Tag Archives: Safari

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.

twt-ride-day-3-riders-about-to-leave-the-stable

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

twt-ride-day-3-spotting-rhino-over-the-horses-ears

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

twt-rider-with-baby-rhino-2017

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

white-rhino-cow-and-calf

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

day-3-of-twt-ride-finding-wildebeeste

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

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

twt-ride-day-3-wildebeest-watching-riders

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

twt-ride-day-3-livingstone-eland

We crossed through recently filled dams

day-two-on-the-twt-ride-2017

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

twt-ride-day-3-camilla-watching-impala

twt-ride-day-3-impala-with-young

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.

twt-ride-day-3-coming-across-a-bufflo-bull

He was with a number of females.

twt-rider-camilla-newton-with-buffalo-2017

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

twt-ride-day-3-roan-antelope-between-the-horses-ears

twt-ride-with-young-roan-antelope-2017

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

twt-ride-sam-cantering

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

img_4262

img_4268

The horses were fed and watered in a secure boma originally made for buffalo while the riders were housed at the lodge in cottages that looked out over the water.

img_4266

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

img_4267

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

img_4277

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

img_4275

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

image002

Riding through Ant’s Nest Game Reserve on Day One of The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2017

We started spotting wildlife the moment we drove in through the gates of Ant’s Nest, a private game reserve in the Waterberg. This young roan antelope was in our path.

twt-ride-day-1-roan-antelope

Twelve riders had flown out from the UK and Australia, at their own cost, to learn about the Waterberg by riding across the plateau with Ant Baber and his experienced guides,

ant-baber-2016

TWT Trustee Sophie Neville, who was once a horse safari guide in the area, met the group at Johannesburg airport and explained about projects supported by the Waterberg Trust, as she accompanied riders on the expedition.

sophie-neville-at-ants-nest-2017

Although we covered some distance on the first afternoon, the important thing was for riders to try out their horses and get used to the long-distance saddles while there was still a chance to make changes. Juliet Maddan, who had gathered the group together, was also wearing a hot-weather helmet for the first time.

twt-ride-day-2-juliet-trying-out-her-horse

It was a delight to come across wild animals who are used to grazing in the reserve with the horses and allow riders to get very close.

twt-ride-day-2-hilly-and-lulu-with-wildebeest

The wildebeest were unperturbed by our presence and the horses were relaxed.

twt-ride-2017-day-1-wildebeest

We saw a variety of plains game and had time to take a few photographs.

twt-ride-day-2-hilly-photographing-zebra

Some riders came across white rhino with Ant Baber that very afternoon, and were able to learn a bit about their territorial behaviour.

twt-riders-2017-encountering-white-rhino

Disaster struck at the end of the day when a gasket blew on a landcruiser as it was going up a steep slope. With no engine power the vehicle slid backwards but the riders were fit and jumped out as the guide steered it into a bush. It proved the start of an adventurous week.

blowing-a-gasget-on-tessas-pass

That night there was plenty to talk about as we gathered around the fire and made plans for the long ride ahead of us.

twt-ride-day-1-fireside

For an overview of the Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2017 please click here

If you would like to make a donation to support the work of the trust please click here

image002

Another successful TWT challenge ride

riders-successfully-completing-the-twt-ride-2017

-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.

twt-riders-2017-crossing-the-melk-rivier

-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.

extreme-conditions-on-the-twt-ride-2017

-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.

twt-riders-finding-white-rhino-2017

-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.

some-of-the-twt-riders-before-the-start-of-the-2017-ride

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.

twt-riders-learning-about-snakes

-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:

img_4311

-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.

img_4325

-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.

twt-riders-with-a-new-security-point-2017

-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.

twt-riders-2017-visiting-lethabo-kids-club

-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.

twt-rider-meeting-youth-at-lethabo-kids-club

-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.

twt-riders-at-the-bushmen-paintings-2017

-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.

ant-baber-completing-the-2017-twt-ride

-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.

sophie-neville-having-finished-the-twt-ride-2017

image002

Riding through Jembisa on Day 6 of the TWT Challenge Ride

DSCF4232

As the weather was relatively cool, Anthony Baber decided to ride north up to the Jembisa wetlands in the morning.

Map of Jembisa

This entailed a bit of hard exercise as we walked up a stony hill past an old Iron Age fort.

Walking uphill on Jembisa

It was worth it to reach a view point that enabled us to look down over the Palala River Valley and the way we’d come.

Sophie Neville

We saw wildebeest, zebra, impala and blesbok along with interesting birds

DSCF4179

and returned to the lodge where Tess Baber and Kelly of Save the Wwaterberg Rhino Trust joined us for lunch outside.

Lunch on Jembisa

That afternoon we rode fast alongside the airfield on Jembisa and along winding tracks through seringa woodland in the low evening light.

Galloping

We saw red heartebeest on our way to a view point where the staff of Jembisa had champagne waiting for us to celebrate the fact that riders had covered more than 175kms.

TWT team after 175kms

Mark, Pippa and Chris

We rode the last 5kms back under dark skies and bid farewell to our gallant horses who were trucked home, two by two.

Campfire

image002

Riding through Lapalala Wilderness

Ginny and Anne

We mounted our horses bright and early on Day 4 of The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride

Following Ant

and set off into Kwalata game reserve with a map drawn on a piece of cardboard. As we rode into Lapalala Wilderness Ant warned us that if a black rhino charged and we found ourselves on the ground we should either get behind a tree or roll onto our back and kick it in self-defense.

Riding through Lapala Wilderness

We were venturing into truly wild remote country with diverse challenges that included walking the horses down a rocky track for a couple of kilometers passing middens that marked the black rhino territory.  The dung itself had quite an attractive smell.

Walk in the Wilderness

We were probably making too much noise to get close to wildlife but saw giraffe wildebeest, impala and a terrapin.

Lapala Wilderness

After nearly five hours in the saddle we were hugely relieved and deeply grateful to find lunch being cooked for us by the Palala River, along with chairs and a table.

Lunch by the hippo pool

Lunch by the Palala River

The intrepid went off in search of hippo. We had been told there were also crocodile around.

IMG_2780

hippo

We found the horses had been saddled up and rode on through Lapalala,

Amanda

beyond the airstrip where the horses were to spend the night.

TWT Riders 2016 team photo

Here we found a black rhino in one of the game bomas and felt rather glad that he was safely behind a sturdy fence.

Black rhino

image002

 

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.

image002

Riding through Ant’s Nest in the Waterberg

IMG_2709

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.

IMG_2734

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.

IMG_2741

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

image002