Ant’s Nest & Ant’s Hill
Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill are both very private bush homes. They are both located a 5000 ha game conservancy in the magnificent, malaria-free Waterberg region of the Limpopo province in South Africa. Our aim is to provide our guests with a unique safari experience, offering a wide range of activities to keep everyone entertained, from the youngest to the oldest, the fittest to those most in need of a rest.
You can enjoy fabulous game viewing in a variety of ways:
• Guided game walks, from a gentle stroll down the plains to a more strenuous hike over rugged hills, which enable you to gain a detailed knowledge of African fauna and flora.
• Game drives in open 4 wheel drive Land-cruisers, which allow you to cover more ground and experience wildlife in a traditional but less energetic way.
• We have 70 horses so can offer some of the most exciting game viewing on horseback in Africa, whatever your age or riding ability.
We are very flexible. Your guide will tailor-make each day specifically to suit you and your family – so wake up when you want and enjoy a time of pure relaxation or action packed excitement.
Specialising in a home from home experience, both lodges can either be booked exclusively, to one group at a time, or you can book just one room, making it a wonderful destination for families, riders, honeymooners or just good friends travelling together.
Our reserve is one of diverse topography and vegetation ranging from wide-open plains to beautiful mountainous areas, enabling us to naturally sustain the widest variety of game possible. It boasts with over 40 species of game including the rare sable antelope, Nyala, Oryx, Eland, Giraffe, Buffalo, White Rhino and well over 300 species of resident and migrant birds. In addition to game drives, the reserve offers a safe and secluded environment to allow guests of all ages to enjoy guided bush walks, horse rides and cycling.
Bush Homes: Ant’s Nest
Ant’s Nest is where it all began. Lying in a natural amphitheatre the original homestead, with its wide verandahs, has a classic, relaxed, African atmosphere. A wide variety of game frequents the waterhole in front of the bush home where horses and dogs abound. Tessa, who grew up in Kenya, brought a stylish warmth to the colonial house using classic furniture fashioned from local fabrics, timber and stone. The six luxurious en-suite bedrooms accommodate a maximum of twelve guests. There is a 15 meter swimming pool in the garden, ideal for those needing some exercise or for purely cooling off after an active day. This is great for kids as it’s heated all year. 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.
Ant’s Hill is hosted by a wonderful team who create an open and friendly atmosphere. Built on the edge of a cliff, this bush home offers breathtaking views across the Waterberg. With spacious rooms and vast folding doors, the thatched lodge blends into the bush, while exotic furniture and brightly coloured African fabrics make it both sophisticated and comfortable. The draped four-poster beds are seven foot wide and each bathroom is spectacular, offering guests sunken baths and waterfall showers. Set in boulders on the edge of the cliff, the heated swimming pool cascades over the lip of the gorge, inducing you to relax there for hours. Ant’s Hill caters for a maximum of 16 guests and can be booked non-exclusively or exclusively to one party.
An equipped gym is available for those wanting some serious exercise and there is a curio shop for those in need of retail therapy.
Wining and dining
We take great pride in our sumptuous home cooking, dining in a variety of places and outside whenever possible. We often end morning game activities with a bush lunch, whilst at night we sit around open fires under the stars. The chefs can cater for all dietary requirements and we serve excellent South African estate wines.
Both Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill offer the opportunity for some of the greatest game viewing in the African bush – from horseback. You can canter along open sandy tracks or traverse high ridges with spectacular vistas. The pace can be as fast or relaxed as the riders would like. Often we can get so close to the game that the experience remains unforgettable.
We have fit, reliable and responsive horses, providing a choice for both the professional rider and the absolute beginner. (You do not need to have ridden before). The herd of 60 horses is made up of big thoroughbreds and Arab-boerperd crosses and includes some fabulous children’s ponies. Each ride is led by two competent guides and the emphasis is on safety at all times. The enthusiastic rider may wish to ride twice daily and turn their stay into a luxury riding safari. Families or couples, where some ride and others don’t, can enjoy separate activities. As we always have two guides on each ride novices can go out with their more competent partners without slowing the ride. Basic lessons for non-riders are available at both reserves; many guests learn to ride and gain confidence here.
Tack and equipment: We use comfortable Maclelan saddles made locally for long hours in the saddle. These are based on the famous US cavalry saddle designed for the comfort of both horse and rider alike. We do also have a few English saddles available. We recommend that all our guests wear riding helmets. Children under the age of 18 will not be able to ride with us unless they are wearing a riding hat so we stock a selection of sizes. We do, however, recommend that you bring your own well-fitted helmet if you plan to spend many an hour in the saddle. Wide brim hat covers are advisable. Your travel insurance company may well make the wearing of riding helmets compulsory. Our weight limit is 120 kg (19 stone).
