Skip to main content
All Posts By


game census safari, wildlife conservation, buffalo and conservation

Another Game Census Safari Success

By Conservation & Community, News

From game counting and darting, to capturing and relocating wildlife on horseback, the annual game census safari serves to keep the private reserve and its wild residents thriving.

While having traditionally been carried out from a helicopter, conducting a game census on horseback continues to be more accurate than a helicopter count and, perhaps most importantly, significantly minimises disturbance to the wildlife. Each year, guests join us for several nights, and each day is spent heading out into the reserve – either on horseback or in a vehicle – to count, dart and relocate game animals.

Ant puts his riders into place around, but out of sight of the animal, so that if it runs, we can keep track of its movements. Once the dart is in, everyone stays in their position, and everything is done quietly to keep the animal calm to stop it wanting to run away. Once the animal is down and completely sedated, the radio calls through for guests to come and observe while the vet, Paul, is working on the animal.

game census safari, Riding South Africa, Waterberg game reserve, wildlife conservationThis year, we had an exciting five-day game census safari jam-packed with incredible wildlife encounters that were all part of caring for the many game species that call the reserve home. And, of course, it wouldn’t be a safari at The Ant Collection without many exhilarating horseback rides, bushveld views, and those all-important sundowners.

Day 1: All about the antelopes

Every day of the game census is exciting, but there is always an extra buzz in the air amongst our staff and guests on the first day. This year, we started off by darting two sable bulls, five young Roan bulls, and two oryx bulls. The young sable and Roan bulls were relocated to a separate area where they will form their own bachelor groups.

Once these are firmly established and the rainy season arrives, they will then be released onto the main reserve. For the two oryx bulls, this was their day of release into the main reserve. The day ended with some long canters to the sundowner spot where we watched the sun go down with a drink in hand.

Day 2: It’s all hands on deck!

We got up close with two buffalo bulls that were darted for relocation. It was all hands on deck with these very big, very heavy boys that needed to be loaded into the game trailers. After much huffing and puffing, that job was done and the next was tracking down a female giraffe with a nasty abscess on her buttocks.

game census safari, wildlife conservation, buffalo and conservationThe group cantered to the area where she had been spotted and wound through the bush quietly to get to her. The vet couldn’t dart her in the thickets, so the horses worked hard in trying to push her out into an open area to make darting and treating her easier and safer. Unfortunately, she was very elusive and so we were unable to complete this job successfully. Nevertheless, it was a good second day and well-deserved gin and tonics awaited the guests for sundowners.

Day 3: How to outsmart a buffalo herd

The day started with darting another two buffalo bulls. We have to space out buffalo darting over two days because the herd is very clever and quickly realises what we’re up to, often running off before Paul can dart them. Once the animal is lying down and sedated, the vet will check its condition, give it medication if necessary, and dip it for ticks. A staff member holds the animal’s head in a comfortable position, ensuring it can breathe comfortably and continually monitoring its breathing.

game census safari, Riding South Africa, Waterberg game reserve, wildlife conservationNext up was darting a Roan bull that was in poor condition because of it being winter. The vet gave the bull medication to build up his immune and make him strong again for the next few harsh months. We are happy to report that after several days of monitoring, the Roan bull has taken well to the medication.

In the afternoon, the helicopter assisted us in darting three kudu bulls and one eland bull, which were released onto the main reserve. The team of riders were divided into two, each having a recovery vehicle to load the animals into. The riders and horses love this because it involves following the chopper and cantering through the bush after the animals.

With the sun beginning to set, it was a race to sundowners, where we ended the day sharing stories of everyone’s experience of the captures so far.

Day 4: Second time lucky?

Our aim for this day was to locate sable and Roan bulls in the main reserve for relocating. The riders were divided up into teams and given areas to look for the animals – it can be quite tricky to find one specific animal in an area of 5000 hectares! Later in the morning, everyone cantered to where a sable bull was located, and Ant put everyone at specific point around the animal in case it decided to run. Fortunately, the darting went smoothly, and the vet did all he needed to in good time.

game census safari, Riding South Africa, Waterberg game reserve, wildlife conservationAfter a morning filled with riding and excitement, we cantered to bush lunch at our biggest dam where we were met with the smell of food cooking on the open flame. The guests relaxed under a shady tree, with a drink in hand overlooking the dam and spotting some beautiful birds.

