From horse riding and mountain biking to game drives and guided walks, we have a variety of activities, at Ants, that will appeal to the intimate couple to families alike.
Ant’s has got to be one of the most child friendly safari lodges found in Africa, we will give your children and family a life-changing experience from grandparents right down to babies. Our unique policy is to allow children of all ages to join their parents on all game viewing activities, so you can witness their first encounters with wildlife. At Ant’s – family safaris are our speciality, we have an abundance of exciting and thrilling safari activities to offer kids of all ages, allowing them to leave with an intimate knowledge of the bush.
What makes us different?
We have an exceptional variety of family friendly activities available on offer these include:
- Game drives
- Guided walks / walking safaris
- Led pony rides for beginners or under 4
- Bug and spoor walks / learn to become a ranger
- Horse riding lessons
- Horse riding safaris / full day rides
- Snake and reptile talks / handling
- Swimming with the horses
- Mountain biking
- Rhino tracking
- Big 5 game drives
- Night sky safaris
- Visit to our local children’s home
Both lodges are small and intimate which allows us to offer you maximum flexibility, there are no fixed times and we will tailor your day according to your needs. Children are welcome to join their parents for dinner. Alternatively, special suppers or meal times can be arranged. As a family you can also book private dinners. Although your children can join you on all activities, however should you, wish to leave them at the lodge and enjoy a more challenging walk or ride, we can offer full child minding.
We have a selection of wonderful ponies catering to both the novice and experienced child rider. Beginners will be led by a competent guide and riding lessons are also available. Under 4 year old children will be led on a pony in and around the lodge area as they are still too young to be taken out on long outrides. Both lodges have various facilities ideal for kids, such as the heated swimming pool which is heated all year round, a trampoline, sand pits, a badminton & volley ball court as well as a selection of toys and books. Due to our relaxed and informal atmosphere, Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill are ideal for families with kids of all ages.
Horse Riding & Riding Safaris
Both Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill offer the opportunity for some of the greatest game viewing in the African bush – from horseback. You can canter along open sandy tracks or traverse high ridges with spectacular vistas. The pace can be as fast or relaxed as the riders would like. Often we can get so close to the game that the experience remains unforgettable.
We have fit, reliable and responsive horses, providing a choice for both the professional rider and the absolute beginner. (You do not need to have ridden before). The herd of almost 90 horses is made up of big thoroughbreds and Arab-Boerperd crosses and includes some fabulous children’s ponies. Each ride is led by two competent guides and the emphasis is on safety at all times. The enthusiastic rider may wish to ride twice daily and turn their stay into a luxury riding safari. Families or couples, where some ride and others don’t, can enjoy separate activities. As we always have two guides on each ride novices can go out with their more competent partners without slowing the ride. Basic lessons for non-riders are available at both reserves; many guests learn to ride and gain confidence here.
What makes our riding safaris unique: Ant’s is unique in that our horses live out in the bush and graze in and amongst the game, thus giving guests possibly the closest wildlife encounter on horseback in Africa, the game see the horses as just another animal. Together with our ultimate flexibility, incredible personal service, huge variety of game, additional activities and the ability to take all levels or riders including children of all ages sets us apart from other riding operations particularly those in lion and elephant country.
Tack & Equipment
We use comfortable McLellan saddles made locally for long hours in the saddle. These are based on the famous US cavalry saddle designed for the comfort of both horse and rider alike. We do also have a few English saddles available. No client will be allowed to ride with us unless they are wearing a riding hat so we do stock a selection of sizes. We do, however, recommend that you bring your own well-fitted helmet if you plan to spend many an hour in the saddle. Wide brim riding hat covers are advisable. In order to be covered by both your own and our insurers the wearing of riding helmets is compulsory. Our weight limit is 120 kg (19 stone).
Guided walks & Walking safaris
For those who prefer walking, our guides will lead you through the bushveld on foot. These walks are informative and interactive, enabling you to gain knowledge of African flora and fauna. One can often miss the smaller details of our beautiful environment when on a vehicle or horseback, so guided walks are highly recommended. These can be in the form of a gentle stroll to; identify insects and birds, track animals through the bush, and learn the medicinal properties of various trees and plants. Alternatively the more energetic traveller can hike over the plains and up impressive gorges. Specialised bug hunts and learning to track game are available for children at both bush homes.
Should you be an avid walker, you may also choose to do a full day walking safari, stopping in a scenic location to enjoy a bush lunch or even a dip in one of our many dams. In addition to this we offer an incredible river walk through mountains and gorges to view bushman paintings on another private reserve in a very different geographical area of the Waterberg.
