Why volunteer on this project?
Game viewing on horseback is a magical experience, allowing you to interact closely the wild animals. Combine this with rhino and elephant conservation and you have a truly unique volunteer experience. Get involved in every aspect of wildlife conservation on horseback, on foot and by vehicle and enjoy becoming part of a fun, passionate and dedicated conservation family. You will also experience Zimbabwe’s unique culture and history, and form strong bonds with other volunteers and staff.
What will I be doing?
Ride your very own bush horse on anti-poaching and boundary patrols; ride to otherwise inaccessible areas of the conservancy to find missing animals and locate babies and mothers; move cattle around the reserve; undertake game counts by riding alongside iconic African animals such as zebra, giraffe and wildebeest.
Interact with the five black rhino (three adults and two babies), and get to know the animals and their individual personalities.
- Learn about rhino conservation and the work being done to secure their future
- Observe the relationships between rhinos and handlers, to help predict their behaviour
- Monitor the baby rhinos’ behaviour and feeding patterns
- Ride and walk alongside the rhinos
- Learn to use telemetry and identify rhino tracks and spoor
Work with elephants
Spend time working closely with the four elephants on the reserve.
- Observe their behaviour to identify patterns and relationships
- Monitor movements and feeding patterns
- Repair elephant damage
- Clean out the elephant beds and repair enclosures
- Ride and walk alongside the elephants and learn from their experienced handlers
Anti-poaching and security (horseback)
- Conduct snare sweeps and patrols to check for security breaches
- Monitor inaccessible areas of the reserve to check for evidence of poaching
- Monitor fences and boundaries
- Participate in camp-outs and night patrols, especially over full moon
- Participate in weapons drills and physical train with the Anti-Poaching Unit
Conservancy Management (horseback)
Horse riding volunteers play a vital role in supporting the Game Park Manager and his team in the upkeep of the conservancy, to ensure it is well-maintained and able to safely support the animals.
- Perform game counts of herd animals
- Locate new mothers and check on babies
- Feed nutritional supplements to antelopes, elephants, plains game, lion and hyena
- Maintain fences, roads, fireguards and equipment
Cattle mustering (horseback)
The reserve has a dedicated cattle team who look after the 800 cows and bulls on the farm.
- Move cattle to different sections of the farm
- Undertake cattle inspections to check for injuries, pests and pregnancy
- Patrol the reserve to find lost cattle and new calves
- Assist with cattle counts and dipping
The conservancy works closely with two local schools and supports and Learning Centre within the reserve for the children of staff.
- Assist with the delivery of an English literacy programme in the primary school
- Help older children with homework and computer skills
- Participate in cultural exchange – visit local homes and learn to cook and dance from the experts!
- Play sports and educational games with the younger children
Where will I stay?
Your home is a thatched two storey farmhouse in the heart of the conservancy, in an idyllic spot on one of the largest dams. The is electricity, hot and cold running water, twin rooms and dormitories and a pool. There are no more than 12 volunteers at a time, which ensures an intimate volunteer experience. The house has wifi on a token basis and cell phone signal is good.
Three meals a day and provided, plus unlimited tea and coffee, juice and drinking water. Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements can be catered for.
“You can look forward to amazing rides on great horses, breathtaking scenery, wonderful close up encounters with all the animals, fun cattle drives and amazing staff. Judy’s personality, passion, knowledge and story-telling will leave you with a feeling of amazement and admiration once you leave. All in all, an unforgettable place that you can’t pass up.”
Malene, Denmark, July 2017
“It’s hard to put my experience into words. It was amazing to learn about and help with the conservation effort that goes on here. Working so closely with the rhino was incredible – a real once-in-a-lifetime experience – and the work that goes into protecting this wonderful animal is inspiring. The riding programme is amazing because we could ride up close to most of the animals and see the reserve from a completely different perspective. This must be the best way to have experienced Zimbabwe!”
Margot, Canada, October 2016