Tag Archives: Save the Waterbeg Rhino

Day 6 of The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2018

TWT Ride 2018 - DAY 6 walking down to the Palala River (2).jpgAfter walking the horses down a steep track on Jembisa game reserve, we finally made it to the Palala River. It’s normally too deep to cross on a horse but the drought of 2017 resulted in unusually low water.

The rocks looked slippery but Ant Baber decided we could walk across.

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As we made our way the Rooisloot valley we came across interesting plants such as this Transvaal gardenia.

Greater kudu enjoy eating the green seed pods and had effectively pruned the bushes.

The aim was to ride up to the wetlands at the very north of the reserve.

We had entered at the gate just south of Emily’s Camp. Today we reached Kwarriehoek near the road to Makopane, which you can see at the top right-hand corner of this map.

It was good to have reached the open grasslands after having spent six days in the saddle.

 

Mission accomplished. We could ride no further north.

A highlight of the day was lunch at a house on the game reserve which has a pool with an incredible view, looking north down the Palala River Valley towards Lapalala Wilderness where we had been the evening before.

We mounted the horses and crossed back over the Palala, which flows north into the Limpopo on the South African border with Zimbabwe.

TWT Ride DAY 6 2018 crossing the Palala River - photo Sophie Neville

Without pausing to remove our helmets, we dismounted and climbed up the steep cart track in our hot clothes. The horses were fine but it was hard on the riders.

Once we reached the plateau, it wasn’t long before we were met by the back-up team.

They had brought us champagne to celebrate the end of the challenge ride.

Everyone was tired, but happy, if a little dazed.

No one had fallen off. There had been no injuries or mis-haps. The horses were still in good condition. We had explored a new route, which had proved varied and exciting. Ant Baber decided the ride had been a success.

We’d made it!

We had come so far and seen so much. The experience had challenged and extended each one of us..

We climbed back into the saddle and had a cheer from the team from Newbury, before making our way back to the lodge.

The riders enjoyed one last exciting gallop before bidding farewell to the horses, who had all done so well. We’d covered 187 kilometres in total – 197kms if you counted the ride before the official trek began six days before.

Very many thanks to all our sponsors and donors who encouraged us on our way. The funds raised will go a long way to help Save The Waterberg Rhino increase security in the area and will support community projects run by trusted charitable organisations that uplift the emerging generation by providing education or healthcare.

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

~TWT Trustees: Belinda Chaffer and Sophie Williams-Thomas~

Day 2 of The Waterberg Trust challenge Ride 2018

 

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The Waterberg Plateau rises to about 1,400 metres on Ant’ Hill: 4,500 feet above sea level. We covered some distance that morning, climbing an escarpment and riding across the game reserve as the sun beat down.

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Although we had encountered a number of waterholes it was only when we reached the highest dam at noon that we took the chance to swim the horses.

TWT Ride 2018 DAY 2 - Viv swimming her horse

They loved being able to cool down and play in the water.

As we rode bareback , staying on board wasn’t as easy as you might imagine.

TWT Ride 2018 DAY 2 - Lizzie swimming her horse

Later that day, when back in the saddle, we came across a herd of Livingstone eland that hadn’t been seen for some time. One of the cows was badly in need of veterinary treatment.

TWT Ride 2018 - Ant Baber

Ant Baber called in a helicopter to collect his game vet, Paul, and asked the riders if they would volunteer to help by following the eland once it had been darted with anesthetic.

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The riders and horses came into their own, cantering through dense bush after the herd of large antelope while the helicopter was buzzing overhead.TWT Ride 2018 DAy 2 - Helicopter and Game Vet

The vet was able to land in a clearing as one of the guides caught the female eland by the horns and calmed her with a mask before she received treatment to her wounded rear-end.

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It was exciting to take part in the game capture and to be able to observe the procedure. The wound was caused by a tick infestation that had become critical. It would not have healed naturally.

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The wound was dressed and the cow  given anti-biotics, de-wormed and sprayed with insect repellent to increase her chances of survival, before being released back into her herd.

