Waterberg Challenge Ride

The Waterberg Trust group leader Sophie Neville during the Waterberg Challenge Ride
The Waterberg Trust group leader Sophie Neville during the Waterberg Challenge Ride

VAALWATER — After the success of 2015’s inaugural event, The Waterberg Trust (TWT) organised the second annual Waterberg Challenge Ride, which took place from 12 to 18 March 2016, hosted this year by Ant’s Nest and guided by Ant Baber from Vaalwater.
This exciting event, held to raise funds for various Waterberg projects, involved 12 experienced riders crossing 175 kilometres of Waterberg wilderness in six days. This year’s route went through Ant’s Nest, Kwalata, Lapalala and Jembisa game reserves, all around Vaalwater.
The dream of riding through the game reserves of South Africa became a reality for the twelve British riders when they took up the challenge of raising £1,000 each for Save the Waterberg Rhino and local community projects and finally got on their horses.
The team was made up of experienced riders and was led by Ant Baber. The pace was fast whenever the terrain allowed. The idea was to traverse the 175 kilometres of remote country while taking the opportunity to learn about rhino conservation and discover more about the Waterberg.
Funds raised will be going to Save the Waterberg Rhino and other community projects including the sponsorship of 100 local underprivileged children to attend The Lapalala Wilderness School.
“The first event hosted by Horizon in 2015 went from Horizon, Koshari, Ant’s Nest, and Lindani, to Jembisa, thanks to support from Shane and Laura Dowinton, David Baber, Dean van Heerden, Ant and Tess Baber, Sam and Peggy van Coller and Charles Whitbread,” Sophie Neville, Trustee of TWT since 2006 and person responsible for the trusts website, explained.
“This sponsored ride raised fund for HIV/Aids programme support, involving nurse training and two-year support for an after school club at the Waterberg Welfare Society. This includes the rental of a house in Vaalwater for the homework facility,” said Neville.
TWT was also able to support the Northern Education Trust, sponsoring a Waterberg student through accounting studies at Pretoria University. They are also raising money for Lethabo Kids Club in Leseding, Vaalwater, who run a much needed Back to School programme, providing school uniforms and more for primary school pupils.
Riders were able to visit these projects and the Lapalala Wilderness School while they were in the Waterberg.
The Waterberg Trust has already sponsored Save the Waterberg Rhino by funding the purchase of vital equipment, such as radios and a metal detector for the police officer dedicated to working with rhino poaching incidents in the Waterberg. Being a UK registered charity, TWT are able to access grants that are not available directly to South African registered Non Profit Organisations, and is able to increase some UK donations by adding 25% Gift Aid.
“Meanwhile, in England, Barry Burles, another trustee of The Waterberg Trust, led a team of 14 cyclists on The Waterberg Trust Challenge Cycle Ride 2016 during exactly the same time as the one in South Africa.
This 84-mile ride from Cambridge to the little village of Langham in Norfolk, was completed in one day despite unfriendly weather,” Neville told the Mogol Post.

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