We then tried to dart the same female giraffe from Day 2, but she was once again in thick bush. So we called upon the riders and the trusty horses to try their best to push her out and into an area where the vet could work with her. Like the first time we met her, she had other plans and evaded us once more before daylight ran out. It was time to call it a day and enjoy sundowners.

Day 5: That’s a wrap!

We started the morning on horseback looking for wildebeest. Capturing wildebeest is very difficult so we were all thrilled when we managed to do so successfully. We located two different groups and darted two wildebeest cows and one bull from one group, and two wildebeest cows from the second that were safely transported by game trailer to another reserve.

After several days of early mornings, being on horseback before the suns up, lots of cantering and heavy lifting of animals, we wrapped up Day 5 in the afternoon. Ant took the guests out for a ride to see the reserve from a different perspective for sundowners, a well-earned treat after all the hard days of riding. Everyone was in high spirts on the ride home because it was time for the game census party.

Dinner was amazing! We cooked a hearty potjie – a traditional South African dish – and once everyone was full and happy, it was time to party. It was a great way to end another successful game census safari.

luxury safari wedding, weddings in south africa, best wedding venues in south africa, safari wedding south africa

A Luxury Safari Wedding with a Wild Twist

By Special Guests

Nicola and Oliver chose a private, luxury safari wedding in South Africa, hosted by our team and attended by our special four-legged guests, the Ants horses and rhinos.

The enchanting beauty and romance of the African bush stays with you forever. Nicola experienced this firsthand when she fell in love on her first visit to South Africa and which has brought her back several times over the past seven years. So it was no surprise that when Oliver proposed to her, she knew exactly where she wanted them to get married!

weddings in south africa, best wedding venues in south africa, safari wedding south africa

© Lotty H. Photography

Eloping for a safari wedding in South Africa 

The couple chose to have a simple wedding that was just about them and the bush. We were honoured to arrange their luxury safari wedding in the South African bushveld (and Oliver’s first trip to South Africa). They travelled from their home in Germany to the Ants private game reserve in April, with the team ready to make this special day, and their entire stay, a celebration worthy of big love and commitment.

luxury safari wedding, weddings in south africa, best wedding venues in south africa, safari wedding south africa

© Lotty H. Photography

The only other people at the ceremony were Shane Dowington from Horizon Horseback who performed a beautiful blessing, Lotty our local photographer extraordinaire (check out her work here), and Ant, Amanda and Lucas from Ants were on-hand to assist. There were another two members of the bridal party who almost stole the show – Garonga (Nicola’s horse) and Tafika (Oliver’s horse).

weddings in south africa, best wedding venues in south africa, safari wedding south africa

© Lotty H. Photography

Celebrating love in the wild

Nicola made her way down the aisle on horseback, Garonga carrying her gracefully to where Oliver was waiting. The ceremony was performed on the mountain, followed by a ride up to another beautiful spot – Nicola on Garonga and Oliver on Tafika. They clinked glasses of champagne and enjoyed small nibbles while watching the sun set over the reserve. And then the day ended with a wonderfully ‘wild’ surprise!

luxury safari wedding, weddings in south africa, best wedding venues in south africa, safari wedding south africa

© Lotty H. Photography

During their sundowners, there was a radio call to say the rhinos had been found. So the bride and groom, together with Ant and Lotty, took a ‘Ferrari safari’ in the Ants jeep to meet the rhinos before they moved off. After a spectacular shoot with this magnificent crew, Nicola and Oliver were bought back to the lodge for a celebratory dinner in the boma. Our other guests that had come from America, Brazil and France joined in and made it a festive evening under the African night sky.

weddings in south africa, best wedding venues in south africa, safari wedding south africa

© Lotty H. Photography

After a magical wedding day, Nicola and Oliver agree that you can’t beat a luxury safari wedding in the South African bush. We invite you to celebrate long-lasting love in the company of horses, nature’s breath-taking beauty, and our team that takes care of all the details.

Contact us if this sounds like your dream wedding just waiting to happen!