TWT Ride 2018 DAY 2 - eland after vetinary treatment

While the helicopter and vet were on hand, Ant decided to capture the eland bull and translocate him to another breeding herd as it is important to introduce fresh genes.

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The riders were needed to help carry the anesthetized bull into the truck, which would transport him into a neighbouring area. Although sprayed for ticks, he was in excellent condition.

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Although cantering some of the way, it was dark by the time the riders returned to the lodge when they still had to pack for the days ahead. The plan was to rise early and ride out of the reserve and across the Waterberg, heading north-west towards the Palala River.

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You can get a feel for what it’s like to ride at speed through the African bush in this video:

Day 1 of The Waterberg Challenge Ride 2018

TWT Ride 2018 DAY 1 - Jessica taking on Save The Waterberg Rhino
An introductory talk from Jessica Babich of Save The Waterberg Rhino

The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2018 began with a talk on Save The Waterberg Rhino who will receive 50% of funds raised on the ride to increase security in the area.

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While the rhino themselves were resting under a tree, the riders gathered to embark on an afternoon ride across Ant’s Nest game reserve to gain an understanding of the area.

TWT Ride 2018 DAY 1 - riders having tea before setting out

The route was planned by Ant Baber, who would use his experience to lead the challenge ride over the next six days. Everyone had been in training, working on their fitness.

The horse managers at Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill had carefully chosen and prepared horses for each rider. They needed to be young and hardy enough to cope with the challenge.

Some riders had found vented hot-weather helmets and wore gloves to keep off the sun. Long-distance McClellen saddles were used with specialist neoprene numnas.

It was magical to be riding through the African bushveldt. Being high summer in South Africa, everything was green and the dams were filling after last year’s drought.

The riders soon came across a number of giraffe browsing on blooming acacia.

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A mature adult male giraffe was happy to let us get fairly close.

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As the horses normally graze out on the reserve, the wild animals are used to their presence.

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We let the horses browse to reassure the wildlife that all was well.

TWT Ride 2018 DAY 1 - giraffe and riders

The riders moved on to see zebra, wildebeest, warthog and a variety of antelope.

Ant Baber was also able to show us his breeding herd of Cape buffalo that tend to prefer thick bush.

This would normally be a rare sighting but the animals were peaceful and behaved naturally.

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We then picked up speed and managed to cover quite a bit of ground.

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It was not a hard ride but we learnt a great deal and got used to dodging thorn trees.

Riders ended up gathering at Ant Baber’s house to as the sun went down to learn more about Save The Waterberg Rhino and the anti-poaching initiatives currently in place.

Here they could observe a number of white rhino who arrived with a few warthog in tow.

It was an opportunity to met some of the armed security guards who watch over the rhino around the clock and are in contact with the South African police.

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Arriving in South Africa for The 4th Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2018

Something very special happened the night riders gathered at Ant’s Nest in South Africa on the eve of The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride this January.

We were having a drink out on Ant’s Nest game reserve when some local residents approached us:

Rhino at Ant's Nest

Five white rhino emerged from the bush at the same time as six members of the team arrived on horseback, led by Ant Baber.

It was as if the rhinos were coming to thank us for raising funds to assure their security.

Ant Baber approached the animals to assure them all was well.

And as the sun went down we were able to observe the rhinos in their natural habitat.

They are docile animals, sadly under threat as markets in the Far East place a high value their horn – even though it is no more than keratin, akin to human fingernails.

Please read more about Save The Waterberg Rhino, here

To find out about other projects supported by The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride, please click here

~Riders taking part in The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2018~

The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2018 proves a great success

 

Sophie Neville on the waterberg Trust Challenge Horse Ride 2018

‘It was demanding but the greatest fun.’

Fifteen riders crossed seven different game reserves in six days, covering 187kms while learning about Save The Waterberg Rhino and visiting community projects that benefit young people in the Limpopo Province of South Africa.

The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2018 ~The Waterberg Trust Challenge Horse Ride 2018~

The ride began at Ant’s Nest game reserve where team members from the United Kingdom and Bermuda learnt about Save The Waterberg Rhino.

