Tag Archives: Making a Difference

Reaching the Palala River on Day 5 of The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2017

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While the TWT riders were looking around Lapalala Wilderness School on the morning of Day 5, the horses were able to enjoy a rest and a good feed.

Ant Baber guiding 2016

Ant Baber, who was leading the expedition, had them tacked up before coming too collect us from the environmental project.

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The riders put on their chaps, helmets and suncream getting ready for the day ahead.

Camilla and Mairi preparing to set off one morning TWT Ride 2017

Ant’s horse was eager to get going.

A team photo was taken of the sixteen horses by Save The Waterberg Rhino and we were off.

TWT Ride team photo 2017

It was a hot sunny day, the bush teeming with life after the rains.

A peaceful section of TWT Ride 2017

We saw quite a bit of game on the plains, including warthog, zebra and wildebeest.

We also took time to learn a little about the trees and flowers.

TWT Riders Sophie Neville and Hilly Collinson 2017

Ant then took us down the valley to the Palala River, which flows northwards towards the Limpopo.

TWT Ride Day 5 Reaching the Palala River

The back-up vehicle got stuck in a stream running down the the river. It looked serious as the ground was being washed away from under the Landcruiser but Ant winched it up the bank and all was well.

TWT Ride 2017 Day 5 Claudia at lunch

Most of us were pretty tired and a little dehydrated by this stage but horses and riders were able to relax in the shade at lunchtime.

That afternoon we were able to enjoy a long canter down the old road where the going was good.

Cantering down the road towards Jembisa

We went through an old Transvaal cattle farm,

TWT Riders Janie Lulu and others walking through Jembisa

crossed the Melkriver and made it to Jembisa Lodge.

TWT Ride 2017 at Jembisa

The horses had comfortable accommodation in the manager’s garden.

TWT Horses enjoying a feed

We passed a pod of hippo in the Palala River and drove up to the lodge for the night.

TWT Ride Day 5 Hippo in the Palala River

Dinner was held under the thatched veranda where everyone was able to relax for the evening and look forward to another day.

TWT Ride Day 5 Jembisa dinner table

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Day 3 of The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2017

The riders’ drew on their experience and fitness on the third day of The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride, when we covered a more than 37 kilometers riding from Ant’s Nest to Kwalata Game Reserve on the Blocklands River.

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We made up a big group of thirteen horseman with three guides and set off early in an attempt to find wildlife.

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It was white rhino that we saw first, including one cow with a three month-old calf.

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We were able to get very close as the horses are used to grazing with rhino.

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We then rode west through the bushveldt and although we cantered at times,

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we went slowly in an attempt to find game, pausing to watch wildebeest and zebra.

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After a while we came across Livingstone eland, a rare breed originating from Zimbabwe.

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We crossed through recently filled dams

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and came across a number of new-born animals, including impala lambs.

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Once on the top of the escarpment, at some 1,400 metres above sea level, we found a breeding herd of buffalo – the bull looking at us from behind a clump of dense bush.

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He was with a number of females.

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We were also shown a breeding herd of rare roan antelope being re-introduced to the Waterberg.

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We then left Ant’s game reserve and enjoyed riding fast down sandy roads across the plateau

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and down towards the Blocklands River that flows north into the Limpopo

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The horses were fed and watered in a secure boma originally made for buffalo while the riders were housed at the lodge in cottages that looked out over the water.

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Everyone was able to kick off their boots and relax after what had been a long day in the saddle.

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To our relief, there were bathrooms and a swimming pool to sooth aching muscles.

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And even a stuffed crocodile – luckily the only one of his species we encountered on the ride.

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To keep up with news and events of The Waterberg Trust please see our Facebook page

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A fundraising talk by wildlife film producer Alastair Fothergill

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Multi award-winning filmmaker Alastair Fothergill, who’s produced most of the landmark natural history series presented by Sir David Attenborough, along with five feature films for DisneyNature, flew from Los Angeles to speak at our charity fundraising event in Yorkshire hosted by TWT rider Juliet Maddan and her amazing team on Saturday 3rd December.

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Every penny raised by the talk will go straight to The Watberg Trust who have a cost-effective way of sending it to small but effective NGO registered projects in South Africa.

50% of funds raised will go to Save the Waterberg Rhino and 50% will go to educational projects benefiting the rural community including Lapalala Wilderness School and Lethabo Kids Club

Sponsorship was found for a drinks reception held before the talk when TWT riders served wine and canapes

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This enabled people to meet Alastair

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and learn about projects in the Waterberg

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Former High Sherrif Mrs Caroline Gardner with Vice Lord Lieutenant Peter Scrope

The Yorkshire Party Company supplied delicious things to eat, while others kindly donated wine. Asygarth School gave the use of their auditorium and facilities free of charge.

