Ant’s Hill and Ant’s Nest summary
Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill are both very private bush homes. They are located on their own game reserve 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 90 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.
Wild and Exotic sample itinerary for Ant’s Nest / Hill
Itineraries for a stay at Ant’s Nest or Ant’s Hill are individually tailored to suit and you are free to choose which of the available activities you do and when. When you arrive your hosts will explain what there is to do and you can discuss with them your choice of activities for each day. The following is an example itinerary for a week’s stay:
Day 1: On arrival into Johannesburg you will be met and transferred to Ant’s Nest/ Hill. You will have lunch and settle in before meeting the horses and heading out on an evening activity for a first view of the area. You will return to the lodge after sundowners for dinner.
Day 2: A wake up call and leisurely breakfast when you wish, or an early call when the light is best for game viewing and an early morning activity to explore the reserve either riding, on a game drive or a guided walk. You will stop for a delicious bush breakfast/lunch, then ride back to the lodge by a different route. After a siesta by the plunge pool and afternoon tea, there is opportunity for a late afternoon ride or an evening game drive with spot light. Dinner and overnight at the lodge
Day 3 – 6: Three full days at Ant’s Nest/Hill, with your choice of morning and afternoon activities. Lunches will either be in the bush or back at the lodge. You might also decide to take a tour of the main farm to see how a typical farm in Africa runs or to visit the local village. Other additional activities are also on offer off the property
Day 7: After a leisurely breakfast and lunch you will be transferred to Johannesburg for your onward journey.
Neither Wild and Exotic nor the operators or suppliers can accept any responsibility for changes to itineraries or dates that may arise due to weather or unforeseen circumstances such as changes, disruptions or delays to airline flights for whatever reason. This holiday is subject to Wild and Exotic’s terms and conditions, a copy of which is on the general info tab.
The Reserves: 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. They boast 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 reserves offer a safe and secluded environment to allow guests of all ages to enjoy guided bush walks, horse rides and cycling.
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 its 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: 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.
The Facilities: 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, two family cottages 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.
Family safaris: 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, 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.
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.
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.
Wild and Exotic bush camping with Ant’s Nest
The Ant Collection proudly introduces their Bush Camp, located in the 100 000 acre Lapalala Wilderness game reserve, in the heart of the Waterberg in Limpopo Province. This reserve is one of the wildest and rugged parts of the area and is bisected by deep canyons, created by the fast flowing Palala and Blocklands rivers.
This wilderness area provides a home for a vast variety of game, from the highly endangered black rhino and wild dog, to white rhino, leopard, buffalo and a wide variety of plains game species. Steeped in history, it also boasts unique unspoilt bushman paintings dotted along many cliff faces as well as numerous iron age sites.
The best way to explore this last remote wilderness is on foot based from the camp which is strategically located high up on a ridge with spectacular spreading views across the reserve.
The tented camp which has been recently revamped has only 3 tents so accommodates a maximum of 6 guests. With full en suite facilities and is situated on wooden deck which overhangs the bluff.
For lighting, the authentic, rustic experience is not compromised as only lanterns are used at night however still providing the luxury of modern day with hot showers, tasty meals and knowledgeable and experienced guides.
Activities on offer and included would be day and night drives, fishing which is available from mid September to mid April at which time you are likely to catch yellow fish or bass. Guided walks which can be as long or short as guests would like them to be and can be combined with a drive and/or picnic lunch at the river. During summer months swimming is also very popular in the rapids and cooler pools. Visiting the bush man painting sites and archaeological sites
A stay at the bush camp is ideally combined with some nights at either one of our bush homes, Ant’s Nest and Ant’s Hill as this is merely an hour away and can be done either at the beginning or the end of guests’ stay and adds a great rustic African experience to their trip.
Transfers to and from the camp and the bush homes can be arranged on request. Rates for the bush camp works on a sliding scale and we require a minimum of 2 guests for 2 nights. For each extra guest the rate changes to make it more affordable thus the ultimate getaway for a small intimate group of friends or family – please contact us for the rates
All meals, drinks and above mentioned activities are included in the rates. We do recommend good foot wear as walking can be quite challenging but contact us for a list of things to bring along
Neither Wild and Exotic nor the operators or suppliers can accept any responsibility for changes to itineraries or dates that may arise due to weather or unforeseen circumstances such as changes, disruptions or delays to airline flights for whatever reason. This holiday is subject to Wild and Exotic’s terms and conditions, a copy of which is available on this website under the general info tab.
Wild and Exotic fact sheet for Ants Hill & Nest
Climate: 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.
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.
Game drives: 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 bush baby 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.
Game List: We usually find: white rhino, zebra, giraffe, warthog, blue wildebeest, sable antelope, nyala, waterbuck, impala, red hartebeest, blesbok, kudu, the rare 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.
