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We have dates for The 6th Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride in 2020

The 6th Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride across the Waterberg

25th January to 2nd February 2020

ARE YOU UP FOR A CHALLENGE?

ARE YOU READY FOR AN ADVENTURE IN AFRICA?

Following the success of our fifth annual ride in January 2019, we are gathering a team of fit and experienced riders to join us on another sponsored horse safari to raise funds for Save the Waterberg Rhino along with educational, health and welfare projects that uplift the communities in the area.

Overall dates: 24th January to 4th February 2019 (inclusive of the option of one extra night at beginning and one at end*)

 Ant Baber, owner of Ant’s Nest, has offered to lead us 200kms through 7 different private game reserves of the Waterberg over 6 days, on his beautiful horses.

To participate you are required 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.

Please contact  us for help with fundraising ideas and making a Justgiving page Belinda:bchaffer@btinternet.com

Since we plan to visit a number of the projects being supported by The Waterberg Trust you will get the chance to meet local people and wildlife we are helping.

PROPOSED ITINERARY for 2020

In 2019 all riders opted to fly out a day before the TWT Challenge ride began (at an additional cost). If we do this in 2020 the programme will look like this:

Friday 24th January 2020: Riders fly out from the UK – we suggest everyone books onto British Airways flight BA55

EXTRA DAY – Saturday 25 January 2020: Riders will be met at Johannesburg International Airport 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 game 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 choose from a mixture of Thoroughbreds, Arabs, Friesians, Boerperds.

DAY 1 – Sunday 26 January: It will be high summer in South Africa so the bushveld will be green. In the morning, riders have the option of going to church, resting and acclimatising by the pool or riding through Ant’s Nest Game Reserve with an experienced guide. We will all ride with game in afternoon and be able to hear about plans for the week ahead as we have dinner by the fire that evening after sundowners with the rhino.

DAY 2 – Monday 27 January: We’ll spend the day riding up to Ant’s Hill, viewing game on horseback and looking for a breeding herd of buffalo, as well as rare sable and roan antelope. Each rider will pack a small bag with a swimsuit, wash-bag and clothes for the next three nights on safari. As the sun goes down, you’ll meet white rhino living on the reserve while Jessica Babich 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 28 January: We will set off early, riding east into neighbouring game reserves where we can canter for miles. We are planning to have lunch at the Waterberg Living Museum where we can learn more about rhino from the author and artist Clive Walker, one of South Africa’s leading conservationists. That afternoon we hope ride through a reserve breeding rare golden wildebeest up to Triple B Ranch, the cattle stud owned by Ant’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 in 1928 by Alfred Baber, Ant’s grandfather.

DAY 4 – Wednesday 29 January: We will ride past the village school on the farm and down to 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 beautiful dam where the horses can graze.  We’ll have a long ride in the afternoon, as we make our way 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.

DAY 5 – Thursday 30 January: We will spend the morning riding through Lindani,  where we should see warthog, zebra, giraffe, eland, red hartebeest, wildebeest and greater kudu. We will then make our way back to the lodge for a late lunch, enjoying fast canters on sandy tracks. After a well-earned rest, we will swap our horses for a game viewer and drive into the stunning Lapalala Game Reserve, looking for wildlife, before arriving at the Lapalala Wilderness School, which runs residential courses in nature conservation and environmental awareness for local children.

DAY 6 – Friday 31 January: We’ll saddle our horses early to ride to Jembisa, a beautiful private game reserve to the north. After climbing a kloof, we’ll walk down a steep escarpment and ride under high red cliffs where vultures nest. The route takes us along African dirt roads and into the reserve where lunch is planned. That afternoon we will reach the Palala River where the ride ends. After saying goodbye to our horses, we will be able to relax at the lodge, and appreciate comfy beds and hot baths.

Saturday 1 February After a more leisurely wake-up, we will take a game drive to see ancient bushmen paintings on the reserve before brunch, and then drive to Vaalwater. Here we will visit Lethabo Kids Club in the township of Leseding and meet Nurse Grace, before heading to the airport via an community sewing project and excellent curio shop. Flight BA54 leaves at 21.50.

