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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

  • Highlights
  • Do
  • Learn
  • 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:

Accomodation

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.

I have travelled with ACE 4 times now and each time it just gets better and better. The hands-on experience on the Shimongwe veterinary project is unparalleled and I am already planning my next trip.

I will never EVER forget the rhinos. The sounds they make, the look in their eyes, the way their skin feels, the way the babies sleep next to each other, the way they walk over to you for their milk. I’ll never forget the people I met there either.

To truly get a feel for just how special a place Phinda is you must go and experience it for yourself - you won't regret it.

Phinda was my 3rd time with ACE and I am 77 years old !!!! If you really want to be a volunteer with wild animals in Southern Africa, please contact ACE.

I have several great memories. Too many to single out any particular one; from seeing Wild Dogs in Nthaba, feeding the baby rhinos at Care for Wild, to the day in Kruger National Park. Fantastic!

The Okavango Wilderness Experience in Botswana (Moremi Game reserve) is truly amazing! A real feeling of being out in the bush and at the same helping out for a great cause. The outcomes from this volunteering are retained for ever!

My experiences at Chipangali and Phinda were absolutely insane. It was definitely one of the best experiences of my life. The people there topped off the experience and I have so many good memories, I'd recommend it to anyone and everyone - just thinking about my trip makes me want to go back!

The vet I was working with was an incredible teacher and always explained what he was doing and why. He always encouraged us to get involved and even let me take a ride in the helicopter!

Life changing, inspirational and heart-warming are just 3 words to describe Care for Wild, but in all honesty, words cannot describe this experience, it’s phenomenal! Waking up to the sound of the resident lions and hippos helps with the early morning starts and the views from site are sensational.

As older travelers who have been to many countries around the world, we wanted to give something back while having a great experience. The intangibles, like seeing so many stars at night, and socializing with local people, made this part of our trip truly memorable.

The people and animals I met while I was there will always have a special place in my heart and I’ve done things I never thought I would like; help raise a baby squirrel, hold a baboon spider to get over my arachnophobia and see a white rhino in the wild.

At Phinda our lives were enriched by the knowledge of our team leader in the many facets of wildlife management, whilst working with the wildlife veterinarians at Shimongwe was AWESOME. We were able to be a part of a team capturing wild animals for medical treatment, ID chip placement, and relocation.

What an experience that was! Bottle-feeding baby rhinos was simply amazing. Looking into their eyes, I saw their beautiful souls each and every time I fed them. “And I get to do this every day for two weeks”, I thought to myself.

Catherine and I had the most fantastic trip to Phinda. The whole experience was more than we could ever have imagined.

Nearly every morning we would get up at around 5:30am, gulp down a quick cup of coffee, and be out of the door by 6. We would drive through the morning mist, watch it diffuse into shimmering light as the sun rose, in search of an elephant herd, a lion pride or to check on the animals in the boma enclosures.

Work hard and you maybe given more responsibility with special cases – teaching vultures to fly to the glove, looking after the baby bush pig and assisting with the cheetahs were some of the extra cases I had. I have so many amazing memories from being at Moholoholo.

Huge thanks to the vet team in Hoedspruit for welcoming me and teaching me so much valuable information that will transcend into the rest of my veterinary career. Also, thank you to African Conservation Experience for setting up this wonderful experience! Counting down the days when I can return!

Being able to work so closely with rhinos was incredible at Care For Wild Africa, whilst Phinda was one of the best experiences of my life.

I decided to get involved with a conservation organisation. ACE has given me the opportunity to be part of dedicated teams helping preserve wildlife and the habitat. It has been a wonderful experience and I will continue to volunteer my time to conservation programs.

My experience at Phinda, in three words, was wonderful, unique, and enriching. The team from the researchers, ecologists, logistic, back-office, and our dear volunteers were all great people and supportive, and helped make my journey wonderful.

Some days we would be transporting buffalo to various camps, and so the vet would go up in the helicopter and dart the buffalo from the air. We would then chase down the buffalo by truck and transport them out of that camp and into another. This was truly exhilarating.

You won’t quickly forget a bushbaby landing on your shoulder on your way back from dinner, a fearsome honey badger lying on its back without a care in the world or falling asleep at night to the sound of lions roaring and hyenas laughing outside your window.

We decided to do the veterinary experience trip and to stay for 2 weeks. Let me tell you, 2 weeks flew by! We worked with a variety of animals, and we also got to meet and work with amazing people there. Africa is an amazing place to go and I can not wait to go back!

I could talk for hours and hours about the many adventures I was lucky enough to undertake during my placements with ACE, I still haven’t finished telling my friends and family everything! The amazing sense of accomplishment and pride I feel whenever I look back at what I’ve learnt and been privileged to be a part of is unfathomable.

I spent two weeks at Mangetti and two at Phinda and it was such an amazing experience! Both taught me so much, including how to use telemetry gear to track animals such as lions and elephants.

On my first day at Moholoholo I was involved in a rhino walk, which is as incredible as it sounds. We chaperoned a young rhino on a walk through the bush, providing him with exercise, mental stimulation and a bit of fun. This is just one of many unbelievable things that I was able to take part in.

The work the vets do to spread the message about conservation and the multiple chances they gave me to interact with wildlife, is beyond incredible and just being able to watch them, let alone get involved, is an absolute privilege.

Chipangali is an amazing family run organisation, run by Kevin & Nicky and their children and I am now best friends with the family. The centre has a great family feel and you quickly bond with all of the other volunteers and I still keep in touch with many of the other volunteers.

I am a qualified veterinary nurse who decided to go to Africa to volunteer because I wanted to make a difference. I worked at Care for Wild for 2 months and Chipangali for 1 month. Whilst you are there it is important to remember to take a moment and appreciate where you are and how lucky you are to be there.

For a full month at Okavango, I had the opportunity to assist in vital research, documenting species presence on the Kwatale conservancy. We had some truly special sightings while there.

Sunset on the Okavango while watching the maribou storks and cormorants settle at the heronry for the night was awesome. We watched the sun’s rays slanting across the water colouring everything with its red glow and then fading as the sun dipped below the grasses and out of sight leaving us in gathering gloom and heading back to our island abode for dinner.

My time at Care for Wild Africa Rhino Sanctuary can best be described as life changing! It is a magical place.

The ACE team and the Phinda locals have provided me with memories that will last a lifetime and an endless amount of stories that I will forever treasure.

I highly recommend the Shimongwe Wildlife Veterinary Experience to anyone considering applying. You will not only gain useful veterinary knowledge and skills, you will also create amazing and unique memories in an astonishingly beautiful country.

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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