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Juliet Maddan saw everyone was settled in their seats

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before Alastair’s multi-media talk on his series ‘The Hunt’ made for BBC Television.

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It featured animal behaviour never before captured on film.

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We also learnt quite a bit about how the sequences were made.

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A couple of questions from the audience were taken after the talk.

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A fundraising raffle run by Jolenta Henderson was drawn for a case of proseco donated by Edward Theakston, Alastair’s book, an Elfinglen tray and other lovely prizes.

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TWT rider Mairi Hunt painted two watercolours of rhino for the event, one of which is depicted on this special limited edition Elfinglen tray, now available for £100

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To buy one of these large handmade trays made in aid of The Waterberg Trust please contact Elfinglen by clicking here.

Limited edition bird trays are also for sale for £100 each

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A sculpture of a rhino with her baby by Unity Heald was sold in a secret auction.

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 Very many thanks to all who supported this memorable event

that has been covered by The Northern Echo and other regional newspapers.

Here are some of the film clips Alastair showed us:

Objectives of The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2017

On 15th January 2017, twelve intrepid ladies from around the UK set off on horseback across the Waterberg Plateau in South Africa to gain an understanding of this pristine wilderness and learn about challenges faced by the rural community. Lying three hours drive north of Johannesburg, the Waterberg is home to the third highest population of rhino in the world. As up to four rhino are being poached in South Africa every day, it is imperative to guard this upland area where they can be protected.

A challenging section of the Waterberg Charity Ride

Would you help us to raise funds for Save The Waterberg Rhino, who are combating anti-poaching, Lapalala Wilderness School, who help ensure local children grow up with an understanding of nature conservation, and other community projects in the region?

LWS pupils with python

The twelve riders paid their own way, so every penny raised in sponsorship will go straight to The Waterberg Trust, a UK registered charity who can send donations, plus any Gift Aid, to these small but effective projects in South Africa. Funds go a long way to really make a difference in the Waterberg where they are administered by trusted conservationists with years of experience. You can meet those who are striving to Save The Waterberg Rhino and protect the wilderness while uplifting communities in the Waterberg, here:

Those taking part in The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2017 were able to observe a number of white rhino living on Ant’s Nest game reserve, while being updated on anti-poaching initiatives by Tess and her husband Ant Baber who is leading the six-day ride.

They then crossed the Waterberg hills on horseback, traversing Kwalata private game reserve to Lapalala Wilderness run by Anton Walker, who also appears in this film. He cares for wildlife reintroduced to the area thirty years ago by his father, the author and conservationist Clive Walker seen here speaking to TWT riders in 2016:

LWS meeting Clive Walker

While on this reserve, riders visited the Lapalala Wilderness School where teenagers from Vaalwater come for a residential course on wildlife conservation sponsored by TWT. Students testify how this experience changes their outlook on life, giving them an appreciation for their environment and the future of South Africa’s wild animals. The children take their enthusiasm into the community whose support is essential if poaching is to be combated.

After thirty-two hours in the saddle, the ride ended at the Palala River on Jembisa private game reserve.  Before leaving, riders visited Lethabo Kids Club in the local township of Lesiding who minister to the poorest of the poor and ensure all children attend primary school.

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TWT riders with Alastair Fothergill who gave a fundraising talk on his BBC series The Hunt

50% of funds raised by the sponsored ride are going to Save The Waterberg Rhino and 50% to support community projects in the area.

Riding safaris at Ant's (60)

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP:

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As a UK registered charity, The Waterberg Trust can claim Gift Aid on eligible donations, and organise transfer of funds to South Africa efficiently. You can add a note to specify ‘Save the Waterberg Rhino’ or ‘Lapalala Wilderness School’ or another project with your donation.

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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

Visiting Lapalala Wilderness School on Day 5 of the TWT Challenge Ride

Lapalala Wilderness School

While the horses enjoyed their grazing the riders paid a visit to Lapalala Wilderness School.

Lapalala Wilderness School display

A number of rhino skulls were included in an environmental display in the lecture room.

LWS staff

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.

LWS meeting Clive Walker

Clive gave us an illustrated talk on the plight of the five different species of rhinoceros.

LSW Talk on Rhino

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.

LWS Clive with riders

Riders were then introduced to one of the schools teaching assistants – a Burmese python.

LWS python

Pupils at the school never forget handling such a large reptile.

LWS pupils with python

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.

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Looking around the well-established project was certainly memorable for TWT riders

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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.

LWS Mashudu

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

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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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