Sunday 2 February: Your flight will arrive back in the UK early morning

or you opt to take an extra day to relax at leisure at Jembisa. Do take advantage of this offer if you can, as it is great to unwind after the demanding ride. Ants Nest are happy to make arrangements for anyone wanting to go on to Cape Town or else where in South Africa.

Monday 3 February: the date you arrive back if you spend one extra night at Jembisa.

PAYMENT DETAILS We are waiting to hear the cost of the ride 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. Your contract will be with Ant’s Nest. 

Ant’s Nest will invoice you upon confirmation – Full payment is due 8 weeks before the ride on 1 December 2019.

To secure your place on the ride you will need to give confirmation of your flight booking.

*Flights, tips and travel insurance are not included in this price.

*Please note that you will be sharing a bedroom.

EXTRA NIGHTS Riders can opt to stay an extra night at a favourable rate at Ant’s Nest at the beginning of the ride to acclimatise and enjoy more riding, and at Jembisa at the end of the ride to unwind. In Jan 2019 the cost of one extra night at Ant’s Nest was R4,000 per person sharing and £170 at Jembisa, fully inclusive of meals, drinks, activities as before. We are waiting to for 2020 prices.                                                                      

Ant’s Nest, Lindani and Jembisa offer sophisticated lodge accommodation with ensuite bathrooms. The rooms at Windsong are simpler, but nevertheless comfortable, and some may have to share bathrooms. Every lodge has a swimming pool.

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 24 January 2020, or Saturday 25 January. These arrive in Johannesburg at 7.15 am. Book the return on Flight BA54 which departs at 21.50 on either Saturday 1 February or Sunday 2 February.  Should you need to arrive at other times, a private road transfer can be supplied but at an additional cost (see above).

Once you have booked your flight, you will need to take out travel insurance in case you are forced to cancel. You need to inform the company you will be going on safari and riding horses (non-competitively, wearing a certified helmet). There might be a small surcharge for this activity. Ant’s Nest and Jembisa will ask for your travel insurance policy number and emergency phone number for their file.

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 25-45kms of riding per day.

You can read more about the projects TWT supports here and find out how to make donations here. We will help you raise the £1,000 that each rider is challenged to raise.

The horse safari will be led by Ant Baber who owns Ant’s Nest.                                       Belinda Chaffer, Chairman of TWT, will organise the group.

If you are interested in coming, please contact us using the Comments Box below.

USEFUL INFORMATION

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 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. Long-distance McClellan saddles are used.

Sophie Neville taking part in The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride

~Vented helmets are recommended. A tennis visor was added to this one with velcro~

Are riding helmets compulsory? Yes – bring your own hot-weather helmet.

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 and we hope to provide a limited laundry service. Bring comfortable riding clothes in earth colours, blues or greens – (not bright red or turquoise) long-sleeved collared shirts, (we have TWT shirts for sale), bandana, riding helmet, bum bag, lip salve, sun cream factor 30, short boots and half-chaps, wax raincoat, camera with extra memory card and charger, sun hat, sarong, sandals or flip-flops, summer dress & comfy clothes to wear in the evenings. (Voltage is the same but expect large round pin plugs – you need adaptor.) Bring a small bag for your swimming costume and washbag, pyjamas, spare clothes and torch that we will take to Windsong. Handbags are not a good idea but remember your passport.

Do bring out any old children’s clothes, especially grey/black/blue/white school uniform or sports gear, bras and underpants as we can donate clothes to a welfare project in the Waterberg. Crayons, blue pens and pencils are also much appreciated and are something we can donate to the primary school on the route.

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) 81 572 2624)

Money: We suggest you don’t change too much money into the local currency as your trip is fully inclusive. There are craft shops at Ant’s Nest and Jembisa that take credit cards and we usually give the equivalent of £10 per person per day in tips, which Belinda will see is distributed fairly.

Ant’s Nestwww.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 elsewhere on The Waterberg Trust website.

