Horse Riding & Rhino Conservation

Conservation Travel Africa  »  Horse Riding & Rhino Conservation

Horse Riding & Rhino Conservation

from £850
Duration: from 1 week to 4 weeks
Countries: Zimbabwe
The perfect project for horse riders! Combine horse riding safaris, anti-poaching patrols and game counts with hands-on rhino and elephant conservation.

Horse Riding & Rhino Conservation

Live and work in the heart of a 10,000 acre family owned game park in the heart of Zimbabwe and get involved in a world-renowned black rhino breeding and release programme. With daily horse rides and hands on conservation work, this project is an absolute must for anyone who wants to combine horse riding with volunteer work.

In the 1980s, a decade of the worst rhino poaching in African history, Imire Game Park was awarded guardianship of seven orphaned baby black rhino which were hand-reared until they reached maturity. Since then, the conservancy has become a world-renowned Black Rhino Breeding and Release Centre, with 15 black rhino born on Imire and 12 released back into National Parks across Southern Africa.This is your opportunity to be part of an amazing story and help continue the breeding programme today.

As well as black and white rhino and elephants, Imire is also home to a wide variety of animals including lions, buffalo, giraffe, hyena, zebra and wildebeest and is also a breeding centre for the rare sable antelope. As a volunteer you will get hands on experience in running a game park, learn more about conservation and help ensure that Imire's work can continue.

What sort of things will I be doing?
No two days on Imire are ever the same and there is usually something unexpected around the corner, but as an equine volunteer, you may get involved in some or all of these activities:

Equine husbandry and general animal care:
- Feeding, grooming and general health checks
- Maintenance and cleaning of equine tack
- Paddock building and construction of horse boma areas as required
- You will ride for 3-4 hours a day, 5 days a week and also enjoy daily interactions with the game park’s resident elephants, black and white rhino.

Anti-poaching patrols:
To ensure Imire is a safe and secure environment for all animals and people within its boundaries and to create a safe area into which rehabilitated animals can be released. 
- Provide manpower to assist with horseback anti-poaching patrols and snare sweeps in areas not accessible by vehicle
- Undertake night riding patrols and camp-outs
- Fence line patrols, building and fence maintenance

Cattle ranching:
To monitor the welfare of the cattle herd, assist in their well-being and manage their usage of the game park’s resources - all on horseback. 
- Move cattle to different sections of the game park
- Undertake general health inspections to check for injury, pests and pregnancies
- Patrol the game park to find lost cattle, check for new calves and monitor the 800 head herd of dairy and beef cattle
- Assist with cattle counts and dipping to remove ticks and pests

Game park management:
You will give day to day assistance to the Game Park Manager to ensure the effective running of the reserve.
- Check on the welfare and location of newborn animals and their mothers, exploring areas inaccessible by vehicle
- Assist in game counts and herd monitoring, all on horseback

Rhino and elephant interaction:
To monitor the behaviour and activities of five black rhino, including two babies and observe the small elephant herd.
- Observe interactions, monitor and assess the browsing behaviour of black rhino and elephants
- Maintain and clean rhino and elephant beds
- Record the behaviour of the two baby rhino (born in 2014 and 2016)

Interested in this; ready to enquire?

Apply now by clicking the button below and filling out the application form on Conservation Travel Africa should then be in touch shortly to help with your enquiry.


Further Details

More information about this gap year opportunity...

Price details:

from £850

Programme Highlights!

- Perfect for those who have a passion for horse riding and wildlife conservation
- Immerse yourself in the wildlife as you live by a dam in the heart of the game park
- Live in a family-run game reserve, dedicated to rhino conservation and wildlife preservation
- Undertake a wide range of activities: equine husbandry, game monitoring, anti-poaching, cattle management, plus getting involved with rhino and elephant conservation
- A unique opportunity to see a variety of wildlife in their natural environment
- Enjoy overnight camp-outs under the stars with the horses
- Combine horse riding with hands-on rhino and elephant conservation
- Form close bonds with amazing animals, dedicated staff and volunteers from around the world

What's included?

Return transfers from Harare International Airport or bus station
All meals and accommodation while you are on the programme
Transport around the game park when required
24 hour support from volunteer programme staff
All training required to do your work
All tack and riding equipment plus your very own bush horse!

Do I need experience?

We do not require any formal experience and we welcome volunteers with a passion and interest in wildlife and conservation and the ability to communicate suitably in English. This is a very hands-on programme, to participate you must have a good level of general fitness and mobility.
You must be able to ride proficiently and we will conduct a short riding assessment on your first day - unfortunately we cannot take beginners on this programme.

What do I need to bring?

There will be a full kit list in your pre-departure pack, but you will need to bring:
- A riding helmet (no volunteer can ride without one)
- Closed shoes with a good sole (riding boots are not required unless you wish to bring them)
- Small rucksack and water bottle
- Long trousers, leggings or jodphurs. We do not recommend jeans.
- A light waterproof jacket in the summer for unexpected rain showers!

How old do I need to be?

We accept all volunteers aged over 17.

Do I need a visa?

Yes, you will almost certainly need a visa to enter Zimbabwe. Most nationalities can buy this upon arrival at the airport, but please check with your local Zimbabwe embassy BEFORE you travel.

Do you accept non-UK residents?

Yes, we accept volunteers of all nationalities.

What will the weather be like?

Zimbabwe has sunshine 90% of the time!
During the summer (October - April) temperatures average 28-30°c. Volunteers should bring a light waterproof jacket for sudden downpours! Average lows are around 15-20°c.
During winter (May - mid-August) daytime temperatures average 23-25°c with no rainfall at all. Temperatures during the night and in the mornings and evenings can get down to 7-10°c so lots of layers is essential for winter!

When can I come?

We take volunteers every Monday throughout the year.

About Conservation Travel Africa

Conservation Travel Africa was established to help restore Africa’s wilderness areas, working with existing organisations and conservationists to achieve long term goals through conservation, education and wildlife research. These projects need volunteers to support their work and we pride ourselves on providing meaningful and responsible volunteer programmes which are beneficial, necessary and, most of all, fun!

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Photo Gallery

Anti-poaching patrols on horseback

Anti-poaching patrols on horseback

Carry out horseback anti-poaching patrols
New baby rhino

New baby rhino

Monitor and record behaviour of baby rhino
Game counts and herd checking

Game counts and herd checking

Checking on the number and condition of herd animals including wildebeest and buffalo, as well as cattle.
Snare sweeps

Snare sweeps

Riding to outlying areas to check for snares and traps
Rhino interaction

Rhino interaction

Lots of fun in the saddle

Lots of fun in the saddle

The start of another day in the saddle
Beautiful scenery

Beautiful scenery

Searching for baby animals

Searching for baby animals

Check on the condition and location of all babies
A well-earned rest

A well-earned rest

Getting ready to camp out

Getting ready to camp out

Getting ready for a camp-out, with the rhino paying a visit in the background
Elephant interaction

Elephant interaction

Monitor elephant herds
An inquisitive rhino wanders off from his handlers and goes to see what the volunteers are up to
Image 12 of 12 images

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