Back in August last year Bethany took a trip over to the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary and she loved her time so much that she couldn’t wait to tell us all about it! We asked Bethany all about her experience in Namibia, what her highlights were and much more, so sit back and read up about a volunteer’s experience of this incredible project!
What made you choose this project?
I have always wanted to go to Africa and volunteer with animals, so choosing the ideal project involved a lot of time and effort. Eventually I found the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary which seemed perfect. It was just the sort of thing I wanted; something that makes a difference, something that gives you valuable experiences with animals, something that gives you the opportunity to do research which makes a huge impact on conservation, but also has a range of activities, unique cultural experience and social time that makes it not only interesting and educational but really enjoyable.
What were your thoughts when you first saw the project site?
That it was actually a lot less 'rustic' compared to what I had imagined , although you are certainly not living in a 5* hotel, the bedrooms and communal bathroom area were a nice surprise. Also the sitting and food area was a great place for socialising in the evenings, the fire pits certainly came in handy on colder nights!
What was your favourite activity during your time on the project and why did you like it so much?
Research. I really loved doing research. You make such a big impact here as well and this activity can range from; collecting camera trap data, identifying animals on photos, going out to collect injured or trapped animals, animal tracking and even rehabilitation of injured animals and so much more. It also involves a lot of, going out, standing on the back of a pick-up truck with animals running around you in all directions, which is something I’ll never forget.
During my time there I spent a week in turn at the Kanaan research site, south of Namibia in the Namib desert, and at the Neuras research site up north of the county in rural Africa, both things I'd highly recommend.
What was the moment you will take away with you forever?
It’s almost impossible to pick one moment but being a baby baboons mum for the night was amazing! Tiring but amazing!
Although I also really valued the experience of meeting The San Bushmen, you don't get many opportunities to a see culture so different from your own.
Are you planning to volunteer with animals again and if so where?
Yes, in fact I will be returning to Namibia to visit again in March and can’t wait. I will also be volunteering at the Bolivia Wildlife Sanctuary in April!
What tips do you have for any future volunteers?
Look at the weather before you go! If you are going in winter bring a mix of summer and winter clothes as it can get extremely cold at night, and you may get the opportunity to sleep out on the night watch which is great but can be freezing! Just watch the video on your Great Projects account recommending what to bring to Africa.
Also on Sundays you have the opportunity to visit Windhoek, so if you arrive realizing you need some extra things you will get the opportunity.
Lastly, bring a hand luggage with as many essentials as possible including sturdy shoes! Losing luggage (if only temporarily) is not unheard of!
Why should people volunteer at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary?
-To make a difference to animals and conservation research
-To see different cultures and meet different people
-To have some of the best, most unique experiences, that you will treasure forever
-To have some of the most enjoyable, unforgettable nights, meeting incredible people
-To fall in love with so many amazing animals
-To be able to say you have worked on a project that is truly worthwhile.
As you can see from her incredible words, Bethany loved her time at the sanctuary so much that she is going back next year! If you have been inspired to become our next Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary Volunteer then why not check out the project in a little more detail.
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