Carnivore Conservation in Kanaan

Carnivore Conservation and Research in Kanaan

Become a 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 that 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.

The main focus of this project 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 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!

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Lauren Mackinnon


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.
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.
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.

Start Dates & Prices

Unfortunately, it is not possible to book this project online, so please give us a call or send us an enquiry if you would like to discuss it or check availability.

Thank you, The Great Projects Team


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 though there is very limited phone reception, there is free Wi-Fi available.

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 $38 per person per night for a double room and $44 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).

Project Details

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.


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.


Calum Ward, 2019

Favourite moments were climbing the surrounding mountains and surveying the vast environment. I feel like I should have tried some of the other locations in Namibia associated with this project such as Neuras.

Christine Rosmarie Mollet, 2019

It was my first experience as a volunteer and I just loved every minute of it! I learnt so much about the animals and the environment, but also about myself!

Julie Sewell, 2019

There are far too many ‘favourite moments/memories to mention. But, if l had to choose a’s Kanaan. I had booked two weeks at Kanaan followed by two weeks at Neuras. Both were fabulous. Dougie, at Neuras, was brilliant in successfully steering me through the more challenging aspects of the 10k hike of The Olive Trail....thank you so much! But, Kanaan captured my heart, the place and the people who work there. So much so, l changed my last week and went back to Kanaan...and Karl and Georgie, Kanaan's incredible Co-Ordinators. The meaningful, practical work/research they are doing is carried out with dedication, enthusiasm, fun....and so much laughter. Thank you for letting me be a small part of it. The Great Projects was honest on what activities l WOULD experience and what l MIGHT experience. I appreciated that when I was there. This was NOT the case with another Operator....over promising, which led to under delivering....and it caused some unhappiness for a couple of Volunteers. Keep it up!

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What's Included

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

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Travel insurance
  • Visas
  • Soft and alcoholic beverages