About the Project
African Dream Horse Safari is situated in the Lowveld of the Limpopo Province of South Africa on the outskirts of the tourist town, Hoedspruit (430km north east of Pretoria and in close proximity to the Kruger National Park).
The owner, Traci, is a devoted guide, accomplished competitive rider and dedicated conservationist. She is also qualified in both FGASA Level 1 and Level 2 as well as Advanced Trails guide and facilitator. Her team is made up of Shannon, who manages the stable yard and works with the horses, Ryan, who conducts game drives and wildlife internship projects and Christelle, who takes the volunteers on excursions and trails.
African Dream Horse Safari is a totally unique project with opportunities and features that differ greatly from other horse conservation volunteer programs.
The program is designed for people who are interested in learning about an equestrian center and the management thereof, including all aspects such as understanding the correct way to ride, handling of horses, general horse care, basic yard and equipment, safety, instruction, schooling, basic veterinary, riding skills both in the wildlife and in an arena, horse behavior, natural horsemanship and horse trails in combination with a unique nature experience, with an emphasis on conservation, including nature guiding in the natural environment, basic knowledge of ecosystems, identification, tracks and signs, animal behavior and so much more. The project is divided into 2 different segments – see below for more detailed descriptions of both.
The Equestrian center is situated within the Hoedspruit Wildlife Estate, which is a 420-hectare nature reserve. The estate has Leopard, Hyena and most of the herbivores, carnivores, omnivores, reptiles, snakes, primates, smaller cats, eagles, vultures, birds, insects and their relatives that you find in the Savanna biome. During the walks, drives and outrides we offer, you’ll almost always see a variety of animals. We have traverse rights on adjacent nature reserves which hold the BIG 5 (lion, elephant, rhino, leopard and buffalo) and during the project volunteers will go on bush walks, game drives and night drives in the wild to expose them to as much wildlife possible.
Equestrian Section (Morning Duties + Activities):
Participants will be able to further their equestrian knowledge and riding skills relating to horse trails, show jumping/dressage and stable yard, while doing so within a wildlife environment. The various activities one will be exposed to include; outrides in the wildlife reserve, horsemanship (general care, lunging, riding), stable management, basic veterinary and basic anatomy of a horse, tack and tack care, teaching (for both beginner and advanced riders), basic first aid and natural horsemanship, to name a few.
Environmental Section (Afternoon Duties + Activities)
This section of the program allows one the opportunity to drive through the African bush, sit around a campfire listening to the calls of the wild or sipping a well-deserved drink, while watching the African sunset. The main objective here is to create a love and an awareness of the environment, with Conservation as the main drive. You will have an opportunity to game drives and the occasional bush walk, as well as get the opportunity to learn about the different aspects of managing and protecting a private nature reserve.
Accommodation and Food
Accommodation is provided in comfortable chalets on a neighboring Big 5 reserve. Each room accommodates 3 – 4 students and each has its own bathroom en suite. A separate kitchen / fireplace overlooks a waterhole in the bush, where one can enjoy a meal or simply spend your time relaxing with a book or sitting around a campfire, while a variety of game come down to drink. The kitchen is fully stocked for a self-service breakfast and supper. A big lunch will be provided at the stables. There is also a swimming pool nearby, surrounded by wooden decking and overlooking the bush. WiFi is available and there is a self-service laundry facility.
Schedules & Additional Excursions (not included in project fee)
You will receive a detailed schedule once you arrive and although completely flexible, the weekly schedule combines equestrian with wildlife. The day starts early with self-service breakfast at camp after which you are transported either to the equestrian center or deeper into the nature reserve to begin a day of learning about and searching for the variety of wildlife the bush has to offer.
On Wednesdays, volunteers have an opportunity to go on one of the many excursions, which will allow one to experience all the Lowveld and its surrounding area has to offer. On every second Thursday, we do community outreach work, helping both humans and animals in need. On Saturdays we have dinner in town and give the volunteers an opportunity to have fun at a local bar.
- Picnic Spot
- Mariepskop Mountain
- Jessica the Hippo
- Baobab Restaurant
- Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre
- Panoramic Route
- Kinyonga Reptile Park
- Zip lining
- Protrack Anti-Poaching Day
- Waterfall Hike, Climb and Swim
- 24 Degrees South– Spa, shops, restaurants, classic car and bike collection
- Kruger National Park
- Weight restricted to maximum 85Kg
- It is a low risk Malaria area. It is recommended to consult your doctor.
- Self-medication / first aid kit
- Spending money for personal items
- Your own riding equipment if you have otherwise you will need to share.
- The is a safe where you can lock away any valuables.
- Items to bring: Swimming towel, casual clothing, swim gear, camera, binoculars, torch, laptop, cap/hat, sun cream, water bottle, international adaptor.