Wednesday 25 November 2015

The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2016

Are you up for a challenge in 2016?
Would you help us raise funds for Save the Waterberg Rhino along with health and education community projects that uplift communities in the area?
Following the success of last year, we are looking for fit and experienced riders to join us on a sponsored horse safari.
Ant's Nest have offered to take riders through the private game reserves of the Waterberg whose owners have generously offered to host our party.
TWT Rider with rhino
Overall dates: 11th March to 19th March 2016 
Friday 11th March: Fly out to Johannesburg
DAY 1 - Saturday 12th March
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 Africa bush.  Lunch will be served on your arrival.
horse and zebra
After settling into the lodge we will go for a game ride 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.
As the sun goes down, you will meet the white rhino living on the reserve, and have a drink while Tessa Baber gives us a talk on the work of 'Save the Waterberg Rhino'.
Rhnios with a rider and black skies
The Waterberg is home to the second largest population of rhino in south Africa after the Kruger Park, so their protection on the plateau is vital.
dinner in the boma
DAY 2 - Sunday 13th March
We will spend the day riding across Ant's Nest, up to Ant's Hill, viewing game on horseback and looking for a breeding herd of white rhino, along with buffalo, zebra, giraffe, wildebeest and antelope.
Swimming on horseback
We will have lunch in the bush, hopefully by a dam where you can swim with your horse. We'll return to Ant's Nest for the night.
lunch by the dam
DAY 3 - Monday 14th March
We set off early, riding north through the reserve looking for antelope and along sandy roads where we can canter for miles over the hills on our way to Kwalata Game Reserve. We'll ride up to a point where the horses can be stabled and take a game drive to the lodge where we are staying the night.
riding the road
DAY 4 - Tuesday 15th March
We ride into Lapalala Wilderness, which will give us another amazing opportunity to see game. We have the chance of seeing elephant and black rhino along with other species such as vervet monkey, baboon and even lion. The night will be spent at Kolobe Lodge where the leaders of South Africa have stayed and hope to be given a talk on community projects by the warden.
Lapalala Wilderness
DAY 5 - Wednesday 16th March
We ride to Jembisa, a private game reserve on the Palala River where we hope to find more plains game including giraffe, jackal, warthog and red heartebeest. The plan is to sleep out under the stars after supper around the camp fire.
rideing under syringa
DAY 6 - Thursday 17th March
We hope to spend the morning visiting charitable projects in the Waterberg when we can meet those running health and welfare and initiatives that help the local people.
Two boys at Kids Club
We'll ride across Jembisa that evening hoping to find hippos and perhaps see crocodile in the river before reaching the furthest point of the ride and grab a few photographs before bidding out horses farewell. There will then be time for a swim or a long hot bath before dinner at the lodge.
Zebra and riders
DAY 7 - Friday 18th March
After breakfast outside we will take a game drive to see the ancient bushmen paintings on the reserve before lunch and drive back via an excellent sewing project selling curios enroute to the airiport.
riders with two rhino
Saturday 19th March - your flight will arrive back in the UK
The itinerary may change - but hopefully only for the better!
If anyone would like to stay on for a night or two this can be arranged.
The cost is £1,500 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 standard flights landing by 9.00am on morning of Saturday 12th March and returning pm on Friday 18th March.
It does not include flights, tips or travel insurance - which you will need. To secure your place Ant's Nest will require a non-returnable deposit of £500. The balance of £1,000 must have been paid 6 weeks before the trip commences.
Sophie riding with giraffe
We are hoping for a group of 10 experienced riders. You'll need to be fit as there will be approximately 25 – 40km’s of riding per day. 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.
We can take non-riding partners. It will be high summer in South Africa, so the bushveldt will be green. It can be hot and sunny and could be overcast or rainy but will not get cold.
eland with riders
It will be an exploratory venture, indeed a unique opportunity to ride alongside wild animals in this beautiful area, now proclaimed a UNESCO biosphere.
Ant Baber
The horse safari will be led by Ant Baber who owns Ant's Nest. Sophie Neville, a trustee of TWT who was once a horse safari guide in the Waterberg will be leading the group. 
If you have any questions or would like to book your place, please contact Sophie Neville ~
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 health and welfare projects in the Waterberg.
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 or Christmas gifts and then gaining matched funding.
makeapage_your_white justgiving
Information on the camps:
Ant's Nest ~ website:
Lapalala Wilderness ~ website:
Kwalata ~ website:
Jembisa ~ website:
Flights and Transfers: We find it is best if people book their own flights to Johannesburg - try Trailfinders or Flight Centre. It's great if riders can liaise and fly out together.
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 Ant's Nest for lunch.
At the end of the safari we will arrive at Johannesburg airport at a time suitable for all flights departing after 7 pm.
Rider with buffalo
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.
Diner under the stars
What vaccinations do I need? Vaccinations and malaria medications are not required however we recommend your tetanus to be up to date.
Rider with buffalo at dusk
Are riding helmets compulsory? Yes, hard hats are mandatory and you will not be able to ride without one and suggest you bring your own hot-weather model. We do not provide half-chaps but might have the odd pair extra should they be needed.
riding with sable
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) and toiletries.
Guide by the river
Is there a laundry service? We hope to 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!) Do bring out any children's clothes, especially grey/black/white school uniform or sports wear as we can donate it to one of the schools or welfare projects in the Waterberg.
Ants Nest
What is the accommodation like? This will be comfortable lodge accommodation with bathrooms. There are twin and double rooms. There are shared bathrooms at one lodge. We will have picnic lunches, evening meals cooked around the fire and hope to sleep out under the stars on one night, weather permitting.
double bedroom
Single supplements? Bookings are taken on a 'willing to share basis'. If you want a single room there would be 50% supplement.
horses in the bush
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. the 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.
lunch with horses
Do cell phones work?  Yes, although there will be areas of no coverage
Looking over the Waterberg
Useful contact numbers: Please give loved ones who may need to contact you for any reason 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)
These can also be used the case of a badly delayed flight
Sundowners in the bush
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.

Rhinos with riders

Saturday 17 October 2015

Riding through Georgia, part two

Georgia, in the former Soviet Union,

closed to the world for so long  

proved a wilderness full of ancient fortifications

and historic churches.

The riding was excellent.

Where we rode there were no fences

and we enjoyed long sunny days in the saddle.

There was not much wildlife to see.

but the wild flowers were prolific

and the horses excellent.

To read more please click here

Wednesday 16 September 2015

Riding through Georgia

Sunlight flooded through the trees as we rode along ancient tracks through woodland and forest,

making our way through the hills and valleys of Georgia,

to visit ancient fortifications and monasteries, built on the crossroads of Asia and Europe and yet now only accessible for those on foot.

St George, the patron saint of Georgia, as well as England, was honoured in every church.

He was often depicted on a horse not so very different from those we rode,

crossing bridges constructed more than a thousand years ago

making our way up through unfenced pasture land

and on over the hills, sleeping in tents or staying with villagers.

It was an exciting way to see the country. For more details, please click here.

Sophie Neville in Georgia