Horse RehabilitationSouth Africa

Our Horse Rehabilitation team in South Africa help to rescue, rehabilitate and care for horses which have been injured, abused or neglected.

You will help to care for around 40 horses and help them to trust people again. Volunteers assist in all aspects of the horses’ care and with the day to day running of the project. This ensures that all of the horses receive the optimum level of care. Volunteers of all experience levels are welcome and will be matched to specific horses accordingly. You will also assist with the beach and bush trails which generate an income to keep the rehabilitation project sustainable.

Enjoy riding along the Indian Ocean whilst watching whales and dolphins and explore the local area and experience a range of activities in your free time.

Volunteers are needed to take care of rescued horses and provide them with some TLC.

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Key Info

key info
  • Location: Eastern Cape
  • Start dates: Any date
  • Duration: 1 – 12 weeks
  • Age requirement: 18+ (11+ for families or groups)
  • Availability: Spaces available
  • Cost: From £895 / €985 / $1110 - see fees table below
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Project Information

Volunteer role: What will I be doing?

The objective of the project is to rescue and rehabilitate horses so that they can trust people once again. The motto is “horses working for horses” and the project makes income from beach and bush trails for tourists to fund the rehabilitation of injured, abused and neglected horses.

With around 40 horses to care for, volunteers help to care for and give much needed attention to horses that have suffered. Volunteers are a vital workforce on the farm and are involved in all aspects of the preparation of the trails and looking after the horses being rehabilitated. There are also a number of other animals on the farm including dogs, donkeys, peacock, chickens and pigs.

You will work closely with the horses every day and tasks may include:

  • Food preparation, feeding and watering the horses
  • Checking physical condition of the horses
  • Assisting with preparations for trails
  • Riding on beach trails and assisting trail guiding
  • Dipping
  • Grooming
  • Cleaning tack
  • Cleaning water troughs
  • Working with individually allocated horses
  • Assisting with basic veterinary work where appropriate

During your stay you will be trained in all aspects of the basic care routine covering the tasks above as well as working with youngsters, backing, mouthing and lunging. Some of this training will depend on your previous experience with horses, which you can discuss on your arrival.

As part of the volunteer role, you will have the opportunity to ride on the stunning beach trails on the Eastern Cape of South Africa! The regularity of beach rides depends on the number and experience level of trails riders, weather and your riding experience.

You do not need to be an experienced rider, but having the basics of walk, trot and canter are an advantage. The project accommodates all levels of riding experience and will tailor your activities accordingly. There are no formal lessons and if you are a novice you will learn riding on the beach!

Volunteers staying for at least 4 weeks who have sufficient experience will be given the opportunity to dedicate some of their time to working independently with a young, inexperienced horse.

“It helps to have volunteers who have passion and spend time with our horses, that extra groom and a bit of TLC that, with having so little ‘manpower’, they wouldn’t normally get.”
Georgie, Founder

Typical day

When you arrive, you will be settled into the accommodation and shown around the farm. You’ll get to meet the horses at the farm and those that live closer to the beach as well as the other animals on the farm.

The work carries on throughout the week and you will usually work 5 days out of 7, although there is some flexibility required. Days normally start at 7am (for breakfast) and finish around 5pm, depending on what is happening each day (if there are beach trails) and the weather.

Volunteers live on site so it is just a 2 minute walk to the horses on the farm. When visiting the horses on the coast (approximately 7km away) you will be transported by the team in their vehicle. During your days off you can take advantage of some fantastic free time activities.

Professional roles and animal husbandry

We also organise placements for volunteers with professional skills (vet, equine dentist or farrier) for a reduced volunteer fee reflecting the professional expertise that these volunteers provide to the project (see the fees table).

If volunteers are interested, there is also the opportunity to gain farming and animal husbandry skills with the pigs on site.

Other volunteers

There are usually 1-4 volunteers at the project at any one time with a maximum of 6.

Duke of Edinburgh’s (DofE) award

This placement has been approved by the DofE as meeting the requirements for the Residential section of the Gold Award.

