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Lion Conservation and Horse Management Experience

Gweru, Zimbabwe
from £835 (1 week)

Ref: AV069

This fantastic project will give anyone with a passion for horses the chance to also enjoy close encounters with lions.  Volunteers joining this project will not only be interacting directly with more than 30 horses of all types while mastering the act of horseback riding, but also playing a vital part in lion conservation efforts while getting closer to these animals that could every be imagined.  It's a unique opportunity for all animal lovers from around the world to work with and care for these two magnificent iconic species - on a beautiful game reserve in the heart of the Zimbabwe Midlands.


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

1 week£835
2 weeks£1,175
3 weeks£1,495
4 weeks£1,815
5 weeks£2,115
6 weeks£2,445
7 weeks£2,785
8 weeks£3,085
12 weeks£4,325

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Please note: The currency conversion is an estimate based on today's exchange rates and is to be used as a guide only. All payments to Amanzi Travel have to be made in Pounds Sterling (GBP)

Start Dates

2021 Start Dates:

4 Jan | 11 Jan | 25 Jan | 8 Feb | 22 Feb | 8 Mar | 22 Mar | 5 Apr | 19 Apr | 3 May | 17 May | 21 May | 14 Jun | 28 Jun | 5 Jul | 12 Jul | 19 Jul | 26 Jul | 2 Aug | 9 Aug | 16 Aug | 23 Aug | 30 Aug | 6 Sep | 20 Sep | 4 Oct | 18 Oct | 1 Nov | 15 Nov | 29 Nov | 13 Dec | 27 Dec

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
  • Accommodation in the volunteer village
  • Three meals a day
  • Daily housekeeping and laundry service
  • 24 hour on site support from friendly and knowledgeable staff

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 optional activities or excursions outside of the planned itinerary in Zimbabwe
  • Personal insurance for the duration of the placement which must include cover for repatriation
  • Soft drinks and other food items not included with meals

Top Reasons to Join

  • Get to work with over 30 horses of different breeds, getting to discover each unique personality
  • Take the horses for a ride around the park and enjoy the most spectacular scenery during the day, at sunrise and sunset.  Attempt to swim while on horseback or ride next to a giraffe, wildebeest or impala among other species.
  • Take part, on horseback, in boundary patrols and snare sweeps - necessary for park maintenance and protection of the game - important work but good fun too.
  • Become fully immersed in equestrian life by joining the sport of polocrosse - taking advantage of two world-class fields as well as a practice field.
  • Take the opportunity to improve show jumping skills - perhaps to the next level.
  • Enjoy unforgettable close encounters with African lions through caring for them, feeding them and cleaning their enclosures.
  • Help to care for the four rescued elephants at the project.
  • Enjoy living and working at one of Africa's most unique parks, featured on both BBC and ITV.
  • Spend free time exploring Zimbabwe and what it has to offer - perhaps visiting Victoria Falls, going rhino trekking or discovering the Great Zimbabwe Ruins
  • Make friends for life with other international volunteers along the way.

The Project

Days will alternate between the Horse Management Internship and the Lion Project - both very exciting and heart-pumping experiences.  Volunteers will experience the freedom that comes with riding and caring for horses while gaining the knowledge needed to manage an African stable.  From sports and recreational activities such as horse-riding lessons, horse safaris, carriage safaris, polocrosse and show jumping - to helping to keep the stables clean and tidy, there is no shortage of fun things to do - and best of all volunteers can expect to spend an average of 2 - 3 hours daily on horseback.

The experienced stable managers willl guide and accompany all volunteers throughout the whole experience and will help everyone to turn into the horseback rider they have always wanted to be.

In addition, all volunteers will be part of the Lion Release into the Wild programme.  There are now less than 20,000 lions remaining in the wild and this sharp decrease is higher than with any other species, including the rhino.  Volunteers will help to clean lion enclosures, prepare meals and create exciting toys for the lions to help to enrich their lives.  So as well as meeting these majestic creatures face to face and learning all about them, volunteers will be helping to put a stop to the decrease of the lion population in Africa.

The Purpose

Stables Work

The first week of the programme will  be an introduction to equestrian life within a sports and recreational stable.  Then volunteers will begin to assist the guides and manager of the stable with the daily requirements and duties.  The longer any volunteer spends on the project the more responsibilty and ownership will be entrusted to them and their horses.

All volunteers will undertake a variety of rding activities, such as schooling horses, guiding rides, fitness training, lessons and occasional wildlife management exercises on horseback.  The requirements of the stable change from day-to-day and therefore an open mind and flexible attitude is a must.

