Desert Elephants in Namibia – Family Programme

Experience the majesty of elephant herds within the rolling expanses of the Namibian Desert

From £845.00

  • Up to 12 Persons
  • All Meals Included
  • 9 Nights
  • Elephants
  • 30th July 2018
  • Minimum Age 8

Project Details


This involves construction tasks, taking place on the build-site which help the farmers who live on the Ugab. These include the building of protection walls around water sources, build a vegetable garden, digging the ground, collecting sand and rocks, mixing cement and alternative water-points for the elephants and the area’s newly-released black rhinos. This is an essential role of the project, as you will not only be helping the farmers who live on the Ugab, but you will also be safeguarding their communities from the elephants when they cause damage looking for water etc.
Elephant Tracking
Elephant Tracking
This involves tracking the various resident herds of elephants in the area, to record movement patterns and information such as new births, deaths and mating. The elephant's movements are recorded through their GPS positions which are then plotted onto online maps on a collective database. This information shows which farms the elephants tend to visit to drink, and therefore where the project needs to build protection walls. The data collected by this project on elephant numbers is incredibly important as it is the only organization providing the government with accurate figures on the behaviour of the elephants in the area.
On each patrol there is a different aim, and the current focus is two-fold, one is to have a presence in the area where elephants are under threat and check that all herds are together and without injuries, and secondly to start compiling identification files of ‘new’ herds of elephants in the northern reaches of the area, as these elephants are causing a lot of damage to farms. On each patrol you will also spend a lot of time speaking to farmers and communities and chance will be given to the group to interact with local people. On Patrol you can expect to see other wildlife besides elephants, such as black rhino (which are rare but there is a small population in the area) springbok, oryx, kudu, giraffe, zebra!
School Visits
School Visits
The project has assisted the school in renovations over the last seven years and we are very proud to have been able to help. The school has over 280 children from the local area, all farms affected by the presence of elephants, and around 80% of these children board at the school. It is a colourful and happy place and the group will definitely enjoy the visit. If you want to bring educational items to donate to the school that would be much appreciated! Things like footballs are also always a favourite!


Please note itineraries are subject to change and what follows is simply a rough guideline.

Day 1 - Transfer to Base Camp:
Transfer to our camp(+ 4 hours) on the banks of the Ugab River, a short walk away from A.Gariseb Primary School, where the group will be working for the next few days. We will arrive in camp around 4pm, unpack and get settled in. In the evening Hendrick will give the group a briefing about the week ahead and health and safety issues out in the bush.
Day 2 - Start of the School Project:
In the morning, you will head out to the school to take part in the assembly and meet the teachers and pupils. You'll be helping out by painting the classrooms or the dormitories before joining the lessons and becoming a teacher to the students!
You'll have a long lunch break at the hottest part of the day back at camp, and begin work again at 2pm up until around 4.30 before heading back to camp and preparing for dinner.
Day 3 - Another Day on the School Project:
Spend another day on the school project site helping out with building and teaching activities!
Day 4 - Last Day of the School Project:
Today is the last day on the school project. When you are finished, you will have a small celebration and then head back to base camp to relax after a job well done!
Day 5 - Time to Relax:
Today the group have a day to relax and explore the area surrounding base-camp. Hendrick will take those who are interested in a nature walk and will also tell the group about different survival skills and edible plants from the desert. In the evening, Hendrick the facilitator will give you a briefing on patrolling.
Day 6 - Elephant Patrol & Star-Gazing:
Today, you will pack up the patrol vehicles and head out early on patrol. During patrol, you will sleep under the stars without a tent listening to the incredible sounds of the desert - an amazing experience for all! Keep your ears peeled for the elephants as well as a whole host of other wildlife species.
Day 7 - Elephant Patrol by foot :
It's another patrol day so you will be back out searching for the Elephants! Elements of walking are included to ensure the younger members of the family are entertained, and after getting educated about the local wildlife by the guide, you may get to walk down to the local river and have a fishing competition!
Day 8 - Elephant Patrol by Vehicle and By Foot:
Today you will remain on patrol, seeing Elephants in the Ugab wetlands, tracking on foot through the desert and taking a trip on the game drive trucks!
Day 9 - Last Day of Patrol:
This is the last day of patrol! Around lunch time the group will head back to the base camp for yet another fabulous shower in the rocks, a final night around the fire and sleep in the tree house!
Day 10 -Transfer back to Swakopmund:
After a leisurely breakfast you will pack up and head back to the coast town on Swakopmund on the Skeleton Coast where you will commence your 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. All dates shown are currently available for you to join this project!