Day & Night Game Drives
Our guides will be available to take you out in an open 4×4 Land Cruiser either for morning or afternoon game drives or using a spotlight at night to find elusive nocturnal animals, such as the rare brown hyena, aardvark, bushbaby and porcupine. The advantage of a game drive is that you are able to cover more ground across the reserve. Game drives and walks can often be combined to make game viewing and photography more exciting.
Other Safari Experiences
We are very happy to take you through the Waterberg to see other interesting sites, or, you are welcome to enjoy some of the other activities and pastimes we have on offer at Ants Hill and Ants Nest.
For those wanting a bit of exercise, try out our mountain bikes, the incredibly diverse terrain offers extreme technical cycling as well as gentle meanders. Enjoy cycling alongside herds of game in the more gentle plains and valleys, alternatively for those who are fit, you can cycle in more challenging terrain, (routes vary from 5-20 km).
Should you be an avid runner and would like to keep in shape whilst in the bush, we will happily take you out on a bush run, routes and speed vary according to your fitness and energy levels.
Lounge by the pool or enjoy a massage. We offer half or full body massages, this can be in the comfort of your room or private verandah.
Fishing in summer months we can take you to fish in one of the dams, for bream and bass, which is great fun for children.
Snake & reptile talks
Spend some time interacting and learning about these amazing reptiles and find out what really makes these creatures so fascinating and awe inspiring. Understand their importance in this magical environment we, and they call home. Talks and demonstrations will be conducted by a qualified and experienced handler with an excess of 20 years snake handling experience.
Wine tasting evenings
This has become very popular. As South Africa can be proud of so many fantastic wine estates we would like to share this marvel with our guests and this is just one of the special extras we can add to your tailor-made day.
Library & Curio Shop
We have a selection of books available and a curio shop stocked with original, handmade crafts.
Local Excursions in and around the Waterberg
A local “Big Five” game reserve, where it is possible to see Lions and Elephants
A tour of Bushman paintings and Iron Age Sites as well as stunning river walks and picnics.
On Sundays we go to a historic thatched church where you can meet local people and see the 1914 building designed by Sir Herbert Baker. Children can attend a colourful Sunday school where the Sotho children sing choruses in rousing harmony.
We are happy to take you into the local town where you will find a wide variety of African arts and crafts.
* Please check with the lodge on arrival as some of the above may not be available at the time.
Night Sky Safari
See the night sky as you have never done before. With our advanced telescopes, astronomical video cameras and talented astronomers and communicators (who have decades of experience), let us introduce you to the wonders of the universe – live and in colour. The experience is designed for those with no previous knowledge of astronomy and the aim is to take you on a tour of the wonders of the amazing African night sky. We display a live feed from our telescopes of whichever of the planets are visible. See the moons of Jupiter, the rings of Saturn or the phases of Venus. Understand the myths and extraordinary science of the planets. Follow the life story of a star from its stunning birth to its dramatic and beautiful death. Then we take you deeper into the universe to see an amazing glimpse of clusters and galaxies so far away that light itself has taken millions of years to reach us from them. Watch the craters and seas of our very own moon, and understand its amazing secrets. Get a personal tour of the constellations of the night sky, and learn their fascinating myths and facts.
Special celebrations & occasions
Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill can be booked exclusively to one group of guests, making it an ideal safari destination for multi-generational families or for guests wanting a specialised safari or special occasion safari, these could vary from 50th birthday themed parties, photography/birding/yoga weeks. Whatever the occasion might be we will be able to accommodate you.
Sculpting, Art & Photography safaris
Yes believe it or not, but you can learn to sculpt, draw or do a photography course in the middle of the African bush. These are just some of the many artistic expression you can learn to master with us. Other would include birding safaris.
Game Census Safari
For those who are hooked on Africa, there comes a time when you want a totally different safari experience. Our annual game census safari is just that!
It’s a time in the bush when wildlife conservation prevails and guests have the opportunity to be part of it for an entire week between May and June. From game counting and darting, to capturing and relocating wildlife, the activities all have a unique purpose: to keep the private reserve and its animal residents thriving.
Traditionally game censuses are done by helicopter but we capitalise on what we know best and perform the whole operation on horseback. It continues to remain more accurate than a helicopter count and most importantly, causes zero disturbance to the wildlife.
It’s a unique way to experience the bush in a way that whole-heartedly immerses participants into anything but ordinary activities on the private game reserve. That doesn’t mean you have to give our conventional activities a miss though. Game drives and guided bush walks are still available to game census safari guests too, because an Ant’s holiday is a personalised one. Choose to spend an active day in the saddle or a leisure day exploring our reserve’s natural wonders, all coupled with fine cuisine and luxury accommodation.
Safari with a purpose. Contact us if you’d like to be part of the next adventure.
Dates: June 3-11th 2017