from 1,279€

Brilliant 4.7rating (30)

Horse Riding & Wildlife Conservation

location
1 - 2 weeks  ·  Age 17 - 50+

rating  Brilliant 4.7  · 
  Verified by Volunteer World
  Very high response rate

Volunteer project with the highest quality. This project sets unprecedented standards in quality - an unparalleled level of excellence.

Highlights

  • Combine horse riding safaris with rhino and elephant conservation work
  • Get involved with horse management and care, game monitoring, anti-poaching and cattle management
  • Ensure the conservancy is a safe and secure environment through regular and extensive horse patrols
  • Assist in horseback game counts and animal welfare monitoring
  • Experience a wide variety of endangered wildlife in their natural environment

Especially suitable

Age 17+
Singles
Couples
Groups
50+

About the program

Combine horseback safaris, anti-poaching patrols and wildlife monitoring, with hands-on rhino and elephant conservation work. All on the back of your very own bush horse!

The project

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. The conservancy has supported Zimbabwe's black rhino population since the mid 1980s, releasing 12 rhinos back into ...

About the program

The project

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. The conservancy has supported Zimbabwe's black rhino population since the mid 1980s, releasing 12 rhinos back into the wild to breed. 

You can play a key role in securing the future of this endangered animal as you work alongside anti-poaching rangers, monitor wildlife herds and patrol the game park, all on horseback. You will also get involved in the daily care of the resident black and white rhinos, and interact with the conservancy's elephants.

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.

Horse riding volunteers experience a different Africa from other visitors, as they explore the game park on horseback, undertake fence and boundary monitoring and join the dedicated anti-poaching team for moonlight snare patrols. Camp out with your horse as you drive cattle around the game park, and interact closely with wildlife who not afraid or threatened by horses as they sometimes are by people or vehicles.

You will experience the amazing animal sitings, enjoy the African bush and do essential volunteer work, all on horseback, as well as having the opportunity to interact closely with rhinos and elephants and monitor other wildlife on the reserve.

The aim of the programme is to assist the established black rhino breeding and release programme, undertake patrols to better secure the conservancy and protect the animals, and collect meaningful information relating to rhino and wildlife conservation. You will also help educate the local children about the importance of protecting the natural environment and how they can play their part in conservation.

Volunteer Work

Horse riding volunteers play a vital role in the conservancy and get involved in a huge range of conservation activities, both on horseback and off.

  • Combine horse riding safaris with rhino, cheetah and elephant conservation
  • Get involved with horse management and care, game monitoring, anti-poaching and cattle management
  • Live in the heart of a family-run game park, dedicated to rhino care and wildlife preservation
  • Immerse yourself in beautiful surroundings and enjoy the wildlife all around you
  • Form close bonds with amazing animals, dedicated staff and other volunteers
  • Experience a wide variety of wildlife in their natural environment
  • Help with English literacy and conservation education
Wildlife conservation goes hand-in-hand with community education and we believe that a sharing of knowledge and culture is key to the future of our wildlife heritage. Volunteering with us is a unique opportunity to immerse yourself in a new country and culture and experience day-to-day life in Africa, while giving back to an important conservation cause. 

We guarantee that your experience on the programme will be life-changing!



Typical day

There is no such thing as a typical day, but below are some activities which you will almost certainly be involved with during your stay:

Horse management and general equine care:

  • Feeding, grooming and health checks
  • Maintenance and cleaning of tack and stables

Anti-poaching support:

  • Ensure the ...

Typical day

There is no such thing as a typical day, but below are some activities which you will almost certainly be involved with during your stay:

Horse management and general equine care:

  • Feeding, grooming and health checks
  • Maintenance and cleaning of tack and stables

Anti-poaching support:

  • Ensure the conservancy is a safe and secure environment through regular and extensive horse patrols
  • Undertake anti-poaching patrols on horseback, conduct snare sweeps and boundary patrols
  • Undertake moonlight patrols and camp-outs
  • Assist with the communication of conservation messages to local children

Game park work:

  • Provide daily assistance to the Game Park Manager to ensure the effective running of the reserve
  • Assist in horseback game counts and animal welfare monitoring
  • Locate and assess specific herds around the game park

Cattle ranching:

  • Monitor the welfare of the cattle herd and move cattle to different sections of the reserve
  • Work with the Cattle Team to conduct health inspections
  • Patrol the park to find lost cattle and check for new calves
  • Assist with cattle counts and dipping (dependent on the dipping schedule)

Endangered species conservation work:

This part of the programme is not always done on horseback

  • Observe social interactions and monitor the behaviour of the black and white rhino, cheetah and elephants
  • Learn to track collared rhino using telemetry
  • Maintain and clean out elephant beds
  • Carry out research projects and data collection on their feeding behaviour and movements

A Day in the Life

Horse riding volunteers will usually get up around 6.00 - 6.30am to get started before the day heats up.

