from 850€

Excellent 4.8rating (59)

Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation

2 - 12 weeks  ·  Age 16 - 50+

rating  Excellent 4.8  · 
  Verified by Volunteer World
  Excellent response rate


  • Help care for horses and ponies (equines) that have been neglected, abused, abandoned or are unmanageable by their owners in a place of safety, love giving them a chance of a new life
  • Assist with equines in need of medical attention and behavioural training for their long term rehabilitation to a better life. Horse rescues can take place when severe abuse has been reported
  • For those with riding experience that weigh under 75kgs, you may ride and hack the safer horses. There are beautiful natural trails in the area and the horses up for adoption, always need the exercise
  • Horse experience is a plus but not a must so for those with no experience with horses, you will learn how to care for them daily, feed, groom, walk, socialise and love these beautiful sentient beings
  • Help out with the other rescued animals at the sanctuary including donkeys, cats, dogs, pigs, chickens, ducks, goats and sheep while having fun in the South Africa sun

Especially suitable

Age 16+

About the program

Get involved with horse and pony rescue and rehabilitation in South Africa. If you have experience with horses, great. If not, you will learn with a great team.

The farm where the project is based is situated on a 1000 Hectare property surrounded by the typical vegetation of the Western Cape province, surrounding hills and marked off into horse camps, stables, paddocks and of course the main house, volunteer accommodation and there is a farm dam for hot ...

About the program

The farm where the project is based is situated on a 1000 Hectare property surrounded by the typical vegetation of the Western Cape province, surrounding hills and marked off into horse camps, stables, paddocks and of course the main house, volunteer accommodation and there is a farm dam for hot days. 

The equine rescue and sanctuary is dedicated to the welfare, rescue, care and rehabilitation of horses and ponies- and an assortment of rescued farm animals.

The founders have a background have a background in dealing with cases of animal abuse and the need to confiscate horses and ponies- and equine knowledge having worked on many stud farms in the past. Together with their skills and experience, they make a formidable team when it comes to equine rescue, care and rehabilitation

Since they started, they have saved 630 horses from all over South Africa often travelling long distances. When horses are rescued, they are often brought to the farm horribly abused and in the more severe cases, close to death. Not all the horses will survive the extreme abuse they have experienced but for those that do, the end goal is to nurse them back to health, care, rehabilitate and train them so they will be ready to be adopted out to a carefully vetted home with a chance of a wonderful future. For the more extreme cases, they will live their forever home at the equine sanctuary. Currently there are 82 horses with an assortment of rescued farm animals and dogs

Equine rescues are performed all over South Africa in areas that do not have an active SPCA when the need arises. Community and horse owner education is also a priority for those that need advice on caring for their horses, ponies and even donkeys.

Please be aware that as the horses and ponies you will be working with come from extreme abusive backgrounds, only those under 70kgs will be riding as many of them have to be physically rehabilitated due to the past abuse they have experienced. You do not need to have experience with horses to take part in this project- although it is a benefit- but you will need to have a love of horses, their care and welfare. And be prepared to get your hands dirty and get stuck in with your volunteer duties. For those that have no experience with horses but want to learn, basic horse care will be taught during the time on the project but not riding. 

Typical day

The description given is of a typical day (EXAMPLE).

Time Description:

06:00: Wake up, wash, get ready and feed the horses

07:30: Breakfast – Make your own with food provided

08:00: Start morning duties with the horses 

12:00: Make your own lunch and take a break from the midday sun

14:00: Afterno

Typical day

The description given is of a typical day (EXAMPLE).

Time Description:

06:00: Wake up, wash, get ready and feed the horses

07:30: Breakfast – Make your own with food provided

08:00: Start morning duties with the horses 

12:00: Make your own lunch and take a break from the midday sun

14:00: Afternoon volunteer duties

15:30: Bring in the horses and feed

17:30: Relax, swim in the dam, read, play board games, or contemplate on the meaning of life under an African sunset

Free-time activities

The project is situated on the outskirts of Bonnievale, a town in the Breede River Valley of the Cape Winelands of the Western Cape province approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes’ drive from the city of Cape Town. The area is well known for fruit production, locally made cheese, tastings at wine ...

Free-time activities

The project is situated on the outskirts of Bonnievale, a town in the Breede River Valley of the Cape Winelands of the Western Cape province approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes’ drive from the city of Cape Town. The area is well known for fruit production, locally made cheese, tastings at wine farms, private game reserves and extensive hiking trails in the beautiful natural surroundings between two mountain ranges, the Riviersonderend and the Langeberg mountains.

 A perfect setting for those who appreciate nature, wide open spaces and fresh air.. and horses, ponies and donkeys!



Minimum Age: 16 years

In order to join the program you need to be at least 16 years old on the program start date.

Language Skills

You need to speak English (basic level)

Nationality Restrictions

No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.

Other Skills

To be able to care for and ride horses and be physically fit.

