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Lion Conservation and Horse Management Experience

Gweru, Zimbabwe
from £1,134 (2 weeks)

Ref: AV069

A fabulous opportunity for anyone passionate about horses to join this Horse Management programme on a beautiful game reserve in the heart of the Zimbabwe Midlands, which is also home to the world famous Lion Conservation project.  Volunteers will gain experience in the daily running and management of an African stable which houses between 20 - 30 horses, a mixture of cross-breds which are mainly used for riding lessons and horse and carriage safaris around the reserve as well as the thorough-breds which the stable trains for the sports of Polo and Polo Crosse.  They will also have the chance to interact with the lion cubs in the rehabilitation programme and monitor other free-roaming wildife on the reserve. 

Who can join: 18 years of age and over. No experience needed
Accommodation: Dedicated twin or quad accommodation
Transfer time: approximately 2 - 4 hours depending on arrival airport
Pick up Point: Bulawayo or Harare Airports
Meals: Included
Volunteer numbers: approx. 10

Duration & Fees

2 weeks£1,134
3 weeks£1,440
4 weeks£1,745
5 weeks£2,050
6 weeks£2,355
7 weeks£2,660
8 weeks£2,965

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Start Dates

2018 Start Dates:

5 Nov | 19 Nov | 3 Dec | 17 Dec | 31 Dec

2019 Start Dates:

7 Jan | 14 Jan | 28 Jan | 11 Feb | 25 Feb | 11 Mar | 25 Mar | 8 Apr | 22 Apr | 6 May | 20 May | 3 Jun | 17 Jun | 1 Jul | 15 Jul | 29 Jul | 12 Aug | 26 Aug | 9 Sep | 23 Sep | 7 Oct | 21 Oct | 4 Nov | 18 Nov | 2 Dec | 16 Dec | 30 Dec

This project remains open over the Festive Season.

If arriving into Bulawayo Airport volunteers are asked to arrive on their Monday start date by 1.00 pm.

If arriving into Harare Airport volunteers are asked to arrive on the Sunday preceding their Monday start date between 10.30 am - 2.00 pm.

Departure will be on the final Sunday of placement after 1.00 pm (back at airport at 11 am)

This project remains open over the Festive Season.


£180 deposit at time of booking – balance payment of project fee due 12 weeks before departure

What's Included

  • Transfers to and from Bulawayo or Harare International Airports on arrival and departure
  • Full board and lodging including three meals a day at the Safari Camp dining area
  • Unlimited tea and coffee throughout the day
  • Weekly laundry service
  • Daily room cleaning service

What's not included

  • All items of a person nature such as curios, gifts and clothing
  • Return flights into Harare or Bulawayo International Airports
  • Visas if required
  • Email and telephone calls made during the placement (charged out at cost)
  • Any activities or excursions outside of the planned itinerary in Zimbabwe, eg visit to Victoria Falls
  • Personal insurance for the duration of the placement which must include cover for repatriation
  • Soft drinks and other food items not included with meals

A fabulous opportunity for anyone passionate about horses to join this Horse Management programme on a beautiful game reserve in the heart of the Zimbabwe Midlands, which is also home to the world famous Lion Conservation project.  Volunteers will gain experience in the daily running and management of an African stable which caters for horse riding lessons, horse safaris and the sports of polo and polocrosse.  The stable houses between 20 - 30 horses, a mixture of cross-breds which are mainly used for riding lessons and horse and carriage safaris around the reserve as well as the thorough-breds which the stable trains for the sports of Polo and Polo Crosse. Many have been rescued from neglect and abuse and need sympathetic rehabilitation. 

This style of stable management is unlike anything that volunteers will have experienced before.  Zimbabwe is unique and years of caring for horses in conditions that have often been difficult have proudced a class or horsemen and women second to none. The stable are managed by one of Zimbabwe's best known horsemen, Ted Wilmot.  Ted has a lifetime of experience with horses including coaching polo and polocrosse worldwide, representing Zimbabwe in both disciplines and captaining and coaching the Zimbabwe national sides. He has a real talent in sharing this knowledge with anyone who wishes to learn, and anyone or any ability will have the chance to expand their equestrian knowledge, both in the saddle and on the ground, while being a part of his team during the placement.

The first week of the project will be an introduction to holistic equestrian life within a sports and recreational stable.  Then the volunteers will  begin to assist the guides and manager of the stable with daily requirements. 

They will also have the chance to interact with the lion cubs in the rehabilitation programme and monitor other free-roaming wildife on the reserve. 


During the week all volunteers will be involved in the Horse Management Project:

  • Gain valuable experience in holistic stable and horse management within a rustic African setting
  • Get an introduction to horse-riding safety, guiding conduct, lesson guidelines, schooling of horses and factors relating to horse management in Africa including disease, climate, breeds and nutrition
  • Work hands-on with the horses including crossbreds and thoroughbreds
  • Learn to play the exciting sport of Polo Crosse and assist with horse riding lessons, game rides and horse safaris

Weekends will be spent taking part in lion conservation and park activities:

  • Enjoy working hands-on with the young lions in the  world-famous lion conservation project and to walk alongside them during their pre-release training on the reserve
  • Make toys from natural materials for the young cubs to help to stimulate their prdatory and sensory behaviour
  • Walk alongside lions in the African bush and experience being part of a hunt as the young cubs learn to stalk their prey
  • Get to know the African bush - exploring the savannah grasslands either on horseback or while riding or walking with the African Elephants

Participants will also:

  • Experience the local Zimbabwean culture
  • Enjoy some of the optional excursions available to see more of Zimbabwe's natural wonders and wildlife such as the Victoria Falls, Lake Kariba, Tuli Wilderness Reserve, Matobo National Park and the ruined city of Great Zimbabwe
  • Make new friends for life with other international volunteers

A day in the life ...

The working week in the stables is Monday to Friday with two half days to enjoy an afternoon off and get some much needed rest.  On Saturdays and Sundays volunteers will be taking part in the Lion Rehabilitation Programme and will have the chance to join the cubs on their daily walks as well as the daily tasks of caring for them such as cleaning enclosures and daily feeding

The stable requirements change from day to day and volunteers are asked to keep an open mind and a flexible attitude is a must!. 

  Each morning will start with a stable meeting following which volunteers will move on to their riding duties for the day with either a stable guide or an intern or another volunteer.  Volunteers can expect to spend between four and six hours daily on horseback carrrying out their various duties.  During the Polo Crosse season (April - September) volunteers who wish to compete at club level will expect to spend most of their weekends away at various competitions.  Volunteers will be required to groom and manage the needs of their own horses whilst at these events and participating in such competitions will be at their own expense.

The following itinerary should be seen as a guide only as tasks may change to meet the needs of the programme at any time.

7.00am Muster the horses into the stables from the reserve
7.30am Feed the horses and check for any injuries
8.00am  Breakfast
9.15am Riding lesson instruction; horse training; or guiding a horse safari in the Game Reserve
11.00am Tack cleaning, vet care and grooming
1.15 pm Lunch
2.00pm Riding, game counts, fence checks and patrols, holistic horse-training clinics
4.30pm Feed the horses and muster them back onto the Game Reserve for the night
5.00pm End of working day

Optional Excursions

There will be opportunities to enjoy excursions to some spectacular sights in Zimbabwe.  Day trips are offered to the Great Zimbabwe Ruins as well as the Granite Ridge in the beautiful Matobo National Park. 

Once a month a trip to Victoria Falls is organised for those interested at a cost of US$475 which includes National Park fees, transport, meals (excluding meals in Victoria Falls) and accommodation.  Please note that the price is subject to change and  can only be booked once at the reserve.

A typical excursion could look like this:

Day 1 
Leave after breakfast for Miombo Safari Lodge in Hwange National Park - the largest National Park in Zimbabwe.  There will be a game drive in Big 5 territory where elephant, buffalo, lions and many more may be seen.

Days 2 - 4
Leave Miombo after breakfast for Victoria Falls, the adrenalin capital of Africa, where there are options to bungee jump, white water raft, visit the Falls themselves, swing across the Bakota Gorge below the Falls or just enjoy the great social atmosphere in this tourist hotspot.

Day 5
Leave Victoria Falls early in the morning to return to the project base. 

Pleae note that this optional excursion only operates when sufficient volunteers/interns are interested and is only available for volunteers  who are joining the project for a minimum of three weeks.

Getting There

Volunteers should fly into either Bulawayo or Harare where they will be met on arrival  by a member of the project staff.  Same day transfers can be arranged for those arriving into Bulawayo airport;  anyone arriving into Harare may need to spend the night in the city for transfer to the project early the following day and it is therefore essential that volunteers arriving into Harare arrive on the Sunday before their project starts.  Full details will be provided in the pre-departure pack supplied to all volunteers when their booking is confirmed. 

A perfect way to explore more of Africa

Before heading straight back home, why not take an Overland Journey through Africa to explore more of the wonderful sights and experiences that this beautiful continent has to offer.  You can take a trip that starts and finishes in the same city (eg Windhoek to Windhoek) or you can use it as an opportunity to get your from one city to another (eg Cape Town to Nairobi).

“This has got to be the best way to see Africa in a short period of time ... brilliant. The guides were fantastic, the campsites great, and the food excellent. The overland trip was excellent - really well run”
Southern Sun 21 days, Cape Town to Victoria Falls - Jennie and Stuart, Sweden, aged 32 and 34.

“I didn’t know I could become such close friends with people in just a week. The trip attracts a great group of people who are so easy to get along with. My group ranged from 20 to 70 and we all sat down with a drink, played cards together and just gathered around the campfire.  It was an experience of a lifetime and I will definitely recommend this to my friends and family”
Tanzanian Game Parks and Zanzibar, 10 Days and Masai Mara Safari, 3 Days - Sara, Canada/Malaysia, aged 20.

 From 3 days to 56 days, take a look at the exciting Overland Trips here.

Support and Orientation

Support and advice is available from Amanzi Travel office staff and project/trip leaders. Upon booking, you will receive a comprehensive pre-departure pack that provides all the details you will need to prepare for your trip to Africa.  This document includes information on accommodation, staff, visas, optional activities, packing checklist and medical advice and if you have any questions that are not answered in the pack we are always on hand to help and advise. We will do all we can to ensure that you are well prepared and looking forward to your trip to Africa. You will also receive an in country orientation on arrival.

A 24 hours a day, 7 days a week emergency contact number is provided for everyone who travels with us.

Amanzi Travel holds an ATOL licence (9401) and is able to arrange your flights on request giving you financial protection for your flight and trip costs. We also offer advice on personal travel insurance for your trip.

Gweru, Zimbabwe, Lion Conservation and Horse Management ExperienceGweru, Zimbabwe, Lion Conservation and Horse Management ExperienceVolunteers be staying at the Antelope Park Game Reserve - a few kilometres away from the city of Gweru - and home to the world famous Lion Rehabilitation Project.

Volunteers will live in comfortable twin or quad room thatched accommodation in the main reserve camp.  Facilities there include a swimming pool and internet access, which can be sporadic due to the remote location.  There are separate shower and toilet facilities adjacent to the sleeping area and rooms are cleaned daily by the housekeeping staff.  Weekly laundry services willThere is free use of the laundry service and all meals will be served at the main camp. 

Accommodation upgrades are available for anyone wishing to have a more comfortable volunteer experience.  These includes cottages and riverside tents. This is at an additional cost and should be requested when booking.

Three meals a day will be provided and unless volunteers take a packed breakfast into the park on a long lion walk, all meals will be served at the main camp and will leave everyone feeling nourished and happy!  Volunteers will have the chance to enjoy the sun-downer deck and bar/coffee shop.

Click here to view the full interactive mapZimbabwe - From Mana Pools National Park to Victoria Falls

Why visit Zimbabwe?

The beautiful country of Zimbabwe offers something for everyone; from the absolute wilderness of Mana Pools National Park, the ruins of Great Zimbabwe and the mountains overlooking Mozambique, to fine dining in Harare or bunjee jumping over Victoria Falls.  It is rich in culture and colour and the Zimbabweans have not lost their humour and resolve.

Victoria Falls is one of the worlds’ biggest and most spectacular waterfalls, with a network of trails leading through the rain forest surrounding the “smoke that thunders”. Take an umbrella and raincoat and gaze at the incredible vistas of one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World. Victoria Falls village is home to a seemingly endless variety of adventure sports from bungee jumping to canoeing and white-water rafting. Apart from its appeal to adventure enthusiasts the village still has a gracious, pioneering and colonial atmosphere.

Hwange Park is one of the finest conservation areas in Africa and is said to contain the widest variety and greatest density of wildlife in the world. Game viewing is generally restricted to the Hwange Park road network, but it has private concession areas allowing off-road safaris and nature walks. Mana Pools is an unspoiled, remote Park in the Zambezi Valley, a subtropical region, with the terrain and vegetation varied from the river up to the Zambezi Plateau. Walking is allowed (at visitor's own risk) and can be exhilarating and rewarding, if caution is taken.

Lake Kariba is one of the largest man-made lakes in the world, with abundant game-sightings and excellent angling for bream and tiger fish. The Lake provides pleasure to locals and visitors alike with fishing, canoeing, sailing or drifting along on a houseboat. The Matopo Hills is an area of incredible beauty with a mythical history and a proud people, the Matebele. The Matobo Hills were so named because they looked like the bald heads of indunas (chiefs). The entire region is a complex of bizarre and exposed granitic formations. Once inhabited by the bushman, today one can find magnificent examples of rock art in and amongst the caves. The Matobo National Park is one of Zimbabwe's prime wildlife sanctuaries with a large population of white rhino, the elusive black rhino, a variety of antelope species, baboon, rock hyraxes and a large population of leopard and black eagle.

Highlights of Zimbabwe

  • The magnificent Victoria Falls are classed as one of the seven Natural Wonders of the World.
  • Zimbabwe is home to four World Heritage Sites - Victoria Falls, Mana Pools National Park, the Great Zimbabwe Ruins and the Khame Ruins.
  • Lake Kariba is one of the world's largest man-made lakes, with abundant game and excellent angling for bream and tiger fish.
  • Magnificent national parks include Hwange, Mana Pools, Matusadona and Chizarira.
  • Adventure activities abound and include canoeing on the lower Zambezi, kayaking and rafting on the upper Zambezi, and bungee jumping at Victoria Falls.
  • For high adventure enthusiasts, white-water rafting is most exciting when the Zambezi waters are low (generally from August to December) and is often referred to as the best one-day white-water rafting in the world.
  • Canoeing down the Lower Zambezi affords an ideal opportunity to get close to Africa's wildlife.
  • Magnificent scenic areas in the Eastern Highlands Highlights of Zimbabwe.


Seasons Max Min
Summer/wet (November - April) 30 °C 14 °C
Winter/dry ( May - October) 20 °C 5 °C
Rainfall: November – March

Zimbabwe offers excellent game-viewing opportunities throughout the year. Due to Zimbabwe’s high altitudes, it has a beautiful and moderate climate, where temperatures are never very extreme.  It has warm summers, November to April, where days are generally sunny in the morning with possible dramatic afternoon/evening thunderstorms. Temperatures of 35°C in summer are considered boiling.

Winter occurs from May to October and days are sunny and cool to warm while evening temperatures drop sharply. Temperatures of 7°C in winter are considered freezing. The end of the cool, dry season, around September/October, is the top time for wildlife viewing.

The main rains fall between November and March, although the Eastern Highlands are damp for most of the year. The Victoria Falls are spectacular in April and May after the rainy season.

Key Facts

Population – 12.5 million
Capital - Harare
Currency – none. The Zimbabwean dollar was suspended by the government due to hyper-inflation. The US dollar, South African rand, Botswanan pula, pound sterling and Euro are used instead. The US dollar has been adopted as the official currency for all government transactions with the new power-sharing regime.
Language – English is the official language, with Shona and Ndebele being recognised regional languages

Time difference – GMT +2 hours
Telephone – country code 263, international access code 00

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