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DDo you love horses, even if you don’t yet know how to ride? Then volunteer for the Kaapsehoop Horse Trails Volunteer Project. You’ll learn all the basic skills amidst spectacular Mpumalanga scenery on horses that live alongside the famed Kaapsehoop wild horses.
If you’re between the ages of 18 and 55, fit and filled with a sense of adventure and purpose, then apply for the Kaapsehoop Horse Trails Volunteer Project. You'll be welcome whether you're a beginner or an experienced rider.
The project is based at Kaapsehoop Horse Trails, near the historic gold-mining town of Kaapsehoop in Komatiland’s Berlin Forest in the mountains of Mpumalanga.
The trails, which lie at the end of a 7km forest trail on a 17 000ha private concession, date back over half a century, with young and old learning, riding, exploring and just having fun on horseback.
Far from being pampered pets, the horses you'll work with on the Kaapsehoop Horse Trails Volunteer Project live in the mountains with the wild horses of Kaapsehoop. Each morning the horses are called in and prepared for the trail rides. If there are no riders, the horses get the time off and stay in their natural environment.
What's the Kaapsehoop Horse Trails Volunteer Project all about? Leon Smith, who runs the project, says that the idea is 'to make a difference to people’s lives through horses'.
Not only will your own experience and horizons be broadened but you'll also be helping others. The project works with the local community – Zulu, Swazi and Shangaan people – helping them plough their fields with the horses and develop organic vegetable gardens.
You'll stay in a comfortable cottage on site, work Monday to Friday with weekends off (time to explore Mpumalanga’s scenic wonders and the nearby Kruger National Park).
Among other skills you'll learn general equine husbandry, how to look after saddles and bridles, horseback riding, archery and a survival course, as well as counteracting alien vegetation and working with projects in the local forestry community.
TTravel tips & planning info
Who to contact
Kaapsehoop Horse Trails Volunteer Project
Tel: +27 (0)83 655 0888
How to get here
From Johannesburg or Pretoria take the N4 north. Turn right at the Sappi Ngodwana paper mill toward Kaapsehoop.
Best time to visit
Any time of year is good, although summers can be very hot.
Things to do
You’re in the heart of some of South Africa’s most breathtaking scenery. Check out the Panorama Route with the Blyde River Canyon, God’s Window, gorgeous waterfalls and Bourke’s Luck Potholes, among other wonders.
What will it cost?
Approximately R3 500 per volunteer for a week.
Length of stay
Sign up for a minimum of 1 week and a maximum of 12.
What to pack
Pack clothes for some dirty, hairy work!
Where to stay
You’ll stay on-site in a comfortable self-catering 6-bed cottage.
What to eat
During the week all meals are provided. At weekends you fend for yourself. A weekly trip to Nelspruit (Mbombela) is laid on for shopping.