Skip to main content
All Posts By

admin

horseback safari south africa

A Horse-Rider’s Holiday of a Lifetime at Ant’s Hill

By The Ant's Experience
[:en]Combining the exhilaration of exploring the untamed African bush, with the thrill of doing something that you love, a horseback safari should be on every horse-lovers bucket list.

While riding in the wild is an incredible experience for both novice and experienced riders alike, nothing quite beats a long gallop across an open plain with the wind in your hair and sun in your face. It’s horse riding in its rawest, truest form.

Avid horse-riders, Lauren Bartholomew and her mum have been wanting to do a riding holiday for a while. Having heard about Ant’s Hill through In The Saddle, they decided to give it a go and were definitely not disappointed. Lauren shares a little more about her experiences at Ant’s Hill, which she calls ‘the holiday of a lifetime’:

“We wanted to do a riding holiday in South Africa that would have an adaptable itinerary in centrally based luxury accommodation and Ants fit the bill best. All of the reviews were positive which also helped our decision. It was our first trip to South Africa. I have been to Uganda before, and it has been a dream of my mum’s for a long time to visit Africa too.

horse riding safari waterbergOne of my favourite things about staying at Ant’s Hill was the friendly staff who ate meals with us and had so many interesting stories to tell. It made us feel like we were among friends. The riding was also obviously a favourite, especially when we were able to take part in a ‘fast and furious’ capture of a kudu for conservation purposes. It was great to see what actually goes in to obtaining the animals and then seeing one released afterwards was very special.

We were also able to feed the white rhino. It was magical to see these rare animals at such close range and even to touch them. In terms of the game we saw whilst riding, the giraffes were fabulous and they towered above the horses. I was also so thrilled that we got a chance to swim the horses as that is something I’d always wanted to do.

The views from Eagles Nest in the Hill were breath-taking and we were made to feel welcome and included from the moment that we arrived. The atmosphere was relaxed and we really liked the flexible approach to the itinerary. No two days were ever the same and we never rode the same route.

The chef was accommodating with my picky eating and you hardly went a few hours without food being on offer. The horses were great – responsive and forward going. My favourite was Masai and my mum’s was Madikwe. My mum was also very happy to have someone else do her washing! We would love to come back one day and I can see why you have a lot of repeat customers.”

[:de]A horse-rider’s holiday of a lifetime at Ant’s Hill
Combining the exhilaration of exploring the untamed African bush, with the thrill of doing something that you love, a horseback safari should be on every horse-lovers bucket list. While riding in the wild is an incredible experience for both novice and experienced riders alike, nothing quite beats a long gallop across an open plain with the wind in your hair and sun in your face. It’s horse riding in its rawest, truest form.
Avid horse-riders, Lauren Bartholomew and her mum have been wanting to do a riding holiday for a while. Having heard about Ant’s Hill through In The Saddle, they decided to give it a go and were definitely not disappointed. Lauren shares a little more about her experiences at Ant’s Hill, which she calls ‘the holiday of a lifetime’:
“We wanted to do a riding holiday in South Africa that would have an adaptable itinerary in centrally based luxury accommodation and Ants fit the bill best. All of the reviews were positive which also helped our decision. It was our first trip to South Africa. I have been to Uganda before, and it has been a dream of my mum’s for a long time to visit Africa too.

One of my favourite things about staying at Ant’s Hill was the friendly staff who ate meals with us and had so many interesting stories to tell. It made us feel like we were among friends. The riding was also obviously a favourite, especially when we were able to take part in a ‘fast and furious’ capture of a kudu for conservation purposes. It was great to see what actually goes in to obtaining the animals and then seeing one released afterwards was very special.

We were also able to feed the white rhino. It was magical to see these rare animals at such close range and even to touch them. In terms of game we saw whilst riding, the giraffes were fabulous and they towered above the horses. I was also so thrilled that we got chance to swim the horses as that is something I’d always wanted to do.

The views from Eagles Nest in the Hill were breath-taking and we were made to feel welcome and included from the moment that we arrived. The atmosphere was relaxed and we really liked the flexible approach to the itinerary. No two days were ever the same and we never rode the same route.