Ants lodges, Horse riding holidays, Cross the Wild, Wild Waterberg Trail

Saddling Up for the Wild Waterberg Trail

By Horses, The Ant's Experience
[:en]The Wild Waterberg Trail is not called wild for no reason. A custom riding holiday designed by Cross the Wild journeys through The Ant Collection, taking you across the Waterberg bushveld, riding alongside its wildest residents and Ants’ rhinos in the day and bedding down under the stars at night.

This year guides Ant and Amanda joined friends Em and Tea from Cross the Wild, along with four of their guests who were ready for an adventure in the great South African outdoors. The group saddled up and headed out from Ants, returning four days later with a bunch of special memories.

Ants lodges, Horse riding holidays, Cross the Wild, Wild Waterberg Trail

© Cross the Wild

Day 1: Racing against rhinos

While making friends with the Ants’ horses on a relaxed afternoon ride, the guests met buffalo, zebra and wildebeest. The rhinos were clearly up for a race and beat the riders to the sundowner spot. In fact, four of the younger and particularly energetic rhinos turned up before the riders got there and had a sundowner without them!

Ants lodges, Horse riding holidays, Cross the Wild, Wild Waterberg Trail

© Cross the Wild

Day 2: Swimming with horses

The first full day of riding clocked over 30km and ended up being a somewhat watery affair. The midday dip in the dam was well-deserved for both the riders and their horses. While the riders relaxed and tucked into a much-needed bush lunch, their four-legged companions enjoyed the time to rest and graze. They were even treated to a visit by Congo, the dominant male rhino.

Ants lodges, Horse riding holidays, Cross the Wild, Wild Waterberg Trail

© Cross the Wild

Later that afternoon, the heavens opened, sending the riders and horses galloping towards the warmth and dry of the day’s final destination, The Shack. To the delight of all, there waiting for them were a fire, freshly baked lasagna and ready-made bed rolls.

Ants lodges, Horse riding holidays, Cross the Wild, Wild Waterberg Trail

© Cross the Wild

Day 3: Sleeping beneath the stars

After a very grey and misty start to the morning, the group got up to a steady gallop towards the local restaurant, Lekhalo, in the first game reserve of the day. After the day’s riding and a late lunch, the group had clocked around 35km over three different reserves that had shown off the Waterberg’s beautifully diverse topography.

Waterberg bush camping

© Cross the Wild

Camp that night was set up along the river in Nyati Wilderness Reserve, where the riders enjoyed a hearty braai and bedded down in bedrolls laid out under the stars. Falling asleep beneath the milky way to the sounds of the river and surrounding bush at night, and without any rain in sight, set the scene for a good night’s sleep.

Waterberg bush camping

© Cross the Wild

Day 4: Toasting to an unforgettable ride

After packing up camp in the morning, the riders readied their horses for the last leg of their journey. Another 30km of riding and a stop at Lekhalo for delicious burgers (the best in Waterberg!) had all riders and horses arrive at the final sundowner spot, the Ants’ airstrip for champagne and snacks to nibble on.

Ants lodges, Horse riding holidays, Cross the Wild, Wild Waterberg Trail

© Cross the Wild

Day 5: Saying goodbyes – until next time!

An early morning ride took the group up the mountain for breakfast with a view and a special time for the riders to say goodbye to their horses. It was the perfect way to end the trail, reflecting on the highlights of the over 120kms they all travelled together across the wild and wonderful Waterberg.

Ants lodges, Horse riding holidays, Cross the Wild, Wild Waterberg Trail

© Cross the Wild

Contact us to be kept in the loop about our horse riding holidays and other safari experiences at Ants.[:de]The Wild Waterberg Trail is not called wild for no reason. One of our favourite customized horse-riding holidays, it takes you across the Waterberg bushveld, riding alongside its wildest residents and Ants’ rhinos in the day and bedding down under the stars at night.
This year, Ant and Amanda guided a group of four guests and two of friends from Cross the Wild, who were all ready for an adventure in the great South African outdoors. The group saddled up and headed out from Ants, returning four days later with a bunch of special memories.[:]

horseback safari

2020 Newsletter

By News

Dear Friends,

What a year 2020 has been! Nobody could have anticipated what a huge affect the pandemic would have across all continents and how everyone’s life has been changed permanently in one way or the other! As in any calamity, it is up to the individual to decide how they will let their life be affected!

