Watching horses thundering across open plains and charging up hillsides is always a sight to behold.
It’s hard to believe that in all their majestic power and glory, horses can be reduced to overexcited, pawing ponies at the sight of a puddle. Blowing bubbles, splashing the water with their front hooves and even dropping down for a good roll are a few of the things that many horses love to do when given the opportunity to go swimming. At Ant’s Hill, swimming with your steed is a regular activity. Not only do the horses really enjoy it, but it is also a great way to cool off after a long ride through the Waterberg wilderness.
Ant’s Hill guest, Emma Jordan, spent a few days with Ants enjoying some quality time with her mother and two-year old daughter. Here is an excerpt from her blog, published on Portfolio Collection, sharing her experiences swimming with horses:
“I look across at Carol and her face is a mix of trepidation and confusion. She’s sitting on a bay horse in a grey swimming costume. I’m also in a costume on my piebald mare and I’m feeling exactly what Carol’s expression is saying. We’ve ridden three hours through the bush, passing giraffe, zebra, eland, blesbok, antelope and kudu, finishing the last kilometre with a canter over burning sand and rocks. Topping the crescent of a hill, we stop by a dam. Here, we’re told to dismount, take off saddles, strip our riding gear and remount. We do as we’re told and get back on sweaty horses, waiting at the shore line. It’s at this point I spy Carol’s lucid look.
I got the brief late last night: “Emma, you need to take a swimming costume on your ride tomorrow,” whispered my mother as she returned from supper. I didn’t quite believe her until the conversation at breakfast confirmed we’d be swimming with our steeds.
Swimming with horses? Yes, it’s just one of many activities the extraordinary management team offer guests who are lucky enough to experience Ant’s Hill.
Only 3 hours from Joburg in the malaria-free Waterberg, the first Ant’s lodge, Ant’s Nest, was opened in 1996. Seven years later, a second lodge, Ant’s Hill, was built and together they offer a safari experience that is at once entirely decadent and absolutely comfortable.
The primary attraction is horse-riding. Close to fifty horses live out here and enable riders to get seriously close to a multitude of game. Consequently, the reserve is lion and elephant-free (although day-trips can be organised to neighbouring big-five reserves) – and besides riding, guests can go on long walks and mountain bike rides. Even the little ones can pony ride through the bush or go on exciting bug walks, keeping their eyes peeled for chameleons, ant lions and dung beetles. And, unlike some luxury accommodation, toddlers, tots and teens are all most welcome – in fact, everyone is welcome. Families, couples, singles. Ant’s Hill really is one of those rare places that lives up to the ‘leave as family’ tagline.
And the horsey swimming – was it really something to worry about? Absolutely not, these horses know what they’re doing. Five hundred metres in with water lapping around our waists, we looked like kids at the carnival with smiles stretching from ear to ear. Undoubtedly, this was the most unbelievable ride of our lives.”
If this sounds like your kind of safari experience, then visit the Ant’s website: http://waterberg.net/