Have breakfast and pack your water bottle and a packed lunch; feed and groom the horses and head out into the game park to locate the sable and blesbok antelope. Count the size and composition of the herd, assess the condition and number of any babies and check the health of mothers.

Locate one of the baby giraffes and check the health and location of baby and mother.

After a packed lunch and a short rest, sitting under the shade of the msasa trees, or on top of one of the viewpoints, get back onto your horse and head to one of the far-flung areas of the park, checking for snares, fence damage and evidence of fires or traps. Make your reports to the Game Park Manager who may task you with fixing any broken areas or repairing fireguards.

Then its time to drop the horses off, feed and groom, before heading back to the volunteer house for an evening swim to cool off before a much needed and hearty dinner! 


Free-time activities

During your leisure time you may go on walks and hikes around the reserve or to local places of interest; go fishing or canoeing on one of the many dams or swim in the pool at the volunteer house. 
We highly recommend a weekend visit to Victoria Falls (a 1 hour flight). This can be organised when ...

Free-time activities

During your leisure time you may go on walks and hikes around the reserve or to local places of interest; go fishing or canoeing on one of the many dams or swim in the pool at the volunteer house. 
We highly recommend a weekend visit to Victoria Falls (a 1 hour flight). This can be organised when you are at the programme.

Requirements

Requirements

Minimum Age: 17 years

In order to join the program you need to be at least 17 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

This is not a teaching programme - all volunteers must be able to ride when they arrive. No volunteer is allowed to ride without a helmet and there is a weight limit of 80kg. You must be able to confidently carry out a rising trot and canter and have had a number of years of experience of handling different horses. You must be confident you can handle a horse on your own and get out of potentially difficult situations.

Time Commitment

Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 06:30 - 17:00

What's Included

What's Included

Services by Imire Rhino Conservation

Included in your programme fee:

  • Return transfers from Harare (arriving before 1500)
  • Accommodation
  • 3 meals per day plus water, tea and coffee
  • Laundry and housekeeping
  • Activities and equipment on the programme

What is not included:

  • Flights to Harare
  • Visa fees
  • Travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Drinks from the bar
  • Any extra activities or excursions outside of the volunteer programme

Airport Pickup at Harare International Airport

Inclusive transfers are as follows:

Arrival - there is a transfer at 1300 from Harare International Airport on a Monday. If you arrive the day before, please arrange to return to the airport in time to meet the 1300 transfer departure. If your flight arrives after 1300 we can organise you a private transfer at a cost of $120.

Departures - transfers leave the conservancy at 7am on a Monday, arriving at the airport at 10am. Flights should be arranged from midday onwards.

If you would like to arrive or leave outside of those times, there is a transfer supplement of $120 for each out of hours transfer.

Accommodation

Your home will be a two storey thatched farmhouse which has a dormitory sleeping five and four twin / double rooms. There are three bathrooms with shower, bath and toilet plus three outside solar showers. 


The house is fully equipped with a kitchen, laundry, solar lighting, small generator for power outages, bar and verandah. There is a large garden with outside pool. There is limited WiFi at the volunteer house, and there is 3G signal and a local SIM card can be purchased on arrival into Harare International Airport.

Food & Beverages

You will have three meals per day prepared by the staff and served buffet-style. Vegetarians, vegans and other dietary requirements can be catered for.

Internet Access

Limited access at the project site

What's NOT included?

What's NOT included?

Flight Tickets

The nearest airport is Harare International Airport (HRE) in Harare. We assist you to find cheap flights to Zimbabwe. 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 Zimbabwe provides security and is a plus to have. GET A QUOTE

Vaccines

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

Details on arrival

The project runs every Monday throughout the year. Note that inclusive transfers are at 1500 from Harare International Airport for arrivals, and return flights should be booked for after midday.

If you would like to stay more than two weeks, you can combine the Horse Riding Programme with our Rhino & Elephant Conservation Programme.

The riding programme has set start and end dates throughout the year. 

2024 dates and availability:

May 6th – 20th : FULL

June 10th – 24th: FULL

July 8th – 22nd: FULL

August 5th – 19th: FULL

September 2nd – 16th: FULL

October 7th – 21st: FULL

November 4th – 18th: 4th – 11th : 3 spaces available / 11th – 18th : FULL

December 2nd – 16th: 2nd – 9th : 3 spaces available / 9th – 16th : 2 spaces available

 

202dates and availability:

January 20th – 3rd: 20th –27th : 2 spaces available / 27th –3rd : 3 spaces available

February 17th – 3rd: 4 spaces available

March 17th – 31st: 3 spaces available

April 14th – 28th: 3 spaces available

May 12th – 26th : 4 spaces available

June 9th – 23rd: 4 spaces available

July 7th – 21st: 4 spaces available

August 4th – 18th: 4 spaces available

September 1st – 15th: 4 spaces available

October 6th – 20th: 4 spaces available

November 3rd – 17th: 4 spaces available

December 1st – 15th: 4 spaces available


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

Program fees

1 week (min. stay) 1,279€
2 weeks (max. stay) 2,558€
Average fees 1,279€/week

Program fees

1,279€ per week 1 - 2 weeks Age 17 - 50+

Payment methods

Visa Master Card Maestro American Express PayPal

NO CREDIT CARD FEES


Duration

1 - 2 weeks

Deposit

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 Imire Rhino Conservation during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.


