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
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
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
Dates, Availability & Price
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.
Updates & Outcomes
The aim of this project is to preserve and conserve the Kanaan ecosystem whilst offering willing and able people the chance to assist in the process. Volunteers play a big role in helping to gather the information the project needs to continue to grow its database on the local wildlife, as multiple sets of eyes are better than one!
A continuing process, the team at Kanaan focus a lot of their time on researching the numbers, health, and movements of the local spotted hyena populations. Over the past 4 years, the team from Kanaan (and the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary as a whole) have assisted in the instillation of camera traps in regions in Southern Namibia in partnership with the Brown Hyena Research Project and Namibia Wild Horse Project. Information gathered from these camera traps and site explorations will be used to; determine whether the spotted hyena are causing conflict in the local area, gather data on the population dynamics of the spotted hyena at each site, determine their prey preferences and to better understand these elusive animals.
With an increased knowledge of human-wildlife conflict being caused by the hyenas, the team hopes to reduce this problem in the area.
Ever considered volunteering with animals? An increasingly popular trend, volunteering with animals has the potential to transform your mind, body and soul. Check out just what you could gain should you choose to volunteer with animals in Namibia!
Human-wildlife conflict has significantly increased over the years in many parts of the world, whether this is due to battles over land, food or water, or the ever increasing illegal wildlife trade, there are sadly many reasons why wildlife and humans clash with each other daily. Namibia is one example of a country that has been heavily affected by such conflict, but what does this mean for the future of its resident wildlife?
- posted on 21/07/2018
- by Leanne Sturrock
Thinking of volunteering in Namibia? See what our competition winner, Laura, had to say about her time on not one but THREE of our projects! If you leave feeling inspired, don't forget to check out all of our Namibia projects - you could be our next volunteer!
Is this trip for you?
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.
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 $42 per person per night for a double room and $49 per person per night for a single room. For more information, please contact our travel team.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
What's included in the price of the project?
- Transfers to and from the airport
- Transfers to and from the research site at Kanaan
- All accommodation
- 3 meals per day, tea and coffee
- A conservation donation
- Full orientation and support from an English-speaking coordinator
What's not included?
- Any flights
- Travel insurance (including cover for repatriation)
- Soft and alcoholic beverages