Frequently asked questions

The Program

How old is the Ranch-Dude program?

Ranch Koiimasis has been accommodating volunteers regularely for the last 10 years.

How many Ranch-Dudes may participate at once?

up to 4

What is the emphasis of the program?

The emphasis of volunteer duties rely mostly around working with the wild horses - assist with training and take part in general ranch work. Please note that this program is for experienced riders only! You don't have to be a horse trainer or a successful show rider to get along here. However, you should have enough riding experience to be able to work independently with your horses. If you accompany our riding safaris, you are an important part of the team and support us in looking after our guests. Please note, however, that guests have priority during this time. You are allowed to join all tours, but you must also be able to handle your horse responsibly.

How much may I ride?

As much as you possibly can & want. Most of the work gets done on horseback, some days more, some days less. You will ride a variety of different horses and will be able to learn a lot during your time.

Do I have to do stall cleaning?

Yes, stall cleaning is an important part of every good stable. Your routine includes: paddocks and water troughs to be cleaned, tack to be maintained & trees to be watered.

What are my daily tasks?

When working on a farm each day has a new Task to conquer and no day is like the other, but a "normal" day would look somewhat like this: - On day 1 you will be chauffeured to the Cowboy Camp where you will get introduced to everything. Thereafter you will have your own horse which you will take from either Pennie's Saloon or the Castle up to the Cowboy Camp every day. - Once at the CC you may assist feeding the horses. - A small daily routine waits for you. EG: watering the trees & cleaning stalls. - Once the horses have eaten up you may begin working through your string. Depending on your experience and effort most Ranch-Dudes work around 4 - 5 horses a day. - At noon (Siesta) you have a 2 hour break. You saddle up your horse and ride back to your house, check that there is enough water and feed in their troughs and lay low whilst the hottest hours of the day pass by. - The lunch break is to your own leisure. Prepare yourself a meal, sleep a little, read a book, lie in the sun etc. - After lunch you saddle your horse up once again, head on back to the CC, assist with the midday snack feeding and take care of your remaining horses. - At around sunset you prepare your desired horse once again and ride back to your accommodation; have some dinner and fall into your bed for a good nights sleep. The next day(s) may or may not look similar to this one. You might help out with some cattle work EG: herding, sorting & doctoring. Or maybe there is a guest tour planned for the afternoon. You will drive out to fetch hay, or come along to fetch feed from a nearby town. You may even chose to work on your roping skills. You are however not obligated to take part in everything. If there is a day when you dont feel so well and want to take some time off you are free to do so as well.

What do I do on the weekends?

On Saturdays you will work only half a day, usually Saturdays are reserved for cleaning & maintaining Tack, repairing things in the Cowboy Camp & restocking on the feeds. Thereafter you have the rest of the Saturday & Sunday to your own leisure. You may chose to relax at the lodge pool, hike into the mountains or plan something fun with the other volunteers. On Sunday evening the family usually comes together for a big "Braai" (BBQ) as they call it, have some drinks & plan for the upcoming days.

What´s a Ranch-Dude?

As a Ranch-Dude you will be actively involved in the daily ranch life, horse training and education. At Koiimasis, horse trainers, Ranch-Dudes and guides always work together hand in hand. Everyone learns from everyone else and most of all from the horses.

The term 'Dude-Ranch' comes from the USA and means nothing else than Guest-Farm. We used to use the common term "volunteer", but this led to misunderstandings which we hope to clear up with the new name. The time as a Ranch-Dude is, so to speak, a mixture of riding vacation and volunteer service. Therefore, the stay is much cheaper than a pure vacation. Your contribution goes 100% into the project - physically and monetarily. Ranch dudes are an important part of our work for and with the horses.

You will get the chance to dive deep into the daily life of a Namibian ranch and experience things that are hidden from a normal tourist. As a Ranch-Dude you spend 90% of your time in the saddle and if you want to take a break that's ok too - everything can, nothing has to!

Booking & Fligths

How do I book?

Please contact us directly via e-mail under: freda.bauer@gmx.de

How long do I have to book in advance?