Meet your organization

Imire Rhino Conservation

Brilliant 4.7 rating (30 reviews)

Agency - founded in 2012

Verified by Volunteer World

  Very high response rate

Coordinated by

Claire

Spoken languages: English

About the project

Hands-on rhino and elephant conservation at a private conservancy in Zimbabwe. Work alongside conservationists to help secure the future of these amazing animals.

Meet your organization

Project Background

Imire was founded in 1952 by Norman and Gilly Travers. Originally cattle ranchers and farmers, the Travers also had a great passion for wildlife and conservation, which led to the establishment of Imire as a wildlife conservancy.

In 1987, 250 black rhino were removed from the Zambezi Valley due to a distressing rise in illegal rhino poaching. These rhino were relocated to private conservancies for safety. Imire was granted custodianship of seven orphaned calves and became an intensive black rhino breeding station. To date Imire has successfully released 11 rhino into the wild and they have gone on to breed successfully. The Black Rhino Breeding Programme is world-renowned, helping to protect Zimbabwe’s heritage with the successful re-introduction of this incredible endangered animal back into the wild.


Endangered Species Conservation

Imire: Rhino & Wildlife Conservation is internationally renowned for its black rhino breeding and release programme. The 10,000 acre reserve was given seven orphaned baby black rhino to raise in 1985 and since then 17 rhinos have been born at Imire and 12 released back into National Parks across Zimbabwe and Botswana. Now home to seven black and four white rhino, Imire is also home to three elephants who were orphans that outgrew their rescue sanctuaries back in the 1980s. These elephants could never be released and have found a forever home in as natural an environment as possible. Imire is also home to a buffalo, lion, a huge range of plains game such as giraffe, zebra, waterbuck, kudu and the rare sable antelope. In 2021, Imire became home to two male cheetah, born in captivity in Canada and brought to Zimbabwe as part of a re-wildling project.

Wildlife conservation volunteers get involved with every aspect of game park life, with a focus on rhino, elephants and cheetah. Get up close to these amazing animals and study their behaviour; learn from experienced guides and support the dedicated Anti-Poaching Unit. Volunteers also work on conservancy building and maintenance projects and carry out game counts, herd monitoring, maintenance, reforestation projects and work on the farm.

Volunteers will help with English literacy in the local school, working with a programme that has been approved by Zimbabwe's Ministry of Education, and assist older children with homework and school projects in the project's dedicated Learning Centre. Volunteers also undertake conservation education lessons with high school children, taking them around the conservancy and showing them the importance of caring for the natural environment and the animals within.

30 reviews · rating4.7

Kat Springer rating4.8

2023 at Horse Riding & Wildlife Conservation

Free to Be Wild is a unique experience. You are close to the animals and it feels like you are making a difference not just on a tour. We spent a week doing various chores and projects at Free to Be Wild. Every day is different as you never know what could be coming to the sanctuary. A injured ...
PAULINA HARGASOVA rating5

2023 at Horse Riding & Wildlife Conservation

Amazing experience that you will never forget. I did the horse back riding program and I've never connected and approached so close the wildlife. The Imire team is truly inspiring, living for the conservation and wildlife. I would recommend to anyone to do the volunteer programme with Imire. ..
marisela bozo rating5

2024 at Rhino & Elephant Conservation

Imire is a great place to go. The place is beautiful and very well run by the coordinator and staff. The reserve is absolutely incredible with many animals running free, and beautiful birds. The experience with the elephants and the rhinos was the best part. Being so close to them is an amazing ...
Michael Bermudez rating5

2023 at Rhino & Elephant Conservation

A+++++++++++++++++!!! I did so much in my three weeks it went by super fast! Horseback riding, walking with elephants, tracking rhino and cheetah... It was all amazing! The accommodations were stunning and being able to do cultural things with the Shona people was wonderful. I feel like I really ...
pascale Jutard rating4.6

2023 at Rhino & Elephant Conservation

I will say that I had a wonderful time, anything from activities, the people of the staff were more than welcoming. I will recommend this to anyone young and older like me ( passed 60 ), I was first a bit nervous about not being able to complete the work asked of me, and I could participate in all ...
Adrian Chan rating4.6

2023 at Rhino & Elephant Conservation

Even though I didn't get to enjoy a whole week due to personal time constraints, Imire was an extraordinary experience that I will never forget. We had the fortune of meeting three resourceful and friendly instructors and gained a ton of hands-on experience that really amazed a city-dweller like me. ..

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