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Posted on January 7, 2021
We can’t wait until international travel is easier again. But in the meantime, we’re bringing you the latest newsletter from Ant’s Lodges in South Africa.
What a year 2020 has been! Nobody could have anticipated what a huge effect the pandemic would have across all continents, and how everyone’s life has been changed permanently in one way or the other. As in any calamity, it is up to the individual to decide how they will let their life be affected.
Tourism and hospitality being the biggest casualties, the lodges closed on 23 March and the tough decision had to be made to layoff 82 staff members. This left a very small dedicated team left to look after the horses, the reserve, lodges, and the rhino and they have been magnificent.
Looking back over the year, when one counts the blessings and positives that have come from this time, I am blown away how incredible so many people have been in their support, generosity, sacrifices, love and commitment to keep “Ants” going through the tough times. You, our guests, have contributed sensationally in helping us pay for the game scouts protecting our rhino for the past ten months; both donating and commissioning paintings to raise the funds needed to keep everything safe and going.
During the pandemic we sadly lost old Erwin, a legendary rhino bull who sired most of the rhino on the reserve, to old age, his teeth been worn down into stumps. He had lived a full and very productive life and must have been close to 40 years of age.
Sekwiri, better known as “Squirry”, our top guide, has used the lockdown to complete his FGASA (Field Guides Association of South Africa) Level 3 exams, which is a tremendous achievement.
One unexpected blessing has been the arrival of eight magnificent foals. Our young colt Pemba, son of a 17hh Warmblood mare and 16hh Boerperd stallion, took advantage of being young and free, and managed to sire the eight foals – at only 2 years old! The foals are a delight to everyone and will usher in a new era of big, tough, well-adapted horses to our operation.
With the lockdown being imposed overnight, we sat with the uncomfortable experience of having no income at all. It was however blessing having a large herd of buffalo and willing buyer for 16 of them. With the small team of riders working hard, all the buffalo were captured, loaded and translocated.
Both Freddy the buffalo and and Koshari the rhino lost their mothers to natural causes. Leanne raised them and both have been successfully released on the reserve.
Despite the loss of Erwin and Skew Horn, we had the blessing of the arrival of the young rhino bull calf Dinka. Here he is with his mother Sophie.
Bring on 2021! Thank you all for your support!!
We hope you enjoyed reading the latest news. For more information on a safari at Ant’s Lodges please call us on +44 (0) 1299 272 997 or email firstname.lastname@example.org