Tag Archives: Horse

Another successful TWT challenge ride

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-Ant Baber leading The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2017-

Twelve intrepid riders from around the UK, and one from Australia, successfully completed the third Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride covering 181 kilometers at some speed, crossing rivers and rocky terrain.

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-Riders from Yorkshire crossing the Melk Rivier on horseback-

The six-day expedition proved a real adventure, traversing four different private game reserves and stretching everyone to the limits.

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-Climbing up from the Palala River on Jembisa game reserve-

The horses were beautifully looked after by the guides and back-up team from Ant’s Nest who hosted the expedition.

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-Riders from Yorkshire encountering white rhino at Ant’s Nest on the third TWT Challenge Ride-

Riders, who paid their own travel and safari costs, had to raise a minimum of £1,000 each for The Waterberg Tust to support community projects in the Waterberg.

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Funds raised will be divided between Save The Waterberg Rhino, Lapalala Wilderness School and Lethabo Kids Club in the township of Leseding, with support also being given to other health, welfare and educational projects. The 2017 riders were able to visit projects already supported by The Waterberg Trust. They all took part in an inspirational workshop on the importance of wildlife conservation at Lapalala Wilderness School on the Palala River.

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-Meeting the educators at Lapalala Wilderness School-

The Waterberg Trust riders’ fund-raising efforts in 2016 made it possible for 125 children and their teachers to attend a residential course here. We met the first group from Meetsetshehla Secondary School in Vaalwater:

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-Some of the 125 students sponsored by The Waterberg Trust-

Students from Mokolo Primary School in Vaalwater will be able to come another week. As The Waterberg Trust also paid for pupils’ transport, local children from all backgrounds will be able to gain a grounding in environmental awareness, develop leadership skills and establish contact with a mentor who can help with wildlife issues.

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-Pupils from Meetshesethla Secondary School learning about treats to wildlife-

Having said goodbye to the horses, riders saw an anti-poaching security post donated to Save The Waterberg Rhino by The Waterberg Trust Riders in 2016.

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-Save The Waterberg Rider’s new security point ready to be manned on a 24 hour basis-

They also met children at Lethabo Kids Club in Leseding township who showed-off the school uniforms purchased with grants from The Waterberg Trust in 2016 to ensure every child goes to school.

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-Lethabo Kids Club that has been running for 15 years in the township of Leseding-

The needs of older students who have shown more than ten years committment were discussed. Some are seeking sponsorship for tertiary education.

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-Meeting the youth who help with Letabo Kids Club in Leseding-

It was a joy to meet the people of the Waterberg, learn of their cultural heritage and explore the bushveldt so rich in natural history.

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-TWT Riders on Jembisa-

The ride was led by Ant Baber following in the footsteps of his great-grandfather E.A. Davidson, who explored the area on horseback in early 1900’s.

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-Ant Baber who has been leading horse safaris for more than twenty years-

The Waterberg Trust, a registered UK charity, was represented by trustee Sophie Neville who, along with the twelve other riders, whould like to extend heartfelt thanks to our hosts, the land-owners and all those who sponsored the ride, especially Ant’s Nest and Jembisa.

If you would like to make a donation to support The Waterberg Trust please click here.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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

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.

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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.

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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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