Tourism and hospitality being the biggest casualties, the lodges closed on 23 March and the tough decision had to be made to layoff 82 staff members. This left a very small dedicated team to look after the horses, the reserve, the lodges, and the rhino, and they have been magnificent!

Looking back over the year and counting the blessings and positives that have come from this time, I am blown away by how incredible so many people have been in their support, generosity, sacrifices, love, and commitment to keep Ant’s going through the tough times! You, our guests, have contributed sensationally in helping us pay for the game scouts, protecting our rhino for the past ten months through both donations, prize draws, and commissioning paintings to raise the funds needed to keep everything safe and going!

rhino painting

During the pandemic we sadly lost old Erwin, a legendary rhino bull who sired most of the rhino on the reserve, to old age, his teeth been worn down into stumps. He had lived a full and very productive life and must have been close to 40 years of age!




Sekwiri, or better known as ‘ Squirry ‘, our top guide, has used the lockdown to complete his FGASA ( Field Guides Association of South Africa ) Level 3 exams, which is a tremendous achievement! We are very proud of him and his dedication to becoming the best guide!

guide at Ant's Nest

foals born during pandemic

One unexpected blessing has been the arrival of 8 magnificent foals! Our young colt Pemba, son of a 17hh Warmblood mare and 16hh Boerperd stallion, took advantage of being young and free and managed to sire the eight foals! He was only 2 years old! The foals are a delight to everyone and will usher in a new era of big, tough, and well-adapted horses, to our operation.



With the lockdown being imposed overnight we sat with the uncomfortable experience of having no income at all! It was however a blessing having a large herd of buffalo and a willing buyer for 16 of them. With the small team of riders working hard, all the buffalo were captured, loaded, and translocated.

The fun of wrestling semi sedated buffalo to be loaded and put into quarantine before they are translocated to their new reserve.

Bring on 2021! Thank you all for your support!



rhino encounters at Ant's Nest

Sundowners with the Rhinos

By Conservation & Community, Rhinos, The Ant's Experience
[:en]Written by Claire Birtwhistle, a guest at Ant’s Hill

Sundowners on safari is always an enjoyable occasion. Add some special rhino guests to the mix and you’ve got the perfect recipe for an incredibly memorable sundowner experience.

Sundowners with the rhinos; this is what the guests at Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill Bush Homes often find themselves being treated to, and one that I was fortunate enough to experience during my stay at Ants Hill.

Rhino sundowners at Ant's Nest

After a long and hot afternoon of some seriously up close and personal experiences with the rhino population in the reserve, some ice-cold drinks were definitely in order. Arriving at the home of Ant Baber, owner of the Ant Collection, a spread of delicious and freshly cooked finger food was waiting for us next to the pool. As we tucked into the snacks, our attention was quietly directed towards a group of approaching rhinos. Seemingly appearing out of nowhere, all of a sudden there were rhinos everywhere. Watching from the safety of the raised deck area, I took great delight in attempting to recognize the rhinos from the various differences that Ant had pointed out to me earlier in the day.

Once all the rhinos had arrived, the real spectacle began as the Lucerne and feed was divvied up among the feeding stations, making sure that each rhino got their fair share.

rhinos being fed at Ant's Nest

Throughout this whole experience, despite the thrill of being so close to these majestic animals, I couldn’t help but acknowledge the nagging feeling at the back of my brain that something about this was just wasn’t quite right. After all, rhinos are wild animals, surely feeding them habituates them to humans? Curiously, I asked Tess how guests generally react to the rhino sundowners and Tess admitted that there has been some concern raised by guests however they still strongly believe in the practice. After hearing their reasoning why, I couldn’t help but agree. Of course, in an ideal world, the rhinos wouldn’t need to be fed or protected at all, however that’s not the reality we live in.

rhino conservation in waterberg

Here’s why the Ant Collection does sundowners with their rhinos:
Putting aside the obvious reasons of drought relief and supplement feeding, the team at Ants has very specific reasons for letting their guests get so close to their rhinos. Simply put, after an experience like that, you can’t help but fall in love with these animals. These rhinos are like children to the team; each of them has their own name and unique personality and once you’ve been exposed to that, there’s really no going back. It’s an opportunity for guests to be educated on the poaching situation, while at the same time, taking personal responsibility for the rhinos.

Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill Bush Homes will do anything to protect their rhinos, however, this protection comes at a great personal expense. After a devastating poaching attack in 2012, Ant and Tessa Baber, together with Victoria Crake and Gustav Collins, founded the Save the Waterberg Rhino Foundation in an effort to fight rhino poaching in the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve. The Waterberg is home to the second-largest concentration of rhino in South Africa outside of the Kruger National Park. Its population is vital to the survival of the species and it is therefore critical that these rhinos are protected. The Save the Waterberg Rhino is at the forefront of trying to save this last frontier for the rhino. Its main objective is fundraising in order to achieve their mission and other aims of increasing security, creating awareness, supporting education, facilitate training and employment.

At the moment, guests who visit Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill Bush Homes are playing a huge role in keeping this foundation going. After personally meeting these rhinos, many of the guests often want to get involved in the fight. Whether it be donations, or valuable skills and resources, the Waterberg Rhino Foundation needs all the help they can get.

rhino encounters at Ant's Nest

Find out more about the Save the Waterberg Rhino Foundation and how you can get involved here:[:]

wildlife safari on horseback

Tips for taking photos from horseback

By The Ant's Experience

Anybody who has ever tried to take a photograph while horse riding will know that it is no easy feat.

At Ant’s Nest and Ant’ Hill Bush Homes, we see our guests often struggling with this “problem” while out on our horseback safari activities. It’s a tricky one. On the one hand, you want to be able to capture your adventures and experiences but on the other hand, you don’t want to spend your entire ride worried about camera equipment or taking a tumble off your steed while being distracted by getting that perfect shot. Unfortunately, there is no absolute solution to this, and photographing from horseback is always going to provide its challenges, however, there are a few things you can do to get it right.

Here are 3 tips for taking photos from horseback:

Tip 1 – Horse and Rider Safety
Safety always comes first. When photographing from horseback, you need to be confident that you are completely in control of your horse and your balance. You need to be able to anticipate and prepare for movements your horse might make while you are retrieving and using your camera. Holding reins, keeping a horse still and operating a camera all at once really takes multi-tasking to a new level.

Tip 2 – Only take what you need
Most places that offer horse riding, including Ants, don’t allow riders to wear backpacks as they could create a potential hazard to the horse and rider. This means storage space is limited to a waist pouch or saddlebag. If you can get away with carrying an iPhone or small point-and-click, this is first prize. Your photos won’t be billboard quality but they’ll do the trick and it means that you don’t have to carry bulky equipment. If you really want to take your DSLR, choose a versatile lens as there won’t be space to store an extra one or time to switch between lenses from your perch on your pony, in mid canter.

Tip 3 – Make sure your camera is secure and accessible
Don’t drop your camera! Not only will it most likely break, but it might spook the horses and could cause an accident. When riding with a camera, make sure that the camera is secured to either you or the saddle either via a strong lanyard or neck strap. Lens caps also need to be secured or ditched altogether. They are too fiddly and easy to drop. Rather keep a soft cloth in the bag to prevent the lens from getting scratched.

horseback safari in south africa

It’s a wonder how anybody has ever managed to get a good photo while horse riding. But it can be done. Just make sure to enjoy the horseback safari experience to its full and don’t miss out on the setting and freedom feeling because you were too preoccupied with getting that shot.[:]

safari near Gauteng

Escape to the Waterberg

By News, The Ant's Experience
[:en]Few places can compare to the picturesque views over the Waterberg valley, perfect sunny climate, pristine air, and wide-open spaces.

Combined with stylish and scenically appointed lodges, Ants Hill & Ant’s Nest Bush Homes are the perfect solution for South African couples, families, or corporates wanting to escape the cities and epicentres of the South African COVID pandemic. A mere 2.5 hours from Gauteng.

Ants Hill and Ant’s Nest are now fully open for either short breaks out of the city or longer-term stays. Ant’s Hill can either be booked for a short break but also lends itself well for those wishing to enjoy a bush home from home experience as an extended stay (1 to 3 months) at great rates.

Other than the freedom of space with exciting safari activities (Open Vehicle Game Drives & Night Drives, Horse Riding, Walks, Mountain Biking, Fishing, and many more), we can provide all the other essential necessities such as high-speed WIFI for business or personal use and uninterrupted power (generator on-site).