TWT Ride 2018 cantering across Lindani DAY 4

The Waterberg Challenge Ride 2018, held this January, proved a great success

Please click here and scroll down for a brief  report on the 2018 ride

To read more about the TWT horse ride in 2017, please click here

twt-ride-day-3-twelve-riders-with-wilderbeest

-Riders traversing Ant’s Nest on the 2017 Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride-

 

Highlights of The 5th Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride, 2019

Skies looked threatening at the start of The 5th Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride but the game viewing was excellent with herds of zebra and antelope enjoying lush grass.

The ride was hosted by Ant’s Nest who had prepared some of their best horses for what proved to be a 208 kilometre marathon.

Since Ant’s horses usually graze in the bush we were able to get exceptionally close wildlife while riding around the property.

Riders were able to observe rare breeds such as Livingstone eland and sable antelope.

We made our way up to Ant’s Hill in search of rhino, finding the dominant male.

Jessica Babich of Save The Waterberg Rhino gave riders a talk on how funds raised by TWT are being used to install high-tech security equipment to combat poaching.

Early on 31st January, everyone was ready to cross the Waterberg, heading north towards the Palala River.

The horses wore head-collars, lead ropes and long-distance saddles for the journey.

Ant Baber led the team of twelve ladies who soon found themselves passing one of his breeding herds of Cape buffalo.

After pausing to take photos we rode through neighbouring game reserves, crossing wide open plains where wildebeest and blesbok roam.

Lunch was taken at the Waterberg Living Museum, established by Clive Walker and his son Anton Walker, who showed us around. They have a room dedicated to information on rhinos and the poaching situation.

The Waterberg Trust has donated picnic tables, benches and information boards to this centre of environmental education created for local schoolchildren and visitors.

We rode on, spotting giraffe, impala, blesbok and golden wildebeest as we made our way

through another reserve to spend the night at Waterberg Cottages on Triple B Ranch.

It is home for the Baber family who began rearing cattle in the Waterberg in the 1880’s.

There was a solar-heated pool to relax sore muscles and reviving ginger drinks for all.

Dinner was served on the veranda of the farmhouse built by Ant’s grandfather in 1928.

The next morning, we rode through the lovely old traditional Transvaal farm, passing herds of Bonsmara stud cattle.

Summer rain had filled some of the twenty-two dams built by Ant’s father.

We cantered down through woodland, where baboons could be heard barking, and stopped for breakfast at Horizon Horseback Safaris where hippo were in residence.

After crossing plains inhabited by ostrich, we reached another lake on the Melkrivier.

Egyptian geese,  African fish eagle and rare spur-winged geese flew up as we passed by.

We crossed through an old cattle farm and cantered along red roads to Lindani game reserve where we stopped for lunch at a dam where crocodile are known to flourish.

Everyone was pretty tired but after a relaxed lunch, when we could rest the horses, we rode into more hilly country.

Lindani game reserve has a high population of giraffe, warthog and other plains game.

Two nights were spent at Motseng Lodge where the horses enjoyed excellent grazing.

This enabled us to pay a visit to Lapalala Wilderness School where we met a python and

enjoyed a game drive on Lapalala Wilderness before exploring a remote corner of Lindani on horseback.

Crossing reed-choked stream beds could be challenging but the horses were brave.

One of the highlights of the ride was reaching the crest of the Buffleshoek escarpment.

After coming across giraffe, we dismounted to descend through thick vegetation for a couple of miles.

It was difficult to believe we had brought thirteen horses down the towering cliff face.

After perhaps the greatest of many long canters up the sandy tracks of the Waterberg

the riders made it to Jembisa game reserve where, after following oryx though seringa woodland,

the team was greeted by chilled champagne set out under a tree.

Our goal had been reached, the ride had ended. Most riders had spent a total of 38 hours in the saddle over 7 days: quite an achievement.

~Photographs by Ant Baber who led The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2019~

The next day, riders were able to visit Lethabo Kids Club in the township of Leseding where we met children who had benefited from TWT’s grant to the ‘Back to School’ project and handed over a donation of sports clothes and underwear for Nurse Grace to distribute. She updated us on how successful Dignity Dreams sanitary packs were proving by enabling schoolgirls to remain in lessons whilst they have their periods.