Also at an additional cost volunteers can travel to Bulawayo on a day trip to help children with disabilities enjoy a wonderful experience when they connect with horses and ponies - great fun as well as being therapeutic.  Whilst there it will be possible to get riding lessons from Jill Burgess and Aileen Johnstone at their riding school - giving volunteers the chance to experience another Zimbabwean stable.  A great learning opportunity.

Lion Conservation Work

At weekends volunteers will have the unique experience of working with the world's first lion release programme, taking part in vital research on the Ngamo pride where the wild-born lions are due to be released into the wild for the first time ever.  Other activities include day and night encounter, lion husbandry, cleaning, feeding, enclosure maintenance and helping to create behaviour enrichment toys from natural materials to stimulate the lions' predatory and sensory behaviours.

What Else?

Whilst at the project volunteers will get the opportunity to go on both day and overnight horse safaris - getting up close with African wildlife such as giraffe, wildebest, impala and the four rescued elephants.  After taking part in an overnight safari, volunteers may be asked to help to run them for newer volunteers and interns.

The Volunteer Week

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

  Mon Tues Wed Thurs  Fri 
AM         Grooming and feeding the horses. Vet care (if necessary) Boundry patrol (1.5hrs) Schooling lesson (1hr) Sunrise rid (1.5hrs) Grooming and feeding of horses. Vet care (if necessary) Grooming and feeding the horses. Vet care (if necessary) Snare sweep (1.5hrs) Grooming and feeding the horses. Vet care (if necessary)
Mid  Morning  Assist with guest activities (horse safari, pony ride, carriage ride) or cross country jumping Assist with guest activities or Stable duties

Stable duties

Polocrosse training (2hrs)             

Stable duties

Safari Ride (1.5hrs)

Stable duties
PM         Assist with guest activities or stables duties Horse swim (2hrs) Stable duties Schooling session (1hr) Stable duties Assist with guest activities or stables duties Schooling session (1hr) Stable duties
Evening  Sunset ride Free time to bond and relax with fellow volunteers Free time to relax with fellow volunteers  Sunset Carriage Ride Overnight Horse Safari (additional cost)


  Saturday  Sunday

Reserch our pride of semi-wild lions in the release site                     

Help prepare meat and feed the lions    

Help to stimulate lions behaviour making toys out of natural materials     

Optional Lion activities
A full day off to either chill by the pool or take part in optional excursions
such as rhino trekking, a safari, visiting the Great Ruins of Zimbabwe
or taking a trip to a wildlife rehabilitation center



Take our 4 rescued elephants on a walk through the reserve                    

What Else Can You Do

These activities are not included in the price, but are a great way for volunteers to spend their free time and make sure that they make the most of their time in Zimbabwe.

Popular trips and tours:

  • Visit one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World, Victoria Falls
  • Spot rhinos at Matopos National Park
  • Visit Wildlife Sanctuary in Bulawayo
  • Visit the historical ruined city of Great Zimbabwe
  • Go on game drives around the reserve to view African wildlife
  • Head out on an overnight horseback safari, camping out under the stars
  • Bask in the sun by the pool, watching the elephants playing in the river
  • Relax with a cold drink on the social decking area

Getting There

Volunteers should fly into either Bulawayo or Harare on the Monday start date where they will be met on arrival by a member of the project staff. Volunteers are also taken back to the airports on a Monday.  There are set times for the inclusive transfers and full details will be provided in the pre-departure pack supplied to all volunteers when their booking is confirmed.   If you have any questions please do contact Amanzi Travel

Amanzi Travel holds an ATOL licence and we can make flight arrangements for volunteers on request.

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.  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. 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 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. This is the country's leading private game park, set in over 3000 acres of open savannah grassland and filled with zebra, wildebeest, giraffe, impala, kudu, waterbuck and warthog.  More than 200 bird species, including Africa's largest vulture population, also call this park their home.

Volunteers will live in an authentic African thatched lodge, surrounded by nature and wildlife.  They will share either a comfortable twin or quad room with fellow volunteers or interns and can expect to wake up to the sounds of lions roaring at the crack of dawn each morning.  At the end of the day everyone can cool off by the pool or relax with a cold drink on the raised deck overlooking the river, watching birds and horses interacting in their natural environment, or hearing the sounds of bush babies in the distance at the sun goes down. 

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.

NB  Zimbabwe has been listed as one of the top 20 countries in the world to visit in 2019 - the highest for any African country - and is happy to welcome volunteers at any time.

Three meals a day will be provided.

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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