Riders riding while guiding other horses in South Africa

Working holiday programme in Entabeni

South Africa is on many a rider’s bucket list when it comes to riding safaris – and so it should! With its incredibly rich wildlife and varied scenery, South Africa is a top choice for a horse safari. This safari working programme, in the Entabeni nature reserve in the Waterberg mountains, is a great opportunity for riders who might want to see what a safari operation looks like “behind the scenes”, with the chance to help train safari horses and join a mobile safari.
Book now Print the details for this ride
Working holidays
15 + days -
From £0
  • Three elephants in the Entabeni reserve
    Enjoy watching wildlife from the stable or during a safari (longer stays)
  • Rider swimming in a horse in South Africa
    This unique experience is perfect for equestrians on a budget
  • A woman petting two dogs in South Africa
    On this working holiday, be prepared to befriend multiple species!
  • A warthog and a horse in a field in South Africa
    You will help with basic yard chores - with an audience!
  • Woman cleaning up horse tack in South Africa
    On this working holiday in South Africa, help with basic yard chpres
  • Multiple riders admiring rhinos in South Africa
    This African riding safari offers the possibility to watch rhinos
  • Girl riding a horse in Entabeni
    Help exercise the horses daily!
  • Riders crossing a river in South Africa
    Be prepared for splashy rides across the dam!



- While safaris can be costly, our working holiday project is perfect for equestrians on a budget looking to experience the African bush on horseback
- Discover Africa as a traveller, rather than just a tourist - a fusion of horseback safari and wildlife conservation that can be experienced hands on.
- Get exposure to a Big 5 reserve and join a mobile safari (subject to safari dates and duration of stay)

    International flights are not included in the price.

    Flights are usually overnight, however you may wish to fly during the day and then relax and spend an additional night in Johannesburg before transferring to camp.

    A shuttle service to the reserve is available from the airport directly which we can book for you. This is door-to-door and is our recommended form of transport and our local team will pick you up at the bus station. The cost is ZAR 2600 (approx £130/€150/$180) that can be paid cash upon arrival. Arrive at midday, and do your food shopping in town for the week. Settle into your house, and meet the horses and team for orientation.
  • Day 2 2-14 : ENTABENI RESERVE

    Entabeni volunteer house
    There is no fixed itinerary, your daily activities will vary depending on the riding schedule, safaris, and local conditions. Your daily chores will be to take care of the horses well being, feeding, grooming and exercising. There is a structured exercise plan for the horses, to ensure varied work, which includes schooling, lunging and endurance training. During your hacks, you will also encounter some non-dangerous wildlife, which is abundant all around the reserve.

    You may be able to take part in a safari depending on your duration of stay (4 weeks minimum to join a full safari) and bookings. You will then be involved in setting up camp, and some logistical aspects before and after the safari. A real “behind the scenes” experience. During safari you will get the opportunity to join the rides but not on every ride. They are two volunteers at a time maximum, and if there are two on safari, you will take turns riding.

    Other experiences:

    - Work with the local wildlife sanctuary, which is home to rescued animals. It is a short drive from the entrance gate, and easily accessible. You can learn about captive animals and help the vet students. This experience is at ad-hoc and when they need help.
    - Game management operates on the Entabeni reserve daily, to monitor the free roaming animals, as well as feeding some species during drought. It is a great experience to get up close to those creatures and take part in their well being! This experience is also at ad-hoc and can be arranged during your stay.


    Catch the shuttle back to OR Tambo for your flight home.

Dates & prices

Price details

No departure for this destination. Please contact our travel advisers for more information.
- Flights or transportation to your destination (Johannesburg) are not included, but can be booked on request - please contact us for rates.

- Rates are per person, based on sharing a twin room with another volunteer of the same sex.

- Dates are flexible and you can arrive/depart on any day and stay for as long as you like. In order to join the full safari, then you need to stay for at least 4 weeks. The listed price is for 2 weeks. Maximum stay is 3 months.

- Transfer to/from Johannesburg are not included and are ZAR 2600 (approx £130/€150/$180) that can be paid cash upon arrival.

- You must be aged 19 or over to join this volunteering opportunity.

