Horse Riding Working Holiday in South Africa

2 weeks: From GBP £1162 pp sharing

LIVE THE EQUESTRIAN DREAM VOLUNTEERING IN SOUTH AFRICA

If you want to gain further experience riding and volunteering with horses whilst embracing the wonderful African bush, then this may be the place for you.

During your stay, not only will you have some unbeatable riding experiences, but you will also spend time in the bush, acquiring knowledge about South Africa’s wildlife. You will get a taste of living like a local in South Africa and create memories that will last a lifetime.

The programme is designed for groups of up to ten, who are interested in learning more about an equestrian center and the management of a South African stable. Enjoy fun trail rides out in the African bush, riding alongside plains game such as giraffe, zebra, warthogs and different types of antelope in the reserve. Improve your handling of horses, gain further experience in general horse and equipment care, basic yard management, safety, instruction, schooling, basic veterinary, riding skills both in the wildlife and in an arena, horse behaviour, natural horsemanship. Combine furthering these skills with a unique nature experience which embraces conservation. Experience walking safaris and guiding practice in the natural environment, gaining knowledge of the local ecosystems, identification of plants, birds and animals, tracking and signs, and animal behaviour. During your stay you will go on many exciting game drives and night drives in the neighbouring big 5 game reserve. It’s here from the vehicle that you will go looking for some of those bigger animals like elephants, rhinos and big cats – Exposing you to the very best Africa has to offer.

You will be working alongside Traci Thomson, who is a devoted guide, accomplished competitive rider and dedicated conservationist. She is also qualified in both FGASA Level 1 and Level 2 as well as Advanced Trails guide and facilitator. Her team is made up of Shannon, who manages the stable yard and works with the horses and Ryan, who conducts game drives on a Big 5 reserve, which is part of the Greater Kruger.

This placement is designed to be as fun-filled as possible. As with all placements with horses, there will be some hard-work, but the rewards will be more than worth it. Whether you’ve been riding all your life and are looking to broaden your horisons, or a beginner wanting to get into horse riding – you will have a lot of fun here. Meet like-minded people from all over the world and make unforgettable friends and memories.

DATES AND RATES

Open all year round – arrivals every Friday throughout the year.

2024 RATES

2 Weeks / 3 Weeks / 4 Weeks

GBP £1162 / GBP £1743 / GBP £2324 per person sharing

5 Weeks / 6 Weeks / 8 Weeks

GBP £2905 / GBP £3486 / GBP £4648 per person sharing

10 Weeks / 12 Weeks

GBP £5810 / GBP £6972 per person sharing

INCLUDES & EXCLUDES

Includes

  • Accommodation in shared rooms
  • Three meals per day, as well as a fully stocked kitchen – Basic ingredients, are provided but you may wish to purchase extra ‘luxuries’
  • Wifi
  • Gate levy
  • Return airport transfers
  • Transport within the programme
  • All equestrian activities (Riding lessons, horse trails, fun rides, horseback swims, basic veterinary, and stable management)
  • All wildlife activities (Game drives, night drives, bush walks)
  • Laundry is self-service, but washing powder is included in the price

Excludes

  • International Flights to Johannesburg
  • Local Flights / Road transfer to Hoedspruit
  • Comprehensive Travel and Medical Insurance
  • Visas
  • All drinks (Drinking water is provided)
  • Eating out at restaurants & extra snacks
  • Excursions (Hiking, Kruger Game Drives, Boat trips, Wildlife Rehabilitation centre, Elephant Interaction, etc.)
  • Extra activities on excursions (Big swing, massages, etc.)

QUICK FACTS

Location: Hoedspruit
Airport: Hoedspruit Airport
Month: Open All Year
Duration: 2 – 12 Weeks
Group Size: Max 10
Skill Level: All Riding Abilities
Weight Limit: 75kg (80kg for experienced rider)
Accommodation: Shared accommodation
VIEW GALLERY
2 weeks: From GBP £1162 pp sharing

SUITABLE RIDING LEVELS

  • Beginner
  • Novice
  • Intermediate
  • Intermediate Plus
  • Advanced
WHAT RIDING LEVEL AM I?

