This program is designed for committed riders of the classical English style, who would relish the opportunity to join our exclusive horse safari operation as a back up guide and groom for our safaris.
You have to be an experienced and excellent rider! Only English style or classical riders will be accepted. The minimum age is 20yrs, unless in exceptional circumstances, and our weight limit for students is 80kgs. You are expected to be generally fit, as well as riding fit, as the days can be long. A minimum of 8 years continued riding is required and we would expect you to be riding every day for six months prior to arrival in preparation for your stay with us; your riding ability is of the utmost importance and will be tested before you are allowed to accompany any safari. We will prevent you from riding as back up if we do not feel that your abilities are sufficient, though obviously we are very reluctant to be in this position.
Our safari is multinational and the ability to speak other European languages is useful, though not required.
Our horse safaris cater for small groups of experienced riders. For our guests it is the holiday of a lifetime and we work very hard to ensure that it exceeds their wildest dreams. You will be dealing with clients daily so it is important to us that you are well spoken and presented. An open, friendly nature and a natural affinity for people will help to make your stay and theirs more memorable: we eat, sleep and play together here!
As a back up rider, you assist Philip, the owner and guide, and Rusty our second guide, in ensuring the safety of the group at all times. You need to be confident of your ability to control a horse under trying circumstances – our horses place a great deal of trust in us in order to overcome their natural flight reaction in large game encounters! But it is also this partnership that allows us to experience these most incredible encounters from close proximity.
The well-being of our horses is therefore of greatest importance to us. Time not spent accompanying the ride is used to ensure they are maintained to the highest standards of veterinary care, grooming and stable duties. With up to 40 horses of all ages, sizes and temperaments it is usually more than enough to keep us busy.
There are two positions available at any time, for a maximum of 3 months. We recommend as long a stay as possible to fully appreciate the experience.
Accommodation is in individual rooms with a communal bathroom. Meals are taken altogether, with the clients; vegetarians are welcome but will not necessarily be specially catered for!
In addition to the practical horse experience you will learn extensively about African ecology. The farm is staffed by several qualified Field Guides: a wealth of books and other study material is freely available and, if your stay coincides with March, June or October, arrangements can be made for you to sit the elementary Field Guide exam. You are encouraged to visit local centers dedicated to the breeding of rare species, wildlife rehabilitation, or the reptile park. There will also be opportunity to sample other local highlights – white water rafting, hot air ballooning, a trip through the Blyde River Canyon – during quieter times on the farm. You may have the chance to do a basic rifle handling session with Philip and learn about the particular details of conservation in Africa. (These are also all more good reasons to opt for a prolonged stay – extra activities are limited by our time and their availability!)
There is a well established research team working on the reserve and you are encouraged to join their drives to learn about the value of research as a management tool for a private game reserve.
Based in the heart of the South African bushveld, Wait A Little is situated on the Karongwe Private Game Reserve: 8500 hectares of pristine African wilderness that is home to an extensive array of wildlife, flora and fauna. It is a ‘Big 5’ reserve and therefore it is not unusual to find elephant, rhino, lion or leopard in the vicinity of the camp. However, Karongwe has far more to offer than just the usual: cheetah, red hartebeest, bateleur eagles – to name a few – are also readily encountered.
Flights to Johannesburg International arrive daily with most major airlines. It is easiest then to fly internally to Hoedspruit airport, where a transfer will bring you to the farm. Car hire is also relatively easy but the journey is approximately 5 hours (450kms) and can be expensive. The bus is a long journey and not guaranteed to arrive without breakdown! It also often leaves before the flights have cleared customs meaning an enforced overnight stay in Johannesburg or Pretoria. Trains are almost non-existent in South Africa.
These introductory weeks are spent getting to know horses, people, farm routines and the responsibilities of a back up rider. You will be joining trails with an existing back up guide to learn the job without pressure: the smooth running of the safari is dependent on the concentration of the back up guide!
Weeks 3 – end
Once competent as a back up rider, you will share the rides and stable work with the other student, each riding on trail once a day. During quiet periods, you may take the opportunity to join the research teams on the reserve in tracking the predators, or head off the reserve to explore the local area. There will obviously be a daily element of horse care, even when there are no guests.
Inclusive in the program is all riding, training, meals, drinks, (including alcohol) accommodation, transfers from the local airports and selected excursions (usually those focusing on African wildlife). Excluded are adventure trips, flights, insurance, visas, telephone calls.
12 Weeks: £2000
If you are interested in joining us, please contact Clare Morrell under :
You will be requested to fill in an application form and send us pictures of you riding on the flat at a pace faster then walk. We will also request that you send us a video of you riding on the flat. Please note, that places are often filled up to 18 months in advance so please plan ahead.