Time Commitment

Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sunday from 08:00 - 17:00

What's Included

What's Included

Services by Volunteer Int. Adventures

The cost of the project includes shared accommodation onsite, 3 meals a day with food provided, airport transfers from Cape Town International on Saturdays, pre-departure support, in-country support, staff on the ground available for emergencies 24/7, marketing costs, and donations to the project. 

Airport Pickup at Cape Town International Airport

Airport pickups and drops off take place on Saturdays. Arrival flights must be before 14h00 and departure flights no earlier than 13h00 as it is a 2-hour drive from the project to Cape Town International Airport. 


During your stay you will stay onsite in the shared volunteer accommodation which is a converted barn, so it is basic and rustic. There are bedrroms, bathrooms, a communal living area and kitchen. Bedrooms are allocated to two volunteers of the same gender. The volunteer coordinator also stays at the volunteer accommodation although she has her own separate bedroom. The bathrooms are shared and have 2 showers, toilets and basins.  

 There is a washing machine for you to use to wash your clothes.

There is WIFI so you can easily keep contact with friends and family via email, WhatsApp, social media and Skype. However, the internet connection can be slow so downloading movies can be an issue. We advise you to download a few movies or series before you arrive at the project. There is a TV in the volunteer lounge to watch downloaded movies from a laptop as the TV signal is not great on the farm. 

There is a farm dam on the property where volunteers- and horses- can take a dip to cool down on hot summer days. There are also lots of other rescued farm animals, dogs and cats on the property so those with severe fur allergies, might suffer a bit. 

The manager's house is a few meters distance from the volunteer accommodation. 

Food & Beverages

Food is provided with which volunteers prepare their own meals. On occasion there might be a braai for the volunteers. There is cereal, fruit, toast, tea and coffee for breakfast. Lunch is normally a sandwich and fruit, and supper could be anything from pasta to meat and a salad. Tea, coffee, water and cooldrink is provided. If you have specific dietary requirements, please let us know so we can try and accommodate you but for specific items like lactose-free, gluten-free or vegan, they can be difficult to source at local grocery stores and expensive. 

Volunteers need to keep their own bedrooms and bathrooms clean and the communal areas that they share.

Internet Access

Good access at the project site

What's NOT included?

What's NOT included?

Flight Tickets

The nearest airport is Cape Town International Airport (CPT) in Cape Town. We assist you to find cheap flights to South Africa. FIND CHEAP FLIGHTS

Travel Insurance

Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for South Africa provides security and is a plus to have. GET A QUOTE


If you are intending to volunteer in South Africa you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for South Africa. VACCINE CHECKER

Details on arrival

Arrival and departures days are Saturdays. Volunteers need to arrive and depart from Cape Town International Airport. It is a 2-hour drive from the sanctuary to the airport so we do suggest that volunteers arrival flights are no earlier than 10 am (or they will need to wait at Cape Town International Airport at a coffee shop) and no later than 3pm. For departures flights, these must be no earlier than 12pm so as to give ample time for checking in for their international departure flight.

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

Program fees

2 weeks (min. stay) 850€
3 weeks 1,162€
4 weeks 1,475€
5 weeks 1,788€
6 weeks 2,100€
8 weeks 2,412€
9 weeks 2,725€
10 weeks 3,038€
11 weeks 3,350€
12 weeks (max. stay) 3,662€
Average fees 365€/week

Program fees

365€ per week 2 - 12 weeks Age 16 - 50+

Payment methods

Visa Master Card Maestro American Express PayPal



2 - 12 weeks


The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.

Final Payment

Your final payment will be agreed with Volunteer Int. Adventures during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Meet your organization

Volunteer Int. Adventures

Excellent 4.8 rating (59 reviews)

Agency - founded in 2020

Verified by Volunteer World

  Excellent response rate

Coordinated by


Spoken languages: English, Afrikaans

About the project

We are a small, personal, hands-on volunteer organisation with 15 years experience of working with volunteers in conservation and humanitarian projects on the ground.

Meet your organization

Volunteer International Adventures is dedicated to youth and animal projects, which are areas of great passion for us. We recognize the need for assistance from international volunteers in developing countries and have witnessed the transformative impact of their hands-on involvement on communities and conservation efforts.

Our core priorities are as follows:

1. Culture and Cultural Sensitivity:

We encourage our volunteers to fully immerse themselves in the culture of the country they are volunteering in, understanding that volunteering differs significantly from being a tourist. By working closely with local communities and project partners, our volunteers gain profound insights into the challenges faced by the country. We actively support and facilitate opportunities for volunteers to engage in various activities, interact with locals, and educate themselves about the nation's history, no matter how difficult it may be. Cultural sensitivity is paramount, and we ensure that our approach is collaborative rather than imposing our own ideas. We welcome suggestions and creative ideas from our volunteers, as they often prove to be feasible and enrich the communities we serve.

