Safari Adventure Inspires Local Fundraising Effort
What adventurous equestrian wouldn’t want to take a casual afternoon gallop alongside scores of zebras and giraffes?
This thrilling experience on a South African safari earlier this year has inspired Linda Dreher, of Southern Pines, to offer local riders the opportunity to take one of these unforgettable trips themselves, while benefitting a worthy cause.
Dreher is holding a fundraiser to benefit the Daktari Bush School and Animal Orphanage, which serves injured and orphaned wild animals and low-income South African children.
Gerti and Philip Kusseler have been offering Wait A Little safaris, geared towards experienced riders, for 25 years. A diverse and international coalition of riders travels thousands of miles to South Africa for the occasion.
“Philip constantly teaches you about animal habits, habitats, wellbeing, you name it,” Dreher said. “It was so educational and rewarding.”
The Korangawe game reserve where Dreher and her daughter, Lisa Kysela, took their daily riding escapades is about 30,000 acres in area — about four times the size of Southern Pines horse country.
Most of the 38 horses owned by Wait A Little are Vorpeds, a breed native to South Africa. The animals were used as cavalry mounts during the Boer Wars in the late 19th century.
The sturdy stock horses, a “mix of the mustang and the Quarter Horse,” were described by Dreher as well-schooled and ideally suited for the long rides and quick starts and stops.
“A rhino casually comes right up to them? No big deal,” she said.
The days began at 7 a.m., a bit of a chill noticeable in the air. After an exhilarating four-hour ride, the group would stop for brunch, rest and take afternoon tea before hopping aboard their steeds for another three-hour adventure.
Among the up-close spectacles were dozens of rhinos, cheetahs and lions — incredibly, horses and riders were often less than 10 meters away from the wildlife.
“We were a little more respectful of the lions, though,” Dreher said, laughing.
The group would stop, see a view, then urge their horses forward and run to the next spot — herds of zebras and giraffes often galloped alongside them.
“We saw animals constantly,” she said. “It was beyond wonderful.”
Part of Wait A Little’s community outreach work involves supporting the Daktari Bush School.
Groups of children will spend two or three weeks at the school, receiving basic education, enjoying hot meals, and learning how to take care of the animals Daktari has rescued.
The school wants South African youth to learn respect for the animals and become educated about anti-poaching. Poaching of the animals is a common problem on the reserves.
“The school is making significant headway,” Dreher said.
Wait A Little doesn’t see many Americans come for the safaris, which surprised Dreher.
“We thought, ‘Why don’t we help them get some exposure in the States, while also supporting a great cause?’” said Dreher. “The idea took off from there.”
Dreher’s fundraiser will feature two Wait A Little safari trips as prizes, a $6,000 value. All proceeds from the fundraiser will go directly toward the Daktari Bush School.
Tickets have been printed for the fundraiser and are on sale now for $100 apiece. Dreher plans to sell them through the first few months of the new year. The prize drawing will be held in May.
For more information on the fundraiser and to purchase a ticket, contact Linda Dreher at (910) 245-7330 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To learn more about Wait A Little and the safari, visit www.waitalittle.co.za.
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