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

*Rates other than GBP are estimates based on today's exchange rates. All payments are made in GBP.

Updates & Outcomes

Tracking and monitoring the desert elephants is a vital activity the project performs with the help of the volunteers, enabling staff to compile identikits of all desert elephants and to map their movement patterns. Data is then entered into the online database which links GPS positions to Google Earth maps. From this information, staff can ascertain which farms and homesteads require protection and where the desert elephants roam during different seasons.

Accurate data on desert elephant numbers and movements, the ability to identify each elephant, and knowledge of individual elephant personalities are paramount to effective elephant conservation management in Namibia. Data on desert elephant numbers is incredibly important as this project is the only organization providing accurate figures to the government on the elephants in this area!

What's more, in their search for water, desert elephants can cause extensive damage to valuable water sources, often rendering communities in Namibia without access to these sources for quite some time. The volunteers partaking in this project provide valuable manpower for the construction of protection-walls and also generate funding for twice monthly patrols of the area, when the volunteer groups assist staff monitoring the elephants and walls built previously.

Is this trip for you?



Volunteers are each provided with a bed-roll, including a mattress, but you will need to bring your own sleeping bags and pillows. During the rainy and colder season we provide two-man tents on build week. Otherwise you will sleep outside under a tarpaulin. At base camp you will be accommodated up a tree, on a large platform. There are two elephant drinking dams in this campsite and the elephants often wander past.

At base camp there are toilets and showers which have hot water. During patrol, camps are very basic and depend on the location of the elephants being tracked.

Meals and Beverages

Meals and Beverages

All meals and beverages are included, often cooked out in the open at the campsites.

Every day a family will be on kitchen duty together which involves waking up first to make the morning coffee, tea and breakfast, to the sandwiches for lunch and the big dinner in the evening. Each evening the group prepares a big healthy meal over the fire, ranging from roast chicken, spaghetti bolognese, lamb tagine, thai curry to name a few! We can cater for vegetarians as well.

Fitness & Skills

Fitness & Skills

Though there will obviously be an understanding that there will be children working here, the construction work undertaken on this project does involve physical labour, often in high temperatures, and so requires a moderately high level of fitness. Furthermore, no specific skills or experience are required, just commitment to the project and its aims.



The vaccinations required will depend on the medical history of each family member. We recommend that you consult with your GP regarding your families immunisation needs. In conjunction with this, we would also recommend that you check Fit for Travel’s website.

Project Details

Getting There

The easiest way to travel is by air, to either Windhoek International airport (must be by 12 noon) or Johannesburg airport, and then take a short flight from to Walvis Bay airport arriving the day before the project start date where you will spend the night. You will be met at the airport and taken to Desert Sky in Swakopmund for the night and this transfer cost will depend on which airport you choose to fly into (N$480 from Windhoek, N$200 from Walvis Bay). You will then be met at 11am on the start date of your project and transferred to the project site. If you are staying at other accommodation in Swakopmund then simply inform us of where you are staying and the facilitator will pick you up from there. If you arrive early and stay in the dedicated dormitory room at Desert Sky it will cost N$200 or there are single and double rooms available for N$450 (single rooms), $600 (double with shared bathrooms) or $650 (doubles with private bathrooms) respectively.

If you would like help booking your flights please feel free to contact our flight partners via our flights page.

Visa Requirements

There is no visa required to enter Namibia for periods up to 90 days for most Nationalities. Please check with your Namibian Embassy if unsure. For periods longer than 90 days, all visitors will need a visa, regardless of nationality. This needs to be obtained prior to departure from your nearest Namibian embassy.

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

What's included in the price of the project?
  • A monetary contribution to the project itself
  • Full orientation and support from the project managers
  • Accommodation
  • Three meals a day
What's not included?
  • Any flights
  • Travel insurance to include cover for repatriation
  • Visas if required
  • Transfers to and from the airport (a cost of around 180 Rand)
  • Use of internet and telephone
  • Soft drinks, wines and spirits
  • Trips undertaken other than in the planned itinerary
  • Accommodation not included on the first night

Speak To A Travel Expert

Enquire and receive this project's Guide for Free!

Project Reviews

Give Us A Call


+44 208 885 4987

If you have any questions about this project or would like help finding the perfect project for you then please feel free to give us a call or send us through your enquiry and we will be happy to help.

Nikita & team.

Where you can go
Contact Info
UK Office
The Great Traveller Ltd,
3 Dairy Yard
Star Street
Ware, Hertfordshire
SG12 9BX
United Kingdom
Opening hours: 9am–5pm

T: +44(0) 208 885 4987

Foreign Office Travel Advice