2. Fulfilling Volunteer Experiences:

We strive to ensure that all our volunteers leave with a sense of accomplishment. Whether it is helping a child grasp mathematics, teaching cricket to school children, providing sewing classes to uplift youth, participating in wildlife conservation efforts such as satellite collaring African wild dogs or rhino relocation, collecting data on great white shark populations, treating sick indigenous wildlife, assisting with animal sterilization in disadvantaged communities, instilling a love for reading in children, or teaching marimba classes—the list is diverse and extensive. We want our volunteers to develop a deep connection with the country they are assisting and forge lifelong friendships that can serve as future ambassadors for their respective nations.

3. Ethical Projects:

We strictly oppose trophy hunting and the breeding of lions for commercial gain. Our wildlife and animal projects take place in free-roaming reserves, registered rehabilitation centers, or sanctuaries where the animals are non-releasable due to injuries, human habituation, or being non-indigenous to the area. We support local and ethical animal sanctuaries and reserves, which our volunteers can visit during their free time. When working with children in teaching, care, or youth development projects, we require a recent paper copy of a background check (CRB check) from volunteers' countries of origin. This precaution ensures the safety and well-being of the children we serve, who often come from challenging socio-economic backgrounds and have been let down by adults in the past. We prioritize the protection of innocent animals and children who cannot advocate for themselves.

4. Responsible and Sustainable Approach:

We take pride in implementing responsible and sustainable projects that involve local community members, ensuring the continuity of operations even when volunteer numbers are low. While some projects rely heavily on volunteer support due to limited funds, we strive to strike a balance by involving sufficient local participation.

5. Cost Effectiveness:

Having collaborated with volunteers on projects for nearly 15 years, we recognize that volunteering can come at a significant cost. Therefore, we are committed to making volunteering more accessible, reasonable, and inclusive. Our projects encompass various extras, and we maintain affordability by keeping costs low and encouraging increased hands-on assistance. We offer negotiable family, friends, and group discounts, as volunteering together enables us to further reduce expenses. Loyalty is rewarded, and returning volunteers receive special recognition in our projects. Additionally, our costs include donations to our projects, contributing to their sustainability and impact.

6. Safety:

The safety of our volunteers is of paramount importance. We thoroughly vet and assess all our projects, ensuring adequate safety measures are in place. While certain areas may be off-limits due to potential risks, it is important to note that complete safety guarantees are impossible in any location. We have established channels for reporting incidents and maintain close relationships with in-country support on the ground. Furthermore, we possess liability insurance and require all participants to have personal travel insurance. To provide comprehensive support, we arrange airport collections and drop-offs, ensuring our volunteers are assisted throughout their entire journey. We pride ourselves on delivering a personal touch and remain available 24/7 to address any emergencies.

Please remember to arrange your comprehensive travel insurance at the time of booking your trip, as it is an essential aspect of ensuring your well-being and peace of mind.

We sincerely appreciate your interest in Volunteer International Adventures and our commitment to making a positive impact through responsible volunteering. Should you have any further questions or require additional information, please do not hesitate to contact us.

59 reviews · rating4.8

Angelika Mitiszek rating4.6

2023 at Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation

I met such lovely people there and their love for their animals really fascinated me. I am in love with this place. If you have riding experience go for it, if not go for it . The animals give you so much love. It‘s a peaceful place.. but there is also a lot work to do. If I could I would come ...
Rachel Karny rating4.6

2022 at Horse Rescue and Rehabilitation

Our stay at the project was an amazing experience. We loved the peace and quiet of the hills of Bonnievale, spending time with the beautiful horses that had been rescued by the organization; we really enjoyed the friendliness and sense of purpose of Marc, Vicky and the rest of the team, the cuddly ...
Esther Burden rating5

2024 at Big Cat Sanctuary on a Wildlife Reserve

I would 100% recommend this excellent volunteer programme to anyone interested in big cats. I know now that i didn’t do enough research about the lion industry and ethical vs non-ethical sanctuarys before my three-month stay at this sanctuary, but i was very lucky to end up somewhere where the ...
Karine Bottiglieri rating5

2024 at Whales, Sharks and Penguins Conservation

truly exceptional, Where to start, the warm and sincere welcome. I am French, my English is average, but they made themselves available to me, they took the time to explain to me so that I understood, always with a smile and patience. the whole team goes out of their way to show you the wonders of ...
I had a wonderful time in this ethical sanctuary. Lauren and Keegan are amazing people who know what they are doing. I learned a lot about cats among experts and I fell in love again with those beautiful animals. The location is just perfect, you will sleep in a good accomodation on top of an hill ...
I have absolutely loved my experience in South Africa volunteering with Endangered Wildlife Monitoring and Research, and I am sad that I have to leave in a few days. By the time I leave I will have spent six weeks in South Africa, so I've been lucky enough to volunteer at all three of the reserves ...


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Contact Sharon
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English, Afrikaans

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