~Rhino walking up to riders gathered on the plains at Ant’s Nest~

The challenge ride was led by Ant Baber whose family have lived in the Waterberg for five generations. He has spent the last twenty-one years re-introducing wildlife to the area.

~Ant Baber~

Today, white rhino, giraffe, buffalo, warthog, baboon, zebra, wildebeest, eland, kudu, nyala, impala, blesbok, a variety of other antelope can be spotted from horseback.

 ~TWT riders observing zebra on Ant’s Hill game reserve~

January proved a good time of year for there were many newborn animals.

We were able to observe breeding groups of rare species such as sable and roan antelope.

Sable antelope at Ant's Nest

The riders helped to capture a sick eland so it could receive treatment from a game vet.

The game vet ministering to an injured eland on Ant's Nest~A sick eland cow receiving veterinary treatment~

We learnt more about the area while traversing six other game reserves.

The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride crossing Lindani game reserve in 2018~TWT Riders crossing Lindani game reserve~

~Observing young giraffe from horseback on Lindani~

We saw golden wildebeest, red heartebeest, vervet monkeys, ostrich, black-backed jackal, bushbuck, oryx and waterbuck as well as species we’d seen previously.

Descending the Waterberg escapement on the Water~Descending an escarpment on foot~

~Reaching the Palala River on Jembisa game reserve~

Over the week riders were able to visit a number of charitable projects supported by The Waterberg Trust, which gave us a chance to meet local people.

~Discussing conservation issues with Clive Walker at the Living Museum~

~The Waterberg Trust Riders at Lapalala Wilderness School~

~The ‘Back to School’ project at Lethabo Kids Club in the township of Leseding~

~Nurse Grace telling TWT riders about her work in local schools~

‘What a trip. It was totally WOW!! I can’t quite believe I have done it …’The Waterberg

~The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2018~

Itinerary for The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride January 2018

 

Are you up for a challenge?

Would you help raise funds for Save the Waterberg Rhino along with education, health and welfare projects that uplift communities in the area?

Following the success of our third annual ride this January, we are looking for fit and experienced riders to join our group on a sponsored horse safari, with back-up welcome from non-riding partners who will have the opportunity to fish and take game drives or ride mountain bikes.

In January 2018, Ant’s Nest have offered to take us through the private game reserves of the Waterberg on their lovely horses.

Riders’ overall dates: 20th Jan to 28th Jan 2018 + option of one extra night

Saturday 20th Jan: Fly out to Johannesburg – we suggest on Flight BA55

DAY 1 – Sunday 21st Jan You will be met off your International flight at Oliver Tambo Airport, Johannesburg and driven north, about 3 hours, to Ant’s Nest Private Game Reserve deep in the African bush. Lunch will be served on your arrival. After settling into the lodge we will go for a ride looking for zebra and wildebeest so that you can try out your horse. If you are not totally happy you can try a different mount the next day – there are about forty to chose from. It will be high summer in South Africa, so the bushveld will be green. We’ll be able to hear about plans for the ride as we have dinner by the fire that evening.

DAY 2 – Monday 22nd Jan We’ll spend the day riding up to Ant’s Hill, viewing game on horseback and looking for a breeding herds of buffalo, as well as rare sable and roan antelope. Any non-riders will have the choice of game walks, fishing or mountain biking. Each rider will pack a small bag with a swimsuit, wash bag and clothes for the next two nights on safari. As the sun goes down, you’ll meet white rhino living on the reserve while Tessa Baber gives a talk on the work of ‘Save the Waterberg Rhino’. The Waterberg is home to the third largest population of rhino in South Africa, so their protection on the plateau is vital.

DAY 3 – Tuesday 23rd Jan We set off early, riding east through the reserve and onto sandy roads where we can canter for miles. We are planning to ride to the newly opened ‘Living Museum’ where we can learn more about rhino from the author and wildlife artist Clive Walker, one of South Africa’s leading conservationists. We’ll be joined for lunch here by any non-riders who will have had the opportunity to observe wildlife on the way over. That afternoon we hope ride through a reserve breeding rare golden wildebeest up to Triple B Ranch, the cattle stud owned by Anthony’s family for over a hundred years. There are beautiful gardens here and a warm pool. We’ll stay at Windsong Cottage – the farmhouse built by Ant’s grandfather, Alfred Baber.

