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Imire Wildlife Conservation

Horse Riding & Wildlife Conservation

Wedza, Zimbabwe show on map

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 11 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 four 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 hands-on rhino 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 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

Rhino and elephant interaction:

This part of the programme is not always done on horseback

  • Observe social interactions and monitor the behaviour of the black and white rhino and elephants
  • Maintain and clean rhino and 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! 

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.

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. Weekend excursions to Victoria Falls can be arranged.
Water Sports

Program Requirements

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)
Health Declaration
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
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.
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.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

Suitable for


Included Services

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We refund your fees if Imire Wildlife Conservation cancels your trip
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Our services are free of charge!
All program fees are charged directly by Imire Wildlife Conservation.

Before your journey

Profound consulting and ongoing support (free)
Imire Wildlife Conservation (your host organization) provides consulting and is keen to answer all your questions. Once you reserved your spot, you will receive the contact details of your volunteer project.
Online preparation course (optional, from $49)
Prepare yourself and become a confident and well informed traveler. Global Travel Academy takes you on a journey before you leave home, helping you to become one of the world's greatest travelers. Our trusted partner for online learning offers courses in "International Volunteering", "Travel Health & Safety" and "Travel Safety Abroad".

On-site services

Services by Imire Wildlife Conservation

Included in your programme fee:

  • Return transfers from Harare
  • Accommodation
  •  3 meals per day plus tea and coffee
  • Laundry
  • Activities and equipment on the programme

What is not included:

  • Flights to Harare
  • Visa fees
  • Travel insurance (compulsory)
  • Drinks from the bar
  • Wifi
  • 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 1500 from Harare International Airport. If you arrive the day before, please arrange to return to the airport in time to meet the 1500 transfer departure.

Departures - transfers leave the conservancy at 8am, 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, a transfer supplement is payable in cash to the project upon arrival.

Your home will be a two storey thatched farmhouse which has two dormitories and three 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.

Dorm Room Bedroom (Single) Bedroom (Double)
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 accommodated.
Internet Access
Good access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is Harare International Airport (HRE) in Harare. We assist you to find cheap flights to Zimbabwe.
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.
If you are intending to volunteer in Zimbabwe you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Zimbabwe.
Costs (Prices in USD)
1 week (min. stay)
2 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees

You can volunteer at the project site in Wedza/Zimbabwe between 1 week and 2 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. Imire Wildlife Conservation will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Zimbabwe.
Deposit (15%)
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 (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with Imire Wildlife Conservation during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
  Africa Eastern Africa Zimbabwe  Wedza, Imire: Rhino & Wildlife Conservation

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Rhino & Elephant Conservation Wedza, Zimbabwe Imire Wildlife Conservation Agency | Imire Wildlife Conservation
Volunteer in Africa and help secure the future of the black rhino and elephant. Experience daily life on a 10,000 acre family-run private conservancy.
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