Local support

The project is very much a family affair with Georgie and her daughter Penny leading and other members of the family also assisting. Georgie is in charge of the rehabilitation and Penny is in charge of the trails.

Georgie is the first point of call for volunteers and she will be there to support you throughout your time at the project. She is originally from the UK but has been living in Africa for over 50 years. Penny was born in Zimbabwe and is a professional guide. They have an amazing knowledge of horses between them and love to share this with the volunteers!

Accommodation

Volunteers live in a cottage on the 200 hectare family farm where the rescued horses are based. It's beside the family home and volunteers are often invited into the main house for meals and to socialise.

Horse Rehabilitation accomodationThe volunteer cottage has a kitchen and living area with a TV, and a braai (barbeque) area outside. Bedrooms are shared between volunteers on a single sex basis and there is a shared bathroom with a hot water shower. There is WIFI available. 

Horse Rehabilitation family house

Meals 

All main meals are provided and here are typical examples of the food you may have: 

  • Breakfast – toast with spreads
  • Lunch – sandwiches, salad
  • Dinner – pasta, rice, stew, vegetables, barbeque 

Vegetarians and vegans are welcomed and can be catered for.

Tap water at the project is safe to drink.   

Location and free time

The centre is based near Chintsa East and is approximately 40km from East London. You are located very close to the stunning 'Wild Coast' of the Indian Ocean with its craggy cliffs and long beaches, a popular place for tourists to visit.

Horse Rehabilitation local beach

In the evenings and at the weekend volunteers are often invited to socialise with the family and play cards and darts, or you can spend time relaxing, watching TV or reading a book. Weekend braais (BBQs) are common and tend to be a big family event!

The local backpackers is right by the beach and boasts a magnificent view of the Indian Ocean, offering surfing lessons, volleyball and a perfect bar for some sundowners.

There are many activities available in the local area. There is an excellent local private game reserve where you can stay overnight and experience Africa wildlife, or depending on the number of volunteers, it is sometimes possible to organise a trip to Addo Elephant Park. These activities are best booked locally once you are at the project.

Travelling in South Africa before or after your placement

South Africa is situated at the southern tip of Africa and ranges from desert to sub-tropical. With dramatic landscapes, amazing wildlife and a rich and diverse culture and interesting history, South Africa has something for everyone. Popular activities in South Africa include:

  • Spotting the Big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo) on safari
  • Travelling the beautiful coastline along the Garden Route
  • Whale watching near Port Elizabeth
  • Visiting Cape Town and sampling local wines at the famous vineyards

For more information on South Africa and some of the things we loved when we visited there please see our South Africa country page. This also features all our other South Africa volunteering projects as you might like to consider combining this project with one of the others we offer to make a trip of a lifetime!

Volunteers in the back of a Toyota pick up truck driving on path in South Africa

Climate

There are hot and humid, rainy summers between October and April, and mild, dry winters between May and September. In the summer temperatures average around 30 degrees Celsius, but at times reach 35-40 degrees Celsius. In the winter the mornings and evenings can be cold but by midday temperatures are usually 20-25 degrees Celsius.

Dates

You can start on any day. The project is closed to volunteers between 15 Dec 2019 - 10 Jan 2020.

What's Included

Included

  • Dedicated Pod Volunteer Specialist to support you
  • Airport pick up (East London) and return transfers
  • Accommodation - a shared room
  • Food - all main meals
  • Induction
  • Support from the local team
  • Support from the Pod Volunteer UK office by phone and email
  • 24/7 emergency back up
  • Volunteering certificate and reference (on request)

Not included

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Vaccinations and medication
  • Living costs - snacks, drinks, laundry
  • Any tourist trips / activities you choose to do in your free time
Price table
1 week £895 GB Pounds
2 weeks £1345 GB Pounds
Extra weeks £350 GB Pounds

Discounts

  • Special volunteer fee of £375 for 2 weeks for volunteers with professional skills (vet, equine dentist and farrier). Each additional week paid for locally as a donation
  • £75 discount for every additional project you book as part of the same trip
  • £100 discount for any family members who are under 18
  • £75 discount if you have previously volunteered with Pod Volunteer 

Where the money goes - financial transparency

Your fee covers the overseas costs of volunteering and the costs of running our organisation in the UK, on a non-profit basis.  For more details and a breakdown of our costs please click here.

