While the name Ant’s Nest might not at first conjure up images of luxury, style and comfort, upon arrival at this gorgeous bush home, situated on its own private reserve, one immediately understands why it’s become one of the most sought after addresses in the Waterberg.
More East African than South African in design, owned by Tessa and Ant Baber (there you go), the buzzwords at this boutique, family-friendly homestead are casual sophistication, where nothing is too much trouble, and where there are no fixed itineraries, no set wake-up times, so guests can relax and do exactly as they choose, whenever they like.
Food & service
The Nest is well known for its excellent team of guides, and for staff who ensure that guests not only experience a level of hospitality somewhat akin to staying with close friends, but are also served up food fit for a king, and a range of first class bush activities to boot.
Ant’s Nest can be booked on an exclusive basis (i.e. one group of guests at a time, with a maximum of 12 guests), but with the option of individually booking rooms too, and consists of a classically-styled main house with a family suite on the upper floor, with an adjoining twin bedroom, and a dining/living room. The downstairs area features separate double and twin bedrooms alongside a library and dining room, and there are two privately-appointed bedrooms away from the main house, each with a double and single bed. All 6 bedrooms on the property are en-suite.
The buildings at Ant’s Nest are in turn set in extensive lawn gardens with cacti, succulents and native trees and centre on a wonderful 15m long swimming pool – ideal for children as it is heated all year round. There is also a thatched-roof chill out zone with big sofa beds – perfect for escaping the heat of the midday sun. The Wi-Fi is free in the lodge, but does not reach the rooms.
Chief among the activities is the chance to participate in horse-riding safaris. The stable of 90 well-cared for horses is made up of big thoroughbreds, Arab-Boerperd crosses and children’s ponies and the range of temperaments and sizes is designed to suit all comers, from beginner to super experienced. Crucially, horseback safaris allow guests to get closer to the rhino, buffalo, giraffe, zebra and impala found here than would be possible in a vehicle, and so while the density of wildlife is not as great as, say, in the Kruger, the chance of getting up close more than makes up for it.
For those not so keen on saddling up, there are plenty of alternative options, with three different activities at any given time, including target shooting, mountain biking, off-roading, wildlife walks and drives, night sky watching, or – more informally – searching for Ant’s Nest’s resident porcupine. Off-site, activities include visits to Iron Age sites and a big 5 reserve.
Ant’s Nest is a member of the Waterberg Nature Conservancy which is made up of numerous private game reserves covering an area of 150 000ha, which all falls within the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve. The Biosphere Reserve promotes conservation and the sustainable use of natural resources within it’s boundaries.
One of the main initiatives within the reserve is the Sable Antelope Breeding project, the objectives of which are as follows:
- Breeding of a conservation dependant species
- Increase the numbers of a conservation dependant species for the general well being and future of the species
- Prevent inbreeding of a conservation dependant species
- To run the project in an ecological sound manner taking into consideration the natural behaviour and habitat of the species and to promote an understanding to visitors of the importance of such a project
- To gather information on their behaviour to gain a better understanding of these animals