Horse riding in Zimbabwe
Zimbabwe is a land of pristine wilderness, fabulous game viewing and is home to one of the most spectacular sights on the planet; the Victoria Falls. Its generous people are known for their hospitality and are sure to make you feel welcome while you explore the unique landscapes and abundant wildlife. Horse riding whilst on safari, or on a working holiday at an authentic African Game Farm, will give you a unique perspective that cannot be experienced from the confines of a vehicle. The horse riding experiences offered in Zimbabwe vary greatly from high-end big 5 horse safaris to exciting working-holiday adventures filled with cross country, polocrosse and safari rides!
Zimbabwe in the past received a bad reputation in the Western media, and granted, it certainly earned that representation back in the early 2000’s. But today you will find a country keen to share with you its proud traditions, unspoiled landscapes and precious natural heritage.
The Victoria Falls is one of the most spectacular Natural Wonders of the World and can be a sensory overload: the incredible views, roaring water and mist come together in an unforgettable natural show-stopper. The Local people call it “Mosi-oa-Tunya”, the smoke that thunders and there is no better way to describe the this 108-meter-high waterfall. Situated almost halfway along the Zambezi River and straddling two countries, Vic Falls and surrounding area offer travellers a range of exciting experiences that will thrill even the most hardened adrenaline junkie.
Safari, Landscape and Wildlife
Aside from the jaw dropping Victoria Falls, the landscapes that you will encounter in Zimbabwe are equally evocative. Picture horse riding through the soft golden grasses of the Savannah plains or exploring some denser thickets from horseback to see what you can find.
Some of the exciting wildlife that you may meet while on safari in Zimbabwe includes dazzles of zebra, journeys of curious giraffe and pods of lazy hippo. The riding near the Zambezi National Park is in Big 5 territory so you may come across buffalo, elephant, rhino, lion, leopard! But be assured that your guides and horses are well trained for these encounters and your safety will always be a top priority!
Your riding on the working holiday will include many varied activities. On your safari rides you will experience riding among the plains game, or taking your horses to the dam to swim. There are several other volunteer programmes on site including community outreach projects which you may choose to participate in too. Not forgetting the four resident elephants that you will have the unusual experience to interact with!
Culture and Cuisine
Zimbabweans are a wonderfully charismatic nation – You will be kept smiling throughout your stay thanks to the generous, fun and thoughtful hospitality. Enjoy experiencing local cuisine such as ilambazi (maize porridge) which can be served as a breakfast with milk and sugar before your days exploring the wild on horseack, or as an accompaniment to your main meal with a flavourful spicey tomato relish. Snack on biltong (similar to jerky), and roasted and salted peanuts with your G&T after your afternoon’s riding in the African bush. Later, you will most likely experience a barbeque ‘braaied’ over the camp fire, along with traditional stews and grilled vegetables.
Volunteers on the working holiday are also well looked after in the food department. You will be provided with three wholesome cooked meals per day, so no worries there!
Your lodgings on the Zambezi Horse Safari will be at the lovely Camp Ursula where you will find luxurious A-frame thatch chalets with en-suite bathrooms, furnished beautifully in the ‘old English’ or ‘colonial’ style. There is a refreshing swimming pool on site, perfect to cool off in after an exhilarating ride in the African bush!
You will find more modest accommodation options at our working holiday programme where volunteers are accommodated in 4 bunk chalets with shared bathroomsi.. There is a great communal space overlooking a large dam frequented by the local buck and elephant. This makes for a great social atmosphere where you are sure to make life-long friends and memories of this special country.
1. Is it safe to travel to Zimbabwe?
Zimbabwe for many years has received a bad reputation in the western world, and granted at times it has earned it. However, travelling as a tourist in the country is safe. Any disturbances always happen in the inner city areas (7 hours drive away) where you would not be going. From the minute you land at the airport you have 24-hour support from local and knowledgeable staff. You will be staying out in the bush and wilderness where the crime rate is exceptionally low. Isabel lived there for 3 years and can chat to you firsthand about any concerns.
2. When is the best time to visit Zimbabwe?
Zimbabwe is a brilliant destination throughout the year. The summer months of October to March can get very hot – Up to 35-40DC in Victoria Falls – So it is best to avoid these months if you are not a heat-lover. The coolest months are June to August – You will need lots of layers for the mornings and evenings of these months.
3. Can I travel on my own to Zimbabwe?
Yes! 75% of the guests that join our working-holidays are solo-travellers. This is a great option for anyone travelling alone as you will get to know an awesome group of fellow adventurers from all over the world!
4. What airport do I fly into in Zimbabwe?
For our volunteer programme you can fly into either Harare or Bulawayo Airport – Usually via South Africa. Pick-up and drop-off from both is included in the trip cost. For trips to the Zambezi, you will fly into Victoria Falls Airport.
5. Is there the Big 5 in Zimbabwe?
Yes – The big 5 are present in Zimbabwe’s National Parks and you have a chance of seeing them on the Zambezi Riding Safari. The big 5 are not all present on the reserve which the volunteer programme is based at, but you have the opportunity to do excursions to go and find them!