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Safari Stables Project

Zimbabwe

This experience is for anyone aged over 16, with a passion for horses, wildlife and wanting to explore the beauty of the real African bush. It is the best way to embark on the ultimate horse experience in Africa. Whether you are on a career break, a gap year, school holiday or simply wanting to be the person who can say ‘I did that,’ we are ready to welcome you into our stables family, with over 20 beautiful horses supporting wildlife conservation.

PROJECT HIGHLIGHTS


  • Gain valuable experience in Stable and Horse Management within a rustic African setting


  • Ride right up to giraffe, weave through herds of zebra, canter past wildebeest and admire majestic  elephants, all on horseback


  • Help guide horse rides around the game reserve


  • Learn and play the sports of polo, polocrosse and show jumping


  • Go swimming on horseback


  • Camp out under the stars on overnight horseback safaris


  • Help care for 4 orphaned African elephants who call the reserve home


  • On weekend enjoy optional excursions to Victoria Falls, (the adrenaline capital of Africa), or go rhino tracking, visit cave paintings, visit sanctuaries and help care for rescued primates and other species. 

The stables are based on a beautiful wildlife reserve in the heart of Zimbabwe. Anyone can volunteer on this project, you don't need any past experience, you don't even need to be able to ride yet! We take complete beginners up to experienced horse riders. The stable is home to over 20 horses which are mostly used for horse safaris around the reserve, but also dressage, jumping, cross country and polo-crosse. They range from well behaved school masters to young horses who need bringing on. The workload will be a mixture of horse management and horse riding.


The reserve the scene for the ideal riding ground. With no large predators roaming around and an abundance of plains game wandering the savannah grasslands, you will have the unique opportunity to get up-close to some incredible wildlife species, including giraffe, zebra, kudu, impala and wildebeest, in a safe environment. Whilst some horse experience is helpful on this project, it is not necessary. We will take those not confident with horses through a gentle training process until they are comfortable with basics, like catching, haltering, tacking up and riding our calmer horses. We hope that by the time you leave you will be happy to join in all the management and riding activities.

 

Those with horse experience will be allowed to assist or lead activities, such as schooling horses, safari rides, fitness training, riding lessons and wildlife counts on horseback. All riders will have chances to learn the game of polo-crosse and during the competition season (May-August) you can join competitions. Competent riders may be able to play in local or international competitions which are also held at the park on the specially designed polo-crosse field. 

KEY ACTIVITIES


Horse Management 


  • Feeding horses in the morning and afternoon

  • Veterinary care of injured, sick and rescued horses

  • Grooming horses 

  • Handling young horses

  • Lunging lessons

  • Tack maintenance and cleaning

  • Hoof care and assisting the farrier

  • Natural horsemanship training, from the ground and in the saddle


In the Saddle 


The riding is varied and can change from day to day but you will generally spend 2-4 hours in the saddle each day. During your stay you can get involved in the following riding activities:


  • Flat schooling of young horses and those in for rehabilitation

  • Protect the reserve, checking fence lines, removing snares and monitoring animals in the park, all whilst on horseback 

  • Join the 2 hour safari rides where you will get up close to giraffe, zebra and antelope, weaving among them as they graze peacefully, or cantering alongside them to the thunder of hooves

  • Compete in shows. Compete in dressage, polocrosse and jumping shows around Zimbabwe, heading off to different locations around the country. 

  • Overnight horse safaris where you and your horses camp out in the bush and enjoy a 3 course meal around the fire under the stars with your friends.

  • Sunrise/ Sunset Rides: An African sunrise is truly spectacular, and it looks even better from the saddle. Just like the sunrise, the sunset is equally as beautiful. This is a memory that will last a lifetime.

  • Swim the horses in the dam to improve their fitness. Take them in to the water bareback  as they go from a leg deep paddle to a full depth swim. 

  • Learn to play polocrosse on our world class field. This fun game involves 2 teams of 3 players, and uses a net on a stick to pick up and carry a ball, aiming for the goals to secure a win for your team.

  • Cross-Country. Jump our very own cross-country course, dotted around the game park and develop your show-jumping skills with the African bush as your backdrop.


Other animals you will work with:


The reserve has 4 rescued elephants who spend their days grazing the lawn in front of the dining hall  and at liberty in the reserve, enjoying the most natural environment possible. The reserve does not  agree with the riding of elephants and only positive reinforcement is used to allow safe handling of  these beautiful animals by the trainers.


Volunteers will join an ‘elephant induction’ in their 1st week, where you will meet Amai, Jecha, Tombi  and Chibi the elephants and spend time with them. In the time you spend with the elephants you will  learn about their behaviour, positive reinforcement training and social interactions with one another.  You will take them for a 2 hour walk in the reserve and have amazing photo opportunities of these  happy and relaxed animals living as they should be, unchained and free.