- Rider weight limit: 90 kilos / 14,1 st / 198 lbs

It is a requirement and pre-requisite that guests must have purchased fully comprehensive accident and emergency evacuation insurance cover
Please Note
The itinerary may be modified at anytime for security reasons, meteorological or events beyond our control such as blocked roads, rivers in flood, drought, strikes and local holidays. Equus Journeys, our local partners and their local guides will always strive to find the best solution and will alter the itinerary as needed.
The names of the hotels and accommodation are given for information only and depending on availability, they may be modified without notice and replaced by another of a similar standard.

Price includes

Support team

Staff at the Lodge
Accompanying game management on the reserve


Shared accommodation in the volunteers house

Price doesn't include


Return airport transfers invoiced separately - see dates and prices
International flights to/from Johannesburg. We can book these for you upon request


Cancellation and travel insurance are not included in the above listed price. Please note that insurance is mandatory. We recommend taking out an insurance policy as soon as your trip is booked to cover you in case of cancellation



Trip extensions or additional activities
Game drives
We are currently updating our dates and prices they will be online soon. If you want details of this holiday, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Equestrian info


The stables are home to an excellent selection of Boerperd crosses. The horses are even tempered, docile and sure footed. You will be riding with English tack and wearing a helmet is obligatory.

For riders over 95kg/ 209lbs / 14st 9 lbs, please contact us before booking so we can organise a suitable mount.

Guide & local team

Your team are all English speakers. Your guides have years of experience and are fully qualified - the volunteers are never alone and always work under supervision and guidance.

Minimum riding ability

Minimum riding ability

You must have at least an intermediate level, capable and in control in all paces. If you have the chance to join a safari, due to the presence of dangerous game it is important that you can stay on your horse if you need to react quickly and gallop out of danger. Most importantly, you must love horses and be keen to learn.
Rider weight limit: 90 kilos / 14,1 st / 198 lbs


On safari and training rides, you will experience all three paces. All observations are done at a walking pace - there will be no galloping around/ with the wildlife.

Tacking ability and participation

You are expected to help with all normal yard chores. Please look at the itinerary to see what is requested of you as a horse volunteer in South Africa.

Trip conditions and Requested experience

Riders must be in good physical condition and previous experience of a horse-riding trip over several days is a considerable plus. You may be required to dismount and lead your horse on foot on a few occasions where the terrain is particularly difficult to navigate.

Equestrian equipment

English saddles.
Small saddlebags are provided.

We recommend our riders to wear a helmet to the correct standard and you should bring your own to ensure a proper fit. Helmets are mandatory and not provided.

Travel info


You will stay at the volunteers house on the grounds of Legend Golf and Safari resort, which is where the safari horses are based. This is where your daily rides and horse training will take place. The accommodation is at the house, where the stables are. The house always has horses very close by, as well as (non-dangerous) wildlife such as kudu, wart hog, lots of birds. Impala, zebra and wildebeest are a bit further but in view

Legend shares a greater system with the Entabeni game reserve, which is a big 5 area. It is easily accessible via a gate. There is a small shop near the base, which you can ride to for any “emergency” shopping.

WiFi is available.


Meals and food are not included and can be bought locally.

Meals are prepared at the house, and you will do your own cooking, as food is bought in town during weekly town trips. The guide will take you for a trip to town once a week (by car), and there is also a shop about 12 kms along a dirt track from the farm, that you can ride to for emergency shopping! Budget around €50/£45 per week for food and groceries.


From November to December, the summer months become hotter and more humid with either continual rain or storms in the afternoon, on these days, you will head out to ride once the rains have stopped. At this time of year, mosquitoes and other insects are also more numerous and present in comparison to the winter months.

From January to March, the weather is usually drier and the days are very hot. Your morning rides finish earlier in order to avoid this heat. At this time of year, mosquitoes and other insects are also more present and numerous in comparison to the winter months.

In April, the vegetation starts to change, the green bush becomes brown and sparse throughout this period of autumn. The temperatures will drop during the night, however during the day it will still be hot with the possibility of storms in the afternoon.

In May and June, the winter months, the temperature lowers significantly at night and early in the morning. The vegetation becomes browner still and the tress lose their leaves. Due to the sparseness of the vegetation, visibility through the bush is improved.

From July to September, the weather is extremely dry with very cold nights. The temperature is also quite cool during your morning and end-of-afternoon excursions.

