Witness the Beauty of ‘Zulucow’ on a Riding Safari at ‘Ant Africa Safaris’ in South Africa!”

Imagine being just two meters away from a rhino, feeling the thrill and fear simultaneously. What if it charged? You can’t climb a tree on horseback! Well this was my experience at ‘Ant Africa Safaris’ in the Waterberg. A safari a mere four hours north of Johannesburg in April.

The rhino didn’t charge, but continued to graze nonchalantly just two metres away from me and my horse, ‘Bruguera’. My guide Jojo, told me you can get extremely close to wildlife on horseback as they don’t recognise you as a threatening human. They recognise you instead as just one dark blob. I also learnt that the breathtaking experiences I was loving at Ant’s Safaris were because Ant’s horses graze with the wildlife at night. This means that the wildlife become familiar with the horses and allow such close, heart-stopping encounters.

Even zebras, which I’d seen before, evoked joy; as I’d never seen their exquisite beauty up close before. My heart leapt on seeing a tower of giraffes, busy nibbling leaves, high up in the trees. We watched in awe as they cantered off elegantly on their long graceful legs. What an experience. I felt so lucky to combine my three passions: Horses, Africa and Zulucow.

‘Ants Nest’ Lodge has a welcoming, African farmhouse feel with a stunning pool. There are friendly staff and delicious meals in varied settings (braai lunches in the bush; pre-drinks beside the fire in the handsome kraal, delicious dinners of ostrich and steak, regaled by Squiri’s hilarious tales of his 13 years working as a guide in the bush.) Not forgetting quixotic sundowners in the bush after exhilarating rides viewing wildlife up close.

I’d always dreamed of going on an African riding safari. (I’d been fortunate to holiday in beautiful South Africa often. I have stayed in the Drakensberg Mountains; South Natal’s glorious beaches. I’ve been on safaris in HluHluwe and Kruger National Park; but nothing prepared me for the unique experience I had on my riding safari with ‘Ant Africa Safaris’ in the stunning Waterberg.

Zulucow Photoshoot

For my Zulucow photoshoot, I wanted to showcase the Zulu ladies’ craftsmanship. The high-quality cowhide bags, belts and accessories they make, firstly in a classic safari setting and then in a ‘cowboy-core’ Western fashion shoot.

After researching I decided on ‘Ant Africa Safaris’ for my riding safari. I choose this as it was easy to get to from ‘Oliver Tambo airport’ in Johannesburg. Travelling on my own I needed to feel safe (and that I did, in my transfer vehicle.)

I was also impressed by their horses for different level riders. They have sensible hacks for beginners; keen thoroughbreds for intermediates like me and then the gorgeous impressive high-stepping Friesians for advanced riders.

On researching riding safari reserves, I was also impressed by the extensive conservation work ‘Ant Africa Safaris’ does in the Waterberg. They even have a ‘Riding for Rhinos’ annual event. The event raises awareness and funds to help conserve under-threat rhino in the area. I was horrified to learn that up until 2014 the state-owned Kruger National Park had the largest population of rhino. Sadly since then it has since lost 76% of its rhino. (The majority of rhino in SA are now privately-owned in game reserves like ‘Ant Africa Safaris’ where they work tirelessly, educating the local school children and spending a fortune on security to prevent the very real danger of poachers invading the reserve to hack off rhino horn for foreign markets.) ‘Ant Africa’s dedication to conservation and its stunning Waterberg setting made it an unforgettable riding safari experience.