Getting there: 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.
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).
Guided walks: 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.
Location: The reserve is 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.
Luggage: 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.
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.
Medical: The whole area is malaria-free and since we have excellent local doctors with one of the countries’ leading paediatricians 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 Ants Hill & Nest 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 3% charge should you wish to pay with your card.
Mountain biking: The incredibly diverse terrain offers extreme technical cycling as well as gentle meanders
Massages: 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.
- 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 colourful 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.
Recommended stay: 4-7 nights (this could be at one of or a combination of both lodges.)
Riding: 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 over 90 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. All our guests must wear protective riding helmets as per Wild and Exotic’s terms and conditons. Children under the age of 4 can do pony rides on leading rein, and aged over 4 can enjoy an outride. We 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).
Visa Requirements: A valid passport at least six blank pages and with expiry date at least 6 months after date of return from South Africa is required. If a father (or mother) is travelling with his (or her) children alone, then a letter of consent, certified by their local police, and signed by the other parent, must be carried with the travelling parent. A visa is not required for UK Citizens travelling to South Africa and residing no longer than six months.
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.
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 disc and charger. Personal medications. Light rain jacket (if travelling in the rainy season).
South Africa general information and map
Getting there: There are regular flights from the UK to Johannesburg and Cape Town every day of the week, most are overnight flights arriving into Africa the following morning. The flying time from London to Johannesburg is approximately 11 hours and from London to Cape Town 11 hours and 30 minutes.
Time: GMT plus two hours
Try not to miss: The Kruger National Park, a vast region of rolling plains interspersed with mopane woodland and riverine forest that is hope to all of the continent’s Big 5, as well as a selection of exclusive and private reserves found on the periphery These include Sabi Sands, one of the best places in the world to watch wild leopards, the Madikwe Game reserve, which is home to both black and white rhino as well as a pack of endangered wild dogs, and the Thorneybush Game Reserve.
Cape Town for her cutting edge hotels, fine cuisine and lovely climate during the English winter, not to mention the surrounding winelands. Visit nearby Hermanus between June and November to watch the whales or cage dive amongst great white sharks. Mossel Bay marks the start of the famous Garden Route, which shadows the Southern Coast all the way to Port Elizabeth, passing through a scenic landscape of sensational beaches, forests and lakes as well as the historic settlements of George, Kynsa and Plettenberg Bay.
On the opposite side of the Cape and approximately one thousand miles to the North, Rocktail Bay in Kwa-Zulu Natal lies within a private concession of the Maputuland coastal forest reserve, a unique World Heritage Site where loggerhead turtles emerge from the Indian Ocean each summer to lay their eggs amongst the sand dunes. Activities here include world class diving on pristine reefs. Kwa-Zulu Natal is also home to Fugitives Drift the setting for internationally acclaimed battlefield tours.
Phinda Reserve is a special favourite of ours, a small gem of a reserve in unique sand forest environment close to Richard Bay that is home to rare indigenous wildlife where our guests can track rhinos and enjoy walking safaris.
Visas: No visa is required for visits of up to 90 days for UK citizen but there are strict requirements for children travelling to and from South Africa:
Two parents travelling with children (under the age of 18 years) will need to show the child’s Unabridged Birth Certificate (UBC). (This does not need to be translate)
One married parent travelling with a child will need to show the UBC and either a Parental Consent Affidavit (PAC) from the parent not travelling or a letter of special circumstances, or a copy of Court order in terms of section 18(5) of the Children’s Act, 2005, authorising a minor to enter or depart from the Republic in the absence of parental consent of either parent
Widowed parent travelling with a child will need to show the UBC and a death certificate of deceased parent.
Children travelling with family friends will need a UBC, PCA, copies of parents passports, and contact details of parents.
Airlines will forbid children to fly without the correct documentation. We recommend that you speak to the South African Embassy if in any doubt.
Why South Africa: South Africa is celebrated for its magnificent and diverse landscape, and the quality of her wildlife viewing. South African guides enjoy an enviable reputation and are acknowledged to be amongst the best in the world.
“Our 7 days in Ant’s Hill was the most memorable holiday ever..and we have been fortunate enough to go to some lovely places in our lives. The setting is magical, the food delicious and the staff make you feel special. Every day is organised for you as an individual with no pressure, just as YOU want it. The horses are well trained and in great condition and viewing the wildlife on horseback is breathtaking. The staff are dedicated to making your stay as perfect as possible. Sundowners and lunch in the bush are unforgettable experiences and when we had one cold evening, the roaring fires were as enjoyable as the sunshine! The organisation and information from Wild & Exotic was faultless and everything went like clockwork. THANK YOU TO ALL!”