If you book directly with Freda: 1 - 2 Months in advance.
Contact: freda.bauer@gmx.de
If you book through our agents: 3 - 4 months are recommended.
Link: https://www.volunteerworld.com/de/volunteer-program/western-horseriding-experience-in-namibia-helmeringhausen

When can I join?

We are open all year round, just ask for free availabilities. But please note that its gonna be very warm from November till March.

How long may I stay?

- The minimum duration of your stay is 4 weeks as anyhting shorter might not give you the full experience. - The maximun duration is up to 90 days (3 months) due to the Tourist Visa. Longer durations can however be organized.

How does my arrival journey begin?

You arrive at the International airport near the capital of Namibia (Windhoek). There you will be picked up by any of the Izko family members. Depending on your time of arrival you will either spend the night in Windhoek and head to the ranch the next day or head directly to the ranch. On average the drive takes about 8 hours & you will be able to see the ever changing landscape of Namibia during the 650 km route.

Do I need a Visa?

Officially, Yes. See links below. http://www.namibiatourism.com.na/page/visas https://namibia.visahq.com/ We will help you with this.

What are the program rates?

4 weeks (minimum stay): 350 € / 6.040 N$ / 390 US$ per week from 5-8 weeks: 330 € / 5.690 N$ / 360 US$ per week from 9-12 weeks: 310 € / 5.350 N$ / 340 US$ per week Airport pickup: 150 € / 2.590 N$ / 165 US$ in total round-trip Flight and other travelling costs are excluded.

How does the payment work?

Most our transactions are done via EFT (electronic funds transfer) you can however pay in cash at location too. Details will be discussed via mail.

Why pay for volunteering?

Your payment funds go straight back into the program but mostly the horses, this way the ranch can afford to keep a unique program like this going especially during years of bad drought and thus ensure Ranch-Dudes have an experience of their lifetime!

Country & Culture

Who are my contacts on the ranch?

Our Team contains of the farmers Wulff and Anke Izko and our Cowgirl that runs the so called "Cowboycamp". Her name is Freda, she is 34, from Germany and a fomer volunteer herself. She´s responsible for horse training, tour guiding and what is particularly close to her heart: the volunteers! She trains the horses with you and will give you support whenever you need it. She is supported by a native horsetrainer who´s responsible for the colt starting of the wild ponies. Both of them run the Cowboycamp together and try to do all in the name of the horses, with all their passion and all their heart.

Where is the ranch located?

Koiimasis is located about 650 km south from Namibias capital Windhoek. In the Karas region, midst of the Tiras Mountains, right next to the Namib desert.

Where is the nearest town?

Helmeringhausen is located about 70 km east of Koiimasis, it has a a mini grocery store with all the basics. Lüderitzbucht is around 260 km south west of the ranch, its a well visited tourist destination & trips to the coastal town can be arranged if 2 or more volunteers want to go.

Which languages are spoken?

Your Team speaks Englisch and German.

What do I have to know about Namibia?

Its always good to inform yourself before travelling to a new country. Here's a few links you might like to get yourself aquainted with: http://www.namibian.org/travel/namibia.htm http://www.info-namibia.com/ http://www.namibiatourism.com.na/ https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Namibia https://www.lonelyplanet.com/namibia

Accommodation & Catering

Where do I live?

You will stay at the so called Castle: The castle is about 2 km from the Cowboy Camp and about 1 km from the Farmhouse. In the lower level it has a spacious room with 3 beds inside & on the upper level another 2 bedrooms with 2 beds each. 2 Bathrooms with toilets and showers & a small kitchene with all the neccesities. Outside the castle there are two big sinks which can be used to handwash your clothes, as well as a clothing line. A small Braai (barbeque area) & an arbor to enjoy your meals at or watch the Dassies play & maybe even scout the pair of Black Eagles flying by. You might even get visits from the horses.

Is there Wifi?

On the ranch you`ll have limited wifi access. We reccomend to buy an Namibian sim card, with mobile data. Sim cards are available in Windhoek & can be organized on request.

