Safari Stables Project
Participants on this project gain experience in the daily running and management of an African safari stable, which caters for horse-riding lessons, horse-back safaris, carriage safaris and the sports of Polo and Polocrosse. You will also be involved with the other animals at the park including elephants, lions and planes game.
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
Interact and help care for our 4 rescued African Elephants
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 stables is home to over 40 horses which are mostly used for horse safaris around the reserve, but also polo, polo-crosse and showjumping. They range from well behaved school masters to young lively horses who need bringing on. The work load will be a mixture of horse management and horse riding.
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 some 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.
An early rise in time to see the red African sunrise - round up horses to the stables
Mucking out the stables
Assisting when polocrosse competitions are being held at the park
In the Saddle
The riding is varied and can change from day to day but you will get involved in the following rides:
Spend 2-6 hours each day in the saddle
Assist with training/breaking in of young horses
Flat schooling of young horses and showjumping practice
Carry out reserve maintenance, checking fence lines, removing snares or counting the animals in the park
Join the regular 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
Join in with shows at various location around the country if they are occurring during your stay
Overnight safaris where you and your horses camp out in the bush with other volunteers (3 course dinner is cooked for you in the campsite)
Swim the horses in the dam to improve fitness. Sometimes the elephants join in too!
Learn to play polocrosse
The 4 rescued elephants that have a safe haven at the reserve spend their days grazing the lawn in front of the dining hall and at liberty in the reserve, enjoying the most natural environment possible. You will spend a session with the elephants, understanding their behavior walking alongside them in the bush. 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.
Your accommodation will be in the middle of the game reserve, in the ‘main camp’. The stables are right outside the camp, so you don’t have far to go to reach the horses! Volunteers share rustic thatched roof single sex rooms. You will share with 3 or 5 other people and all your bedding and towels are provided. You will use single sex wash rooms with hot running water, so you can clean up after a day in the saddle, before heading to the dining hall, coffee shop, fire pit or bar. If you want to find out about upgrading to a couples room, a private en suite or even a honey moon suite from around 30 US dollars a night, just ask us to find out the rates.
You will be waking up to the sounds of the lions roaring, and when the African sun is beating down on you later in the day, you can cool off by the pool (number one chill spot over the lunch break!) or relax with a cold drink at our raised deck bar overlooking the river. The coffee shop on site makes some of Southern Africa’s best waffles, cakes and smoothies, as well as selling authentic souvenirs. The four rescued elephants often come and drink at the lake in front of the dining hall and coffee shop, so you can expect to meet and interact with them on these occasions.
WIFI is available at around 20 US dollars for 1GB and is accessible on any device so we recommend bringing a laptop, tablet or smartphone with you in order to access it. Your laundry is done for you for free. You just drop it off at the laundry building and pick it up clean and folded one day later!
Zimbabwe is based in the middle of Southern Africa. It 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. “Zimbos” (as they call themselves), are without a doubt the most generous and friendly nation in Southern Africa and love showing volunteers the way of life, culture and history.
Situated in the heart of Zimbabwe near the town of Gweru, and just two hours away from Bulawayo Airport where you arrive to, is the project. The game reserve is teeming with African wildlife, including lions, elephants, zebra, wildebeest, kudu, jackal, waterbuck, impala and giraffe. The landscape is a mixture of rolling savanna and mopane woodland, interspersed with gently flowing rivers and dams that provide a vital source of water to the animals on the reserve. 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. If living on a game reserve in the heart of the African bush isn’t enough, there are loads of extra activities to enjoy with fellow volunteers.
Want to know what’s included? Great news, it is pretty much everything! Including your
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
Tea, coffee and filtered water
OUR PRICES EXCLUDE:
Medical and travel insurance
Flights to your chosen destination
Weekend trips and other non-project activities
2 weeks £ 1,199
3 weeks £ 1,523
4 weeks £ 1,845
5 weeks £ 2,168
6 weeks £ 2,490
7 weeks £ 2,812
8 weeks £ 3,135
9 weeks £ 3,457
10 weeks £ 3,780
11 weeks £4,102
12 weeks £4,425
Volunteers arrive to Bulawayo Airport on the Monday the project starts and depart on the Monday it ends. Most people fly via Johannesburg airport and arrive early in the morning. A member of the team will meet you from the airport and transport you to the reserve, which is two hours from the airport, just outside the town of Gweru.
Different start dates can be accommodated (extra transfer costs apply) with advance notice. Ask us about tailored start dates, durations and multi-project trips. You will receive 5% off any 2nd or subsequent project you book with us, either immediately after your first project, or at any time in the future! Stays extending over 3 months receive a reduced rate on accommodation, please contact us if you wish to stay for a longer period.
January 16th & 13th & 27th I February 10th & 24th I March 9th & 23rd I April 6th &20th I May 4th & 18th I June 1st & 15th &29th I July 6th &13th &20th & 27th I August 3rd & 10th &17th & 24th & 31st I September 7th & 21st I October 5th & 19th I November 2nd & 16th 30th I December 14th & 28th.
4th, 11th, 25th January | 8 & 22 February | 8 & 22 March | 5 & 19 April | 3, 17 & 21 May | 14 & 28 June | 5, 12, 19 & 26 July | 2, 9, 16 & 23 August | 6 & 20 September | 4 & 18 October | 1, 15 & 29 November | 13 & 27 December