For those who prefer walking, our guides will lead you through the bushveld on foot. These walks are informative and interactive, enabling you to gain knowledge of African flora and fauna. One can often miss the smaller details of our beautiful environment when on a vehicle or horseback, so guided walks are highly recommended. Whilst these can be in the form of a gentle stroll, the more energetic can hike over the plains and up impressive gorges. Whilst identifying insects and birds and learning about the medicinal uses of various plants you can also learn how to track game. Specialised bug hunts are available for children at both bush homes.
Our guides will be available to take you out in an open 4×4 Land Cruiser either for morning or afternoon game drives or using a spotlight at night to find elusive nocturnal animals, such as the rare brown hyena, aardvark bushbaby and porcupine. The advantage of a game drive is that you are able to cover more ground across the reserves. Game drives and walks can often be combined to make game viewing and photography more exciting.
Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill will give your children a life-changing experience. Our unique policy is to allow children of all ages to join their parents on all game viewing activities, so you can witness their first encounters with wildlife. We have a selection of wonderful ponies catering to both the novice and experienced child rider. Beginners will be led by a competent guide and riding lessons are also available.
We have created specialised kids “bug” and “spoor” walks, although driving in an open 4 X 4 on game drives is always popular.
Both lodges have various facilities ideal for kids, such as the heated swimming pool, a trampoline, sand pits, a badminton & volley ball net with a selection of toys and books. Children are welcome to join their parents for dinner. Alternatively, special suppers or meal times can be arranged.
Due to our relaxed and informal atmosphere, Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill are ideal for families with kids of all ages. While the activities keep all well entertained you will learn a great deal about wildlife, gaining inspiration to last a lifetime.
Weddings and honeymoons
The Waterberg with its spectacular views is the perfect place to escape to and makes a wonderful honeymoon destination. Romantic private dinners, bush lunches, sundowners and the opportunity to go out game viewing, without other guests, make Ant’s lodges quite unique. You can get married on the top of a mountain or under a shady Acacia tree. For those who would like a more traditional wedding, our pretty thatched church designed by Sir Herbert Baker in 1914 is situated in the middle of the bush not far away.
The bride and groom can come alone, or bring up to 22 guests, if you book both bush homes. The wedding ceremony can be late morning followed by a lunchtime celebration, or in the late afternoon as the sun sets, followed by a dinnertime celebration. Your lunch or dinner could be served in the bush, on the deck of the lodge or your own private verandah, depending on the size of the wedding party. If you let us know what you’d like we can organise everything for you.
The incredibly diverse terrain offers extreme technical cycling as well as gentle meanders.
Clay pigeon shooting:
For those wanting a bit more action you may wish to try out target or clay pigeon shooting.
Lounge by the pool or enjoy a massage.
Library and shop:
We have a selection of books available and a curio shop stocked with original, handmade crafts.
We are very happy to take you through the Waterberg to see other interesting sites, including:
• A local ‘Big Five’ game reserve, so you can try to find the lion and elephant we would rather not ride or walk with.
• Elephant Safari: you can take the opportunity of interacting with a number of trained African Elephants, which is the most enjoyable and educational experience. This is followed by a ride through the bush on elephant-back with an experienced elephant handler.
• A tour of Bushman paintings and Iron Age villages.
• A Farm Tour, where Ant’s father, Charles Baber will give you the historical background to the area, taking you around his cattle stud and farm where geraniums are grown for producing essential oils. You are welcome to use the tennis court and pool in the beautiful gardens of Charles’ house.
• On Sundays we go to a historic thatched church where you can meet local people and see the 1914 building designed by Sir Herbert Baker. Children can attend a colorful Sunday school where the Sotho children sing choruses in rousing harmony.
• We are happy to take you shopping in the local town where you will find a wide variety of African arts and crafts.
Location: The reserves are situated on an escarpment looking out over the Waterberg Plateau in the Limpopo Province, 3 hours north of OR Tambo International Airport (formally known as Johannesburg International Airport) We are 3.5 hours east of Madikwe and 5 hours west of the Kruger National Park.
Getting here: We can arrange private road transfers or air charters between destinations but let us know if you would rather hire your own car. See directions at bottom of page, for any other directions not listed please contact us.
Visa Requirements: Visas vary depending on your nationality, so please check with the lodge or your travel agent to confirm visa requirements for your travels.
If entering South Africa, please note that you will need 6 blank facing pages in your passport and your passport should be valid for a minimum of 6 months.
Airstrip co-ordinates: Surface =grass, co-ords = S 241208 E 280558, Elevation = 3780 ft, Length = 1000 m, Direction = 03/21
Recommended stay: 4-7 nights (this could be at one of or a combination of both lodges.)
What’s included: accommodation on a full board basis, all beverages, laundry and all game viewing activities including riding, walking, game drives and mountain biking.