TWT Trustees saw some of the 24 security camera erected to combat rhino poaching in the Waterberg and discussed plans to install more of these effective deterrents.

Very many thanks to Ant’s Nest and Jembisa who hosted the ride and enabled so many of us to visit community projects in the Waterberg.

The 5th Waterberg Trust Ride proves a great success!

~The 5th Waterberg Trust Ride reaches Jembisa on the Palala River on 2nd February 2019~

12 TWT supporters rode across  7 different game reserves in 6 days covering 208 kilometres to raise funds for Save The Waterberg Rhino and community projects that uplift young people in this corner of rural South Africa.

If you would like to add a donation, however small, please click here for TWT’s Justgiving page 

With many thanks to Ant Baber who led the ride, all those at Ant’s Nest, Waterberg Cottages, Lindani and Jembisa Private Game Reserve where the expedition ended with a full gallop down the airfield.

~Thirteen tired riders completing the 208 km ride across the Waterberg in South Africa~

 

 

Day 5 of The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2018

We rose early and saddled up the horses for a day full of promise.

Ant Baber, who had planned the route, was keen to cross Lindani game reserve and reach Jembisa to the north that morning. We had a long way to go.

The riders set off from Motseng Lodge where we’d spent a comfortable night.

We crossed the Melkrivier, a tributary of the Palala River, avoiding the footbridge.

TWT Ride 2018 crossing a stream on Lindani - photo Sophie Neville.jpg

It was a good chance to water the horses.

From here, we made our way up a steep, jungly kloof chocked with dense vegetation.

It is in these valleys that you find the most ancient trees that thrive in relatively sheltered conditions where they have access to water.

Being on an intercontinental convergence zone, the Waterberg is home to over 350 different species of tree from baobabs to wild fig – a greater variety than the whole of western Europe.

We suddenly found ourselves at the top of the hill where the vegetation opened out.

Wild proteas, the national flower of South Africa, were growing here.

TWT Ride 2017 wild proteas.jpg

We climbed higher still, taking a track that gave us occasional views across the Waterberg.

This unique unspoilt wilderness area  has been declared a UNESCO world biosphere.

On reaching the top of the Buffelshoek escarpment we dis-mounted

and lead the horses, on our quest to reach the very north of the game reserve.

TWT Ride 2018 dismounting to tackle a steep hill - photo Sophie Neville.jpg

We walked some way down the steep trail.

It was good to stretch but quite hard work as temperatures had risen.

TWT Ride 2018 walking down a steep section.jpg

After a while, we were able to look back at the impressive escarpment, looking for vulture roosts in the rocky outcrops.

A sandy path led to the north gate of the reserve and out onto the road.

We were able to canter up this track to reach the southern gate of Jembisa,

a 3000 hectare private game where the manager was waiting to let us in.

We were soon able to water the horses and rode through the bush, looking out for wildlife such as zebra, wildebeest, warthog, oryx and impala who had young at foot.

After about five kilometres, we took the chance for another exhilarating canter down an old air strip.

After untacking the horses, rubbing them down and making sure they had plenty of hay and water,

we made it to the lodge in time for a late lunch, which was served under the trees.

It was difficult to leave Jembisa,

especially since they have a wonderfully refreshing pool

but we climbed into two game drive vehicles and were taken to the neighbouring reserve.

We had come to find out about the Lapalala Wilderness School, established in 1985

Funds raised by The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride are being used to enable sixty local teenagers and their teachers to attend a week-long residential course on nature conservation here. You can see photos of the last group sponsored on Facebook here.

For local children, this course costs 375 Rand each per night, fully catered, which is exceptionally good value for a life-changing experience. TWT also fun transport from the township of Leseding.

After meeting the director and learning how the school raises environmental awareness,

riders came face to face with one of the teaching aids – an impressive Burmese python.