The chef was accommodating with my picky eating and you hardly went a few hours without food being on offer. The horses were great – responsive and forward going. My favourite was Masai and my mum’s was Madikwe. My mum was also very happy to have someone else do her washing! We would love to come back one day and I can see why you have a lot of repeat customers.”
[:]

Fairy-Tale Wedding at Ants

By The Ant's Experience
[:en]The rugged wilderness and dramatic landscapes of the Waterberg is the ideal setting for any romantic celebration, and especially perfect for a fairy-tale destination wedding.

Combining spectacular scenery with our incredibly intimate accommodation options, traditional dancers, gourmet cuisine and horseback riding, a wedding at Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill Bush Homes brings every little girl’s fairy-tale to life.

waterberg wedding with horses

Destination Wedding in the Waterberg:
The most obvious benefit of having a destination wedding is that it’s a great excuse to not invite every distant relative and long-lost school friends. As travel and accommodation are involved, guest lists need to be selective, making it a far more intimate experience all round.

Those that are willing to travel will be rewarded. The Waterberg is one of the most scenic areas in South Africa and thus makes for a spectacular holiday destination. If you’re planning on travelling with a big enough group, you could even book out the entire lodge.

For the big day, instead of a traditional church or hall, you can opt to be married on the top of a mountain, or under a shady Acacia tree. A late morning ceremony will be rewarded with spectacular views in the African sun, or you can say your ‘I do’s’ in the late afternoon, as the sun sets over the Waterberg, followed by a dinnertime celebration. In addition to having the ceremony outdoors, your reception can also take place in the bush.

destination wedding ant's nest and ant's hill bush homes

If you love horses, you can choose to arrive on horseback, or even do you photoshoot with the horses. Horses exude a sense of mystery and romance and adding them to your wedding day can be so special. To make your ceremony extra special you can also opt to be serenaded by a local Africa choir, live band or even just the gentle sounds of nature.

wedding with horses south africa

Last but not least, one of the most wonderful benefits of being wed in the Waterberg is the breathtaking photo opportunities. From taking a helicopter to the highest peak to being photobombed by rhinos, your wedding photos are guaranteed to be gorgeous.

rhinos in wedding photo ant's nest and ant's hill bush homes

Let us make your fairy-tale dreams come true! Get in touch with us to start planning your perfect destination wedding.[:]

Chomping at the Bit for a Horseback Safari

By The Ant's Experience
[:en]

“The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact
with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit, and freedom.”
~ Sharon Ralls Lemon

There are many ways to experience the African bush, but few are quite as intimate, and simultaneously exhilarating, as a horseback safari. It is a unique experience that bridges the gap between man and nature.

Here are 10 reason swap four-wheeled safaris for four-legged adventures and discover Africa from horseback:

1. Horseback safaris are quiet and unobtrusive, allowing riders to get very close to wildlife without disturbing them.

2. Unlike game vehicles, horseback safaris are eco-friendly and do not contribute to noise and fume pollution in wilderness areas.

3. Being on horseback gives you more freedom to explore areas of the bush that are inaccessible by vehicle.

4. The photo opportunities are Instagram-worthy!

5. The pace is slower, allowing you to appreciate all the little aspects that are usually missed in a vehicle.

6. Sundowner rides in the afternoon are a truly spectacular way to wind down after a day in the bush.

7. Horseback safaris give you the opportunity to become a part of nature’s ‘play’, rather than just part of the audience.

8. The guides are excellent and passionate about their jobs.

9. You don’t need to be an experienced rider to take part as the horse are very well trained and the guides are always there to assist.

10. It’s more fun than sitting in a game vehicle!

So what are you waiting for? Book your stay with us and come and experience the horseback safari of a lifetime![:de]Chomping at the Bit for a Horseback Safari
“The essential joy of being with horses is that it brings us in contact
with the rare elements of grace, beauty, spirit and freedom.”
~ Sharon Ralls Lemon

There are many ways to experience the African bush, but few are quite as intimate, and simultaneously exhilarating, as a horseback safari. It is a unique experience that bridges the gap between man and nature.

