As part of an on-going conversation about great places for families with kids and active travelers in Southern Africa here’s a bit more about Ant’s Nest Lodge, a great property in the Waterburg Area in South Africa.
The Region: Waterberg Biosphere
Ant’s Nest Lodge is a family owned property a three hour drive from Johannesburg and situated in the magnificent Waterberg Mountain Range of Limpopo. The Waterberg Mountains stretch for more than 2,000 mi² forming spectacular vistas and scenic valleys and are a great off-the-beaten-track destination. The Waterberg Biosphere is home to huge variety of animals because of its diverse topography. The reserve sustains over 40 species of game including giraffe, white rhino, sable antelope, buffalo, nyala, gemsbok (Oryx), kudu, Livingstone eland, blue wildebeest (gnu), red hartebeest, zebra, impala, bushbuck, duiker, steenbuck, mountain reedbuck, waterbuck, warthog, blesbuck, baboons, bushpig, klipspringer, leopard, jackal, brown hyena, caracal, civet and genet to name but a few. Sable antelope are one of the most conservation dependent species in South Africa and rarely seen in any national park. In 2011 the reserve started a Sable Breeding Program with a small core herd which is now a successful, viable breeding herd. There are also over 300 species of resident and migrant birds.
The emphasis in this secluded and private area is on wildlife viewing in open vehicles, on foot or by horseback. In addition to these activities while at Ant’s Nest you have the chance to participate in any management activities going on in the reserve including game capture and relocation and treating injured animals. Their annual game census on horseback program is great fun and a chance to support the research and conservation work that is on-going in the reserve (read more about the game census program here).
Guided Walks: For those who prefer a two-legged safari, Ant and Tessa will expertly guide you through the bush on foot. These walks can take the form of a gentle morning or afternoon stroll or an energetic hike. Game and Bird hunting are specialties of the ranch are an additional cost and must be arranged in advance. Bush picnics or sundowners at Ant’s favorite viewing spot make each day special.
Horseback Safaris: Horseback safaris are an Ant’s Nest specialty and the property has a large selection of well-trained horses to match any riding level. Two guides accompany all of the rides. From horseback you are able to get close to the
wildlife, blending in and becoming one with the bush. Tracking rhino or giraffe from horseback is an exhilarating and intimate way of viewing game in their natural habitat.
For Kids: Special activities are available for children and teenagers who enjoy getting involved in the running of a game reserve. Children of all ages can join their parents on all activities or can be taken out separately. Toys and games are available to keep young ones occupied between activities and the lawned gardens create a safe haven for them to play in. Riding lessons are also available for novice riders including children. Special food and meal times can be arranged and children are welcome to come to supper in their pajamas.
One of the best elements of an Ant’s Nest experience is the flexibility. There are no set wake up times or strict itineraries, you can do what you want when you want. There are typically up to three different activities at any given time either in the morning or in the afternoon. Changes to meal times to accommodate children of all ages are easily made.
Ant’s Nest is unique bush home owned by Ant and Tessa Baber in a private game reserve in the Waterberg Mountains. Your host, Ant, has spent his whole life in the Waterberg Mountains and is a descendant of one of the earliest pioneers in the area. His love of the outdoors makes him a passionate conservationist and enables him to provide a total bush experience.
Ant’s Nest offers a real home from home experience. Tessa Barber has brought her Kenyan influence to the old colonial home, creating stylish warmth with classic furniture fashioned from local timber, fabrics and stone. This secluded bush home caters for a maximum of eight people, in three double bedrooms and one twin. All the double rooms feature hand-crafted, wooden, four-poster beds. The lodge is surrounded home landscaped gardens filled with indigenous plants. The plunge pool is a popular feature on hot afternoons and the verandah surrounding the main house is an ideal setting for an afternoon nap.Extensive lawns with indigenous plants surround the pool and there is a wonderful thatched chill-out spot with vast sofa beds where you can relax during the heat of the day.
Overnight at ANT’S NEST.
Includes: Exclusive use basis, all activities, meals, drinks other than premium liquors and wines, laundry.
Find an 11-day family-friendly itinerary that includes Ant’s Nest here.
For more information email [email protected]