What you will do when volunteering
All of these programmes are designed for your enjoyment. You aren’t just looking after horse safari guests; you are the guests. Whilst there is stable-work, tack cleaning and usual yard labour work to be done, this experience is tailored to give you the best holiday experience possible. Your days will be spilt into different horse riding and bush activities. You will enjoy riding every day and experience a mix of activities from trail rides searching for zebras and giraffe, cross country trails through the bush, dressage and schooling sessions, horse swims to cool-off on a hot day and much more.
Alongside the horses, you will be immersed in the African wilderness, soaking up the magic of life in the bush. It is an experience like no other, and you will are sure to leave with a new outlook on life. You will have the opportunity to join a variety of excursions and experience a multitude of activities beyond your horse programme; be it visiting the world-famous Victoria Falls, game driving into the Kruger National Park or experiencing life in a local village – there is something for everyone.
For these working holidays you will be staying in dorms with 2 to 4 other volunteers and sharing ablutions bathroom facilities or in home-style accommodation. The rooms do not come with lots of frills, but are clean and comfortable, providing everything you need. There is a great sense of community with all volunteers staying together and enjoying meals together.
The highlight to all the programme’s accommodation is their location. You will be living surrounded by Africa’s nature, woken up with the sounds of the dawn chorus in the mornings, feeling wonderfully refreshed and ready for the day’s horse riding. Not only are you surrounded by nature, but you also have access to a swimming pool in many of these locations, perfect for cooling down after a hot jumping session.
Who goes on our volunteer holidays?
We often get asked if there is an age limit for our working-holidays. The answer is a giant no! All opportunities welcome volunteers of all ages and are equally enjoyable whether you are 18 or 81! Granted, I would say the average age is between 18 to 30 but we frequently have a wide range of ages, with the Wild Coast often having older working riders. At all the programmes, the staff are incredibly welcoming, and you certainly will not feel out of place. Much more important than your age is your attitude and enthusiasm to embrace working at an African horse stable. Volunteers that get the most out of these experiences love to get stuck-in and are keen to embrace a different form of equestrian culture.
How long should I go for?
The minimum stay for our volunteer holidays is 2 weeks. Two weeks will give you great insight into the programmes and you should get to experience most of the activities at least once. However, if budget and time can stretch extend, we would highly recommend staying for 3 to 4 weeks. This will allow you time to really relax into the swing of the programmes, soak up the bush and get to know the wonderful horses. We have many instances where lucky volunteers stay up to 12 weeks! This allows you to truly become “part of the furniture” at the yard! Or, why not split your time between the two different programmes, allowing you to experience both the Zimbabwean and South African stables, or a bush and beach equine experience!
For all the programmes we can happily accept riders of all levels. Whatever your experience, your riding will improve dramatically after 2 to 12 weeks of daily horse riding. You will not only improve your skills in the saddle, but also your skills on the ground. Learning about the running of an African stables and practicing general horse management, horse care and ground-skills.
In Africa, the vet isn’t a short drive down the road, medicine and equipment isn’t available 24/7 and tack can’t be easily ordered online. Whatever you think you know about working with horses, working with horses in Africa often requires a whole different way of thinking. It requires imagination, often improvisation(!), a laid-back attitude and determination.
Even though these programmes can take riders of all levels, this will not hold back a more advanced rider. The programmes handle different riding levels brilliantly and they will often split lessons, outrides and the various activities into groups by experience.