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • The chance to experience life at a South African stable
  • Riding alongside giraffe, zebra and antelope in a beautiful reserve
  • Horse swims, show jumping and dressage
  • Learning more about the bush through informative game drives through the neighbouring Big 5 reserve
  • Making lots of life-long friends and meeting like-minded fun people
  • The chance to explore further afield in South Africa through the many excursions offered

TOUR REVIEWS

I had an amazing time on the working vacation in South Africa. Traci and her family, the owners of the business, were beyond welcoming. I was there during Christmas and we celebrated with the whole family. I met other volunteers from all over the world, had the most spectacular wildlife sitings, and rode a wide variety of wonderful horses. If you are looking to go on a horse safari on a budget, especially if you are a student or just finished school, this is the best opportunity. African Horse Safari made the booking process easy, so thank you!

Arielle SmithWorking Holiday, South Africa
READ MORE REVIEWS

SAMPLE ITINERARY

**Weather permitting, the weekly schedule will combine equestrian with nature, where volunteers will either be at the stables or in the bush.

Wednesdays will provide volunteers with an opportunity to experience one of the various excursions nearby and on Thursday volunteers can spend time helping with local outreach programmes and NPO’s such as Nourish and Hoedspruit Animal Outreach. Weekends will include dinner in town or a night at the local bar for a party as well as an awesome social braai/barbecue around the fire.

A fair amount of free time is also made available, which you can use either to catch up on their personal requirements such as Facebook, Skype etc., or simply to take in the beautiful sights and sounds of your surroundings.

A DAY IN THE LIFE

Each day is different at a South African stable yard! This a sample
of what your day might be like:

• Wake up in your bush camp and grab a quick breakfast before walking to the stables
• Once arrived at the stables, Shannon will brief the volunteers on the day’s activities: horses that need working and jobs that need doing – each day is different.
• Help with grooming and taking horses out to paddocks.
• Help tack up any horses needed for lessons or trails. And assist visitors with mounting and getting settled on their horses.
• Depending on the day, your morning riding may vary from joining as back-up on a trail ride, having a jumping or flatwork lesson with Traci, schooling a horse yourself or joining a trail with some of your fellow volunteers.
• After your ride you may need to help with some yard work like cleaning tack or water troughs ,or help fill hay nets
• Soon enough it’ll be lunchtime at the club house.
• After lunch you may have another ride (weather dependent) before helping to bring the horses back in from the paddocks and settling them for the evening.
• Enjoy some downtime a the African Dream House before an evening game drive where you could be lucky enough spot any of the antelope, elephant, leopard, lion, rhino or hyena that roam the reserve.
• After the game drive , grab a well-deserved shower before heading to the kitchen where you will have access to the well-stocked pantry to conjure up your dinner which you can enjoy with your new friends under the beautiful African stars.
• When you’re ready, curl into bed! Tomorrow will be another busy day at the stables.

EQUESTRIAN / STABLES

A few skills volunteers will be exposed to are as follows:

  • General Horsemanship
  • Stable Management
  • Basic Veterinary
  • Basic horse anatomy
  • Tack fitment and care
  • Riding lessons including show jumping and dressage
  • Trail riding among wildlife
  • Dam swims
  • Natural Horsemanship

HORSEMANSHIP & HORSE CARE

You will be volunteering at a working South African stable yard, situated within a wildlife estate in the African bush. The yard offers riding lessons and livery to locals, and trail rides to tourists in the area. You will help Traci, Shannon and the permanent staff with the daily care of over 30 horses. Traci and Shannon are a brilliant mother-daughter team with a vast amount of equine knowledge which they love to share with their volunteers. You are guaranteed to learn plenty form this duo and their team. Activities may include feeding and grooming horses, helping with basic veterinary treatment where required, taking horses to and from paddocks, lunging, tacking up and helping trail riders onto their mounts. Every so often you may be cleaning tack and paddocks. Your visit may coincide with a show hosted on the property in which case you’ll help with the set-up but also have the opportunity to compete!

HORSE RIDING

Riders of all levels are welcome to volunteer. Traci is a fantastic teacher and will be able to help hone your skills, at whatever level you are. You will have the opportunity to join flatwork and jumping lessons in the large, well equipped arenas on the property. You may join a guest trail ride as back up or go riding through the bush with a bunch of other volunteers, amongst zebra, giraffe, warthogs, kudu and a host of other wild animals (There are no predators, elephants or buffaloes in the reserve that you will ride in) Another highlight is taking the horses to a nearby dam for a cool off in the dam if there has been enough rain! We’re not sure whether horses or the riders enjoy the swim the most! It is so much fun.

