Tag Archives: Safari

Riding through Jembisa on Day 6 of the TWT Challenge Ride

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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

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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

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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.

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hippo

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

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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

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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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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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Help fight rhino poaching in the Waterberg

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Photo of new baby rhino by Ant Baber at Ant’s Nest

The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2016 is being organised to raise funds for Save the Waterberg Rhino along with associated community education projects, to help fight rhino poaching and teach local children about the conservation of these amazing animals at the Lapalala Wilderness School.

Over 5,000 rhino have been killed by poachers in South Africa alone. The Waterberg is home to a signification concentration of rhino, second only to Kruger National Park.

PROJECTS REQUIRING FUNDING & STRATEGIC PARTNERS:
Rhino horn treatment
Tracking devices for rhinos
Equipment, such as:
• Binoculars
• Night vision
• Thermal vision
• Hi Tech solutions
• Bullet proof vests
• Crime scene equipment
• Uniforms and kit for scouts
Anti-poaching scouts for rhino protection
Tracker Dogs
Training for Anti-Poaching UNITS
Management Courses for Rhino Owners

WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP:

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As a UK registered charity, we can claim Gift Aid on eligible donations, and organise transfer of funds to South Africa efficiently. Add a note to specify ‘Save the Waterberg Rhino’ with your donation.

Belinda Chaffer – http://www.justgiving.com/Belinda-ChafferTWT

Sophie Neville – http://www.justgiving.com/Sophie-Neville-TWT2016

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To find out about Save The Waterberg Rhino, click on the banner below:

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Reporting back on the Waterberg Charity Ride 2015

Waterberg Charity Ride sets off from HorizonTen riders from Scotland, Wales, England, Ireland and the Netherlands gathered at Horizon Horseback Safaris on 25th January 2015.

Sarah Potter

After an evening ride to ensure everyone was happy with their mounts,

Kate we set off over the hills, taking on the challenge to find a route across the Waterberg plateau on horseback. Our week in the saddle proved quite an adventure.

Leading the Waterberg Charity Ride We had some wonderful game viewing.

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Being on horseback we could get remarkably close to animals

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especially zebra used to grazing with the horses.

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Some sections were challenging

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and we crossed through territory new to the horses.

Crossing a streamThere were other stretches where we pushed on

Waterberg Charity Ride 2015 and picked up speed.

A fast section There were mornings when we cantered for miles, afternoons when we had to dismount to walk up stony hillsides – all be good for the inner thigh.

A challenging section of the Waterberg Charity RideWe found ourselves going through very beautiful country.

a beautiful section of the Watberg Charity Ride We spent long days in the heat,

Alex with zebra

but it was high summer in South Africa and the bush was verdant.

groupandlandscape005_zps12ba856cMaking our way through the game rserves, crossing rivers

groupandlandscape030_zpscc9589f6 and plains where herds of wild animals were grazing was exciting.

sophie000b_zps31e9891dWe rode with zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, warthog, jackal, red heartebeest, blesbok, impala, greater kudu, waterbuck, mountain reed buck, duiker, eland, oryx and saw nyala, sable, springbok, baboon, vervet monkey, slender mongoose, tree squirrel, ostrich, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, crocodile and even a debra – the hybrid foal of a zebra mare and donkey stallion.

Game viewing on the Waterberg Charity Ride We saw amazing creatures, great

White rhino at Ant's Nest and small.

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Some saw sable antelope

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and we even came across other horses, grazing in the Africa bush.

sparkie002_zpsd0da621a After six days on horseback we made it to the Palala River and could celebrate the fact that we had covered somewhere in the region of 200kms.

Bucks fizz Everyone agreed that it had been a great expedition accomplished by a wonderful team.

ready to goBefore flying home we had time to meet staff at the Waterberg Welfare Society

Learning about WWS and see around the hospice and Timothy House children’s centre.

The Waterberg Charity Ride visits WWS Very many thanks go to all those who sponsored the riders and supported such a good cause. Funds are still coming in but we hope to let you know the total raised soon and report on the details of projects we will be able to finance. The riders all paid their own expenses and brought generous donations, with gifts for the local children.

Alex's donation I was able to take beautiful books, stationary and clothing to the farm school where they were very much appreciated.

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If you would like to add a donation via our Justgiving page please click here.

Grateful hanks also go to those who hosted us and looked after the riders so beautifully: Horizon Horseback Safaris, Koshari Game Reserve, Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill, Lindani Game Reserve and Jembisa, who treated us to dinner under the stars on our last night.

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If you would like to join us on another Waterberg Charity Ride, please contact us using the Comments box below.

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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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