Carnivore Conservation and Research in Kanaan

Traveller rating:   (10 reviews)

Become a big cat conservation volunteer in the stunning Kanaan region of Namibia, helping to ensure that the carnivore’s habitat, and the habitat of all of the other animals that call the region home, is safe for years to come through crucial research.

Namibia is a destination well-known for its beauty and its wildlife, and here, amongst the dramatic red dunes of the Namib Sand Sea, both can be found in abundance. The Kanaan region is home to a wide variety of animal species, from antelopes and hyenas to big cats and more, each of which is free to roam across a 33,000-hectare expanse of land which was acquired by the team behind the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary back in 2014. Previously used as a filming and photography location, this land has provided an excellent opportunity for the team to carry out wildlife studies from a brand-new beginning: old structures, such as fences, have been torn away to provide free range to each of Kanaan’s animals, in turn creating the perfect grounds in which to carry out vital ecological studies.

In addition to allowing members of Namibia’s leading conservation organisation to learn more about their native wildlife, the site at Kanaan has also been utilised as a safe space for injured or habituated animals to enjoy a better quality of life. A 7-hectare enclosure has been created for a small number of cheetahs to live out the rest of their days, and as a volunteer on this project, you may have the opportunity to come face-to-face with one of Africa’s most iconic animals as you aid in their care.

The main focus of this project, however, is to learn more about Kanaan’s wild animal populations, and during your stay you will help to record data on a range of species (such as brown or spotted hyenas, cheetahs and leopards) in order to help the project team understand their use of the land. You will be involved in all areas of conservation, including the monitoring of wild carnivores and game counts, ultimately helping the team devise long-term management techniques to protect the region’s wildlife. This is an exciting, valuable and wild experience indeed, and is certainly not a project to be missed!

Namibia is a destination well-known for its beauty and its wildlife, and here, amongst the dramatic red dunes of the Namib Sand Sea, both can be found in abundance. The Kanaan region is home to a wide variety of animal species, from antelopes and hyenas to big cats and more, each of which is free to roam across a 33,000-hectare expanse of land which was acquired by the team behind the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary back in 2014. Previously used as a filming and photography location, this land has provided an excellent opportunity for the team to carry out wildlife studies from a brand-new beginning: old structures, such as fences, have been torn away to provide free range to each of Kanaan’s animals, in turn creating the perfect grounds in which to carry out vital ecological studies.

In addition to allowing members of Namibia’s leading conservation organisation to learn more about their native wildlife, the site at Kanaan has also been utilised as a safe space for injured or habituated animals to enjoy a better quality of life. A 7-hectare enclosure has been created for a small number of cheetahs to live out the rest of their days, and as a volunteer on this project, you may have the opportunity to come face-to-face with one of Africa’s most iconic animals as you aid in their care.

The main focus of this project, however, is to learn more about Kanaan’s wild animal populations, and during your stay you will help to record data on a range of species (such as brown or spotted hyenas, cheetahs and leopards) in order to help the project team understand their use of the land. You will be involved in all areas of conservation, including the monitoring of wild carnivores and game counts, ultimately helping the team devise long-term management techniques to protect the region’s wildlife. This is an exciting, valuable and wild experience indeed, and is certainly not a project to be missed!

Mapping
Mapping
Join the project team in developing maps of the Kanaan region, utilising GPS units to record information such as wildlife observations, notable habitat features, waterholes and more. The data you collect will be processed into up-to-date reserve maps, which are then used by the management team to better understand the area and the wildlife within it.
Capture, Mark, Release
Capture, Mark, Release
To help the project team gain an understanding of how the local wildlife utilises the land on the reserve, you will head out into the field on foot in search of areas of carnivore activity, placing trap cages where appropriate. When species of interest are captured by the trap cages, they are fitted with tracking collars which in turn allows the team to study them from afar, guided by satellite data.
Radio Telemetry Tracking
Radio Telemetry Tracking
While the collaring of animals can allow the team to follow their day-to-day movements, this data does not reveal other valuable information, such as breeding success, prey selection or health. To obtain this information, you will head out into the field guided by the radio transmitters fitted in each of the animals’ collars, in the hopes of observing the animals and taking notes from a safe distance.
Game Counts
Game Counts
Herbivores are an important part of any ecosystem and as a volunteer, you will be helping the team to ensure that populations of these animals are strong and healthy. You will participate in regular game counts, either on horseback or by car, where you will take note of animal populations and the dynamics between a range of species.
Camera Trapping
Camera Trapping
Camera traps serve as ‘additional eyes’ on the project, running 24/7 and capturing images of any animal which may set off their motion sensors. Camera traps are especially helpful in gathering data on nocturnal or elusive animals, but since they are not selective over which species they capture, all information can be beneficial! You will help to set up camera traps in areas of interest, and you may also be asked to categorise these images or to refresh the batteries in the cameras themselves.
Cheetah Feed
Cheetah Feed
Kanaan is home to two rescued cheetahs, which had previously resided at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary. Since moving to Kanaan, the cheetahs have spent their time in a 7-hectare reserve, and as a volunteer, you will help to maintain their quality of life. From cleaning their enclosure to taking part in food preparation, your opportunity to aid the care of these beautiful big cats will prove to be a memorable part of your experience.
Maintenance
Maintenance
While research is the main focus of this project, it is also important that maintenance and security standards are upheld. You will, therefore, help remove old fences in order to create a larger area in which the local wildlife can roam, and you may even be asked to take part in an anti-poaching patrol.
Additional Activities
Additional Activities
Sundowners are always a popular activity at Kanaan, offering an excellent opportunity for you and your fellow volunteers to relax under a phenomenal Namibian sky. Sit back and watch as the sun sets behind red sand dunes, resulting in a dramatic reveal of the Milky Way and its stars above your head. You may also get the chance to enjoy a sunrise breakfast and experience some awesome sandboarding on the dunes!

