Seasons greetings and a look back at 2016 from Ant Baber, owner of Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill Bush Homes:
As I sit here on my verandah I can see the constant brilliant flashing of lightning in the hills to the west, and the deep rolling roar of the thunder. The flashes illuminate the heavy dark clouds attached to the solid grey wall of rain advancing towards me. The drought has finally been broken!
2016 has been a year where success is measure by mere survival! We have just come through the worst drought since our family first settled here in the Waterberg in 1886, yet this has been a year where we can just be grateful for the many blessings that we have enjoyed! With the scarcity of rain followed by heat waves the grass just didn’t grow and the grazers particularly were suffering and for the first time in 20 years we had to supplement feed the game. We were so fortunate to find a guy who had produced the best quality Rhodes grass, and 1200 big bales later, the 70 buffalo, rhino, 90 horses and a multitude of other game came through the drought in better shape than any normal winter.
Thanks to the highest occupancy that we have ever experienced through the lodges, you, our guests and agents have contributed to the vital security for the rhino and the greatest blessing has been two healthy rhino calves born this year which we named “ Mokolo” and “Scorcher”. Thanks again to Waterberg Rangers for their selfless task of staying with and protecting the rhino through the coldest nights and heaviest storms!
In November this year, Ant’s Nest has been running , from a very humble beginning, for 20 years! It has been an incredible journey where so many people have contributed to making dreams a reality! We also celebrated my (Ant) big birthday with a big bash at the beginning of December where friends and family from across the globe came to Ant’s Nest to participate in the celebrations.
We built two new enclosed dining areas at each lodge next to the boma which have been wonderful cosy and warm areas to socialize in on cold winter nights, and the Nest has a spacious loft room above its dining room which acts as a day room or quiet space for massage etc.
We are also in the process of constructing our own airstrip. For many years we have used the strip on a neighboring property but will now have our own on our reserve at the start of the new year.
The lodges both boast new stables from which the 90 horses have had over 12 000 rides go out ! We are thrilled to have Leanne Huber (van der Merwe) back after she and Paul, our vet, had immigrated to Australia, and have returned back to Africa. Leanne will be responsible for all the specialized conservation projects of the Roan Antelope, Sable antelope, Livingstone Eland, buffalo and rhino and monitoring all the other different species across the reserve! AJ Fourie has also returned to the team to help with the vehicle maintenance, reserve management and some guiding.
Thank you all once again for your much appreciated support over the past year and from the whole Ant’s team we wish you and your family the most fabulous Christmas and New Year.
Ant & Tessa