Contact us for information or to make a booking.[:]

New Kids on the Block at Ants

By Horses, Rhinos

As the lockdown continues in South Africa, we find ourselves missing our guests more and more with each day.

Luckily, life in the bush is never boring and there’s always something going on to distract us.  We are still eagerly awaiting the moment when we can reopen our doors and welcome guests back, but while we wait for that day to arrive, we’ll continue to share with you what has been happening in the reserve.

We have had two new and exciting additions join the Ants family recently!

Firstly, Sophie the Rhino gave birth to a healthy bull calf, Dinka, about 3 weeks ago. This is great news for our rhino herd, and the team, especially after having lost two of our eldest rhino’s (Erwin and Skewhorn) during this lockdown period. It has been great welcoming this new little chap into the world. Sophie is still keeping him well protected from the other rhinos and us, so it can be tricky to get a sneak peek, but both are doing very well.

Secondly, a new project we are quite excited about, is breeding some of the best safari horses in South Africa. Our first arrival was on 12 July, a little filly foal born from Lydia, who was born and bred at Ants, and Pemba, the sire, also born here and only turns 3 years old in August. The little foal is a Warmblood x Friesian x Boerperd. With those good genes, we’re certain she’s going to make the perfect safari horse!

We now suspect Pemba managed to cover a few more mares while he was running with the herd, before he was separated and put in a separate area, so watch this space. We now have two lovely thoroughbred mares in with him who we are hoping will produce some beautiful foals next year. This is a very exciting project for us and in a few years from now, we hope to have our own string of well-bred and adapted safari horses.

Buffalo Abound

With over 70 buffalo in our main herd on the reserve and our breeding project doing so well in producing new genetics, it has come a time where we need to sell a number of cows and bulls to continue to diversify the gene pool. We are selling 16 buffalo to a neighbouring reserve who are looking to expand their genetics.

The capture and relocation of these incredible animals is no small task and will take place over a weeklong period in July. All hands will be on deck/on horseback and vehicles to safely dart, load, and move the buffalo into a boma where they will be tested for the 4 diseases (foot and mouth, brucelliosis, Corridor disease and TB) to ensure they are disease-free before moving them to their new home.

They will stay in the boma for a quarantine period before having to dart them again and relocate them. It will be like a mini game census, which seeing as Game Census 2020 had to be cancelled due to COVID 19, the staff are quite excited to take part in it and it will be good practice so we are ready for Game Census 2021!

Find out more about our annual Game Census that guests can partake in here:[:]

The Ants Lockdown Lowdown

By News
[:en]South Africa entered a nationwide lockdown on 26 March and since then, things have been surprisingly busy at Ants despite having no guests.

When you have animals to look after, the work never really stops. While many of the staff went home for the lockdown, a small team of dedicated team members stayed behind to help with looking after the horses and the everyday running of things.

Happy Horses
At the beginning of lockdown, the first step was to move half of the horses to a separate area with more grass which is about 3-4km away. In total, 22 horses were relocated, and are now looking fatter and healthier than ever! Apart from a once a day check-in, they are being left to just be horses are enjoying a well-deserved holiday.

There are still another 21 horses to look after at the stables, most of which are thoroughbreds and older horses which need extra care and food. These horses are still in their normal routine of being feed and checked twice a day, just without the riding.

Veggie Garden
Now more than ever, it is so important to try and become a little more self-sufficient. This is why we have been busy preparing and planting a vegetable and herb garden which will help ease the reliance we have on external food supplies. After much hard work, it is so exciting to see that the garden is already starting to grow and prosper!

vegetable garden, Ant's Nest Bush Home

Battle of the Buffalo Bulls
The buffalo herd has undergone some changes. The main dominant bull was challenged by a younger bull and killed at the age of approximately 12 years old. A post-mortem was done by our vet and it seems like the younger bull delivered a deadly blow to the head of the dominant bull, cracking his teeth and skull on the one side. We had to go out and search for the herd to find out who the culprit was. As it turns out, it was a younger bull of about 7- 8 years old, who was found on the outskirts of the herd, severely injured.

