Ant’s Hill and Ant’s Nest, the Waterberg: The Lowdown

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If we’re honest, writing up Ant’s Hill and Ant’s Nest is something of a challenge. It’s rather tricky to convey quite how much fun a stay here is. Cantering along dusty tracks to a cold drink and a ravishing sunset, showering under a full moon, taking afternoon tea with the rhinos: what more could you want?

Should I stay at Ant’s Hill or Ant’s Nest?

Hidden away on a private conservancy in South Africa’s Waterberg, Ant’s Hill and Ant’s Nest are rustic bush homes rather than swanky safari lodges and all the better for it.  Décor is gloriously natural: gnarled wood, natural stone, and incredibly cosy. Each bedroom is different: some are built to make the most of an especially glorious view, while others are designed to accommodate the contours of a particular rock or tree.  Meals are communal and huge fun: we sat between the CEO of an international bank, and an eight year old waxing lyrical about dinosaurs. Ant’s Hill has amazing views, while Ant’s Nest felt a little better suited to a family safari, but to be honest, we’d find it hard to pick, and when we visited, there were tons of children having an absolute ball at Ant’s Hill. Best of all? Stay at both lodges and ride between them: magic.

Riding at Ant’s Hill and Ant’s Nest:

Riding safaris are the main activity at Ant’s, but this is a million miles removed from the stuffy world of pony clubs and regulated gymkhanas- after a day’s riding the horses are simply turned out onto the ranch and left to find their own way home. Olympic riders are catered to just as well as absolute novices (and we mean absolute novices- when we were there fellow riders included a grandfather and grandson who’d never been on a horse before). You’re matched with a horse that suits your comfort and skill level: from ex-racehorses to bombproof ponies. After 10 years out of the saddle we couldn’t get enough of it. Even if it did mean we spent the next 4 days waddling like a duck.

What do I do at Ant’s if I’m not a rider?

Don’t despair! Ant’s caters perfectly to families and groups with mixed interests. When we stayed some groups went hiking while others rode, all meeting up for sundowners.  There are a couple of mountain bikes for non-riders, and game drives on the conservancy too.  Or you could just have a massage and snuggle up with a book beside the pool.

Giving back at Ant’s Hill and Ant’s Nest:

When we visited, Ant was completely open: “Almost all of the profits of this place go to protecting the rhino”. Sadly rhino poaching is an increasing problem, and by visiting Ant’s you’re helping to protect the rhino both on the conservancy and in the wider Waterberg area.  If you want to get involved further, just ask at the lodge- there’s plenty to be done.  Ant’s also works with a number of excellent community projects including Pack for a Purpose. If you want to bring a donation to the community during your stay at Ant’s just visit the Pack for a Purpose site to see what’s needed most.

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