Here are 10 reason swap four-wheeled safaris for four-legged adventures and discover Africa from horseback:

1. Horseback safaris are quiet and unobtrusive, allowing riders to get very close to wildlife without disturbing them.

2. Unlike game vehicles, horseback safaris are ecofriendly and do not contribute to noise and fume pollution in wilderness areas.

3. Being on horseback gives you more freedom to explore areas of the bush that are inaccessible by vehicle.

4. The photo opportunities are Instagram-worthy!

5. The pace is slower, allowing you to appreciate all the little aspects that are usually missed in a vehicle.

6. Sundowner rides in the afternoon are a truly spectacular way to wind down after a day in the bush.

7. Horseback safaris give you the opportunity to become a part of nature’s ‘play’, rather than just part of the audience.

8. The guides are excellent and passionate about their jobs.

9. You don’t need to be an experienced rider to take part as the horse are very well trained and the guides are always there to assist.

10. It’s more fun than sitting in a game vehicle!

[:]

Swimming with Horses

By The Ant's Experience
[:en]Watching horses thundering across open plains and charging up hillsides is always a sight to behold.

It’s hard to believe that in all their majestic power and glory, horses can be reduced to overexcited pawing ponies at the sight of a puddle. Blowing bubbles, splashing the water with their front hooves, and even dropping down for a good roll, are a few of the things that many horses love to do when given the opportunity to go swimming.

At Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill Bush Homes, swimming with your steed is a regular activity. Not only do the horses really enjoy it, but it is also a great way to cool off after a long ride through the Waterberg wilderness.

Ant’s Hill guest, Emma Jordan, spent a few days with Ants enjoying some quality time with her mother and two-year-old daughter. Here is an excerpt from her blog, published on Portfolio Collection, sharing her experiences about swimming with horses:

“I look across at Carol and her face is a mix of trepidation and confusion. She’s sitting on a bay horse in a grey swimming costume. I’m also in a costume on my piebald mare and I’m feeling exactly what Carol’s expression is saying. We’ve ridden three hours through the bush, passing giraffe, zebra, eland, blesbok, antelope and kudu, finishing the last kilometre with a canter over burning sand and rocks. Topping the crescent of a hill, we stop by a dam. Here, we’re told to dismount, take off the saddles, strip our riding gear and remount. We do as we’re told and get back on sweaty horses, waiting at the shoreline. It’s at this point I spy Carol’s lucid look.

I got the brief late last night: “Emma, you need to take a swimming costume on your ride tomorrow,” whispered my mother as she returned from supper. I didn’t quite believe her until the conversation at breakfast confirmed we’d be swimming with our steeds.

Swimming with horses? Yes, it’s just one of many activities the extraordinary management team offer guests who are lucky enough to experience Ant’s Hill.

Only 3 hours from Joburg in the malaria-free Waterberg, the first Ant’s lodge, Ant’s Nest, was opened in 1996. Seven years later, a second lodge, Ant’s Hill, was built and together they offer a safari experience that is at once entirely decadent and absolutely comfortable.

The primary attraction is horse-riding. Close to fifty* horses live out here and enable riders to get seriously close to a multitude of game. Consequently, the reserve is lion and elephant-free (although day-trips can be organised to neighbouring big-five reserves) – and besides riding, guests can go on long walks and mountain bike rides. Even the little ones can pony ride through the bush or go on exciting bug walks, keeping their eyes peeled for chameleons, ant lions and dung beetles. And, unlike some luxury accommodation, toddlers, tots and teens are all most welcome – in fact, everyone is welcome. Families, couples, singles. Ant’s Hill really is one of those rare places that lives up to the ‘leave as family’ tagline.

And the horsey swimming – was it really something to worry about? Absolutely not, these horses know what they’re doing. Five hundred metres in with water lapping around our waists, we looked like kids at the carnival with smiles stretching from ear to ear. Undoubtedly, this was the most unbelievable ride of our lives.”

*Since Emma’s visit, our herd has grown to over 90 horses living on the property. 

Read Emma’s full article about her experience with us here: https://www.portfoliocollection.com/travel-blog/beating-around-the-bush-at-ant-s-hill[:]

Start 2019 with a Detox Safari

By News
[:en]The festive season is around the corner and we are so excited about it. It’s a wonderful time of friends, family, and of course – food!