ACCOMMODATION


Your accommodation will be within the specifically designed and built volunteer village. The village is in the park’s main camp which has its own swimming pool, volleyball court, restaurant, café and a large raised bar that looks out over the dam. On the water birdlife is rich and animals like antelope, zebra and even elephants often come to graze.


The rooms are unisex and are shared with a small number of other volunteers. All bedding, sheets and towels are provided. Housekeeping will come to the rooms every day, clean your room, make your bed and do any clothes washing that is needed. All your laundry is included in the price of  your stay. There is hot and cold  running water within same sex ablution blocks. Meals are enjoyed communally in the dining area. There is a large volunteer common room available for your evening meetings and free time, where volunteers enjoy games, team building and evenings at leisure, when not around the raised bar or firepit under the stars.



LOCATION


Zimbabwe is based in the middle of Southern Africa. At present there is no quarantine requirements on arrival so you can head straight to the project from the airport.  Zimbabwe is renowned by locals as being the best place to do a safari because there are considerably fewer tourists, and the nature reserves are much more wild and free. It is home to Victoria Falls, one of the 7 wonders of the world, and the largest waterfall in the world, being 2x higher and wider than Niagara Falls, and a hot spot for adrenalin sports like skydiving, rafting and bungee jumping. There are some of the largest national parks in Africa, the largest man-made lake in the world (Lake Kariba), fantastic fishing, beautiful cities, endless horizons and cultural diversity. “Zimbos” (as they call themselves), are friendly and love showing volunteers their way of life, culture, and history.


Situated in the heart of Zimbabwe close to a town called Gweru, the game reserve is teeming with African wildlife, including zebra, wildebeest, kudu, waterbuck, impala and giraffe. Past volunteers will tell you this is a very special place, where friends are made for life and the pace of living, friendly staff  and the beautiful animals, will create memories that stay with your  forever.

PROJECT COST


1 week:   £1,014

2 weeks: £1,589

3 weeks: £2,158

4 weeks: £2,708

5 weeks: £3,208

6 weeks: £3,708

7 weeks: £4,208

8 weeks: £4,708

9 weeks: £5,208

10 weeks: £5,708

11 weeks: £6,208

12 weeks: £6,708


Want to know what’s included? Great news, it is pretty much everything! Including your

  • Pre-departure assistance

  • All airport collection and returns

  • All accommodation and food, including 3 meals a day

  • 24 hour support on every project and at the volunteer accommodation by onsite staff

  • All your horseriding 


OUR PRICES EXCLUDE:


  • Medical and travel insurance

  • Flights to your chosen destination

  • Visa

  • Weekend trips and other non-project activities

START DATES 


This project starts on set Mondays of the year. Different start dates can be accommodated  (extra transfer costs apply) with advance notice. 


Volunteers arrive and depart from Harare or Bulawayo Airport where a  member of the team will meet you from the airport and transport you to  the reserve, which is  2 to 4  hours away depending on your choice of airport. There is no quarantine period on arrival. 


2022 start dates:

  • 3, 17 January

  • 7 & 14 February

  • 7, 14, 28 March

  • 4 & 18 April

  • 2, 16, 30 May

  • 6 & 20 June

  • 4, 11, 18 & 25 July

  • 1, 15, 22 & 29 August

  • 5 & 19 September

  • 3 & 17 October

  • 7, 14 & 28 November

  • 12 & 26 December

2023 start dates: You can pick any Monday of the year to start this project in 2023. 

WHAT IF I CAN’T ATTEND DUE TO COVID?


Don’t fear! We have FLEXIBOOKINGS in place for all our projects. If you book a trip with us and have paid for the trip (deposit or in full), we have protocols in place to ensure you don’t miss out. Our main aim is for you to be able to attend your project in a safe and convenient manner so the FLEXIBOOKING system allows free and unlimited date changes if Covid prevents you from attending your planned trip. In the case of the following problems, you can reschedule until the end of 2023 at no cost. N.B if the project price rises between years, we will ask you to make up the difference before travel.



A) Your home country cancels flights to the project location, or your government advises against “all but essential travel” to the destination due to Covid.


B) Destination country cancels flights or closes borders to your home country due to Covid.


C) If you get Covid before travel or have a positive PCR test before your flight, wherever possible we aim to reschedule your project free of charge. In a few instances, the project may request a repayment of the non-refundable deposit, for example Safari Vet Internship project, where there are a set number of volunteers are needed to run the course.


If you choose to cancel your trip for other reasons, refund value depends on the time left until your project start date. Please contact us if you wish to discuss this further.

WHAT NEXT?


If you want to get involved in this project and live, breath and work with horses in Africa just fill in the form below and we will be in touch with you right away.

Project Photos
Volunteer feedback

Catherine McDonald

August 2022

“ From riding in the Zimbabwe bush, to seeing Lions, Elephants and Giraffes up close, I enjoyed every single minute of it, and would do it all again in a heartbeat.”

Kaela Theron

July 2022

“Such a special experience and if you’re on the fence about going… DO IT! I know I would do it again in a heartbeat”