DAY 4 – Wednesday 24th Jan We will ride through the Sesotho village on the farm and down through the game reserve at Horizon, which will give us the chance of seeing impala, zebra, giraffe and eland along with primate species as we might spot vervet monkeys and baboon. Lunch will be enjoyed at a dam with the hope of spotting hippo. Non-riders will be taken on a tour of this amazing area in search of game. We’ll have a long ride in the afternoon, as we make our way over the hills and through Lindani private game reserve for the night. There is a good paddock here for the horses, a pool and we should be able to see game from the lodge. Be assured we will see a large number of warthog.

DAY 5 – Thursday 25th Jan We will ride through Lindani, up a kloof to find game on plains that look down past a north-facing escarpment. We should see warthog, zebra, giraffe, eland, red hartebeest, wildebeest and greater kudu. We ride under high red cliffs, where vultures nest, to Jembisa, a private game reserve on the Palala River where we will have lunch. We’ll ride across the reserve and be able to relax at the lodge, enjoying comfy beds and hot baths.

DAY 6 – Friday 26th Jan The Waterberg Trust enables local children to go on a residential course at Lapalala Wilderness School near Jembisa. We hope to be able to see around this project before riding across Jembisa that morning. We should find hippos and perhaps see crocodile before meeting up with non-riders for lunch. That evening we will ride up to a view-point to grab a few photographs before bidding our horses farewell. There will be time for a swim before dinner at the lodge.

DAY 7 – Saturday 27th Jan After breakfast outside we will take a game drive to see ancient bushmen paintings on the reserve before brunch and drive back via an excellent sewing project selling curios and an educational project in the township enroute to the airport.

Sunday 28th Jan – Your flight will arrive back in the UK early am. Riders can opt to stay an extra night at Jembisa to unwind. This would cost £150per person, fully inclusive of drinks and activities. Depart from Johannesburg airport on the evening of Sunday 28th Jan to arrive back early morning on Monday 29th January.

The ride is a unique opportunity to ride alongside wild animals in this beautiful area, now proclaimed a UNESCO biosphere. The itinerary may change – but only for the better! We are hoping for a group of 12 riders who need to be fit and experienced as there will be approx 25 – 40kms of riding per day.

Since we plan to visit a number of projects being supported by The Waterberg Trust you will get the chance to meet local people who would benefit from the funds you are raising.

The cost is £1,800 per person, sharing, inclusive of all meals, local alcohol and soft drinks, accommodation, riding, game drives and bush walks, as well as road transfers to and from the flights specified. The cost for non-riding partners is £1,440 Your contract will be with Ant’s Nest. The contract for the extra day would be with Jembisa, who would invoice you separately. There would be 50% supplement for anyone wanting a single room. If enough people want to come for a day or two before the ride Ant’s Nest are happy to offer us a favourable rate.

We recommend coming out a couple of days earlier and staying on for one night. (Please note: Additional transfers will be charged if we don’t all travel together – There will be two vehicles.)

Flights, tips and travel insurance are not included. To secure your place Ant’s Nest need a non-returnable deposit of £600. The balance of £1,200 must be paid by 30th November 2017.

Ant’s Nest and Jembisa offer comfortable lodge accommodation with ensuite bathrooms. Windsong and Lindani are simpler and some will have to share bathrooms.

The horse safari will be led by Ant Baber who owns Ant’s Nest . Sophie Neville, a trustee of TWT who became a safari guide in the Waterberg back in 1992, will lead the group and take you to see established charitable projects in the area.

To participate you need to raise a minimum sponsorship of £1000 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. 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.

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Please contact Sophie for help with fundraising ideas and making a Justgiving page Tel: 01590 678438 sophie@sophieneville.co.uk

Flights and Transfers: We find it is best if people book their own flights to Johannesburg – try Trailfinders or Flight Centre or the BA sale. Do liaise and fly together. We suggest you take Flight BA55 that departs Heathrow at 18.10 on either Friday 19th Jan 2018 (when TWT Trustee Belinda Chaffer is flying out), or Saturday 20th Jan. They arrive in Johannesburg at 7.15 am. Book the Return on Flight BA54 on either Saturday 27th Jan or Sunday 28th Jan (with Belinda).

