Latest News from Ant’s Lodges

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.


Dear Friends

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.

What a year 2020 has been – thank goodness for equine friends

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.

Donations and fund raising efforts have helped pay for game scouts to protect the rhino

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.

Commissioned paintings have helped boost funds

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.

Congratulations Squirry on passing your FGASA Level 3 exams

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.

2020 saw the arrival of eight foals

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.

Wrestling semi sedated buffalo to be loaded and moved to their new reserve

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.

Best friends Freddy & Koshari

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.

Dinka & 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

8 responses to “Latest News from Ant’s Lodges”

  1. Wendy Fraser says:

    Congratulations to Squirry . I would love to know if he found out anymore about Fibonacci numbers and nature! We talked about this when I visited Ants several years ago.

  2. Angie Keech says:

    As soon as I am able I will be tagging on a week at Ant’s Nest to my African Explorer holiday. Postponed to mid-June from last year. Soooooo hoping not postponed again. Love to all at Ant’s, humans and animals xxx

  3. Andy Melville says:

    Please say well done to Squirry. I look forward to seeing you all soon and getting another ‘wild life lesson’ from Squirry.

  4. Ann Markillie says:

    Hi Ant

    It’s so nice to hear and see the news of how you are all doing. Such a tough time and despite the hard decision to lay off the majority of your staff, and some strategic decisions with regard the animals it is super to see you have such superb support from the skeleton team, and that you are keeping optimistic. Huge admiration for you all to keep things going.

    Lovely to see the news on the foals and we were sad to see the news about Erwin and Skew Horn. We had seen that Edwin had passed, but only now see that Skew Horn has gone too. At least there are young us growing up behind and I guess that is the way of nature…nothing is permanent and everything will be renewed.

    Send our congratulations to Sekwiri, and please our thanks to ALL the remaining team. Most of all thanks to you for all you have done, and continue to do in the interests of the animals, staff and guests.

    We can’t wait to come back and see you guys. As you may know we bought a house for the first time in our lives and managed to bring our horses home to live, but of course it presented a huge initial suck on our finances, and then Covid hit. But we will be back as soon as the pandemic and our finances permit and so in the meantime, keep the news updates coming…we are watching.😊

    Best wishes

    Ann and Keith Markillie

    • Olwen Law says:

      Hi Ann – we will forward your messages onto Ant. Let’s hope it won’t be too long before travel becomes easy again. Congratulations on your new house, it’s lovely having horses at home with you.

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