During this time of jolliness, it’s not uncommon to over-indulge a bit – in fact, it’s encouraged! And while this is all well and good while you’re in the swing of things, it does tend to take its toll on the waistline at the end of the day. This is why we have decided to offer a detox safari experience from 9 January – 9 February 2019 to help you kickstart your year off on the right foot.

During this time, we will be concentrating on three elements – Wild Moving, Wild Eating, and Wild Living, and all meals and activities will be focused around this. The aim of this experience is to reconnect you with nature and leave you feeling invigorated, rebalanced and restored.

meditate-1851165_1920If you stay with us during that time, you can expect healthy, locally sourced meals that are prepared in-house daily, including fresh fruit and veggie juices and smoothies. As always, your daily itinerary is completely tailored to your desires, and during this time we will be offering a few extra activity options such as pilates, meditation, running, swimming and body weight training, as well as all the normal activities such as horse riding, game drives, cycling and many more. We will also be offering each guest a free massage for every 3 nights spent with us.

43415139_1903696439665545_5850883700794851328_n

So, what are you waiting for? Let us help you kickstart your New Year’s resolutions with a detox safari experience! Get in touch with us to book your stay.[:]

Mr South Africa at Ants

By Special Guests
[:en]Armand du Plessis, the winner of Mr. South Africa 2015/2016, recently stayed with us at Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill Bush Homes. Here is what he had to say about his experience with us:

“After an extremely busy two years as Mr. South Africa and representing our beautiful country at the Mr. World 2016 Competition in London during July 2016, I was looking at the perfect spot (away from everything and everyone, and also at times from cell phone reception – which was fantastic), to treat my parents to thank them for their incredibly amazing support during my journey, and one during which I could not have spent a lot of time with them.

A friend of mine, who has also been of great support on my journey as Mr. South Africa, came across a little piece of heaven, relatively close to home (Johannesburg) in Lephalale, by the name of Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill Bush Homes. The ‘Ants’ part of the name reminded me that those who work hard will always be rewarded, and my reward as Mr. South Africa 2015/2016 was this visit to this beautiful lodge.

Since we hit the road on a sunny Friday afternoon, one of the Lodge Managers kept in touch with me on the road to find out how we are travelling, something, which I have never, came across before. The same Lodge Manager welcomed us with open arms upon our arrival at Ant’s Nest, not to forget the welcoming drinks. We were introduced to our breath-taking villa, which left me teary-eyed to think how grateful I am to experience this lodge and our awesome country at its best. Dinner was served, and we shared in it with our fellow guests, making one meet new people and share in interesting stories for all-over. When the morning broke, our room doors were open (my room looking out onto a heavenly bath and miles and miles of bush and the sounds of animals), the other room opening up onto our private splash pool. Breakfast was served with a special touch, and so also the rest of the meals over the duration of our stay, making our stay even more memorable and special, and NO, I am not talking about the extra kilo’s we have picked up (but which were SO worth it) Haha!

36087284_1553091078133676_2862907586129166336_nI embarked on a horse safari which made me look at these beautiful animals with new eyes, sharing in it with a very intelligent guide, teaching us more about the wildlife as we came up close to some of the many animals on the farm. Later the afternoon, we went on a game drive and came up very close with the farm’s rhinos, a rare moment as we had to remember ourselves that if we do not protect these “giants” our own children might not be able to see them in the wild. We are not too sure where we found the time, but we were even surprised with a massage during our stay, that also took place in the comfort of our private villa, the World’s View cottage.

36041294_1553090968133687_7226995745033814016_nAll and all an incredible experience and if you are looking for some quality time away and wanting to recharge your batteries; look NO further than ANT’S HILL AND ANT’S NEST BUSH HOMES!

I am so grateful and glad we came across this little gem, which will definitely see us again. Thank You to all the staff for making this so special!”[:]

Dogs at Ant’s Nest

By The Dogs at Ants
[:en]

We recently did a blog post about all of the dogs at Ant’s Hill, so now it’s time to introduce you to the pooches who rule the roost down at Ant’s Nest!

