Thursday 15 March 2018

We are looking for experienced riders

The Waterberg Trust Challenge Ride 2019
Following the success of our fourth annual ride in 2018, we are looking for fit and experienced riders to join us on a sponsored horse safari to raise funds for Save the Waterberg Rhino along with educational, health and welfare projects that uplift the communities in the area.
Overall dates: 26 January to 3 February 2019 
 Ant Baber, owner of Ant’s Nest, has offered to lead us 200kms through the private game reserves of the Waterberg over 6 days, on his beautiful horses.
Sophie Neville  riding on Ant's Nest 2016
PROPOSED ITINERARY                                                                                             
DAY 1 – Sunday 27 January 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 game 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 choose from a mixture of Thoroughbreds, Arabs, Friesians, Boerperds. 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.
Sophie Neville riding with white rhino
DAY 2 – Monday 28 January We’ll spend the day riding up to Ant's Hill, viewing game on horseback and looking for a breeding herd of buffalo, as well as rare sable and roan antelope. Each rider will pack a small bag with a swimsuit, wash-bag and clothes for the next three 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.
Sophie Neville with Save the Waterberg Rhino
DAY 3 – Tuesday 29 January We will set off early, riding east into neighbouring game reserves where we can canter for miles. We are planning to have lunch at the Waterberg Living Museum where we can learn more about rhino from the author and artist Clive Walker, one of South Africa’s leading conservationists. That afternoon we hope ride through a reserve breeding rare golden wildebeest up to Triple B Ranch, the cattle stud owned by Ant’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 in the 1920’s by Alfred Baber, Ant’s grandfather.
Weaver bird nests
DAY 4 – Wednesday 30 January We will ride past the village school on the farm and down to 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 beautiful dam where the horses can graze.  We’ll have a long ride in the afternoon, as we make our way 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.
Sophie Neville on Lindani game reserve January 2018
DAY 5 – Thursday 31 January  We will spend the morning riding through Lindani,  where we should see warthog, zebra, giraffe, eland, red hartebeest, wildebeest and greater kudu. We will then make our way back to the lodge for a late lunch, enjoying fast canters on sandy tracks. After a well earned rest, we will swop our horses for a game viewer and drive into the stunning Lapalala Game Reserve, looking for wildlife, before arriving at the Lapalala Wilderness School, which runs residential courses in nature conservation and environmental awareness for local children.
Lapalala Wilderness School

DAY 6 – Friday 1 February  We’ll saddle our horses early to ride to Jembisa, a beautiful private game reserve to the north. After climbing a kloof, we’ll walk down a steep escarpment and ride under high red cliffs where vultures nest. The route takes us along African dirt roads and into the reserve where lunch is planned. That afternoon we will reach the Palala River where the ride ends. After saying goodbye to our horses, we will be able to relax at the lodge, and appreciate comfy beds and hot baths.
Greater Kudu on Jembisa 
Saturday 2 February  After a more leisurely wake-up, we will take a game drive to see ancient bushmen paintings on the reserve before brunch, and then drive to the township in Vaalwater. Here we will visit Lethabo Kids Club in the township of Lesiding  and meet Nurse Grace before heading to the airport via an community sewing project and excellent curio shop. We suggest flight BA54 which leaves at 21.50.
Back to School project
Sunday 3 February Your flight will arrive back in the UK early morning or on Monday 4 February if you opt to take an extra day to relax at leisure at Jembisa to unwind after the demanding ride.

Ant Baber finishing The Waterberg Trust Ride 2018
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 25-45kms of riding per day.

Sophie Neville at Jembisa
“I am back at my desk and galloping through the African bush seems light years away! I just wanted to thank you for a really amazing experience... I think you have a winning formula as the riding is wonderful but all the extra experiences such as the school, youth club and church, made it a truly unique experience and insight into the Waterberg.” Mary Riall 2018 TWT rider
Endangered white rhino
Riders pay their own flights, transfers, safari costs and travel insurance.
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

Since we plan to visit a number of the projects being supported by The Waterberg Trust you will get the chance to meet local people we are helping.
Windsong on Triple B Ranch:

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: