Horse Riding and Rhino Conservation

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About

An absolute must for horse-lovers everywhere. Combine rhino and elephant conservation with horse safaris, cattle ranching and game reserve management.

You will be based in the heart of a 10,000 acre privately owned conservancy, dedicated to the breeding and release of the endangered black rhino. Ride five days a week on your very own bush horse, and patrol far-flung areas of the game park inaccessible by vehicle. Horse riding volunteers undertake game counts, monitor baby animals and their mothers, and carry out snare patrols and fence monitoring, to support the dedicated anti-poaching team.

Horse riding volunteers work closely with black and white rhinos and elephants - ride alongside these magnificent animals, observe and record their behaviour and learn more about their conservation efforts in Zimbabwe. Volunteers also support the Game Park Manager with the removal of invasive species, building fireguards, maintaining roads and fixing fences.

Highlights
  • Combine exhilarating horse riding safaris with wildlife conservation work
  • Support the Anti-Poaching Unit as you undertake horseback patrols around the reserve
  • Immerse yourself in the wildlife and African bush, as you live in the heart of the conservancy
  • Live in a family-run game reserve, dedicated to rhino conservation and wildlife protection
  • Form close bonds with amazing animals, dedicated staff and volunteers from around the world

Questions & Answers

Reviews

97%
based on 3 reviews
  • Impact 9.3
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.3
  • Value 9.7
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 1 - 3 of 3
Default avatar
Mirelle
10/10

Best month of my life

This trip was far better than i'd even imagined. I was very worried when I set out on this program that I may have built it up to be more than it was in my head but it was so much better.

The program was so hands on and everything was so flexible. Judy is an amazing person and it was so nice to chat to her for all the hours we spent in the saddle. I loved pretending to be a cowgirl rounding up all the cattle and riding the elephants across the bush. There was such a mixture of wild life and it was great getting to know all the names of the different antelope both in English and Shona.

All the staff who work there are very friendly and approachable, especially Bright! If you go make sure you in their summer make sure you get a chance to camp out under the stars after a trip up to the kopje. One of my favourite things was the outdoor solar showers. I never thought id say that but there was no better way to end a long day working hard caring for the animals, rounding up cows and chopping down jacaranda trees than showering outside watching the sun set over the lake (other than maybe with an ice cold Savannah cider after). I Absolutely loved it and I can't wait to go back again.

How can this program be improved?
Have someone remind me to take more pictures!
Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Rachel
9/10

I have had the most amazing time!

The rides with Judy were a highlight for me, just to be able to listen to her stories and the history of the park. Her absolute passion for all the animals and the local community is immense.

The volunteer house could not have been more fun. Mike and Catherine are great and all the staff excel. Bright is FANTASTIC, so knowledgeable and professional.

Something special to be involved with was the rabies vaccination project in the local community. Judy, myself, Catherine and another volunteer went in with a group of vets to give vaccinations and first aid to the dogs and education to their owners around the Wedza area. It was awesome to see people coming for their dogs but hard to see the sometimes hard conditions they live in.

You feel like you're doing something truly useful and the variety of activities that you do all around the park is great. It is good to get a sweat on while you're working!

I will always remember swimming with the elephants. I think the whole game park heard me giggling!

Yes, I recommend
Default avatar
Amy
10/10

Totally fabulous mind blowing experience!

We spent 2 weeks at Imire on the horse riding and conservation project and had the best experience ever. We went in October so not too hot (30 degrees peaks in the day but much cooler at night) and perfect for early morning rides and beautiful sunsets. As horse riding volunteers we rode every morning nice and early then joined the rest of the volunteers for the daily activities after that. This meant we got the best of both worlds as we got the riding but but didn't miss out on any rhino or elephant or other activities either. The riding part was phenomenal. The horses are beautifully looked after and adored by Judy Travers and her family and helpers. Judy took us out every morning and we spent some days counting game and others (trying) to help the cattle ranchers (they are brill so didn't really need any help but it was a lot of fun to do!). We did different sections of the reserve everyday so we saw so much more than we would have in the truck. We were spotting all the newborns and checking for signs of poaching or any animals looking unwell. We saw zebra, giraffe, warthogs, wildebeest, elephants, buffalo, rhinos and so many species of antelope it was a phenomenal way to view the reserve and be a part of Imire and what it stands for! The riding program is well structured but you need to be flexible as 'plans change' on a fairly regular basis. You also need to be a fairly good rider as the terrain is a mix of tracks, bush whacking, off roading and a fair few rock/water crossings. The horses are sure footed and brilliant but it helps them if the riders are too! We spent 3-4hrs in the saddle a day and thoroughly enjoyed it but don't mistake this for a full riding holiday as the horses need breaks and the riding volunteers then join in the rhino conservation groups for the majority of the day. We had a totally amazing time and I would recommend Imire to anyone and everyone looking for a volunteering holiday of a lifetime.

How can this program be improved?
The entire trip was incredible and I wouldn't change a thing. We were told the riding project was only for 2 weeks at a time so it might be worth clarifying this before you book. We'd have certainly stayed longer if the riding program was longer than 2 weeks. Also check the kit list with your booking. It's worth it to be comfortable for 4 hrs at a time in the saddle!
Yes, I recommend

About Conservation Travel Africa

Conservation Travel Africa provide meaningful and responsible volunteer programmes, focusing on wildlife conservation and education. From our base in Southern Africa we are ideally placed to coordinate your volunteer experience.

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