South Africa Horse Riding & Volunteer Experience
2-4 weeks from £1,349
- Stay on a beautiful country estate in the heart of the Mpumalanga province in South Africa
- Take part in schooling, riding lessons, hacks, and events as part of your daily routine
- Improve your horsemanship skills and stable management and learn about medical care and treatment
- Help organise and take part in horse shows and events
- Visit different community initiatives to help educate the children at local schools and learning centres
- Go on an incredible three-day excursion with 4 game drives to the Songimvelo Game Reserve.
Become a more proficient and well-rounded rider with a horse riding experience like no other. Spending between two and four weeks living and working in the grounds of a beautiful country estate in the South African Highlands, you'll get hands-on training from the experts and spend the majority of your time in the saddle. While you'll have a number of daily duties to carry out, the emphasis on this programme is fun, so you'll get to try out an abundance of activities, from riding the trails and improving your show jumping techniques, to abseiling, zip-lining, and fly-fishing. You'll get to visit the local community and help with educational initiatives, help out on the estate, as well as go on a brilliant three-day panoramic excursion that includes a game drives in the Songimvelo Game Reserve.
Interested and want to find out more? Download more trip information and detailed itinerary HERE!
What to expect at the project
Set among 1,000 hectares of the stunning Mpumalanga province, just outside the small town of Dullstroom, you'll be staying within the beautiful grounds of a country estate, where you'll be working with the resident horses and local community to promote animal welfare as well as improve your own riding skills and learn more about the local environment.
You'll get to spend your days working with a team of wonderful, dedicated people and some incredible horses as you improve your horsemanship skills with numerous lessons, hacks, and events, as well as taking schooling sessions and learn about stable management and horse medical care and treatment, as well as getting involved with site agriculture and maintenance. You'll spend the majority of your time within the grounds of the country estate, but you'll also have the opportunity to get out into the community and help to support the local children.
There are lots of fun activities to take part in both on and off site, including learning about birds of prey at a nearby rehabilitation centre, fly-fishing, zip-lining, abseiling. You'll also have a magical (included) excursion through the Mpumalanga region with to Songimvelo Game Reserve where you'll get 4 included game drives that will take your breath away. You'll also have the opportunity to try out clay pigeon shooting, toboggan mountain sliding, white water rafting, quad biking, spa packages, and mini break options at an additional cost.
Day in the life
You'll typically begin each day with a quick morning snack and hot drink at 7:30am before heading to the stable yards to feed, groom , and turn the horses out before sitting down to breakfast. The majority of your day will be filled with riding lessons and schooling sessions as well as hacks and trail riding, and a whole heap of other horsey activities. We'll stop for lunch halfway through the day and enjoy an hour of free time before returning to the yard for more horsing around for the rest of the day!
You'll also get the chance to learn more about other areas of the estate, including agricultural work, and assisting at the resort – from cattle herding to sheep shearing, and helping out with horse shows and assisting with trail rides with resort guests.
Typical daily tasks may involve:
- Feeding and grooming the horses
- Stable management
- Helping out at the stud farm
- Improving your own horsemanship skills
- Learning about horse medical care and treatment
- Backing and training young horses
- Taking lessons in dressage, show jumping, and cross country
- Going out on hacks and advanced trail rides
- Helping to organise events and shows
- Patrolling and maintaining fencing and boundaries
During your stay, you'll also get to take part in the estate's community interaction programme, which takes place two or three times a week and will give you the opportunity to help out at the local school, learning centre, and teaching the community about animal welfare. You might get involved with maintaining and repairing school buildings and classrooms, or spend time with the children, helping them with their homework or giving them basic tutoring in English, Maths, and computer literacy, or joining in with sports events, and helping to educate the community on animal welfare and assist with riding lessons.
Purpose and aim of the programme and how do you benefit the programme
The activities available on the estate are yours to choose from as you like, with the point of this programme being to improve your horsemanship skills and offer you new horse riding experiences. As the itinerary is pretty flexible outside of main duties, you're free to tailor your own perfect package, to ensure you get the most out of your time in South Africa. You'll get to learn new skills and try different activities, work with experts, and get a real feel for life on a South African estate. You'll also gain an insight into the lives of those in the local community and an understanding of the importance of education and community support. Our team of experts will be on hand at all times to encourage and support you, making sure you have the best time in a safe environment.
This programme is suited to enthusiastic horse riders: beginners and advanced riders alike, who are looking for the opportunity to improve their horsemanship skills. As well as spending copious amounts of time onsite with the estate's beautiful horses, you'll get to work on your stable management skills, learn about medical care and treatment, and take part in the planning and organising of events and shows. you'll have regular riding lessons and get to go out on exciting trails and fast-paced hacks, as well as refining your show jumping and dressage techniques and learning to drive a carriage. Your confidence and riding ability goes hand-in-hand, and if you're looking to grow both, this is the programme to achieve exactly that.
