Your role as a volunteer here will be to join the researchers and use a GPS unit to map anything from important wildlife observations to habitat features. You will also be mapping infrastructures throughout the Kanaan Region, such as roads, waterholes, and fences. Once collected and collated, the positional information will continually be processed into up-to-date reserve maps.
Capture Mark Release
You will also help researchers identify areas of regular carnivore activity (dens, riverbeds, marked trees etc), place cage traps, and then check the cages. When species of interest are captured, the animals will subsequently be immobilised on-site and then fitted with suitable GPS trackers. After release, these species can then be monitored. The project aims to work with hyenas for this activity, however, do please note that this is not always guaranteed to be the case.
Radio Telemetry Tracking
Collaring animals with GPS tracking is only one piece of the puzzle. Direct observations are sometimes required; this is done via telemetry tracking. Volunteers can practice this skill with puff adders at the sanctuary, however, with regards to larger animals, this technique can only be put into practice if an animal is caught and to be re-released.
When at Kanaan, you will regularly take part in game counts along different transect routes in the study areas. Numbers, age, sex and group compositions of local mammals are recorded. The information gathered from this data will help the research team to understand on which prey base and in which capacity the large carnivores subsist.
You will also be participating in setting up and monitoring the “additional eyes” of the region. These cameras record 24/7 and every single day of the year; therefore, they often observe species of wildlife that are often overlooked. This helps the research team determine which species are present and where they are most active, especially for animals that are elusive or entirely nocturnal.
Hiking and Exploring
There is the option to enjoy a lot of hiking and exploring in the area, learning about the native flora and fauna as a group with the project staff. In such a beautiful area, this is a popular pastime for all volunteers.
Kanaan is now also home to a number of rescued cheetahs from the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary, who spend their time in a seven-hectare enclosure on the red sand dunes of Kanaan. As a volunteer, you will be involved in the food preparation, feeding and caring of these cheetahs, as well as enclosure cleanings on a regular basis. Caring for these cheetahs has become a vital aspect of the work here – a truly inspiring opportunity that is not to be missed!
Maintenance and Security
For this conservation area to function properly, several maintenance activities are compulsory, especially in very arid areas like Kanaan. Bearing in mind the variety of endangered species resident here, it will be vital to conduct regular anti-poaching patrols and other security efforts. What’s more, water holes need regular maintenance and will need to be controlled for damage. You will be expected to assist in a wide range of activities whilst here – prepare to get your hands dirty!
Please note itineraries are subject to change and the below is simply a rough guideline for a two week stay.
Day 1 - The Adventure Begins:
Upon arrival at Windhoek Airport you will be met at arrivals and transferred to the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary, and the journey to here takes approximately 45 minutes. After arriving at the Sanctuary you will spend the afternoon and evening settling in and meeting your fellow volunteers and facilitators.
Day 2 – Transfer to the research site:
After paying a brief visit to the Sanctuary, today you will transfer to the carnivore research site at Kanaan. This is roughly a 7-hour drive from the sanctuary, and upon arrival you will have the chance to witness the breath-taking scenery of the Kanaan region before tucking into a delicious dinner and resting up to begin your activities the following day!
Day 3-15 – Project Days at Kanaan:
For the next 2 weeks you will be based at Kanaan and you will have the chance to take part in some incredible activities. With a firm focus on data recording you will be a part of the team that is helping with mapping, radio telemetry, game counts, carnivore feeding and maintenance and security amongst other activities.
Day 16 – Return Transfer:
Today is your last day at Kanaan so after enjoying another delicious breakfast you will be transferred back to the sanctuary where you will spend your final evening with the other volunteers and have the chance to share stories and photos.
Day 17 – Journey Home:
After enjoying an activity packed two weeks on the project today you will transfer back to Windhoek airport to begin your journey home or onward travel plans.
Dates, Availability & Price
To secure a place on this project a deposit of £195 is required at the time of booking, with the remaining balance due any time up to 60 days prior to your start date.
Select a duration below to see the available start dates.
Updates & Outcomes
It is the project's greatest desire to preserve and conserve the entire Namibian ecosystem, whilst offering willing and able people the chance to assist in the process. Volunteers are vital to the success of all programmes here, both within wildlife care and conservation at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary, Kanaan and Neuras, as well as with helping people at the Lifeline Clinic.