What about the money?

Namibia trades with the Namibian Dollar (N$). 1 Euro is round about 16 Namibian Dollars. Windhoek has a bunch of ATM's where money can be drawn. Unfortunately there wont be any on the farm, so make sure you stock up before you go in case you might need to buy some delicious ice cream in Helmeringhausen ;)

What about the food?

Ranch-Dudes are self-catering. At the ranch you will be provided with meat, eggs and tap water, everything else you have to buy yourself, as we don't know what kind of food you prefer. Before you go to the ranch you will go food shopping in Windhoek. Make sure you load up good & if you forget something, there is always a chance to hop along whenever the Ranch goes to Helmeringhausen to buy feed for the animals & check the postbox. Helmeringhausen has a small grocery store where most basic foods and toiletries can be bought.

What happens in case I get sick?

An international medical Aid is required before you may participate in the program. For little wounds or ouchies the ranch has enough medications in order to get you back on track again. In the rare case any extreme medical condition should occure, the Ranch has a landing strip available & the neighbour a helicopter, but lets hope it never has to get to that! Please note, that the next hospital is placed in Windhoek, about 8 hours by car. So please, if you have medical history, ask yourself if youre willing to take the risk.

Booking perequisits

Which requirements do I have to bring along?

The minimum age is 18 years.

As the volunteers are independent in their accommodation, i.e. cooking, washing etc. you must be able to take care of yourself. Otherwise you should be open-minded and adventurous to fully engage in life here.

This program is for experienced riders only! You don't have to be a horse trainer or a successful show rider to get along here. However, you should have enough riding experience to be able to work independently with your horses. If you accompany our riding safaris, you are an important part of the team and support us in looking after our guests.However, you do not have to be a western rider. We will teach you everything you need to know about western style riding and ranch work on horseback. Good horsemanship is independent of riding style! In any case you should be "horse crazy"!

Which documents are required?

- A short curriculum vitae in which you also tell us something about your riding skills.

- You can also send photos or a video, but that is not a must.

- A photo so that we can recognize you when you are picked up at the airport.

- A travel health insurance, that pays in case of a Covid19 infection!

What if I can not come because of Covid19?

If you are not able to start the Ranch-Dude program due to Covid19, because you or a family member are infected, you cannot enter the country due to a travel warning, closed borders or cancelled flights, we always grant you the possibility for a free rebooking.
For current entry information, please keep up to date with the website of the Foreign Office or the Namibian Embassy.

How safe is it for me in Namibia in terms of Covid19?

Of course, there is no general answer to this question. The greatest risk is on arrival and in the capital, where legal restrictions are observed everywhere (curfew, mask requirement, etc.). On the farm the risk is very low, because we are very far away from any city. As long as you keep the prescribed distance to our guests and refrain from shaking hands, there should be no problems.
Please make sure that your travel health insurance also covers treatment for a corona infection.

Packing list

What to take along & what to leave at home?

  • Clothing: Practical & sturdy clothing & solid shoes. If you do visit between the months of May - October dont forget to pack something warm, the desert nights are known to drop down to chilly temperatures.
  • Riding clothes: Jeans / riding pants, boots, riding helmet / cowboy hat. Long sleeved shirts. Optional: small pouch for camera or phone.
  • International travelling insurance
  • Hats: any kind of hat(s) that will cover most of your face & preferably ears too. The desert sun is harsh!
  • Toiletries & other hygene products
  • Good lip balm
  • Handy travelling medical aid pack
  • Swimsuit / trousers & swim towel in case you want to take a dip in the lodge pool.
  • Sunscreen (can be bought in Windhoek too)
  • International plug (south african compliance)
  • Torch
  • Something to read
  • A good pair of sunglasses that will stay on your nose whilst galloping through the middle of nowhere.
  • Any other optional Items: Eg. Camera, laptop, music box, powerbanks etc
  • Unfortunately any hair driers, hair straighteners or any other high power consuming devices wont work on the ranch & might as well be left at home.