Not included: massages, clay pigeon and target shooting, additional activities off the property, curio shop purchases and gratuities.
Meals: We are able to cater for all dietary requirements, but would require you to advise us in advance if you have allergies or special needs. We are happy to prepare special children meals.
Ant’s Nest consists of the main house, which has two double suites downstairs and two double suites upstairs, all with private lounge areas. There are also two double suites, with private bathrooms and verandahs across the lawns.
Ant’s Hill consists of two privately situated honeymoon suites away from the main lodge with stunning views, a family cottage that has two main bedrooms with en-suite bathrooms and an extra loft room, perfect for kids, as well as a private sitting room and verandah. Another luxurious twin bedroom with a private verandah is located above the main lodge.
What to bring:
Sunglasses, sun cream, hat, swimming costume, neutral bush coloured clothing: shorts, trousers, shirts, riding helmets and leather chaps with comfortable old riding clothes (helmets are also available at the lodge) walking shoes or trainers. We recommend a warm fleece/jacket throughout the year. Warmer clothing is recommended for our winter months (see climate below). Binoculars, camera with plenty of spare film and batteries or or disc and charger. Personal medications. Light rain jacket (if traveling in the rainy season).
Please make sure to lock all of your bags when travelling and to obtain travel insurance prior to departure. It is recommended that you travel with a set of clothes and essential items in your carry-on bags in case of luggage being lost.
Should you book a private charter flight please be aware that the luggage restrictions are normally between 12-20kg and should be packed in soft bags.
Country Specific Information:
South Africa: Official Language: English, Afrikaans and a variety of local African languages.
Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill are located in the Waterberg region of the Limpopo province in the northern part of South Africa. This beautiful area is malaria-free and at an altitude of 4,500 feet above sea level offers a wonderful temperate climate and can be visited all year round.
Summer (November to March) – the days can get quite warm (up to 28-32 degrees on average) but it is a dry heat. We do get summer rainfall, normally in the form of thunder storms. These rarely affect activities and are usually in the evening, however, the African climate is still always unpredictable.
Autumn (April to May) – days can still be warm but the evenings cool down. Average day time temperature 22-28 degrees. Evenings 10-15 degrees.
Winter (June to August) – days are warm (temperatures in the mid-twenties) evenings and early mornings very cold with average early morning temperatures 5-12 degrees. It very rarely rains at this time when the bush is golden and dry.
Spring (September, October) – days start getting hotter, evenings and mornings could still be crisp but not as cold. A very slim chance of rain. On occasion we can get very hot days.
The whole area is malaria-free and since we have excellent local doctors with one of the countries’ leading pediatricians living nearby, the Waterberg is one of the safest places to visit in Africa. You will only need to ensure your tetanus injections are up to date.
Tick bite fever can be contracted from pepper ticks in the summer months. This is easily treated ~ please consult us for symptoms.
IT IS ESSENTIAL THAT ANYONE VISITING US HAS FULL TRAVEL AND MEDICAL INSURANCE.
Up-to-date Tetanus and Hepatitis injections are required for some countries, but recommended for all.
Both Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill have a number of staff trained as First Responders, however it is vital to have full travel and medical insurance for emergencies. Some hospitals and air rescue may require up-front payment. Guests will be required to sign an indemnity before going out on any of the activities.
Money: We accept all major currencies (USD, GBP, and Euro). If using U$D, please make sure to bring new notes as most countries do not accept old notes (with smaller heads). We accept credit cards, but only Visa and Mastercard, and please note that there is an additional 5% charge should you wish to pay with your card.
Electricity: We have large round-pin plugs with AC 220V voltage at all lodges. Plugs vary from country to country, so do travel with a set of adapters to ensure your ability to charge and use your appliances on safari.
Water: The water is safe to drink at both lodges, but if you would prefer bottled water please the staff will be happy to accommodate your wishes.
Please make sure to inform the lodge staff of any dietary requirements or allergies prior to travel.
Gratuities: Tipping is not required at any of the lodges, but if you feel the service was deserving of a tip, a general guideline is R 100 per visitor per day (the management distributes this amongst all the staff).
Game List: We usually find: white rhino, zebra, giraffe, warthog, blue wildebeest, sable antelope, nyala, waterbuck, impala, red hartebeest, blesbok, kudu, buffalo, Livingstone eland, oryx, mountain reedbuck, bushbuck and nyala, steenbok, mongoose, springhare, chacma baboon, vervet monkey, duiker, black backed jackal, scrub hare, lesser bush baby, tree squirrel, rock hyraxes.
We sometimes spot nocturnal species such as: leopard, carcal, aardvark, brown hyena, porcupine, bush pig, bat eared fox, stripped polecat, honey badger, serval cat, African civet, genets, wild cat and klipspringer. Please contact us for an up to date bird list