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Sara, From duesseldorf - 2019
Hello, my name is Sara and I did a four-week voluntary service at the Ranch Koiimasis in Namibia 2019.
How it came about
It's not the first time I've been to the ranch. Last year I went there on a trail ride with a friend. The area touched me so much that I did not want to leave. For me Koiimasis is one of the most beautiful places I have ever seen.
Last year I wanted to get out of the everyday life together with another friend. We researched for a while, looked at different countries and places and in the end we chose Namibia again.
At first there were still some uncertainties as there was no guide on the farm at that time. But in the meantime there is someone again: Freda, who funnily enough comes from the same town as me, and who has already been on Koiimasis twice as a volunteer. She had agreed to come there in summer for a month to look after us and also to guide a trail ride that was booked by another person. More about this later.
Until the departure there were some other things to do. So my friend unfortunately couldn't come at short notice because she fell ill and had to undergo an surgery. It was all still a mess with a lot of excitement (but luckily she is well again).
And so it happened that Freda and I went on the trip together and met each other personally for the first time on the day of the outward flight.
How it was
What can I say? I'm still very touched by the area. It was interesting to experience Koiimasis in different ways. Last year, we happened to come right after it rained. That way we could see how everything was flourishing and prospering. There was a very special atmosphere in the air and you could see how good it was for the animals that lived on the farm. In addition, huge herds of Oryx antelopes and springboks came to feed themselves as well.
My second time on the ranch the rain had been delayed until then and a large part of the grass had already eaten away, so that everything was much drier and the desert gradually reappeared.
Even if this is getting more difficult for the animals (they are on their own outside) - scenically both are absolutely fascinating.
But also many other things were very beautiful. I got on well with Freda, as well as with Hannah, who joined us later as a volunteer, and with Ashley and Emanuel, who were also responsible for the horses. Not to forget the family Izko and Sonja, who had booked the riding tour.
It was exciting to work with the horses there, which are very special, because they grow up on the ranch as wild horses and are therefore very original and natural in their behaviour. There are about 250 horses there, about 20-30 of which have been broken in and are being worked in the western riding style.
What I liked best
The beauty of the landscape, the great horses, generally being surrounded by so much nature and animals. To be in motion all day long (every day each of us has ridden around the 5 horses or worked on the ground), at the same time having the peace and quiet and the fact of really being so far outdoors that you have to drive for hours on gravel roads to meet a slightly bigger place with people.
It was also good to be able to look that far out. You rarely get that in Germany, especially if you live in the city. Not to forget the gigantic starry sky.
My everyday life there
During the week we started in the morning from the castle (that is the name of the building where the volunteers are currently accommodated) to the cowboy camp 2km away. This alone shows how big the farm is. And this distance is really a stone's throw by Koiimasis standards, which we mostly rode with the horse. In the morning we usually trained some horses, then we went back to the castle at noon to have some food and a short rest. In the afternoon we went back to the camp to continue working with the horses. We either spent the evening together or could be alone. In between it happened that tourists had booked a riding tour, which we rode along, or it could queue sometimes cattle together, which happened predominantly from the horse.
On Saturdays we still worked half the day and then had the rest of the weekend at our free disposal.
At the end
All in all it was a nice time, which passed much too fast! What I miss most is the touching landscape (I can't emphasize it often enough) and the special horses.
I make a few deductions, because there were sometimes organizational inconsistencies. Among other things, this is due to the fact that since the son of the family no longer runs the cowboy camp, there have been several changes of guide or trainer, which were not all suitable for the job.
From January this year Freda will take up the position as guide and horse trainer. Then there will certainly be more line in the matter again. In any case I wish her good luck and a good time there!