SOUTH AFRICA: Art & Equine Safari Tour

South Africa

Adventure Overview:

  • 2 weeks

This is an absolutely unique and thrilling opportunity, one which will not only enable you to develop your artistic skills, but also increase your knowledge of the natural world and see how each aspect of nature depends on another.

Combine the passion and peace of the horse, the wildness and beauty of the bush lands and the talents of your teacher and guide and you're all set for two weeks of learning and adventure. Based in the heart of a conservation park you will come face to face with a wide variety of game including Kudu, Zebra, Impala, Giraffe, Waterbuck, Duiker, Steenbok, Porcupine, Warthog, Vervet Monkey, Baboon, Jackal & a wide variety of birdlife.

During your time here you will have opportunities to try different techniques for capturing the exciting range of African flora and fauna, including - pencil, ink, acrylic, oil, watercolour and pastel. Incorporated during the tour is an equestrian component which will enable you to work with and study animal movement and behaviour on a one-to-one basis. Conformation observation is vital for capturing wildlife in their natural habitat, the musculo-skeletal components enable a greater understanding of motion and physiological design.

Out-rides are also available (and included in price) for those that are interested, and your riding ability does not matter. Being on horseback you will be able to get a far more natural safari experience discovering many creatures who would otherwise be scared off by the sound of a motor. It is an experience second to none, and one which will uncover a greater empathy for the animals around you, which hopefully you can then transfer onto canvas. The rides can range from quiet walks in the bush on the lookout for game and birds to exciting trots and canters. You will be matched to a horse suitable to your level of confidence. The horses have different personalities and capabilities to suit your ability. There are no permanent large predators on the farm so safety is not an issue with regards to animals.

This amazingly beautiful project began life around 20 years ago, and has developed immensly during that time. The teachers who will guide you through your time in South Africa have many years experience both of art education, conservation and equine development. Spending time here will open your eyes to the beauty of this world and its' intricate balance of relationship between creatures.

The entire farm is an ongoing Conservation project. It is being returned to pristine condition, in order to maximise it's capacity for sustaining indigenous wildlife (consisting of Kudu, Zebra, Impala, Giraffe, Waterbuck, Duiker, Steenbok, Porcupine, Warthog, Vervet Monkey, Baboon, Jackal and many smaller mammals, plus a really wide diversity of birdlife).. The property suffered considerable erosion in the past, as well as devastating floods in Jan 2012, and the objective has been to interrupt erosive water flow by building stone walls, small dams, contours and brushpacking of affected areas without which we would have would be left with barren, grassless zones.
With an immense passion for Africa, and through the amount of detailed field guide information provided this experience will have a profound effect - not just on your art skills but also turning you into conservation crusaders for the Continent!

What is Included?

