Category Archives: Vaalwater

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.

twt-riders-visiting-a-community-project

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.

IMG_4300

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

 

Visiting Lethabo Kid’s Club in Leseding

TWT rider with Letabo Kids Club

TWT Riders were able to visit Lethabo Kids Club in the township of Leseding, which has been run for the last sixteen years by Marilyn Cook – seen here in purple.

Finding out about the Back to School project

As it was the weekend before Easter we handed out Easter eggs as a treat. The youth who help on the project organised games and dancing for the children with vibrant music.

The children normally receive a glass of fresh milk and a peanut butter sandwich when they come to the club for stories and other activities each Wednesday.

Letabo Kids Club uniform

The Waterberg Trust is supporting a ‘Back to School’ project here, which has been working well and ensures all the children are equipped for the new school year in January.

Letabo Kids ClubThe state provide schooling but require each child arrive dressed in uniform, bringing a school bag equipped with stationary. Some families battle to find the money for this.

Letabo Kids club school bag

Lethabo Kids Club help by providing one item of clothing for each child. They first ask the children’s guardians to complete a form confirming they need assistance. So far, more than eighty children have been aided but the need is ever present. Some children have lost their parents and are being brought up by grannys, aunties or older siblings.

If you would like to make a donation to this project, please click here for The Waterberg Trust Justgiving.com page labelling your gift ‘Letabo Kids Club’.

Marilyn Cook with some of the kids

Expedition Success – The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2016

imageThe Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2016 proved a great success!

image

Riders saw rhino from horseback and got very close to white rhino feeding.

image

They received a talk on the threat posed by poaching,

image

and were led over the hills of the Waterberg by Ant Baber to visit

image

Lapalala Wilderness School where local children come to learn about nature conservation.

We raised more than £18,000 for Save The Waterberg Rhino and community projects in the Wateberg. We were able to send 120 children on a residential course at Lapalala Wilderness and gave a grant to Letabo Kids Club for their ‘Back to School’ initiative in the township of Leseding.

image

All set for The Waterberg Trust Challenge Rides

Lapalala Wilderness School does such good work in promoting conservation in South Africa that it makes excellent subject matter for television.

groupandlandscape030_zpscc9589f6

The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2016 has also been attracting quite a bit of on-line media coverage. Please click on these links to see:

Classic Safari Camps

The Good Safari Guide

Ant’s Nest Newsletter

Hiking, Outdoors and Wildlife online 

Waterberg Conservancy

and we have had a report on the 2015 Challenge Ride in Arabian Online written by Kate Williams.

Sophie Neville has had a news article published in the Lymington Times

This coverage is wonderful as we want to raise funds to send 100 children on a eco-course at the Lapalala Wilderness School  and support Save The Waterberg Rhino, raising awareness for conservation as we do so.

How you can support The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride:

Follow Save the Waterberg Rhino on Twitter

Follow the projects on Facebook:

The Waterberg Trust on Facebook

Lapalala Wilderness School on Facebook

12593712_948494201866538_4935124539955717101_o

Learning about reptiles

image002

 

Making a Difference: Teaching Conservation Skills at Lapalala Wilderness School in South Africa

Lapalala Wilderness School wins Eco School Award and inspires others

The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2016 is currently raising funds and looking for sponsorship to help this award winning eco-school on the Palala River in the Limpopo Province of South Africa.

Crossing the Palala River

The Lapalala Wilderness School was established thirty years ago to give children from disadvantaged areas to have the opportunity to spend a week learning about nature conservation while gaining practical skills in the African bush.

Learning about Wildlife

If you would like to support this excellent educational project as well as contribute to Save The Waterberg Rhino, these riders are taking on a challenge in March and are seeking sponsorship:

Anne Lester – https://www.justgiving.com/Anne-Lester

Becky Overy Owen https://www.justgiving.com/bexoo

Belinda Chaffer – http://www.justgiving.com/Belinda-ChafferTWT

Susie Airy – http://www.justgiving.com/SusieAiryTheWaterbergTrust

Fiona Worlidge – https://www.justgiving.com/fiona-worlidge

Belinda Fordy – http://www.justgiving.com/Belindalfordy

Sophie Williams-Thomas – http://www.justgiving.com/Sophie-Neville-TWT2016

Or you can make a donation on JustGiving via The Waterberg Trust and add a note with your donation specifying “Lapalala Wilderness School”

donate_white Justgiving button

Swimming in the Palala River

The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride – Itinerary

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 sophie@sophieneville.co.uk

Riding safaris at Ant's (1)

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.

Riding safaris at Ant's (60)

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.

Riding safaris at Ant's (36)

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.

Riding safaris at Ant's (42)

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.

Riding safaris at Ant's (45)

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.

Riding safaris at Ant's (64)

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.

Riding safaris at Ant's (43)

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.

To see photos of the horses please click here

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 ~ sophie@sophieneville.co.uk

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.

image001

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.

makeapage_your_white justgiving

To make your own Justgiving page – please click here

To see Sophie’s 2016 Justgiving page as an example – click here

Information on the camps:

Click here for where we are in South Africa

Ant’s Nest ~ website: http://www.waterberg.net

Lapalala Wilderness ~ website: http://lapalala.com

Kwalata ~ website: http://www.kwalata.co.za/

Jembisa ~ website: www.jembisa.com

Save the Waterberg Rhino

Game drives at Ant's (4)

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.

FAQs:

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.

image002