Book with confidence - financial protection

All monies paid to us are financially protected through The Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust Limited (ABTOT). 

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Fees in currencies other than GBP are indicative only and volunteers are invoiced in GBP. For current exchange rates please see www.xe.com

Read volunteer reviews from the Horse Rehabilitation project

Emma - 2019

“It was a great and above all an enriching experience, I worked with 40 horses in a rehabilitation centre. I went on a mission abroad for 3 months, I discovered Georgie and Penny's daily routine, the treatment given to the horses, the special care that each horse receives, and when the horse trails that take us to a beautiful beach are an opportunity. 

Enjoy every day spent with Georgie, Penny and the horses! The most rewarding thing is to see that the horses are happy in their new environment”

Danika - 2019

“I really enjoyed my time in South Africa, getting to help out with the horse was an incredible experience as was the beach rides. The scenery is beautiful with a mix of bush and beach.

Whilst there I got to know some of the horses on the farm well as I groomed them everyday and helped them get used to picking their feet up which some of the younger ones weren’t keen on. As well getting to ride a range of different horses. Be prepared for manual work as there is a lot of it but it is very rewarding.”

Taylor - 2018

“I have no words that could sum up how amazing my time in South Africa was. Taking care of all of the horses and watching them progress in different ways over my 8 weeks was absolutely life changing. The beach was probably my favorite part - I could never get tired of cantering down an open beach with whales breaching alongside me! 

I grew close with the family and made some lifelong friends while on the project. They do so much for these horses and for the people who come in and out of their houses, it is absolutely incredible. I always felt so welcome and so at home. The fun never stops, even when the work is piled up. I cannot wait to go back!!

Holly – 2018 

“Absolutely loved my time on the project, will definitely return in the future! I had the best 2 weeks, I did not want to leave at the end (tears were shed!) I got to work with young horses and gained skills treating injuries/illnesses. I also got to ride a variety of amazing horses along the beach with the most stunning views, as well as riding on the farm.

I could not recommend this project enough, it really was one of the best things I have ever done.

Go for it! It might be different to what you are used to but it is so rewarding and you will make friends who you will keep in contact with after you leave.”

Read more reviews

50+

horses rehabilitated

"It was an amazing experience that will stay with me forever! Pod Volunteer provided the ideal amount of support and guidance"Satvinder

Gemma

Pod UK Specialist

Apply and you'll hear from Gemma soon!

We look forward to receiving your application! There is no commitment by applying and we will send more information.

Apply

VOLUNTEER REVIEWS

  • South Africa Horse Rehabilitation volunteer – Hannah

    “My whole trip was fantastic, I would do it again tomorrow. I highly recommend this project for those passionate about horses and willing to put in the hard work to make a difference, it is rewarding in so many aspects.”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • South Africa Horse Rehabilitation volunteer – Hazel

    “This project is truly amazing, the work they do with the horses is incredible and you can tell straight away how much they love all of their horses and how much you do make a difference and help them for however long you're there.”

    Read more volunteer reviews
  • South Africa Horse Rehabilitation volunteer – Isabel

    “This was literally one of the best things I have ever done in my entire life. It's incredibly hard work and challenging at times but incredibly rewarding and lots of fun! I loved being surrounded by all the animals!”

    Read more volunteer reviews

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AWARDS AND ACCREDITATIONS

  • Tourism Concern
  • Association of Bonded Travel Organisers Trust
  • Right Tourism
  • DOFE
  • theguardian
  • the independent
  • Sunday Times
  • Year Out Group
  • Best Volunteering Organisation
  • Wall Street Journal