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Covid turned Bram’s one-month getaway into a two-month sabbatical, friends into family and Africa into a second home. Check out his story about the working holiday that changed his entire life path!

I travelled in October 2021. I booked for a month and got stuck for another month due to my flight getting cancelled. Three days after that, I wasn’t allowed on my flight to Brussels because I am not a Belgium citizen (new crazy covid restrictions!) I waited two weeks to let the Covid restrictions settle down a bit, booked a new flight and of course, my covid test was positive. So 11 days after that, it was third time lucky and I flew home just in time for Christmas. Of course, this whole situation was quite stressful but I feel like the universe just wasn’t ready to let me go home.

The extra month gave me the extra time to really feel at home at the stables and to get into the normal day-to-day routine. The team was so kind and it felt like I was part of their little family. I became really good friends with Willem – He is amazing at his work and the new horses he got at the stables are perfection. Most of the time I rode on Ezekiel and Willow, and I look forward to seeing them again in July when I return.

Photos from a volunteer holiday with horses in Zimbabwe
My time at Antelope park has been extraordinary. From the amazing variety of horses to the exceptional loving staff and exceptionally experienced stable manager, I couldn’t have had a better time. Staying here for 2 months has been life-changing and I made friends for a lifetime. 

The day-to-day stable life is a perfect combination of hard work, taking care of the horses, riding in nature, and the chance to challenge your own boundaries. Waking up starts with getting the horses out of the beautiful bush, feeding and grooming them. After that, we all sit together for a delicious English breakfast. With a full belly, we proceed to go for a canter in the bush or jump/train in the arena. When we come back the horses get all the love and medical attention they need. We proceed to do tasks around the stables, enjoy the sun, have lunch, and in general just have an amazing fun time with the horses. The rest of the afternoon and evening is filled with more horses, rides, swimming, polo-cross, etc. There is also a lot of space for your own development as a rider.  Just request and there is always a way to make it happen. Besides the stable management, you also have the chance to tag along with the lion and game park management program which was fascinating. 

Collage of African horse safari adventure
No day is the same. For example; during my time there we tagged along to save a baby zebra, we went to the capital to watch the horseraces, we had a game night and a sleepover in the bush under the stars. All these experiences shaped an all-around feeling of the Zimbabwean lifestyle at Antelope Park. The hospitality is extraordinary and you get submerged in their life, which makes you feel like you are part of the Antelope Park family. They look after you so well. I never felt unsafe and everybody is well experienced and very willing to help with any issues that came up (like my cancelled flights)

Photo collage of a horse riding holiday in Africa
All in all, I would recommend this equestiran volunteering experience to everybody. From beginner to very experienced rider!

Bram Noorlander
Volunteer in Zimbabwe

Bram is a 22-year-old engineer living in Rotterdam, The Netherlands. In his free time, he enjoys riding horses to calm his mind, after years of competitive dressage with his own horses. After finishing his bachelor’s in Architectural Engineering he was looking for a trip that could combine his search for adventure with his love for horses. The equestrian working holiday in Zimbabwe turned out to be the perfect match for him. He always said that his favourite place to be were Scandinavian countries, but after this trip to Zimbabwe, he can’t stop thinking about going back to Africa. It even made him switch his career plans and is now fully focussing on working in the horse industry, a dream that has now been reignited!

Bram's horse riding working holiday in Zimbabwe    A photo collage of a bucket-list Zimbabwe horse adventure