Harnas Wildlife Sanctuary

Harnas Wildlife Sanctuary

Join a life-changing experience in Namibia and make a real difference to the lives of some of Africa’s most endangered animals.

One of the most impactful conservation projects in Africa, the Harnas Wildlife Sanctuary is home to more than 300 animals that have been rescued as a direct result of human-animal conflict in Namibia, and here, you can play a vital role in the ongoing care of all the animals at the sanctuary, including those located on the 10,000-hectare on-site reserve.

From lions, leopards and rhinos to baboons, meerkats and more, you will get the opportunity to work with some of Africa’s most iconic species and make a real difference in the lives of these rescued animals through a variety of hands-on conservation and enrichment activities.

A big part of the project is the continued support and work they do with the local San Bushman community. This includes at the Lifeline Clinic which provides daily meals and medical treatment as well as education facilities for the children. As a volunteer, not only will you get the chance to visit the clinic each week and contribute to their ongoing efforts, but you will also get the opportunity to spend time with the local San Bushmen community, as you are invited to learn about their ancient culture, including different survival techniques such as how to locate water, track wildlife, and create shelter and warmth at night.

So, if you’re looking for an unforgettable wildlife experience with an opportunity to immerse yourself in African culture, then volunteer at the Harnas Wildlife Sanctuary today!

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Lauren Mackinnon


During your time on the project, you will take part in all of the activities listed below. These activities will take place on a rotational basis, with other activities not listed here potentially taking place too.

Food Prep
Food Preparation Time to satisfy the animals’ hunger! You will be preparing nutritious meals for all the animals at the sanctuary. Taking place in the food preparation area, you will create vegetable platters for all the herbivores as well as prepare snacks for the meat-eaters. The size and contents of each meal you prepare will be tailored to the individual animal, ensuring they receive all the nutrients they need to stay healthy and thrive.
Small Animal Feeding
Small Animal Feeding If you're hoping for some incredible up-close animal encounters, this will not disappoint! From packs of mongooses to meerkats and lambs, you will be responsible for their daily feed. Whether it’s feeding vegetables to a creep of tortoises or bottle feeding some of the baby animals, this intimate experience will be an activity you won’t forget in a hurry!
Carnivore Feed
Carnivore Feed Carnivore feeds provide an incredible opportunity to witness some of Africa’s most iconic species up close. Having prepared their food earlier in the day, you'll travel by car to the different enclosures, taking turns to feed all the resident carnivores including lions, leopards, cheetahs, and African wild dogs. You'll then get the unique chance to observe their natural predatory behaviour as they tear their food apart right in front of your eyes.
Project Work
Project Work No more monkeying around… an important part of the project is the continued maintenance and building work at the sanctuary. Tasks may include digging water holes, building playgrounds for the baboons, and fixing fences and roads. Ensuring enclosures stay clean is also an important part of maintaining the health and well-being of the animals, so be prepared to get stuck in.
Night Drive
Night Drives See eyes glisten in the moonlight on a 3-hour night drive experience which takes place each week. You will have a better chance of seeing animals such as kudu, springbok, wildebeest, and rhinos as these animals are most active at night so they can camouflage themselves to avoid predators - a unique perspective of African wildlife.
24 Hour Game Count
24-hour Game Count A real wilderness experience conducted every full moon, the 24-hour game count consists of two 12-hour shifts, a day shift and a night shift. This incredibly important activity takes place once a month and allows the team to monitor the predator and prey base ratio on the reserve, ensuring population density is suitable to maintain the overall health of the ecosystem.
Lifeline Clinic
Lifeline Clinic Visit the Lifeline Clinic and see first-hand, the positive impact your contributions have on the San Bushman community. The clinic provides not only medical care and education but also food each day. Receive a tour and see all the facilities including the maternity and treatment rooms before meeting and interacting with the local children and serving lunch to the locals.
San Bushmen Experience
San Bushmen Experience Immerse yourself in the magic of Namibia’s San community. The San Bushmen Experience offers an insight into an ancient culture, where traditions are upheld with pride. Learn how they build their houses, find water, make fires and track animals. Volunteers also have the opportunity to purchase traditionally made jewellery, offering an incredible souvenir as well as the chance to give back.


You can volunteer at the Harnas Wildlife Sanctuary for 2 to 12 weeks. Whilst on the project, you will be divided into smaller teams to ensure variety and equal opportunity when carrying out tasks and joining activities.

Day 1 - The Adventure Begins: Upon arrival at Windhoek Airport, you will be greeted by a member of the team before being transferred to the Harnas Wildlife Sanctuary in a private car. When you arrive, you'll be given a tour of the sanctuary and be shown to your cabin to get settled in, before finishing off the day by meeting the team and having dinner with your fellow volunteers.
Day 2 - 14 - Project Days: Each day after breakfast, volunteers join together for a morning briefing where you will be assigned your daily tasks and activities. At approximately 12:30pm you will break for lunch and enjoy a couple of hours of rest before your afternoon activity. When your day is complete, at around 6:30pm, you will enjoy dinner as a group before finishing off your day socialising, grabbing a drink at the bar or simply relaxing after a hard day's work. Every day is different but each will provide a new and exciting adventure!
Day 15 - Final Day: After an early start, and after saying goodbye to both the team and the animals, you will depart the sanctuary at approximately 7am and transfer back to Windhoek Airport in time for your return flight home. If your flight is later in the day, you will transfer straight to the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary (located just 45 minutes from the airport) where you can spend some time relaxing in the afternoon before being transferred to the airport in time for your flight.