ENVIRONMENTAL / BUSH

The main objective is to create a love and an awareness of the environment, with conservation as the main drive. Volunteers have the optunrity to do:

  • Game Drives in the Big 5 game reserve
  • Night Drives to see nocturnal animals
  • Guided Bush Walks
  • Tracking
  • Environmental Education
  • Basic Reserve Maintenance

LIVING IN THE BUSH

You will be staying in a wildlife estate just outside Kruger. You will have plenty of opportunities for game drives searching for exciting animals from your open game viewing vehicle. Your guide, Ryan, has a wealth of bush knowledge and will be able to teach you interesting facts about the ecology of the area. Elephants and lions are often spotted on game drives and this is always the highlight of the week!
While the wildlife estate that you’re staying in doesn’t have these bigger creatures, you’ll often find the kudu, zebra, and waterbuck around the property and even in the horse paddocks!

COMMUNITY & OUTREACH

The stables are also actively involved in local outreach programs helping with community feeding schemes and animal protection.

ADDITIONAL EXCURSIONS

Besides the day to day activities which make up the programme, you will be given enough free time to explore the many beautiful spots in the area, including the Blyde River Canyon (the largest green canyon in the world), the world famous Kruger National Park, God’s Window in Graskop and many more. Other excursions include hiking along courses of waterfalls and visiting one of the many animal rehabilitation centres in the area.

THE ACCOMMODATION

AFRICAN DREAM HOUSE

You will be staying with the other volunteers at a newly built volunteer house which is a 2 minute walk from the stables. There are two beds in each room with an ensuite bathroom. Your room is equipped with fans, sockets to charge all your electronics, and a small storage cabinet for your belongings. The house has Wi-Fi so you’ll be able to keep in touch with friends and family back home.
The kitchen is stocked with fresh produce and pantry ingredients for you to make your own breakfasts and dinners in the fully equipped kitchen. Lunch is supplied at the stables daily. You’ll be able to shop at the local supermarket in Hoedspruit for any of your own extra snacks and drinks, and often Friday’s will be take away pizzas in the bush!
There is a lovely pool next to the veranda space which is essential for cooling off after a hot dusty day (it’s equally good for warm midnight swims!) The outside are is complete with a dining area, fire pit and lounge. Here you can enjoy a meal or simply spend your time relaxing with a book or sitting around a campfire, while a variety of wildlife wanders by.

THE DESTINATION

HOEDSPRIUT

This programme is situated in the Lowveld of the Limpopo Province of South Africa on the outskirts of the tourist town, Hoedspruit (430km north east of Pretoria and in close proximity to the Kruger National Park).

The Equestrian centre is situated within the Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate, which is a 420 hectare nature reserve. This is the estate upon which you can ride and is home to giraffe, zebra, kudu, warthogs, impala and many other types of antelopes and birds. No elephant, lion or rhino.

Enjoy the traverse rights held by the programme, on adjacent nature reserves which are part of the Greater Kruger and are home to the BIG 5 (lion, elephant, rhino, leopard and buffalo), as well as many other animal species. During the project, you will go on game drives and night drives in the wild to expose yourself to as much wildlife possible in this reserve.

HOW WE CARE FOR OUR HORSES

Our horseback adventures are hand-picked for their quality and care of their horses. Here’s how the horses are kept in tip-top shape for your safaris. Our horses are on top of the hierarchy and receive very special care:

  • Our stable manager has got the most incredible passion for these animals and goes above and to ensure they are happy and cared for
  • Horses sleep in shaded stables and spend most of the day in large paddocks. They are fed a combination of concentrates and good quality hay and are groomed twice a day
  • They have all been saddle fitted by a professional saddle fitter and tack is cleaned daily
  • We have a weekly riding program which shows us the work done by each horse on each day of the week to ensure they have a mixture of exercise. This includes trail rides, flatwork, jumping, lunging and days off

Please let us know if you have any more questions about this.

HOW TO SIGN UP FOR A HORSE SAFARI

Fill in the form on our website/social media describing your dream African Horse Safari

A Horse Safari Specialists will get in touch to help you plan the perfect escape

Confirm your ride and dates by paying your deposit

We’ll send you a reminder for your balance payment + travel advice

Pack your bags for your adventure!

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