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Hanchi Horseback Conservation Experience

Explore the African bush on horseback and get closer to wildlife than you can on foot.

Set in a private wildlife reserve the Hanchi project is giving retired racehorses a new lease of life – as the perfect all-terrain vehicles for patrolling South Africa’s rugged bush environment, whilst helping to protect wildlife from poaching.

As a volunteer on this experience, you’ll set off on daily horseback rides where you’ll come face to face with giraffe, zebra, warthog and other wildlife. Exploring the bush from the saddle gives you the chance to discover out-of-the-way places that tourists wouldn’t normally see. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, you’ll get involved with the care and stabling duties of Hanchi’s thoroughbred herd, winners of 37 races between them!

Please bear in mind, as a volunteer on this project, you’ll need to be comfortable controlling a spirited horse both from the ground and in the saddle – even if it becomes spooked by other animals during a patrol.

Rhino Rating

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This tells you how physical the experience is. More >

3 out of 5 rhino rating
Category

Wildlife Research and Management

Species

Horse, rhino, giraffe, impala, kudu

Impact

Poaching prevention
Equine care

Country

  South Africa

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  • Highlights
  • Do
  • Learn
  • News
  • Costs

Highlights

A unique horseback safari

See the bush from a totally different perspective, going to places others can’t reach.

Expert local guide

The patrol leaders who will be your guides in the bush are fountains of knowledge and will give you a unique appreciation for the local wildlife and teach you how to track animals.

Work with high quality horses

As well as joining in with patrols, you’ll help with the care and livery of the herd in Hanchi’s traditional ranch-style stables.

Safe riding conditions

No lions or elephants occur in the areas patrolled by the reserves horses making it safe for horse riding.

Visit the Rhino Revolution orphanage which is based in your accommodation complex

The Hanchi Horseback Experience is run in partnership with Rhino Revolution, an organisation committed to tackling rhino poaching. During your experience, you’ll also get to visit the rhino orphanage and care centre that’s at the heart of the reserve’s work.

DO

As a volunteer at Hanchi you’ll help to patrol a 2000-acre wildlife reserve on horseback, taking part in the following activities:

Anti-poaching guard

Don’t worry, you won’t be expected to confront any poachers! But you will keep a watchful eye for signs that poachers have been inside the wildlife reserve.

  • Spot and remove any poachers’ snares
  • Look for any man-made damage to perimeter fences 
  • Watch for animals with snare injuries or other signs of attack by poachers
  • Create a visible presence to deter poachers

Wildlife monitoring

While patrolling the reserve, you’ll also help to monitor the populations of all resident wildlife.

  • Track movement and population numbers of giraffe, zebra and other species
  • Report any wildlife injuries or concerns to the reserve managers

Equine care

This experience is ideal for anyone with a passion for horses and you’ll get to ride and look after some extremely high-quality thoroughbreds, working alongside experienced horse grooms.

  • Help with daily feeding and grooming
  • Assist in habituating new arrivals to life in the bush
  • Help perform regular health checks
  • Join in with mucking out the stables and preparing the horses’ bedding

LEARN

As well as gaining hands-on experience (which you can read about under the ‘do’ tab), you’ll also learn about some important local conservation issues.

  • The rhino poaching crisis and various methods used to prevent further killings
  • During a visit to the Rhino Revolution orphanage, you’ll discover how conservationists care for calves whose mothers are killed by poachers
  • Hear about Africa’s human-wildlife conflict and the vital work carried out at Hanchi

 

COSTS

Our costs include:

Accommodation

Airport Meet & Greet

Transfers

24/7 Support

Personal Guidance

Meals

Cost Calculator

TOTAL COST: £0000

Looking for something bespoke?

You can volunteer at more than one project during your time in Africa. Please contact us for a bespoke quote including travel arrangements between locations.

Payment

Costs are subject to change but will be confirmed in writing at the time of booking.

From helping us work out which volunteering experience would suit best, to making sure we knew exactly when and where to be in country, we found the level of service from ACE to be exceptional. So much so that we want to continue helping them with their great work supporting meaningful conservation projects in Africa, with the right type of volunteer.

It was without doubt the best trip of my life so far. Not only was it the perfect opportunity to help me stand out in my Veterinary Medicine University application but it has given me unforgettable memories and I met many inspiring people.

Emma Vet Experience Profile Picture

I would highly recommend the Shimongwe Wildlife Veterinary Experience to anyone with a veterinary background, whether that be a vet/vet student or veterinary nurse/nurse student, who has an interest in wildlife and conservation and wants to test themselves and take their veterinary skills and knowledge to the next level.

I had a very enjoyable three weeks in Botswana on an African Conservation Experience volunteer holiday. We were based in a campsite about 2 hours bumpy ride from Maun on the southeast edge of the Okavango Delta area. The facilities were much better than I was expecting - I had my own tent and there was a metal bed frame so I wasn't sleeping on the ground, there was a plumbed-in toilet, sink and bucket shower.

As someone who is well-travelled and particularly well-versed in adventure/adrenaline-fuelled activities I found the whole experience truly rewarding, especially as it gave me a chance to give something useful back. My daughter, Sarah, had spent an equally rewarding 3 weeks at Phinda 9 years ago and it was on her recommendation that I ‘followed in her footsteps’ - I’m extremely glad that I did!

This project showed me how to use telemetry equipment to monitor the collared animals, setting up camera traps, dehorning and notching rhinos, recording GPS coordinates electronically and taking photos for I.D kits. This project is perfect if you wish to go into a research and monitoring career.

Would I say that the experience changed my life? Absolutely. You learn life skills and gain confidence you never thought you could in these experiences, and that is something I, personally, cannot thank the ACE team and the team I worked with in Phinda enough for.

I feel very privileged that I had the opportunity to be part of such a great project and contribute to wildlife conservation in Namibia.

It’s actually nature – everywhere. In Botswana, everything is so wild and pure, and you never know when the animals will appear from the thick bush.

What Makes Us Different?

Southern Africa's original conservation travel company

We are qualified zoologists and conservationists

Personal guidance before you book

Join real wildlife conservation projects

Enjoy total peace of mind, with 24/7 in-country support

Empower vital conservation initiatives

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