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This unique project combines both Horse Management and Lion Rehabilitation, providing volunteers with the opportunity to learn about the inner-workings of an African stable and participate in a world renowned rehabilitation program. The horse management program specializes in the training and managing of 40 cross-breed and thoroughbred horses for professional polo, polo crosse (a combination of polo and lacrosse), horse safaris, private lessons and game rides. 

The Lion Rehabilitation Program works for the protection, conservation and rehabilitation of lions on the reserve. The African lion population is declining at a disturbing rate, so the goal is to reintroduce the offspring of captive-bred lions into the wild.

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Location of the Project:  Antelope Park, 10km from Gweru, Zimbabwe Midlands
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Project length:  Min 2 weeks - Max 8 weeks
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Arrival Airport:  Joshua Mqabuko Nkomo International Airport, Bulawayo or Harare International Airport
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Volunteer Work:  Animal care, Park Management and Conservation Education
Age:  18-70
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Number of Volunteers:  Up to 12 international volunteers
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Important Note:  Please note that volunteers staying longer than 4 weeks will require a “temporary residence permit." This costs an extra $500 USD to be paid upon arrival in Zimbabwe.

What's Included

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Accommodations:  Twin or quad rooms at volunteer camp
Food:  Three meals a day
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Airport Transfers:  Included on arrival and departure day
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Insurance:  Comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage
Orientation:  Orientation upon arrival to Antelope Park includes introductions to the park, stables, lion rehabilitation portion, and project overview.
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Support:  Local in-country team and 24hr emergency support

What's not Included

Flights, personal expenses, entry visa (between $50 - $100 USD depending on nationality), levy of $30 USD upon departure from Zimbabwe.

Antelope park is a private game farm located 10km from Gweru town center, in the heart of the Zimbabwe Midlands. Covering 3000 acres, this game reserve is home to an incredibly diverse array of African wildlife and is best known for its African Lion and Environmental Research.

Horse management: As a volunteer, you will be responsible for the following tasks:

  • Guiding horse safaris for guests in the Reserve
  • Leading horse-riding lessons for groups of volunteers
  • Schooling and fitness training of the polo crosse horses
  • Preparing polo crosse horses for matches
  • Playing in club practices
  • Assisting with managing the stable
  • Attending or competing in club competitions around the country 
Lion Rehabilitation Program: Your duties on this project will include the following: 
  • Join handlers on lion walks in the African bush and watch as the young cubs learn to stalk their prey
  • Clean lion enclosures
  • Prepare meat for the lions 
A typical day: Your day will start at 7:30 am when you will muster the horses into the stables from the reserve grounds, feeding them and checking for injuries. After taking a break for breakfast around 8:00 am, you could teach a horse-riding lesson, help with horse training, or guide a horse safari on the reserve. Lunch is at 12:30 pm, followed by learning or playing polo or polo crosse. After feeding the horses and mustering them back to the reserve grounds, you will be free to spend your afternoon as you like. 
 
You will volunteer in the stables from Monday to Friday, two of which will be half-days so you can enjoy some afternoons off. On Saturdays and Sundays you will be participating in the Lion Rehabilitation Program.

Internet
Internet:  WiFi is available, though can be sporadic due to the remote location.
Laundry
Laundry:  Weekly laundry service. Laundry service is provided at an additional fee.
Accommodations
Accommodations:  You will be staying in comfortable twin or quad rooms at the volunteer camp, which include a swimming pool. Showers and toilet facilities are located separately and adjacent to the sleeping area. Accommodation upgrades are available for an additional fee.
Food:  Volunteers are provided with three meals a day served at the main camp area.

Please take note of the project's minimum requirements:

  • Minimum age 18
  • Basic English
  • Good physical fitness
  • Must have some previous riding experience
  • Open-minded and flexible attitude 
  • Motivation to work with horses
  • Immunizations (please consult your local travel clinic)
  • Police clearance form

The Horse Management staff at Antelope Park are all competitive riders. There will be occasions where they will need to travel to compete around Zimbabwe. Previous volunteers have been eager to attend these competitions and are allowed to join at an extra cost. If you are an experienced rider there are opportunities to participate in club-level competitions too. During the polo crosse season, from April to September, you can  also compete at various clubs, if you are interested.  

The opportunities for traveling outside the reserve are endless. For example, you can take a day trip to Granite Ridge or the Great Zimbabwe Ruins. For a longer stay experience, you can spend three nights on a houseboat on the stunning Lake Kariba. For an excursion before or after your volunteer placement, you should consider a four-day trip through Miombo to visit Victoria Falls or to try out bungee jumping or white-water rafting.

Project Orientation (Included):
Upon arrival to Antelope Park, the following orientation will take place:

  • Introduction to the park, stables, and the Lion Rehabilitation Program
  • Meet and greet with all stables and park staff
  • Familiarization with where you will be staying
  • Full introduction into your role as a volunteer at Antelope Park
4-Day Victoria Falls Excursion Trip (Not Included)

During the low season, for an additional fee, volunteers may havew the opportunity to participate in a 4-day/ 3-night trip to Victoria Falls. This trip to one of the Seven Wonders of the World offers the chance to bungee jump, go white water-rafting, ziplining, sunset cruising and more! 

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