Category Archives: Vaalwater

Expedition Success – The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2016

imageThe Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2016 proved a great success!

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

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They received a talk on the threat posed by poaching,

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

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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.

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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.

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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

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Learning about reptiles

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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World AIDS Day

1st December is World AIDS Day!

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Our aim at the Waterberg Welfare Society Trust is to do all we can to help the people cope with the pandemic in rural areas of the Waterberg in the Limpopo Province of South Africa.

To read more about community projects we support, please click here

To read more about how some children are being helped, please click here

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If you would like to get involved in fundraising, we’d love to hear from you!

Please email: Sophie@sophieneville.co.uk

Helping at WWS on Christmas Day
Helping on Christmas Day

 If you would like to make a donation we have a Justgiving page here

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Waterberg Charity Ride in January 2015

Would you like to join us on a sponsored ride through the Waterberg in South Africa to raise funds for the Waterberg Welfare Society Trust?

Are you up for an adventure?

We are looking for riders!

Horizon Horseback Adventures have kindly offered to organise a special safari, taking riders through private game reserves, whose owners have generously offered to host our party. 

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It will be 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 Sophie Neville, who became a horse safari guide in the Waterberg back in 1992, and is now a trustee of WWST.

Sophie Neville in the Waterberg -1

 

Dates: Sunday 25th January 2015 – to – Saturday 31st January 2015 

This enables anyone from the UK to depart from Heathrow on Saturday 24th January and arrive back in the UK on Sunday 1st February.

Giraffe on safari

 

DAY 1: You will be collected from O.R Tambo international airport, Johannesburg and driven north to Horizon safari lodge (approx. 2.5 hours) in time for lunch. In the afternoon we will enjoy a short introductory ride to ensure everyone’s horses are suitable and stirrups are set correctly.

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Horizon’s first passion is its horses and the adjoining landscape is heaven for riders. Miles of sandy tracks enable us to take long canters, while keeping an eye out for wildlife. Our first night will be spent on Triple B Ranch, a traditional homestead in the heart of the Waterberg biosphere reserve.

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DAY 2: We’re off! Today we will ride from Horizon lodge to Koshari game ranch, a 1300ha reserve that will whet your appetite for all things ‘Waterberg’.  The area is home to a large number of animal species as well as 250 species of bird. We have a good chance of seeing plains game including giraffe, zebra and many antelope – and will take time to view the buffalo.  The night will be spent in tented accommodation at Koshari with an authentic African dinner served under the stars.

x Sophie Neville on Jigsaw in the Waterberg 1

 

Day 3: Today we will enjoy a full day ride on Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill private game reserve. The diverse topography means that it supports over 40 species of game including giraffe, white rhino, sable antelope, buffalo, nyala, gemsbok (Oryx), kudu, Livingstone eland, blue wildebeest (gnu), red hartebeest, zebra, impala, bushbuck, duiker, steenbuck, mountain reedbuck, waterbuck, warthog, blesbuck, baboons, bush-pig, klipspringer, leopard, jackal and brown hyena to name but no lion!

x Sophie Neville at Touchstone 1

We should be able to fit in a swim with the horse before arriving back at Koshari in time for a much-needed sundowner drink and another night’s camping.

Swimming horse

 

DAY 4: Today we will ride from Ant’s reserve to Lindani. This stunning 3,800ha game farm and safari lodge offers another brilliant game viewing opportunity as well as fantastic going for the horses. With large areas of open savannah bushveld and gently winding sandy tracks, that stretch for many kilometres, some fun will surely be had here!

x Sophie Neville on Jembisa

 

That night at Lindani we will be joined by resident astronomer Dr Phil Calcott who will lead us on a ‘night sky safari’. In this hugely informative and engaging presentation you will learn about constellations, the life-cycle of stars and be able to see the planets ‘live’ with the help of impressive telescopic equipment.  The Waterberg is a fantastic site from which to star-gaze as there is no light pollution and Dr Phil’s comedic style will have you all leaving as budding astronomers.

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DAY 5: From Lindani we ride to Jembisa, a private reserve and lodge that looks down over the Palala river. The ride into Jembisa will take us across open savannah and wetlands and down into the Palala Valley where the river has cut a deep gorge into the sandstone.

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From the Palala River we will ride on, up the bank and into Syringa woodland and mixed bushveld. Here we can try to track giraffe as we make our way past iron age archaeological sites.

Giraffe

 

Jembisa occupies a beautiful and dramatic spot in the Waterberg wilderness where a wide variety of wildlife and bird species can be seen. The lodge offers saddle weary travellers the chance to swim or have a massage and is much celebrated for its excellent food.

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DAY 6: Today we ride from Jembisa  back to our starting point – Horizon Horseback. It’s a long, long way, so this will be the most challenging leg of the journey.

x Sophie Neville with white Arab 1

 

Hopefully we will arrive in time for sundowners on the plains where zebra and antelope graze with the horses.

