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The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2018 proves a great success

 

Sophie Neville on the waterberg Trust Challenge Horse Ride 2018

‘It was demanding but the greatest fun.’

Fifteen riders crossed seven different game reserves in six days, covering 187kms while learning about Save The Waterberg Rhino and visiting community projects that benefit young people in the Limpopo Province of South Africa.

The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2018 ~The Waterberg Trust Challenge Horse Ride 2018~

The ride began at Ant’s Nest game reserve where team members from the United Kingdom and Bermuda learnt about Save The Waterberg Rhino.

~Rhino walking up to riders gathered on the plains at Ant’s Nest~

The challenge ride was led by Ant Baber whose family have lived in the Waterberg for five generations. He has spent the last twenty-one years re-introducing wildlife to the area.

~Ant Baber~

Today, white rhino, giraffe, buffalo, warthog, baboon, zebra, wildebeest, eland, kudu, nyala, impala, blesbok, a variety of other antelope can be spotted from horseback.

 ~TWT riders observing zebra on Ant’s Hill game reserve~

January proved a good time of year for there were many newborn animals.

We were able to observe breeding groups of rare species such as sable and roan antelope.

Sable antelope at Ant's Nest

The riders helped to capture a sick eland so it could receive treatment from a game vet.

The game vet ministering to an injured eland on Ant's Nest~A sick eland cow receiving veterinary treatment~

We learnt more about the area while traversing six other game reserves.

The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride crossing Lindani game reserve in 2018~TWT Riders crossing Lindani game reserve~

~Observing young giraffe from horseback on Lindani~

We saw golden wildebeest, red heartebeest, vervet monkeys, ostrich, black-backed jackal, bushbuck, oryx and waterbuck as well as species we’d seen previously.

Descending the Waterberg escapement on the Water~Descending an escarpment on foot~

~Reaching the Palala River on Jembisa game reserve~

Over the week riders were able to visit a number of charitable projects supported by The Waterberg Trust, which gave us a chance to meet local people.

~Discussing conservation issues with Clive Walker at the Living Museum~

~The Waterberg Trust Riders at Lapalala Wilderness School~

~The ‘Back to School’ project at Lethabo Kids Club in the township of Leseding~

~Nurse Grace telling TWT riders about her work in local schools~

‘What a trip. It was totally WOW!! I can’t quite believe I have done it …’The Waterberg

~The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2018~

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

 

Further photos from the Waterberg Trust Cycle Ride in March 2016

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Just to show that although it was good fun the TWT cycle ride was challenging!  Conditions were foggy and puddles frequent but the back-up team came armed with a teapot.

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The gallant riders made the 82 miles from Cambridge to North Norfolk in one piece – and without a even puncture.

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Funds raised will go to educational projects in the Waterberg region of South Africa, carefully channelled though The Waterberg Trust who have a Justgiving page here

2016-03-12 16.08.15 HDR

photographs by Sam Franklin

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Coverage of The Waterberg Trust Challenge Rides 2016

TWT Ride 2016 newspaper article

TWT’s sponsored ride across the Waterberg on horseback, as well as TWT’s cycle ride through Norfolk on 12th March 2016, received favourable coverage from Marlene Vermaak in South African newspapers including Die Pos (above) with a colour photo in The Post:

TWT Ride 2016 newspaper article in The Post

Marilyn Cook wrote about TWT in The Source – the magazine of St John’s Church at 24 Rivers in the Waterberg – and we have a photo in the letters page of Cotswold Life, July issue:

rhino

Barry Burles continued his TWT cycle ride initiative by holding another last Saturday! The cyclists came from the Cambridge Rugby Union Football Club and completed the same 82 mile route to Langham in north Norfolk. This time there was a head wind…
Barry was interviewed on Radio Cambridge, and did brilliantly, talking about the work of the Waterberg Trust. Jarrod Taylor, who took part, originates from South Africa and once played rugby for Border. Having just retired from the Cambridge rugby team, he was also interviewed on Radio Cambridge and gave his just giving link inspiring listeners to give.
To listen to the interview, broadcast at 15.45 on Radio Cambridge on 15th June, please click here
New bike and old bike
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A transcript of the article in The Post by Marlene Vermaak:

12 RIDERS – 180KM – 6 DAYS: THE WATERBERG TRUST CHALLENGE RIDE 2016

After the success of 2015’s inaugural event, The Waterberg Trust (TWT) organised the second annual Waterberg Challenge Ride, which took place in March 2016, hosted this year by Ant’s Nest and guided by Ant Baber.

