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FREDA From Germany
Hello, my name is Freda and I spent three unforgettable months in Namibia on a western ranch in 2017. Now I'm back home and looking back on an incredible adventure - the best time of my life.
"So, how was it?"
Now, of course, I get asked all the time, how it was? Unfortunately, I never know where to start, because the experiences and impressions of three months are not so easy to squeeze into one sentence - but I'll give it a try: It was incredible, fantastic, great and exciting!!!! I met great people and learned a lot about the country. I have learned to cope with few things and now appreciate the silence and solitude. I have learned to be alone sometimes and to slow down my everyday life.
"And what did you like best?"
The nature, the flora and fauna, the adaptability to this inhospitable environment and the extreme climate have made a lasting impression on me. While here in Germany we whine about insignificant little things, there are real dangers lurking there that are out to get you (like the poisonous spider that bit me in between).
The main focus of the volunteer work was riding and dealing with the horses, which was also the reason for my booking and the best part of my entire stay. Here was not promised too much, I rode an insane number of different horses and experienced exciting adventures with them. I also learned a lot riding-wise, as well as how to handle the animals, and was able to try new things, like roping or cutting. I watched the training of a young horse and rode for hours through the desert, over hill and dale.
If someone asks me if I would recommend this program, all I can say out loud is YEEESS!!!! However, you should of course have a horse tick. You don't have to be a horse trainer or successful show rider to get along here. However, you should have some basic experience, be confident in the saddle and not be afraid. It is advisable to bring your own riding equipment such as boots and riding cap if necessary. It is also advisable to bring good sunglasses to keep on your nose while riding and suitable long jeans or breeches.
My personal highlight was definitely the cattle drives on Korais because you can never experience something like that at home. I literally felt like I was in the wild west - without being in the USA. The landscape, the horses and the daily work are absolutely comparable to the American cowboy life - only that here they speak German and the stay is comparatively cheaper.
"What was your daily life like there?"
In principle, there was no real daily routine; every day was different. There was always something new to experience, discover or help with - so the time just went by incredibly fast.
The on-site support was also great, but you had to be able to look after yourself and manage on your own if necessary. Most of the time I was the only volunteer and cooked for myself every day and (since there was no TV of course) read a lot of books. At the beginning, being alone was actually a bit difficult for me - but it's a perfect way to calm down and find yourself (as stupid as it sounds).
But of course I was not completely alone. The "host family" was insanely nice and took me in very quickly, I never felt out of place there. What I did not know at the time of booking: German is spoken here, which of course also made it easier for me to settle in.
Most of the time I lived alone in the "castle" - as the accommodation for the volunteers is called - with Flo, my little guard dog. During the day, however, I was almost always out and about with Tommy (the son), as he is responsible for the horses, their breeding and training. On weekends I often "braait" (= barbecued) with the family, played cards or watched a movie. Since the ranch is actually in the middle of the desert, you can't do any great weekend excursions on your own - but I didn't find that bad at all. On Sundays I liked to work on my tan at the pool of the attached lodge, or climbed the mountains together with Flo or explored the terrain.
As soon as there are more volunteers on the farm it is also possible to go on additional excursions. During my stay I had three weeks of company, so we took a short trip to the coastal town of Lüderitz. It was a wonderful contrast to breathe in a cool sea breeze after two months of hot, sandy desert air.
"Would you come back again?"
Of course! At the latest, when it has finally rained and the farm is completely green. When the horses are fat and plump and there are oryx, springbok and other wildlife hopping around everywhere. The contrast must be incredible.
Finally, I can only say a big thank you to Tommy, Anke and Wulff for this unforgettable time! Thank you for welcoming me so kindly and for giving me the best experience of my life. The three months went by incredibly fast and I can say in retrospect that it was exactly the right decision to come here!
If you want to read more, feel free to check out my blog. Here I have reported in detail about my time on Koiimasis: fredasauszeit.blogspot.de