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The atmosphere of the lodge and its team of passionate and friendly staff will make you feel instantly at home. Enchanting entertainment courtesy of the Sotho choir is planned – the perfect accompaniment to an African sunset.

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DAY 7: Unless you want to collapse by the pool, our last morning will be spent riding in the game reserve at Horizon where once again we have a great chance of viewing animals including giraffe, zebra, impala, kudu, warthog and even hippo.

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The ride will be followed by lunch and a trip to the Waterberg Welfare Society visitor centre at Timothy House, Vaalwater to meet some of the recipients of your generous sponsorship. This is, after all, what this ride is really about!

Happy faces

 

Waterberg Welfare Society ~

The cost of safari itself is £1500, per person sharing. This includes airport transfers, riding, accommodation, food and drinks. It does not include flights, tips or travel insurance – which you will need.

To secure your place Horizon will require a non-returnable deposit of £500. The balance of £1,000 must have been paid 6 weeks in advance to Horizon Horseback before the trip commences.

Sophie painting in SA

 

If you have any questions or would like to book your place, please contact Sophie Neville ~ sophie@sophieneville.co.uk

To participate you need to raise a minimum sponsorship of £1000 for the Waterberg Welfare Society Trust. As a registered UK charity, Gift Aid can then be added.

We can help you with fundraising 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 Justgiving page as an example – click here

You will need to get fit as we may be covering 30km to 50kms a day. It will be high summer in South Africa, so the bushveldt will be green and antelope will have young at foot. It can be hot and sunny or can be overcast and rainy but will not get cold.

To read about the horses please click here

To see more photos of what to expect please click here

The itinerary may change – but hopefully only for the better!

The Waterberg Map

 

Click here for where we are in South Africa

Information on the camps:

Horizon Horseback ~ website: www.ridinginafrica.com

Triple B Ranch ~ website: www.waterbergcottages.co.za

Koshari Game Reserve  ~ website:  http://www.koshari.co.za

The Ant Collection ~ website: http://www.waterberg.net

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

Night Sky Safari ~ website www.greatguides.org (astronomy)

Jembisa ~ website: www.jembisa.com

x Sophie Neville on Touchstone6

 

Flights and Transfers:

We find it is best if people book their own flights to Johannesburg – try Trailfinders or Flight Centre.

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 the Horizon safari lodge for lunch.

At the end of the safari we will arrive at Johannesburg airport at 5pm 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.  We can provide helmets, but suggest you bring their own. We do not provide half-chaps but might have the odd pair extra should they be needed.

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 memory cards and camera batteries, small torch (head torch style highly recommended) your own towels and toiletries.

What is the pace of the riding? This safari is for fit, experienced riders. 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.

What is included in the package price? Accommodation, riding, meals, all beverages including house wines and a selection of spirits. The cost does not include international air flights, travel insurance or gratuities.

Is there a laundry service? We will 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!)

What is the accommodation like? This will vary from A-frame tents with beds, sheets and duvets and ensuite bathrooms to comfortable guest houses with shared bathrooms. Meals are picnic lunches and evening meals cooked around the fire.

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 and tack like ? The horses have been selected for their temperament and rideability and all walk-out. They have been carefully chosen from the various South African breeds, which are well known for being of a tougher nature – able to cope under extreme conditions. These breeds include the Boerperd, Shire- cross-Thoroughbreds, Appalosas, and the S.A. Warmblood. They range in size from 14.3h. to 17h. Tack is McClellan trail saddles and snaffle bridles

Do cell phones work?  Yes in most places although there will be areas of no coverage

Useful contact numbers: Please give loved ones who may need to contact you for any reason can contact Laura on 0027(0)83-4191929 or laura@ridinginafrica.com.

In the case of a badly delayed flight: please dial 0027(0)834191929 during the day and after hours on +27(0)14755-4009.

Money: We suggest you don’t change too much money into the local currency as your holiday is fully inclusive – however there is a local craft shop! Gratuities are at your discretion and can be paid in pounds, euros or dollars.

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Could you give a slide show to raise funds for TWT?

 

Kids at The Waterberg Welfare Society in South Africa

Could you use your photographs to give an illustrated talk at a club or church near you?

It is good fun telling people about a journey you’ve been on or a project you’ve been involved with and Power Point Presentation programmes make illustrating your story easy.

If this seems daunting, you could always host a dinner and ask WWST to provide a speaker. (Please use the comments below)

On Saturday 20th September ~ a UK supporter of WWST is hosting an evening with the combined yacht clubs of Cowes at the Royal London Yacht Club on the Isle of Wight. Cocktails and canapes will be served, followed by dinner and an illustrated talk given by WWST Trustee Sophie Neville, to raise money for the Waterberg Welfare Society’s projects combating HIV/AIDS in South Africa.

What could you do?

A child supported by WWS in South Africa