This exciting event, held to raise funds for various Waterberg projects, involved 12 experienced riders crossing 180km of Waterberg wilderness in 6 days. This year’s route went through Ant’s Nest, Kwalata, Lapalala and Jembisa game reserves. Funds raised will be going to Save The Waterberg Rhino and other community projects including the sponsorship of 125 local underprivileged children to attend The Lapalala Wilderness School.

The Waterberg Trust has already been able to help Save The Waterberg Rhino by funding the purchase of vital equipment, such as radios and a metal detector for the police officer dedicated to working with rhino poaching incidents in the Waterberg. Being a UK registered charity, TWT are able to access grants that are not available directly to South African registered Non Profit Organisations, and is able to make increase some UK donations by adding 25% Gift Aid. A number of the UK Trustees have long-standing links with the Waterberg and are committed to helping the people who work so hard running grassroots projects.
The first event hosted by Horizon in 2015 went from Horizon, Koshari, Ant’s Nest, and Lindani, to Jembisa, thanks to support from Shane and Laura Dowinton, David Baber, Dean van Heerden, Ant and Tess Baber, Sam and Peggy van Coller and Charles Whitbread. This sponsored ride raised fund for HIV/Aids programme support, involving  nurse training and two year support for an after school club at the Waterberg Welfare Society. This includes the rental of a house in Vaalwater for the homework facility. TWT was also able to support the Northern Education Trust, sponsoring a Waterberg student through accounting studies at Pretoria University. They are also raising money for Lethabo Kids Club in Leseding who run a much needed Back to School programme, providing school uniforms and more for primary school pupils. Riders were able to visit this project and the Lapalala Wilderness School while they were in the Waterberg.

 

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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

Riding North to Kwalata Game Reserve

We had a bit of a problem on the third morning of The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride. Some of the horses spurned their comfortable camp and tried to run home in the night. Luckily they were not able to get far but it meant we set off later than intended at 9.45am. Once in the saddle we were able to canter for miles along sandy roads over the top of the Waterberg Plateau and made up the time.

Cantering to Kwalata

We needed to cover a fair distance but it was cool and the going good.

Cantering

The third day is typically the most tiring for members of the team and we managed to break two stirrup leathers which slowed us down. We would have battled if the sun had been out.

Road to Kwalata

We are actually riding down a government road here – a very beautiful one.

TWT team 2016

Thankfully we made it to the gates of Kwalata private game reserve just as it began to rain at 1.30pm and were able to reach the lodge for a late lunch. Everyone was tired but grateful for a cool drink and a plate of lasagne, while the horses enjoyed fresh grass and a good feed.

Lunch at Kwalata

The rain cleared and we had time for a swim that afternoon before mounting up again.

Belinda at Kwalata

We rode through the reserve for about 11kms, passing warthog and a few impala.

Belinda Fordy on Kwalata

Our horses spent the night in a boma originally built for elephant. This gelding didn’t seem to think much of the way they’d left the bathroom.

Horse inspecting elephant bathroom

The riders were able to relax back at the lodge where there was a much nicer bathtub

Kwalata bath tub

and very good food, cooked outside on the fire. The sponsored ride was led by Ant Baber in aid of Save The Waterberg Rhino and associated community projects in the Waterberg. If you’d like to make a donation we have a Justgiving.com  page here.

Kwalata

If you would like to keep in touch, The Waterberg Trust have a Facebook page here.

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Report on the second Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2016

Sophie Neville and wildebeeste

The dream of riding through the game reserves of South Africa became a reality for twelve British riders this March when they took up the challenge of raising £1,000 each for Save The Waterberg Rhino and local community projects.

Zebra by Sophie Neville

The team was made up of experienced riders

uphill

and, being led by Ant Baber,

Ant Baber

the pace was fast whenever the terrain allowed.

Cantering

The idea was to traverse 175kms  of remote country

Walking uphill

while taking the opportunity to learn about rhino conservation

Sophie Neville watching rhino

and discover more about the Waterberg. For further detail and more photos of this ride, please see subsequent posts.Photographing giraffe

If you would like to get involved or find out more The Waterberg Trust have a Facebook page here. Riders are raising sponsorship on Justgiving.com here

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