From October to November, the spring is at its peak dryness with hot winds and sparse vegetation. The first rains arrive at the end of October.

Packing list

When on a horseback safari, it is best to wear clothes of a neutral colour (green, brown, beige or grey) that will blend in to the countryside. For the evenings, bring clothes that are simple yet a little bit elegant!

- A riding helmet is compulsory and we recommend that you take your own to ensure a correct fit. Helmet makers (GPA, HKM, LAS Helmets, Lamicell, Troxel, Equithème) now offer horse-riding helmets that are ventilated, strong, light and comfortable. You also have the option of buying protective shells to go under your hats (Ranch & Rider, Lexington Safety Products) or western hat helmets (Troxel).
- Sunhat (indispensable)
- Sunglasses - with a cord attached so they don't fly off when riding
- Buff or bandana for protecting your neck and face from the sun, wind or rain

Upper body
- Polo shirts in cotton or long-sleeved shirts (to protect against the sun)
- 1 or 2 long-sleeved shirts for the evening
- 1 lightweight fleece or jumper (from September to June)
- 1 warm fleece or jumper (from June to September during the winter)
- 1 lightweight or warm waterproof jacket (depending on the season). It is always a good idea to wear a coat with a multitude of pockets to keep your cameras, snacks, other items in.

- 1 pair of lightweight, comfortable riding trousers or jodhpurs - we recommend riding in them at home before taking them on holiday to ensure they don't rub
- Casual clothes for the evenings (jeans or walking trousers)
- A swimming costume
- Non-irritant cotton or synthetic underwear

Hands and Feet
- Comfortable riding boots. We recommend short boots with half chaps. We don't recommend taking your favourite leather boots in case they get damaged
- Lightweight shoes or trainers for the evenings
- Several pairs of warm socks
- Gloves - your hands are particularly exposed to the sun, wind or rain whilst riding

Other useful items
- Water bottle (1.5 litres or 2 equivalent)
- Headtorch or small torch for moving around at night - bring spare batteries and bulbs
- Toiletries
- Protein or cereal bars for the longer stretches of riding
- Swiss army knife or equivalent (in checking-in luggage!!)
- Small plastic bags for you rubbish
- Ear plugs (may be useful)
- Camera and high capacity memory card. Spare battery
- A pair of binoculars

Medical kit
Make sure any allergies (to medication or otherwise) and clearly stated in your medical kit
- Any medication you regularly take
- Painkillers
- Imodium or similar anti-diarrhea medication
- Vitamin C tablets
- Sunscreen and lip balm - should be high factor
- Insect repellent
- Eye drops
- Hydrating/ soothing cream
- Plasters
- Blister plasters in case of any rubs
- Antiseptic cream, plasters, aspirin, anti-histamine, insect-bite salve etc..
- 10cm wide bandage
- Spare prescription glasses/contact lenses
- Re-hydration sachets
- Antiseptic wipes
- Handwash gel

Our Recommendations
- Backpacks cannot be worn whilst riding. We recommend a small bumbag or a coat with pockets so that you can carry small items with you during the day (camera, sunscreen, lip balm etc)
- We recommend travelling in your riding boots and carrying your hat and some riding clothes in your hand luggage - then if your luggage goes astray you are still able to ride!
- We recommend taking a copy of your passport and insurance documents with you in case you lose your originals

Sustainable tourism

  1. Travel light. It's a little known fact, but the lighter you pack, the better for the environment as heavy bags will produce higher emissions (when flying a plane or driving a car!).
  2. Reduce plastic waste. Take your favorite reusable bottle with you. Avoid single-use bags, cups, or straws.
  3. Preserve nature. Always take your rubbish with you during the ride and recycle them. Leave all the flowers or plants as you found them, and never get too close when observing wildlife. Make sure to use eco-friendly products such as body wash or laundry detergent (if camping) to protect both your skin and the environment.
  4. Choose your experiences carefully. Respect animal life by not participating in any activities that abuse wild animals (shows, elephant rides, etc.).
  5. Support local populations. Buy local handicrafts, be respectful of customs, and learn about the culture of local communities.
  6. Share! Raise awareness among your family and friends about sustainable tourism.

For more information please see this page.