Should you need to arrive at other times, a private road transfer can be supplied but at an additional cost.

Make your way to the information desk in the arrivals hall where you will be met and driven to Ant’s Nest.

Do I need a visa? Check your passport 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.

What vaccinations do I need? We recommend tetanus. The area is classified Malaria free.

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. They 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.

Are riding helmets compulsory? Yes – bring your own hot-weather helmet and half-chaps.

What else should I bring? Not too much: it can be hot and sunny and could be overcast or rainy but will not get cold. Towels are provided. Bring comfortable riding clothes in earth colours, blues or greens – (not bright red) long-sleeved collared shirts, (men’s shirts are good), bandana, riding helmet, bum bag, lip salve, sun cream factor 30, short boots and chaps, Barbour raincoat, camera with extra memory cards and extra camera batteries, sun hat, sarong, sandals or flip-flops, summer dress & comfy clothes to wear in the evenings. (Voltage is the same but round pin plugs – so you need an adaptor.) Bring a small bag for your swimming costume and washbag, pyjamas and torch that we will take to Windsong and Lindani. Handbags are not a good idea but remember your passport.

Do bring out any old children’s clothes, especially grey/black/white school uniform or sports gear as we can donate it to one of the schools or welfare projects in the Waterberg.

Is there a laundry service? We hope to be able to offer a limited laundry service.

Do cell phones work? Occasionally. Wifi is weak, We take radio communication and phones.

Useful contact numbers: These can be used the case of a badly delayed flight. Please give loved ones 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)

Money: We suggest you don’t change too much money into the local currency as your trip is fully inclusive – however there is a craft shop at Ant’s Nest that takes credit cards.

Ant’s Nest ~ www.waterberg.net

Windsong on Triple B Ranch ~ http://www.waterbergcottages.co.za

Lindani ~ http://lindani.co.za/

Jembisa ~ www.jembisa.com

Save the Waterberg Rhino ~ http://waterberg.net/save-the-waterberg-rhino

You can see photos from previous rides, along with information about the projects and info on how to make donations on The Waterberg Trust website: http://thewaterbergtrust.com

Highlights of The Waterberg Trust Ride 2017

Bringing you some of the best photographs from The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride in January, featuring each of the riders who took part and gallantly raised funds for Save The Waterberg Rhino and community projects in the area. Thank you for all your help and support!

-Ant Baber leading the riders in search of game re-introduced to the Waterberg-

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-Juliet Madden from North Yorkshire who gathered together the group-

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-Sam Scott from Cumbria with giraffe on Ant’s Nest in the Waterberg-

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-Tina Fox-Edwards from Berkshire riding across the Waterberg –

The rains had been late and we saw newborn animals

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-Hilly Collinson from Yorkshire, grabbing photos of giraffe-

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-Louise Horsely from Australia coming across a herd of buffalo-

-A white rhino arriving while we were being given a talk

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-Janie Beardsall from Yorkshire in her bush hat-

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-Elisa Spearmann from Wiltshire on her mare-

– A roan antelope photographed by Mairi Hunt-

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-Camilla Newton from Rutland-

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-Sisters, Mairi Hunt and Sally Milvertson being introduced to a python-

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-Claudia Smythe-Osbourne from Yorkshire with two very young giraffe-

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-TWT rider Lulu Ferrand from Leicestershire –

simon-williams-thomas-on-ground-support-for-the-twt-ride-2017-Simon Williams-Thomas from Hampshire on ground support –

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-TWT Trustee Sophie Neville observing the endangered white rhino-

Many thanks go to Tessa Baber for hosting the ride and having us to stay at Ant’s Nest

-The lodge at Ant’s Nest some three-and-a-half hours north of Pretoria-

twt-riders-and-back-up-guides-at-kolobe-2017-The team: TWT riders and guides at Kolobe Lodge on Lapalala Wilderness, January 2017-

– Sunset at Ant’s Nest photographed by Sam Scott –