  • Accommodation
  • Food
  • 24 / 7 Support
  • Training
  • Adventure Package
  • Information Pack
  • Accommodation: During this trip you will stay in an very special eco- friendly camp. Generally you will share with one or two others in the neat thached cottages. Each morning you will wake to the beautiful sound of the birds and animals all around you - a beautiful way to greet the day! The showers are open-air (but private!) structures with running water - hot water is supplied by fire "geysers." Extra special is the quaint splash pool where you can cool off and re-energise your artisitc skills!
  • Food: Meals are prepared in the communal thatched chill out area which doubles as the lounge / diningroom. Breakfast and lunch is on a help yourself basis, the evening meal will be perpared by your host. Breakfast - yoghurt and cereals, fruit / egg dishes / toast or bread, tea and coffee. Lunch - Sandwiches/ pasta / cold meats and salad / soups / fruit and tea/coffee/juices. Dinner - meat and veggies in various ways - home cooking. During the tour there will be two evening meals eaten out a local restaurant - these meals will be at your own cost. To give you an idea of the budget for these meals, costs are usually between R100 - R150 (€10-20) per person, per occasion (excluding beverage consumption).
  • Training: We provide you with pre-departure training, and full art and conservation tuition during your time in project lead by qualified teacher and field guides with years of experience. Their qualifications and experience include: Experienced and accomplished Artists THED teachers diploma with 13 years of teaching experience Qualified Field Guide (FAGASA) 25 years of hands-on bush knowledge BA Fine Art Showjumper and Racehorse Trainers over a period of 45 years.                           Art equipment provided includes: Easels; Drawing boards; Pencils; Erasers; Sharpeners; Paints and Brushes; Scrap paper and a variety of other medium items.                                                                                                        You will need to bring with you: 1 sketch book - A4 size and approx 50 pages (for everyday use). x1 watercolour sketch pad = rough texture 300gsm if possible. 10 pages or so 3/4 pens - black ink fine liners and ballpoints pens.                                                                                                                   Course Content Covers:
  1. OUTDOOR DRAWING & PAINTING - in the shade of mighty African riverine trees
  2. HORSES AS MODELS - for learning the conformation of African mammals (antelope, buffalo, elephant, big cats etc)
  3. SKETCHING FROM GAME-DRIVE VEHICLE - finding game and sketching in real-life bushveld settings, and dealing with the capture of movement
  4. UNIQUE TECHNIQUES for accurately representing 3-D form in 2 dimentions
  5. INVESTIGATING TECHNIQUES OF CELEBRATED ARTISTS, particularly techniques you wish to emulate
  6. EXPERIMENTS WITH ALL THE MEDIUMS for drawing and painting BUSH WALKS - birds, game, trees, spoor, and anything you want to know
  8. EXCURSIONS - to Kruger National Park, plus Local Places of interest - x2 per week.
  • Support: Agapé Adventures respects that each person is unique, and thus has different needs, and we endeavour to meet those genuine needs as effectively as we can. All volunteers are supported by Agapé every step of the way. You will be allocated a line manager to assist you in the day to day aspects of your adventure and staff at Agapé’s main base who will be available 24/7 for any out of hours emergencies. All staff involved in supporting you, work together to provide coordinated, personal and professional support throughout your adventure. 
  • Adventure Package: During your time here you will travel out to Kruger Park - South Africa's most exciting African safari destination. Here at the home of Africa's Big Five: Elephant, Lion, Rhino, Leopard and Buffalo, you will discover unique wildlife on a real safari in Africa. You will also have opportunities to sleep over in the "Big 5" observatory close to the base on several nights and enjoy the thrill of sleeping under the blanket of the African sky.
  • Airport Collection & Drop Off:  You will be met at Hoedspruit airport and dropped off by staff at the end of your trip. You will ned to make the transfer from Johannesburg either by bus or plane.

What Isn't Included

  • Stipend
  • Visa
  • Flights
  • Insurance

What will I do?:

During your time here you will recieve tuition on the following:

  • An introduction to the bush- the identifcation of animals and plant species, game drives, ride outs and walks.
  • A foundation course - a series of excercises to "see" differently; discover a new visual language, new ideas and true creativity. Excercises are ongoing throughout the course.
  • The anatomy and movement of animals.
  • The revelation of colour.
  • Drawing as a means of releasing the artist within.
  • Daily discussions and fun activities.
  • Trips to "Big 5" reserves and local places of interest to inspire and express your individual style.

When not out in the bush with easels and chairs, the remaining art sessions and lectures take place either on shaded decks of the camp area or in the open grass thatched art studio.

Horse riding is optional, so do not feel that you have to take this on if you do not wish, there are interesting horse therapies which you could get involved in as alternative forms of interaction with the horses.

The Local Area

Directly translated from the Afrikaans the town of Hoedspruit, which lies at the foot of the Klein Drakensberg on the old Selati railway line from Phalaborwa to Kaapmuiden, means “hat creek”. The story involves one of the town’s pioneers who took off his hat, after a particularly arduous trek over the mountains into the heat of the Lowveld, and threw it into the Sandspruit River, making an impulsive decision to stay. Hoedspruit finds itself in an enviable position today because of its access to the private game areas of the Timbavati and Klaserie.

Hoedspruit is essentially an agricultural town located a stone’s throw away from the Kruger National Park and is surrounded by game-rich country that makes it an obvious stopover. As a result, what began merely as a couple of shops, a bank and a little rondavel that served as a station building, has grown into what is today marketed as a premier eco-tourist destination because of its association with some of the best ‘Big 5’ viewing in South Africa.

Map of the Area



To start your very own adventure click below and apply to join one of our projects.

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