By joining this project, you are becoming part of a generous group of people known as voluntourists – those who see a country through unique eyes and spend their holiday time and funds assisting projects around the world. Aside from the palpable help of actual volunteer work, you can also be assured that a significant proportion of volunteer costs are ploughed back into the projects, enabling the foundation to grow and become even more successful in achieving our vision.
With three different research sites to choose from, choosing the right one to add to your experience at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary can be a little daunting. However, luckily we are here to help you learn a little more about Kanaan, Neuras, and the Mangetti research sites!
No wonder then that it has been designated as one of the must visit destinations in 2015. Now is most certainly the time to go!
Is this trip for you?
At Kanaan, you will be staying in a beautifully renovated farmhouse with shared rooms and a bathroom. Depending on the time of year, tented accommodation may also become available. The guesthouse does have electricity, but you will need to bring your own South African socket adapters to charge electric appliances. 6 volunteers can be accommodated at any one time, which means that you are guaranteed an intimate small group experience with a lot of hands-on experience!
Whilst at the research site there is an opportunity to upgrade your accommodation. The upgraded accommodation is in a newly built luxury tented lodge.
The rate for this upgrade is £40 per person per night for a double room and £50 per person per night for a single room.
Three meals a day are provided. Breakfast includes toast and cereal; lunch includes pasta, wraps, burgers or stir-frys; and dinner includes meat, fish, vegetables, rice, potatoes and pasta. On weekends, there is often a braai (barbecue) in the evening. Tea, coffee, and water are freely available throughout the day, and other drinks and snacks can be purchased at the Sanctuary.
A vegetarian option is always available – however, please let us know your dietary requirements upon booking. Please note that, given the remote location of Kanaan, some fresh produce may only be available seasonally. Please also note that your own snacks and drinks should be purchased before you arrive at Kanaan.
The activities you take part in during this project are not overly exerting, but it is advised that all participants be fit enough to walk between 10 and 15 kilometres on a daily basis, through rough terrain and in high temperatures.
The vaccinations required will depend on your medical history. We recommend that you consult with your GP regarding your own immunisation needs. In conjunction with this, we would recommend that you check Fit for Travel’s website.
When is the best time to volunteer?
There is no favourable time to volunteer regarding wildlife. Weather, however, can impact some people’s decision and this is explained in more detail below.
September – May: The day time temperature during these months is between 25 and 35°C and it remains warm at night with temperatures of around 15°C. January to March is also the rainy season with some rain expected every few days, but not too much!
June – August: This is the driest period of the year with almost no rain at all. It is also cooler during the day, however temperatures still reach 30°C . The biggest difference during this period is the night time temperature, which can go as low as 7°C. Therefore, if you travel during these months you may need some warmer clothes for the evening.
You will need to fly into Windhoek International Airport (also known as Hosea Kutako International Airport) on your project start day between 7am - 5pm, where you will be met on arrival and transferred to the project. This transfer will take approximately 45 minutes.
There are several daily flights here from the South African hub cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town, as well as daily flights from a range of international destinations.
The transfer to Kanaan is a further 7 hours from the sanctuary and is also included in the price of the project. Both are private transfers arranged by the project staff.
If you would like help
booking your flights, please visit our
flights page and fill out
the form. A member of our team will get back in touch as soon as possible with
a suitable quote.
In order to join this project you will need to apply for a work visa before travel. We will provide further information and documents for this upon booking. We can also put you in touch with an agent in Namibia who can organise this for you.
Currency and Exchange Rates
The currency in Namibia is the Namibian Dollar, but South African Rand is also accepted. The exchange rate is around 1 NAD = 0.06 GBP, 0.1 USD, 0.07 EUR. Please note exchange rates are subject to change. For up-to-date rates, click here .
What's included in the price of the project?
- A contribution to the project itself including funding for items such as building materials, food, animal medications, tracking equipment etc.
- Transfers to and from the airport
- Transfers to and from Kanaan
- Full orientation and support from the project managers for the duration of your project
- Accommodation, three meals per day and tea and coffee
What's not included?
- Any flights
- Travel insurance to include cover for repatriation
- Use of internet and telephone
- Soft and alcoholic beverages
- Any extra activities not within the itinerary