The project is divided into 2 different segments – see below for more detailed descriptions of both.
The Equestrian centre is situated within the Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate, which is a 420 hectare nature reserve. The estate has Leopard, Hyena and most of the herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, reptiles, snakes, primates, smaller cats, eagles, vultures, birds, insects and their relatives that you find in the Savanna biome. During the walks, drives and outrides we offer, you’ll almost always see a variety of animals. Plus get the most amazing photo opportunities.
On the nature reserves next door there are the BIG 5 (lion, elephant, rhino, leopard and buffalo) and during the project volunteers will go on privately guided bush walks, game drives and night drives in the wild so that you'll get to see as much wildlife possible.
Equestrian Section (Morning Duties + Activities):
Participants will be able to further their equestrian knowledge and riding skills relating to horse trails, show jumping/dressage and stable yard, while doing so within a wildlife environment.
During the lessons, they teach you the various skills you need to be an ethical and confident horse rider. You will learn all aspects such as understanding the correct way to ride, handling of horses, basic veterinary, grooming, tacking up and the general care of the horse. They teach riding skills both in the wildlife and in an arena, horse behaviour, natural horsemanship, jumping, flat work and bareback riding but all at your own comfort level.
The program exposes one to all the aspects of managing an equestrian centre, however one will not be expected to maintain the centre, so if mucking out a stable is not your thing, then don’t despair. Rather, emphasis is placed on learning in a relaxed and fun filled environment, and is available to both experienced riders and beginners. If you have never ridden a horse before but would like to learn, then this is the place to visit.
The following practical activities will be achieved:
- Out rides in the reserve plains lands
- Horsemanship (general care,lunging,riding)
- Natural Horsemanship
- Stable management
- Basic veterinary and basic anatomy of a horse
- Tack and care of tack
- Teaching (beginner riders)
- Basic First Aid
Environmental Section (Afternoon Duties + Activities):
This section of the program allows one the opportunity to drive through the African bush, sit around a campfire listening to the calls of the wild or sipping a well-deserved drink, while watching the African sunset.
After a day at the stables you will go out into a Big 5 Nature Reserve where you will have the opportunity to view the wildlife in its natural environment with an emphasis on conservation. Whether it is a game drive in the bush, watching the sun set over the canopy of trees or star gazing on the night drives the emphasis is placed on having an amazing adventure in a relaxed and fun filled environment! The main goal is to create an awareness of the environment and wildlife and to teach you to be ambassadors to the wildlife of Africa.
Some projects that are on the go are;
- Elephant Impact Research
- Elephant population dynamics
- Rhino identification
- Monitoring the trap cameras throughout the reserve
Accommodation & Food
Accommodation is provided in comfortable chalets on a neighbouring Big 5 reserve. Each room accommodates 4 riders and each has its own bathroom en suite. A separate kitchen/fireplace overlooks a waterhole in the bush, where one can enjoy a meal or simply spend your time relaxing with a book or sitting around a campfire, while a variety of game (e.g. buffalo, zebras, giraffes...) come down to drink. It never gets old seeing a giraffe turn up while you're enjoying your morning coffee. There is also Wi-Fi at bush camp.
The kitchen is fully stocked for a self-service breakfast and lunch and suppers are prepared for everyone in the evenings. There is also a swimming pool nearby, surrounded by wooden decking and overlooking the bush. Internet can be bought with vouchers once on the project, these are valid per month. Laundry can be done at the bush camp for a small cost to cover expenses.
Schedules & Additional Excursions (not included in project fee):
Although completely flexible, the weekly schedule combines equestrian with conservation. It is important to know that schedules can change according to various activities and weather conditions. The day starts early with self-service breakfast at camp after which you are transported either to the equestrian centre or deeper into the nature reserve.
A fair amount of free time is also made available, which one can use either to catch up on their personal requirements such as Facebook, emails etc, or simply to take in the beautiful sights and sounds of their surroundings. Weekend schedules are less rigid, giving one the opportunity to do some sightseeing, some shopping, to go on an excursion or simply to relax in the hammock or spend time at the near by pool.
These excursions will allow one to learn more about the Lowveld and its surrounding area. You will always be accompanied by either one or both of the supervisors.
- Walk with the wild (Including breakfast)
- Wildlife rehabilitation centres
- White water rafting/tubing
- Hot air ballooning
- Pro-track Anti-Poaching training
- It is a low risk Malaria area. It is recommended to take anti-malaria pills or purchase Incognito natural anti-mosquito range.
- There is a weight limit of 85kg
- Self medication / first aid kit
- Hat, sun cream, water bottle and adaptor
- Personal First Aid Kit and medication - if required
- Drug Use will not be tolerated
- There is plenty of spare riding gear but you are welcome to bring your own helmet and boots.
If you have any questions we are happy to provide you more information.