- Return airport transfers from OR Tambo International Airport
- All accommodation during your stay, including accommodation on excursion
- 3 meals a day at the resort, including excursion meals
- Laundry service once a week
- Transfers to and from all activities in and around the resort
- Transfer once a week to town for shopping
- Game drives on Songimvelo Game Reserve excursion.
- Unlimited horse riding lessons and equestrian activities
- Community volunteering at the community programme
- Free Wi-Fi access
- 24/7 emergency support
- Travel insurance
- Soft drinks and alcohol
- Additional activities or social events
All your accommodation is included in this programme, even during the panoramic excursion, where you'll spend two nights in the Sabie Valley. The majority of your time will be spent onsite at the country estate, where your accommodation will comprise of a beautiful modern furnished volunteer house, each unit sleeps a maximum of 4 volunteers. You'll have access to all common areas in the house, from the communal lounge to the outdoor decked area complete with barbecue and fireplace. There's an included laundry service once a week, and you'll have access to free Wi-fi for the duration of your stay. You'll also have access to the estate's heated swimming pool as well as a load of fun activities and things to do onsite, from abseiling to fly-fishing.
You'll be provided with three meals a day during your stay (excluding your first and last days on the estate where you'll receive dinner on the first day and breakfast on the last day with additional meals at your own cost). Breakfast will mainly consist of yoghurts, fruit, cereals, toast, jams, juice, tea and coffee, lunch will be made up of toasted or fresh sandwiches, burgers, pizzas, and salads, and dinners will include a mix of hearty South African food, from stews and braais (barbecues), to pasta dishes, vegetables, and salads.
Tea, coffee, and juice are provided during meal times but all other drinks and refreshments will need to be purchased at your own cost. Snacks and drinks can be purchased onsite, but you'll also be driven into town to shop for groceries and souvenirs once a week. Vegetarian and other dietary options are happily catered for, but please let us know at time of booking whether you have any special dietary requirements.
You should arrange your flight to South Africa to arrive at Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport (JNB) before 5:00pm on your programme start date You'll be met at the airport by the friendly programme staff, who will take you to your onsite accommodation. Please arrange your flights to depart from Johannesburg OR Tambo International Airport after 1:00pm on your programme end date.
Minimum age for this trip is 18 years, and maximum is 30 years.
The number of volunteers on this programme can vary between 1 and 5 at any time. The volunteer programme will go ahead with just one volunteer, so it is possible that you may be the only volunteer at any given time.
Participants should weigh no more than 95kg in order to join this programme due to animal welfare regulations at the programme and participants should have some basic riding experience.
UK passport holders don't need a visa to enter South Africa for stays of up to 90 days. If you are not a UK passport holder, you will need to contact your nearest Embassy, High Commission, or Consulate for South Africa to check requirements of entry. It is your responsibility to arrange the correct visa/s for your time away.
DBS (Disclosure and Barring Service)
On this particular programme, you'll be spending some time in the local community working with children, so you’ll need to undergo an enhanced DBS check and will need to have a clean criminal record.
DBS checks may list past convictions, cautions, reprimands, warnings, and if applicable will show whether or not you have been barred from working with certain vulnerable groups. Non-conviction information such as fixed penalties may also be included.
There is an additional cost for the DBS check, please speak to your travel advisor at the time of booking. The DBS process is in three stages:
1. Once we receive your booking payment, you will then be sent an online application link for the DBS check, which you will need to complete.
2. Once you have completed the application, the DBS will need verification of your identity – to do this you will need to take three original documents to your nearest crown post office and use their DBS and ID verification service. This costs approximately £5 and is payable directly to the Post Office.
3. It can take up to two weeks for your DBS to be processed, which will be sent to you directly in the post.
Do I Need Any Vaccinations?
The game reserve is set within a malaria-free region in South Africa, but we’re not qualified to offer you medical advice, so you should visit your GP well ahead of time to find out what inoculations you might need. Remember to tell them exactly where you’re travelling to as vaccination and medication requirements vary between different regions. You’ll also need to make sure you have enough of any prescribed medication to see you through the duration of your trip.
Do I Need To Be An Experienced Horse Rider To Take Part In This Programme?
The work you'll be carrying out with the horses will be quite involved and hands-on, and although beginners are welcome and you will have the opportunity to take as many riding lessons as you like, you should have some experience of horse riding to make the most of your trip.
How Much Spending Money Do I Need?
Depending on the length of your stay in South Africa, you'll need between £100-£200 spending money to cover extra drinks, snacks, souvenirs and general shopping. There are lots of extra activities available for you to choose from throughout your stay, in addition to the included programme activities, these activities vary in cost between R150-R500 (approx £15-35) per activity.
What's The Average Group Size?
The number of volunteers varies depending on the time of year, the group size is generally between 1 and 5.