I spent about four months at the African Dream Horse Safari for my internship on elephant population dynamics. One of the greatest aspects about the African Dream Horse Safari for me was that I was able to combine two of my biggest passions, namely horses and the African wildlife. Every morning, I would wake up and walk down to the kitchen just to have breakfast together with some of the most amazing creatures such as buffalo’s, kudu’s and of course not to forget, Titan, one of the dogs of the Thomson family who is always looking for some spilled food.

Besides having a lovely breakfast, most of my days consisted of going to the stables and on game drives. During the game drives, it was my task to photograph the elephants we spotted in order to identify them on my computer later on. However, the game drives also gave me the opportunity to learn more about the African wildlife and spot other animals with as highlight the sighting of a leopard almost 2.5 months into my stay.

At the stables, I helped with taking care of and training the horses and throughout my four months I really improved my knowledge on horses and riding skills. Especially after I fell in love with one of the African Dream horses named Sky Ship (skip); a beautiful grey gelding with a cheeky personality and a will to run fast. Due to my lessons with Traci and Shannon, I noticed that my riding with Skip improved significantly and there are no words that can explain how great that feels.

Even though I spend a lot of my time at the stables and on game drives there was also time to relax and have fun. During extreme hot weather conditions, we would go to the pool to relax or have a nice dam swim with the horses. At night, we would sit around the fire to eat, talk and occasionally play a game of banana grams and in the weekend there was time to explore the breath taking scenery of Hoedspruit and other surrounding areas.

So overall, my stay in Africa was definitely worth it as it taught me so much about the wildlife, the horses and the African lifestyle. And despite the fact that I was far away from my home in the Netherlands, the Thomson family truly made the African Dream Horse Safari a second home away from home

Written by Mara Kortekaas (Netherlands)