Elephant Volunteer Updates from Damaraland

Elephant Volunteer Updates from Damaraland

Posted by Sam Hopkins on 27th Mar 2015

Here at The Great Projects, we love hearing volunteer's first-hand accounts of their trips to our projects in an extensive array of intrepid destinations. This month we have been lucky enough to receive a first-hand experiences of our 'Desert Elephants in Namibia' project. Situated in the stunning yet inhospitable region of Damaraland in Namibia, this award-winning elephant volunteer conservation project that offers volunteers the chance to help with elephant conservation activities including tracking and monitoring, constructing walls to protect valuable water sources, as well as taking part in the education of locals as to the value of elephant conservation. Have a read of the volunteer blog below - it certainly makes us all want to go!

Extract One: In a rare moment of peace, I can watch the sun go down behind the mopane trees in the river behind the 'build week' camp. The heat has gone from the air, the mopane bees seem to have gone to bed and the earthy aroma of the wild sage lingers in the air. Dinner is bubbling away in the pot, whilst our motley (and very dirty) crew are playing cards by the fire pit. The same crew have kept me thoroughly entertained for days now and any moments spent away from them make me want to go join them. So join them now I will – shuffle me in guys! PS: The wall is making good progress.

Extract Two: Our first day of 'patrol week' found us tracking the G6 herd of desert elephants - sadly we didn't see them during the day even though we were all eagle eyed for their presence. Setting up the camp late, we were busy cooking our "quick + easy" dinner – spaghetti carbonara (yum!). Suddenly, the G6 herd decided to grace us with their clan several times for the next couple of hours! It was incredible to see them so close, so much so that we forgot about our dinner! We ended up having a very late dinner - which no-one minded of course!

Extract Three: Today we were woken up from the inside of our dewy sleeping bags by a cheery smile and hot cup of coffee from Chris our facilitator. Attempts to start the car were made successful by Matthias and his gentle words of wisdom to the whole team, and we were soon on our way. We ventured west and after a while came across a delightful place to stop for lunch. A few of us volunteers were feeling energetic and opted to trek high up into the sand dunes to find the ideal viewpoint for taking photos! After our photo stop, we hopped back into the car and ventured further west, with the surrounding area becoming greener and greener. After a while we stopped by a wetland and Chris opted to demonstrate his tracking skills - imprinted in the mud we saw lion, hyena, baboon and elephant tracks. Pretty exciting stuff! We then trekked to the top of a koppie constructed of black basalt rocks. From the top we could see a group of 10 desert elephants, including a baby, no more than a month old! After an incredible encounter with this group, we decided to then leave the group and find a place to camp. However, our search was cut short as we came across a group of tourists whose car was completely stuck in the mud. We all put in the effort and lent them a hand and before long they were free, with big smiles on their faces. How lucky they were that they had run into us!

Extract Four: We woke up this morning to an amazing sunrise over the desert of Damaraland. To make it even more memorable than usual, a hyena decided to do her morning patrol in the vicinity of our campsite. It was a brown hyena, and it was even Chris's first time seeing one in the area. A great start for a great day! To make things even better, it only took us a few hours to find the group of elephants that we had seen previously. The landscape we drove through could not have been more beautiful! As we spotted the elephants, we noticed that a few of the individuals we had seen before were not there. After our lunch break we decided to try and find them and see what they were up to. Luckily we found them as well as another cow with her baby and a younger female. Not far from them a young bull made his way over - crashing through the bush as he did so! Tired and happy because we had seen so many elephants, we decided to set up our camp early and have a delicious Thai Curry. A perfect end to a perfect volunteer project!


Wow - sounds like the trip was a great one! If you're wanting to join this fantastic conservation project in one of 2015's top "must see" destinations, then please don't hesitate to 'Enquire or Book Now' via our website page or get in contact with us via email ([email protected]). We'd love to hear from you! Have a fantastic weekend everyone - TGP Team.


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