck were grazing in the Palala Valley as we set out at dawn on day six of The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2017.

TWT Ride Day 6 early morning hippo in the Palala RiverHippo looked on as we went down to tack up the horses for our last day of riding.

TWT Ride Day 6 Horses

It was good get back in the saddle and set off early.

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We passed blesbok as we cantered down the airstrip

TWT Riders cantering on Jembisa

before making our way up into the hills, by which time the sun had come up.

TWT Ride 2017 Day 6 Juliet and Elisa

After following four oryx through the bush, we reached a dam at the far end of Jembisa where the horses could drink.

TWT Ride Day 6 Hilly Sophie and Janie at the Jembisa waterhole

That afternoon we rode fast across the reserve

TWT Ride Cantering at the end of the ride

Making our way to a view-point, tired but happy after a long, adventurous week in the saddle.

TWT Ride Hilly Janie and Lulu resting in the evening light

What no one guested was that they would be treated to a champagne as the sun set.

TWT Ride 2017 champagne ending

It was hugely appreciated and well desereved by the riders who had all done so well.

Sophie Neville in the Waterberg 2017 - photo Mairi Hunt

That evening was celebrated in style. Stories were told and events of the week recounted.

TWT Ride Day 6 last supper

We were treated to a wonderful Africa dinner under the trees with candles and a fire.

TWT Ride Day 6 last supper at Jembisa

Reaching the Palala River on Day 5 of The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2017

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While the TWT riders were looking around Lapalala Wilderness School on the morning of Day 5, the horses were able to enjoy a rest and a good feed.

Ant Baber guiding 2016

Ant Baber, who was leading the expedition, had them tacked up before coming too collect us from the environmental project.

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The riders put on their chaps, helmets and suncream getting ready for the day ahead.

Camilla and Mairi preparing to set off one morning TWT Ride 2017

Ant’s horse was eager to get going.

A team photo was taken of the sixteen horses by Save The Waterberg Rhino and we were off.

TWT Ride team photo 2017

It was a hot sunny day, the bush teeming with life after the rains.

A peaceful section of TWT Ride 2017

We saw quite a bit of game on the plains, including warthog, zebra and wildebeest.

We also took time to learn a little about the trees and flowers.

TWT Riders Sophie Neville and Hilly Collinson 2017

Ant then took us down the valley to the Palala River, which flows northwards towards the Limpopo.

TWT Ride Day 5 Reaching the Palala River

The back-up vehicle got stuck in a stream running down the the river. It looked serious as the ground was being washed away from under the Landcruiser but Ant winched it up the bank and all was well.

TWT Ride 2017 Day 5 Claudia at lunch

Most of us were pretty tired and a little dehydrated by this stage but horses and riders were able to relax in the shade at lunchtime.

That afternoon we were able to enjoy a long canter down the old road where the going was good.

Cantering down the road towards Jembisa

We went through an old Transvaal cattle farm,

TWT Riders Janie Lulu and others walking through Jembisa

crossed the Melkriver and made it to Jembisa Lodge.

TWT Ride 2017 at Jembisa

The horses had comfortable accommodation in the manager’s garden.

TWT Horses enjoying a feed

We passed a pod of hippo in the Palala River and drove up to the lodge for the night.

TWT Ride Day 5 Hippo in the Palala River

Dinner was held under the thatched veranda where everyone was able to relax for the evening and look forward to another day.

TWT Ride Day 5 Jembisa dinner table

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

 

Day 4 of The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2017

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We were woken by weaver birds nesting above the lodge where we spent the night at Kwalata Game Reserve deep in the Waterberg hills.img_4270

We tacked up our horses, tying rain coats behind our long-distance McClellan saddles, and left head-collars underneath our bridles so we could tie the horses up in the bush.

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We set off in good spirits and rode through Kwalata into Lapalala Wilderness, a private game reserve of approximately 100,000 hectares.

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Since the Waterberg is on an intercontinental convergence zone there is a greater variety of trees and shrubs on Lapalala than in the whole of Western Europe.

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There is also a great diversity of birds, reptiles and mammal species with a range of different antelope from solitary steinbuck to herds of kudu.

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The annual amount of rainfall can be pretty much the same as in London but in the Waterberg it usually only rains in the summer months with occasional downpours.

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We enjoyed blue skies all day, walking beside the horses as we followed a rocky track down the escarpement as we made our way north.

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We rode up a small river, making a number of crossings until we came across a dam where it was safe to swim.

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By this time our leader, Ant Baber needed a break. He had missed breakfast.

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We rode on up the valley, coming to a bigger dam known for its population of crocodile and hippo.

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The horses were able to take a long drink before resting for a few hours at mid-day.

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We were grateful to find table set out by the water with drinks and bowls of salad.

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The riders, who were exhausted, appreciated the chairs and needed a sleep after lunch.

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We opted to take the scenic route that afternoon, riding past herds of giraffe, impala,

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kudu and wildebeest, while vervet monkeys were spotted in the trees.

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GPS readings revealed that we covered a total of 41 kilometers on this day when we grasped just how wild the Waterberg is.

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That evening the horses ate well, appreciative of the lush summer grazing.

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Ant Baber drove the group of tired but happy riders down the valley

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for a well-earned drink

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and a swim at Kolobe lodge

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before gathering around the fire

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where they met up with the back-up team and members of Save The Waterberg Rhino.

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The director of Lapalala Wilderness School joined us, giving a short talk on what we could expect to see the next morning.

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