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:
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~
While the horses enjoyed their grazing the riders paid a visit to Lapalala Wilderness School.
A number of rhino skulls were included in an environmental display in the lecture room.
We met staff working at the eco-school along with the writer and artist Clive Walker who founded the project with Dale Parker thirty years ago.
Clive gave us an illustrated talk on the plight of the five different species of rhinoceros.
Having established Lapalala Wilderness as a rhino sanctuary, Clive also founded the Endangered Wildlife Trust, the Elephant and Rhino Foundation and Chaired a number of other conservation bodies in South Africa.
Riders were then introduced to one of the schools teaching assistants – a Burmese python.
Pupils at the school never forget handling such a large reptile.
It is a highlight of their four-day residential course when they have fun while learning about the importance of nature conservation and re-cycling. Their stay leaves a lasting impression. Some pupils take up a career working in conservation as a result.
Looking around the well-established project was certainly memorable for TWT riders
and we are grateful to the Director, Mr Mashudu Makhokha, for making it possible. To find out more about Lapalala Wilderness School please click here.
Anne Lester, who came on The Waterberg Challenge Ride in South Africa this March, has just sent in some of the photographs she took of wildlife encountered on horseback.
We rode close to giraffe, and were able to watch a group of eleven browsing.
This is a breeding herd of rare Livingstone eland, the largest antelope species found in South Africa. We also spotted waterbuck, kudu, nyala, grey duiker, sable, roan, blessbok, oryx, red heartebeest and numerous herds of impala.
You can see how close we were able to get to animals on Ant’s Nest game reserve, a sanctuary for white rhino. Poaching in South Africa has become such a threat that these rhinoceros have had their horns impregnated with poison so they have no market value.
The rhinos are accompanied by armed guards 24 hours a day. This is expensive but meant that the animals are well habituated to horses and we managed to get very close.
The good news is that the rhino are breeding well and are in good condition. This calf was born two months ago after a two-year birthing interval.
We are currently fund-raising for Save The Waterberg Rhino who are striving to protect this special area as well as organising community projects so that local children can learn about the importance of nature conservation and ecology. If you can help, please go to The Waterberg Trust Justgiving.com page here. We have a Facebook page here.
On 28th February 2016, Becky Overy Owen, from Woodbridge in Suffolk, will be running 20 miles in the Tarpley 10/20 Marathon 2016 for The Waterberg Trust – 50% of funds raised will to go to Save The Waterberg Rhino and 50% to Lapalala Wilderness School to ensure the message of wildlife conservation is taken to the next generation.
Do help Becky to raise funds for the anti-poaching unit protecting these endangered animals. She is currently in training and raising sponsorship on Just giving.com
The route of the single lap course goes through rural West Suffolk at the start of the Spring marathon season.
The event starts and finishes at Thurston Community College Beyton Campus
We wish Becky fine weather for the race!
To read more about the marathon, please click here