Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Riding for Rhinos

On 15th January 2017, author Sophie Neville led twelve intrepid ladies across the Waterberg Plateau in South Africa on horseback. The aim of the challenge rides is 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, the 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 riders are paying their own way, so every penny 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 will go a long way to really make a difference in the Waterberg where they will be 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 hosted the six-day ride.
Riders 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 re-introduced to the area thirty years ago by his father, the author and conservationist Clive Walker.
LWS meeting Clive Walker
While on this reserve, riders visited the Lapalala Wilderness School where children, often from deprived communities, come for a residential course on wildlife conservation. Many of them 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, riders ended up at the Palala River on Jembisa private game reserve. On their way home they went to visit Letabo Kids Club in the local township of Leseding who minister to the poorest of the poor and ensure all children attend primary school.
Sophie Neville at the Palala River
50% of funds raised by the sponsored ride will go to Save The Waterberg Rhino and 50% to support community projects in the area.
Riding safaris at Ant's (60)
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As a UK registered charity, The Waterberg Trust 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' or 'Lapalala Wilderness School' with your donation.