Gap Years, Conservation Volunteering
Volunteer with Horses, South Africa, Hoedspruit
Get away and have a true South African adventure on our Volunteer with Horses programme, where you will have the opportunity to experience African wildlife and take part in horseback safaris in volunteer groups.
Our Volunteer with Horses project is the ultimate programme for horse and animal enthusiasts, who are looking for a true South African adventure. This action-packed and exciting programme will give you the chance to increase your knowledge of African wildlife and develop your horse-riding skills in a stunning Big 5 Game Reserve, located on the outskirts of Hoedspruit in South Africa.
You will have the opportunity to take a ride through the bush to view amazing African wildlife, including giraffe and impala, gallop down winding paths and learn how to jump, and take your horse for a cooling swim in the dam. This programme is available to riders of all levels, so have no fear if you are a beginner, as lessons will be provided to teach advanced riding and jumping. During your stay you will be exposed to all the aspects of managing a safari equestrian centre, and you will be shown how to work with horses in a safe and comfortable way.
You’ll also get the chance to experience conservation of a “Big 5” reserve, which is home to elephants, rhinos, leopards and buffalo. During nature guides from fully qualified staff, you will learn basic knowledge of ecosystems, how to identify wildlife, animal tracks and signs, and so much more.
This volunteering programme offers you a unique opportunity to experience Africa’s stunning wildlife, spend time riding and caring for beautiful horses, and gain unforgettable memories.
- What's included?
- Dates & duration
- Project life
- Flights & Visas
• Accommodation: shared chalets (2-3 people) with en-suite bathroom
• Food: 3 meals are provided a day including juice, coffee and tea
• Transport within the programme
• Horse trails, bush walks and drives
• Access to swimming pool overlooking the bush
• Conservation fees
• Unlimited Wi-fi and computer access
• Laundry facility
• Return airport transfer to Eastgate airport, Hoedspruit
What’s not included:
• Visa (if required)
• Social events or personal trips
• Additional excursions, see “project life” for further details
Dates and duration
• This programme is open all year round
• Volunteers can choose to stay between 2 to 8 weeks (for quotes on longer durations contact us)
• Arrivals are arranged on a Friday
- Minimum age 18yrs
- For those travelling between the ages of 16-17, you must abide by the new South African immigration regulations. You can find information here
- Genuine care and consideration for the animals at the project, and not scared to get dirty
- You are a citizen of a country that is eligible for a visa to enter South Africa
- Medical requirements: consult your doctor in connection with malaria medication
- Riding experience is obviously useful, however it is not required as we can provide riding lessons at the programme
Your typical day will start early with coffee and rusks (a South African biscuit), and after which you will be transported either to the equestrian centre, or to the heart of the nature reserve. The days will be made up of practical and theoretical equestrian and conservation work, so you will go home with a varied full experience of African wildlife and working with horses. Imagine riding a horse through the bush as giraffe watch on, or driving to see elephants, buffalo and rhinos gathering at the water hole.
During this project you will be able to choose the excursions and activities that you want to do, so that you can get the most out of the experience as possible.
Typical activities and excursions may include:
- Horseback safari activities
- Horse riding lessons, including jumping
- Horse related games
- Game drives and night drives
- Bush walks
- Bush sleep-outs
- Conservation activities including tracking and wildlife signs, identification and animal behaviour
You will also be given free time which you can use to explore your beautiful surroundings, relax with friends in your kitchen area overlooking the water hole, or email family back home. At the weekends the schedule will be less rigid, and will give you the opportunity to do some sightseeing, go on an excursion, do some shopping, or even just relax. The centre is situated close to the tourist town of Hoedspruit, which is a fantastic place to explore at the weekends and in the evenings, as it has a few local restaurants and pubs.
If you want to go on more exciting excursions and explore your surroundings further, then you can choose from a selection of varied optional extra excursions. You could have an amazing birds-eye view of the nature reserve from up high in a hot air balloon, visit a local tribal village and share a traditional dinner with them, learn about buffalo, cheetahs and leopards at breeding projects, or have an adrenaline rush while white-water rafting or tubing down the Blyde River near Sabie.
Accommodation and Food
You will be staying in cosy and comfortable chalets situated on a “Big 5” nature reserve. Each room accommodates 2-3 volunteers, and has its own bathroom en-suite. A separate kitchen and living room overlooks a waterhole in the reserve, so whilst you are having dinner or are relaxing with friends, you will be able to gaze at a variety of African animals as they come down for a drink. There is also a swimming pool close to the chalets which is surrounded by wooden decking, and overlooks the bush. You will have free access to an on-site laundry facility.
Three meals are provided daily, and include juice, coffee and tea.
Flights, Transportation & Visas
• Flights are not included
• Transfers are conducted to and from Eastgate airport, Hoedspruit (code: HDS)
• You will be collected from the airport
• A tourist visa is required for Commonwealth, US and European citizens. In this case, you are able to get a tourist visa upon entry
• 90 day tourist visas are available upon arrival if you are from an eligible country
CIBT Visa advice...
For expert visa advice we advise our volunteer, work placement, and internship participants to get in touch with CIBT - a company that we work in partnership with. Our UK, Canadian, and US travellers can use CIBT for visa advice and to get their visa applications processed - with visas returned within a week.
Safety & Insurance
We can assure volunteers that they will be in safe and experienced hands, as the owner of the centre is a fully qualified guide, competitive rider and dedicated conservationist. She has official qualifications in FGASA (Field Guides Association of Southern Africa), Level 1 and Level 2.
- All of Twin Work & Volunteer's placements are in partnership with recognised and established local organisations, run by or employing local people. These organisations, depending on the nature of what they do, might be small-scale NGOs, family projects, schools or orphanages, or local initiatives with environmental or social goals.
- We often use local businesses to provide logistical and support services to volunteers such as transfers, pick-ups, accommodation and so on. In this way, we support the local economy through helping independent local businesses to thrive. We take our partnerships very seriously and work extremely closely with all our partners.
- We provide 24-hour emergency support from the UK and our partners provides support locally.
- We have an agreement with the crisis management service Tranquillico, should the very worst situations arise.
- If any wider safety concerns arise in the destination, such as civil disturbances or natural disasters, we seek advice from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) and implement their recommendations where appropriate.
Comprehensive insurance is available for all programmes. You have no obligation to take up insurance with any of these companies, but insurance of a suitable sort is mandatory on all our programmes.
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