Tag Archives: Game reserve

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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Riding through Ant’s Nest in the Waterberg

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On the second day of The Waterberg Trust Challenge  Ride 2016 we mounted our horses and rode through Ant’s Nest game reserve up to Ant’s Hill in two groups consisting of 8 or 9 riders each: the tortoises and the hares.

Ant Baber showing us the ropes

Those going on the fast ride, led my Ant Baber, found themselves cantering alongside a herd of giraffe, which was exhilarating and covered more than 11 kms in about 3 hours.

Riding up to Ant's Hill

The tortoises rode more sedately, coming across zebra, warthog and rare antelope such a herd of Livingstone eland as well as a lone sable bull:

Sable at Ant's Hill

We rode on, encountering impala, blesbok and more zebra before reaching a dam. The hares arrived hot on our tails having spent time watching the behaviour of a herd of buffalo.

Dam on ant's Hill

Some of the riders were able to take their horses in to cool off during the heat of the day.

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After being treated to a delicious lunch of homemade sausages cooked out in the bush

Bush breakfast at Ant's Hill

we had coffee at Ant’s Hill where we received a talk about the Waterberg Biosphere.

Ant's Hill

As we rode out that afternoon, we saw more game including a family group of bat-earred foxes. This was very special as the guides had only seen them once before on the reserve.

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We spotted quite a few wildebeeste along with their calves who, at a few moths old, almost look like a different species:

Wildebeeste calf

It was the group of tortoise riders, going at some speed, who made it to the north of the reserve first, clocking up 26.3kms and reaching the top of the escarpment, 4,500 feet above sea-level. As the horses found hay-nets waiting for them in the paddocks of an old Transvaal farm, the riders returned in a game-viewing vehicle for one last comfortable night at Ant’s Nest and packed their bags for the next two days on the move.

Tsede riding on Ant's Nest

If you would like to find out more, The Waterberg Trust have a Facebook page here. Riders are raising sponsorship for community projects in the Waterberg on Justgiving.com 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

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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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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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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

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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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Reporting back on the Waterberg Charity Ride 2015 – Part 4

Thanks to our dedicated group of riders and their donors, the Waterberg Charity Ride 2015 raised more money in sponsorship than ever imagined.

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Preparing to set off from Horizon Lodge

The ride finished on 31st January 2015. By mid-March we thought a total of £16,000 had come in. This far exceeded the original £1,000 that each rider had been challenged to find, on top of paying for their own flights, travel insurance and the cost of their food, accommodation, transfers and horses.

Waterberg Charity Ride sets off from Horizon
Riders and guides ready to set off from Horizon Horseback on Triple B Ranch in the Waterberg

However thanks to press coverage and huge generosity from supporters, cheques and Justgiving.com donations have kept coming in. One rider raised funds by selling some of her shoes, another, who lives in deepest darkest Herefordshire asked her friends to help her to sell home-grown mistletoe for Christmas decorations. A rider from Perthshire in Scotland threw a party and asked for sponsorship instead of gifts for her 50th Birthday.

Perthshire Advertiser

Together with some matched funding and the Gift Aid now recovered we are able to send £22,784 to help people of the Waterberg. Of this sum £10,000 is allocated for the education of children in need and £12,784 for training auxiliary nurses, in line with the requests received from the donors themselves. If more money comes in, we will forward it to South Africa where it really will transform lives. Our Justgiving.com page is still open!

Two boys at Kids Club
Children of the Waterberg

It is a huge amount, received with enormous gratitude. The riders were all so enthusiastic and all gave so much of themselves.  A sponsored ride demands a great deal. The effort involved isn’t immediately apparent as it ranges from getting fit to organising fund-raising activities while making arrangements for animals and families to be looked after in the rider’s absence. It wasn’t quite the same as going on holiday!

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Torrential rain at the end of the ride!

The organisers of the Waterberg Charity Ride would like to extend their grateful thanks to all those who supported the challenge in the Waterberg, especially Laura Dowinton, the directors, guides, drivers and staff at Horizon Horseback Adventures who hosted the ride.

The lodge at Horizon Horseback
The lodge at Horizon Horseback

We owe thanks to David Baber for allowing us to traverse Summer Place Farm and Koshari Game Reserve who put the riders up for the first two nights, amazing us with the sight of a debra – a cross between a donkey and zebra.

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A tame debra on Koshari Game Reserve

The riders were not only guided through Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill Game Reserves, where they learnt about wildlife management, but were treated to a drinks party where they met an orphaned rhino and his friend before being driven off to find four more white rhino in the bush, which was very special.

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White rhino in a mud wallow at Ant’s Nest

The group arrived at Lindani soaking wet from having ridden through a rain storm and were grateful for comfortable beds and hot showers.

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Coping with wet equipment

Refreshed by swims in the pool and the sight of great herds of game the next day, spirits were high by the time the riders reached Jembisa, a private game reserve on the Palala River. After a tough climb up the escapement they were greeted by a well deserved lunch.

Feeling the miles covered!
Feeling the miles covered!

After spending a night at Kingfisher Cottage where they watched hippo wallowing in the river, the riders pressed on to the most northerly point on the property and were truly grateful for the hospitality extended to them by everyone who looked after them at Jembisa Bush Home at the end of the ride.

Arriving at Jembisa after a long day in the saddle
Arriving at Jembisa after a long day in the saddle

The lodge staff at Jembisa put on a special celebratory dinner under the stars, relished by the hungry riders. We worked out that they had covered approximately 200km on their exploratory journey across the Waterberg Plateau from the Melk River to the Palala River.

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The group much enjoyed visiting the Waterberg Welfare Society hospice where they met nurses, staff inspiring to become nurses and a number of young people at Timothy House who entertained us with cultural dancing.

Cultural Dancers
Cultural Dancers at WWS

The support and enthusiasm we were given has spurred us on to consider mounting other rides next year! Contact us via the Comments box if you’d like to come.

One of the riders wrote saying, ‘Thank Goodness I had that wonderful adventure in January with you r riding safari in the Waterberg – it was so much fun and such lovely people! An experience of a life time!’

Sophie Neville in South Africa