Rescued from a life spent in restrictive captivity this beautiful snake is used to show local children how important it is to treasure the wildlife of South Africa and that all animals have a role in the eco-system. To find out more about Lapalala Wilderness please click here.

TWT Ride 2018 Viv Thomas handling a Burmese python.jpg

You can find out about Jembisa, who kindly sponsored the ride by letting riders cross across the reserve and stay for the next two nights in great comfort by clicking here

or watch their marketing video here:

 

Day 4 of The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2018 –

TWT Ride 2018 DAY 3 - view from Bushwillow

The fourth day of The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2018 was one of contrasts. We woke to clear weather although rain was forecast. This was welcomed as we had a long way to go and needed cool conditions.

TWT Ride 2018 DAY 4 - Riders leaving Windsong.jpg

We left Windsong Cottage, mounted our horses and rode to Boschdraai Primary School at the nearby Sesotho village.

TWT Ride 2018 DAY 4 - Boschdraai Primary School who received gifts of pens and pencils from riders.jpg

The riders had brought pens and pencils for the 140 children who expressed their thanks by singing three very touching songs. The headmistress, who has been working at the eco-school for 24 years, needs a new printer with ink cartridges. She needs set pupils work as she only has one other teacher and three classes of children.

TWT Ride 2018 DAY 4 - Michael riding in the dust

We passed wild fig trees as we cantered down sandy farm tracks to Horizon Horseback’s game reserve and picked our way through the natural rock formations of Ghost Kopjie.

TWT Ride 2018 DAY 4 - Riders approaching Ghost Kopjie.jpg

Fissures in the old red-standstone, said to be formed in the pre-Cambrian era some 4 millions years ago, is home to nocturnal creatures such as owls and porcupine.

TWT Ride 2018 DAY 4 - Helena riding through Ghost Kopjie.jpg

At one stage it got too tricky for the horses but we had never taken this route before.

We had to double back a bit but we made it down to the grasslands below.

We saw jackal as we crossed the plans plains, took a break by a lake, and rode on down long marrum roads that run between game reserves. The vegetation became lusher.

TWT Ride 2018 DAY 4 - cantering down the road in the rain.jpg

Rain set in and the going became slippery but the horses kept cantering.

TWT Ride 2018 DAY 4 - Mary and Pip riding in the rain.jpg

It was not long before we reached Lindani game reserve where the back-up crew had set up lunch in a paddock where we could unsaddle the horses and let them relax.

Ant warned us that there had been a crocodile attack on the nearby dam.

But it hadn’t been seen for a while and the horses were able to roam freely.

The riders enjoyed a barbecue lunch by the wetland.

Some were in need of reinforcements.

That afternoon we saw zebra, wildebeest and warthog as we cantered across the plains.

As we rode into a belt of acacia woodland we came across giraffe with young.

They allowed us close enough to take photographs.

Giraffe have a different gait to other animals, although horses can be trained to walk as they do, which is meant to be more comfortable for the rider.

It was a long but varied day.  Sandy tracks across the reserve to Motseng Lodge.

We were thirsty by the time we reached the paddock where the horses were to spend the night but Ant and the riders were still smiling.

To see footage taken from the helmet of one of the riders on this day – please click here

You can see a little of what Lindani is like and take a look at Motseng, the lodge where we spent the night here:

Arriving in South Africa for The 4th Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2018

Something very special happened the night riders gathered at Ant’s Nest in South Africa on the eve of The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride this January.

We were having a drink out on Ant’s Nest game reserve when some local residents approached us:

Rhino at Ant's Nest

Five white rhino emerged from the bush at the same time as six members of the team arrived on horseback, led by Ant Baber.

It was as if the rhinos were coming to thank us for raising funds to assure their security.

Ant Baber approached the animals to assure them all was well.

And as the sun went down we were able to observe the rhinos in their natural habitat.

They are docile animals, sadly under threat as markets in the Far East place a high value their horn – even though it is no more than keratin, akin to human fingernails.

Please read more about Save The Waterberg Rhino, here

To find out about other projects supported by The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride, please click here

~Riders taking part in The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2018~