He had several puncture wounds to the head and face, as well as one under the right shoulder. These wounds needed to be treated so a few days later, we went back out on horseback to find the injured bull who was wallowing in the dam.

buffalo bull, Waterberg

The bull was darted, treated with antibiotics, and the wounds cleaned and treated. It will take a while for his wounds to completely heal but we are relieved to see that he is starting to look and feel much better now.

Roan Herd Update
Four of our one-year-old roan females have been moved into a separate breeding area with a different bull. This needed to be done to take grazing pressure off the camp that they were in, as well as ensuring they do not breed with their father.

We also had to search for a 4-week-old baby roan calf which had not been seen for almost two weeks. Although it is normal for the calf to hide in the grass for the first month after it is born and only appear when it is suckling from the mother, it hadn’t been seen at all. Leanne, who looks after the breeding area, was worried that the calf may have died so we decided to search for it by combing through the area on horseback. Finally, after an hour of searching, the calf was discovered alive and well, hidden in some thick grass under a tree. Horray for a happy ending!

Spring Cleaning
The team has also been busy with the not so fun tasks of sorting out the rubbish areas to make sure we are recycling as much as we can, and that the areas are kept clean and tidy. Some spring cleaning has also been happening and the kitchen, storerooms, and back of house areas have all been spruced up. It is a mammoth job that sometimes gets pushed aside when we are so busy with guests so now is a great time to clear it up.

As well as keeping busy with jobs around the lodge, it has been important for the team to keep up the morale and motivation in this difficult time. Activities like sunrise yoga, sundowners, badminton competitions, braais on the fencelines with our neighbours, cycling, team running, game drives and rides, have all been helping to keep the spirits high.

Painting for Conservation
Ant has also been busy getting creative with his paintbrushes lately! To raise money to support our rhino conservation initiatives, Ant has been commissioned by several past guests to do paintings. We are also doing a prize draw to help raise money to support the rhinos and conservation, and the lucky winner will receive a three-night stay for two people at one of the lodges. It is just 10GBP a ticket for a chance to win.

On a personal note, we would just like to thank everyone who decided to postpone their stay with us, rather than cancelling it. Tourism and conservation go hand in hand, and by not cancelling, you are directly helping us to continue with our conservation initiatives. So, thank you!

We look forward to being able to welcome you through our doors when the time comes, but in the meantime, from our family to yours, we hope that you’re staying safe, keeping well, and daydreaming of your next safari holiday with us!


Lending a Helping Hand/Hoof

By Conservation & Community
[:en]“The objective of the Ant Collection is to create sustainable tourism by means of conserving the environment around us, enriching the lives of our guests and staff alike as well as uplifting the community and providing as much skills and development to the locals as possible.” – The Ant Collection

In a developing country such as South Africa, the tourism industry is so important. It is one of the world’s fastest-growing economic sectors and can be used as a great tool for promoting sustainable development and accelerating poverty eradication. Community-minded and always willing to help out when needed, we understand that tourism is directly linked to conservation and community development, and embraces that responsibility wholeheartedly.

Here are 3 of the many ongoing projects that Ants is currently involved with:

Save the Waterberg Rhino

Ant and Tessa Baber founded the Save the Waterberg Rhino foundation in 2012. The foundation aims to raise funds to protect rhinos on privately owned land within the Waterberg Biosphere area. Soon after it was founded, Save the Waterberg Rhino teamed up with The Waterberg Biosphere Reserve and to help private landowners safeguard rhinos from poachers. A team of respected members of the community, rhino owners, rhino specialists, and security experts help to manage the Save the Waterberg Rhino foundation.

African Community Outreach

We are active supporters of the African Community Outreach non-profit organisation. The project supports hundreds of poverty-stricken families, widows, and orphans in the Vaalwater area by visiting with them in their homes, providing food, medical care and assisting children in getting into schools. African Community Outreach relies on donations from the general public, businesses, and the commercial sector for funding. It costs R20 per day to feed a child and guests at Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill often donate generously towards this worthy cause.

Community Support and Upliftment

We also work in partnership with the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve on the YES Project (Youth Environmental Services). This provides unemployed youths from the area with training and skills to get back into employment. There are four training projects; wildlife security, chef training, housekeeping and nature guiding. Ants offers placements for all of the above and the majority of the staff are employed from the local community.

It seems safe to say that when you’re staying with us; your conscience can rest at ease![:]