RALPH – 4-year-old black Labrador

Ralph is Ant’s dog and goes everywhere with Ant. He is a pedigree retriever born in Cape Town from a champion bloodline and loves driving with Ant in his jeep, and even on the motorbike with Ant. He is also a great retriever and loves swimming but most of all he is a great companion to Ant.

IMG_3476
NUMA – 3-year-old chocolate Labrador

Numa is a very loving well-mannered dog that is adored by everyone. He spends hours trying to entertain guests by bringing them anything to throw for him.

1I5A2871

We always say that he is crossed with a seal as he loves swimming so much, he even dives to the bottom of the deep end to fetch his toys. Numa is definitely a show dog and loves pleasing people. He can do tricks such as High-5, High-10 and gives paw. His ultimate trick is to climb up the two rocks by the pool just as guests arrive to launch himself off into the water showing himself off.
KX6B5764

LILY – 2-year-old petite Jack Russel terrier (we think crossed with a whippet, white with brown spots)

Lily belongs to Lee-Ann and Wiehahn and was 7 weeks old when she arrived at the Nest, weighing only 900 grams. She now lives with Numa, who has taught her how to swim and was very patient with her as a puppy, letting her bite his tail and sleep on the same dog bed.KX6B5046

Lily is very shy and nervous of new people but quickly warms up to anyone with a ball or stick. She even sleeps with it in her mouth. Once she is comfortable with new people she is a very sweet dog who loves fuss and attention, she is a big hit with all guests, especially children.

JACKIE – 4-year-old wire haired Jack Russel (white with brown spots – pictured with Lily)
imageb

Jackie came from another game reserve on the other side of Vaalwater and is owned by Diana, former stable manager at Ant’s Nest. Diana now works long months down in the Cape, so Jackie stays here and is looked after by our accountant, Michelle, whilst Diana is away.

He’s a very sweet little dog with a lovely gentle temperament and you’ll often find him wondering to the lodge to get belly rubs from the guests. However, he has his cheeky moments and can sometimes be seen chasing the mongoose and cats around the lodge and back of the house, and it’s a guarantee that every night when everyone has gone back to their rooms, you will hear him barking back at the jackals calling to each other in the distance.

These are just a few of the characters that you can expect to meet while staying at Ant’s Nest. Good dogs, good horses, good people![:]

Dogs at Ant’s Hill

By The Dogs at Ants
[:en]

While the horses might be the biggest drawcard for people travelling to Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill Bush Homes, they certainly aren’t the only furry four-legged creatures that the guests fall in love with during their stay with us!

We have a number of dogs running around the lodges that are just as much a part of the family as the staff and horses. Here is a little more about the pooches that you might meet during your stay at ‘The Hill’:

Bob and Marley are two adorable little Jack Russell brothers that Chase picked up in Vaalwater. Bob is identifiable by his brown collar, whereas Marley wears a colourful one. This seems to fit their personalities as Marley is a total ‘ladies man’ and is always looking for attention from the ladies around the lodge. Bob, on the other hand, is always on his own mission. He loves attention but will rarely come looking for it. Bob also has a soft spot for baby animals and becomes very protective. When our foal, Umlilo was recently born, Bob stayed with him in the stable for long periods of time and still plays with him on a regular basis.

Ants-2448Tequila a little black and white Jack Russell who belongs to Craig, the general manager at Ant’s Hill. She was given to Craig by his brother when he moved to Zambia. Although she may be small, she’s a fiery little creature with quite the queen bee attitude. Small dog, big heart. Before moving to Ants, she used to herd up to 60 beef cattle all by herself. She’s been on death’s door more than once though. The worst was when she was attacked by a German Shepard. You can still feel the indentation on her side where her ribs where crushed. She is a little fighter though and is going 16 this year. Harry is Jess’s childhood dog and the oldest here at 17 years old. He is mostly deaf now but still takes his little missions up and down from the house to the office and vice versa. Then we have Tess, a timid little daschund, who belongs to Poppet. She is very particular about who she lets give her rubs or attention and is usually found trailing loyally behind Poppet.

_MG_1176Keep an eye out for our next blog article which will feature the dogs at Ant’s Nest![:]