The fourth day of The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2018 was one of contrasts. We woke to clear weather although rain was forecast. This was welcomed as we had a long way to go and needed cool conditions.
We left Windsong Cottage, mounted our horses and rode to Boschdraai Primary School at the nearby Sesotho village.
The riders had brought pens and pencils for the 140 children who expressed their thanks by singing three very touching songs. The headmistress, who has been working at the eco-school for 24 years, needs a new printer with ink cartridges. She needs set pupils work as she only has one other teacher and three classes of children.
We passed wild fig trees as we cantered down sandy farm tracks to Horizon Horseback’s game reserve and picked our way through the natural rock formations of Ghost Kopjie.
Fissures in the old red-standstone, said to be formed in the pre-Cambrian era some 4 millions years ago, is home to nocturnal creatures such as owls and porcupine.
At one stage it got too tricky for the horses but we had never taken this route before.
We had to double back a bit but we made it down to the grasslands below.
We saw jackal as we crossed the plans plains, took a break by a lake, and rode on down long marrum roads that run between game reserves. The vegetation became lusher.
Rain set in and the going became slippery but the horses kept cantering.
It was not long before we reached Lindani game reserve where the back-up crew had set up lunch in a paddock where we could unsaddle the horses and let them relax.
Ant warned us that there had been a crocodile attack on the nearby dam.
But it hadn’t been seen for a while and the horses were able to roam freely.
The riders enjoyed a barbecue lunch by the wetland.
Some were in need of reinforcements.
That afternoon we saw zebra, wildebeest and warthog as we cantered across the plains.
As we rode into a belt of acacia woodland we came across giraffe with young.
They allowed us close enough to take photographs.
Giraffe have a different gait to other animals, although horses can be trained to walk as they do, which is meant to be more comfortable for the rider.
It was a long but varied day. Sandy tracks across the reserve to Motseng Lodge.
We were thirsty by the time we reached the paddock where the horses were to spend the night but Ant and the riders were still smiling.
To see footage taken from the helmet of one of the riders on this day – please click here
You can see a little of what Lindani is like and take a look at Motseng, the lodge where we spent the night here: