Tag Archives: The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2017

Day 4 of The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2017

img_4276

We were woken by weaver birds nesting above the lodge where we spent the night at Kwalata Game Reserve deep in the Waterberg hills.img_4270

We tacked up our horses, tying rain coats behind our long-distance McClellan saddles, and left head-collars underneath our bridles so we could tie the horses up in the bush.

img_4384

We set off in good spirits and rode through Kwalata into Lapalala Wilderness, a private game reserve of approximately 100,000 hectares.

twt-ride-2017-day-4-setting-off

Since the Waterberg is on an intercontinental convergence zone there is a greater variety of trees and shrubs on Lapalala than in the whole of Western Europe.

img_3959

There is also a great diversity of birds, reptiles and mammal species with a range of different antelope from solitary steinbuck to herds of kudu.

twt-ride-day-2-female-kudu

The annual amount of rainfall can be pretty much the same as in London but in the Waterberg it usually only rains in the summer months with occasional downpours.

janie-hilly-camilla-and-sam-on-lapalala

We enjoyed blue skies all day, walking beside the horses as we followed a rocky track down the escarpement as we made our way north.

twt-ride-walking-down-a-stony-hillside-on-lapalala

We rode up a small river, making a number of crossings until we came across a dam where it was safe to swim.

twt-ride-2017-day-4-swimming

By this time our leader, Ant Baber needed a break. He had missed breakfast.

twt-ride-day-4-ant-baber-going-swimming

We rode on up the valley, coming to a bigger dam known for its population of crocodile and hippo.

twt-ride-2017-day-4-reaching-hippo-dam

The horses were able to take a long drink before resting for a few hours at mid-day.

twt-ride-guides-and-riders-letting-the-horses-drink-on-lapalala

We were grateful to find table set out by the water with drinks and bowls of salad.

twt-ride-day-4-lunch-at-hippo-dam

The riders, who were exhausted, appreciated the chairs and needed a sleep after lunch.

twt-riders-sleeping-on-day-4

We opted to take the scenic route that afternoon, riding past herds of giraffe, impala,

twt-ride-day-4-impala-on-lapalala

kudu and wildebeest, while vervet monkeys were spotted in the trees.

twt-ride-day-4-game-on-lapalala-at-the-end-of-the-day

GPS readings revealed that we covered a total of 41 kilometers on this day when we grasped just how wild the Waterberg is.

twt-riders-juliet-walking-uphill

That evening the horses ate well, appreciative of the lush summer grazing.

twt-horses-grazing-day-4

Ant Baber drove the group of tired but happy riders down the valley

twt-riders-driving-down-to-kolobe-with-ant-baber-at-the-wheel-2017

for a well-earned drink

img_4288

and a swim at Kolobe lodge

img_4285

before gathering around the fire

twt-ride-camp-fire-at-kolobe

where they met up with the back-up team and members of Save The Waterberg Rhino.

img_4282

The director of Lapalala Wilderness School joined us, giving a short talk on what we could expect to see the next morning.

twt-ride-kolobe-lodge

To keep in touch with new of The Waterberg Trust, please Like our page on Facebook.

image002

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.

sophie-neville-alastair-fothergill-and-juliet-maddan
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:

donate_white Justgiving button

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.

image002