Please note, itineraries are subject to change and the below is simply a rough guideline.

Day 1 - The Adventure Begins:
Upon arrival into Windhoek Airport, you will be met and transferred to your temporary accommodation at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary. Here, you will take some time to settle into your accommodation before getting a good night’s sleep ahead of the drive to Kanaan the following day.
Day 2 – Transfer to the Research Site:
Your second day on the project will see you embark on a 7-hour journey to the research site at Kanaan, stopping off for lunch along the way. Once you arrive at Kanaan, you will attend an orientation talk before enjoying dinner with your group. The rest of the evening will be spent at leisure.
Day 3-15 – Project Days at Kanaan:
Over the next two weeks, you will take part in a range of activities designed to help the project team learn more about the animals in the Kanaan region. With a firm focus on data recording, you will also have the opportunity to witness animals out in the wild during game counts. If you’re lucky, you may also be invited to take part in cheetah feeds on-site!
Day 16 – Return Transfer:
Today you will transfer back to the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary after enjoying your final breakfast at Kanaan. Once you arrive back, your evening will be free to spend as you please.
Day 17 – Journey Home:
After enjoying an activity-filled two weeks on the project, you will be transferred back to Windhoek Airport in time to catch your flight, or to continue with your own independent travel plans.

To secure a place on this project a deposit of $245 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.

Duration Price
Please choose a trip using the select menus to the left.
Price:


Volunteer Accommodation

During your time at Kanaan, you will stay in a beautifully renovated farmhouse. The farmhouse is large enough to accommodate up to 12 volunteers, though larger groups may stay in fixed tents.

If you are staying in the farmhouse, rooms will be shared by up to three members of the same sex and each has an en-suite bathroom. Those who stay in the fixed tents will be accommodated on a same-sex, twin-share basis (with couples being accommodated together where possible). Electricity is available at the farmhouse, and there is limited phone reception, but please note there is no Wi-Fi available anywhere on-site.

Accommodation Upgrade

If you would like to upgrade your accommodation, you may wish to stay in one of the project’s private chalets in a newly built tented lodge. The rate for this upgrade is $36 per person per night for a double room and $42 per person per night for a single room. For more information, please contact our travel team.

Meals & Beverages

Three meals are provided each day on the project. Breakfast includes toast and cereal, and dinner will consist of meat or fish with a side of vegetables, pasta, rice or potatoes. Lunches will be provided either at the farmhouse or as packed lunches for when you are in the field.

You are also able to purchase additional snacks or drinks from the onsite bar, and once each week, you will be treated to a traditional African braai (barbeque).

When is the best time to volunteer?

While there is no ‘best’ time of year to volunteer regarding wildlife, your decision may be impacted by the weather. Little rainfall is to be expected throughout the year, though the climate does vary depending on the season:

Summer (October to April): Throughout these months, temperatures can reach 40°C, and as a result, volunteer working times may be moved to later in the day to avoid the sun at its peak.

Winter (May to September): Daytime temperatures can reach a pleasant 20°C to 25°C, though at night they can fall to below zero. Therefore, if you are joining during these months, be sure to take a sleeping bag with you and some warmer clothes for night-time activities.

Getting There

The nearest airport to your first and final stop on this project (the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary) is Windhoek International Airport. You will need to arrive between the hours of 7am and 5pm on your project start date and a return transfer to and from the wildlife sanctuary is included, as is a transfer between the sanctuary and the research site at Kanaan.

Visa Requirements

Citizens of most countries, including the UK, Germany, USA, Canada, Australia and most of those within the EU, do not need to obtain a visa to enter Namibia and are granted entry for up to 90 days upon arrival. You will, however, need at least 2 blank pages in your passport for the immigration officials to use and your passport must be valid for a period of at least 6 months from your date of entry.

If you are unsure of your individual visa requirements, we recommend speaking to your local Namibian embassy at least 2 months prior to travel.

Fitness & Skills

While no specific skills are required for you to take part in this project, we do advise that all volunteers are fit enough to walk 10-15 kilometres per day, through rough terrain and in high temperatures.

Vaccinations

The vaccinations required will depend on your medical history. We recommend that you consult with your GP regarding your own vaccination needs. In conjunction with this, we would recommend that you check Fit for Travel’s website.

{{ review.author.full_name }}, {{ review.year }}
 

{{ review.review }}

Response from The Great Projects

{{ review.response }}



Download Project Guide Image Download Project Guide

What's Included

  • Accommodation
  • Three meals per day
  • Airport transfers
  • Overland transfers
  • A conservation donation

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Soft and alcoholic beverages
Where you can go
Contact Info
UK Office
The Great Traveller Ltd,
3 Dairy Yard
Star Street
Ware, Hertfordshire
SG12 7DX
United Kingdom

Opening hours:
   Mon-Fri 8:30am–5:30pm
   Sat 10am-4pm

T: +44(0) 208 885 4987