Durations & Prices

To secure a place on this project, a deposit of $245 is required at the time of booking. The remaining balance is due 60 days before your start date.

Flexible Payment Options: If you select a start date more than 3 months in advance, we offer convenient payment plans, allowing you to pay off your balance in instalments.

Select a duration below to see the available start dates and book your place today!

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

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Payment breakdown


Volunteer Accommodation

Whilst at the sanctuary you will be staying in the volunteer village. You will be accommodated in a shared wooden cabin on a same-sex basis with up to 3 other volunteers (unless travelling as a couple in which case you will be accommodated together). Each cabin is solar-powered with ample storage space and mosquito nets provided.

Located close by are the bathroom blocks which offer hot showers and western-style toilets.

Accommodation Upgrade

For those seeking more comfort and some additional amenities, the sanctuary provides the option to upgrade to stay in one of the on-site private cottages. These all have an ensuite bathroom, air conditioning, a fridge, a sink and hot drink-making facilities. The additional fee to upgrade is $44 per person per night, and for availability, please get in touch with the Travel Team.

Meals & Beverages

Three meals a day are provided for you at the sanctuary, with water, tea and coffee freely available. Breakfast includes toast and cereal, with lunch typically consisting of a self-serve buffet with the option of sandwiches, wraps or hot food. Dinner is also served in a buffet style, and you can expect a variety of meat, rice and vegetables, and on Saturday evenings, there is a braai (a traditional African BBQ)! A vegetarian option is always available, and vegans can be catered for too. Additionally, a range of snacks and drinks (including alcoholic beverages) can be purchased at the bar.

Project Details

When is the best time to volunteer?

As this project is based at a wildlife sanctuary, there are animals here year-round, meaning there is no best time to volunteer regarding wildlife. The weather may, however, impact your decision, and there are two distinct seasons explained in more detail below.

October – April: During these months, the daytime temperature is between 27-32°C (81-90°F) and it remains warm at night with temperatures of around 15°C (59°F). December to March is also the rainy season with some rain expected every few days, but not too much.

May – September: 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 28°C (82°F). The biggest difference during this season is the night-time temperature which is much colder and averages 7°C (45°F) but can drop below freezing. Therefore, if you travel during these months you will need some warmer clothes for the evening and also for the night-time game drives.

Average Monthly Weather in Windhoek, Namibia

Getting There

You will need to fly into Windhoek International Airport (also known as Hosea Kutako International Airport) on your project start date, arriving by 9:30am at the latest, where you will be met in the arrivals hall and be transferred to the Harnas Wildlife Sanctuary (approximately 3 hours from the airport). After arriving you will get a chance to settle in before meeting the team, taking a tour of the sanctuary and enjoying dinner.

It is important to book a flight that arrives by 9:30am on your start date so you do not miss the transfer to Harnas. You can, however, arrive a day early and spend a night at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary (just 45 minutes from the airport) for an additional $94 if there are better flight options.

For your departure, you will need a flight that departs Windhoek Airport after 3pm on your project end date, as the transfer arrives at the airport at midday. If there are better flight options the following day, you can also choose to spend an extra night at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary for an additional $94. You can then be transferred to the airport at any time the following day in time for your departing flight.

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

You will take part in a range of activities on this project including some construction and maintenance tasks, therefore, a moderate level of fitness is recommended. There are no specific skills required; all we ask is that you arrive with a willingness to get involved with all activities and that you aren’t afraid to get your hands dirty! Respect for wildlife and the community, as well as the ability to work as part of a team are also important qualities for any volunteer.


There are no specific vaccination or medical requirements needed to join this project. The vaccinations required will depend on the individual medical history of each volunteer. We recommend that you consult with your doctor/GP regarding your own vaccination needs as this will ensure you are protected and prepared to travel. In conjunction with this, we also recommend that you take a look at the Fit for Travel website for more helpful information on how best to prepare for your experience.


Harnas Wildlife Sanctuary Project Video
Experience The Harnas Wildlife Sanctuary

See what you could get up to as a volunteer at the Harnas Wildlife Sanctuary in Namibia! This volunteer project offers you the chance to get up close and personal with some of the country's most iconic species.

Harnas Wildlife Sanctuary Volunteer Reviews
Volunteers Review Their Time at the Sanctuary

Meet Fidelia, Paolina, Ella and Tim who talk all about their experience volunteering at the Harnas Wildlife Sanctuary.



Jacqueline Eastridge, 2024

For so many years I have volunteered in countries around the world teaching as an English teacher. Being with children brought me so much joy in addition to learning about countries and cultures I had only read about. My decision to volunteer with animals for a change, exceeded all of my expectations. Every day was marvellous. Daily I learned so much about the animals and the need for wildlife awareness and protection. So many orphaned and injured animals have a second chance at a very good life because of animal sanctuaries such as Harnas.

Noëlle Sophie Bänziger, 2024

The time passed by so fast while being at Harnas - the people, the experience and the animals make it such a memorable stay. I'd definitely go again!

Franziska Kette, 2023

It was an incredible time. I stayed for 2 weeks, but it could have been longer. The farm is quite small, so you get to know the animals and the staff by name. The stuff and the other volunteers were amazing, we were 9 to 11 volunteers from countries like Germany, the Netherlands, the United States and England. We had so much fun doing the activities. You get so close to the animals like nowhere else. After the morning and afternoon work you will have enough of free time to visit the animals or do some activities with the other volunteers, like lying by the pool, sitting at the bar or playing some card games. If you forget something at home, everyone will help you without asking. If you are coming in the African winter, make sure you bring a sleeping bag. Nights in the cabins can get very cold. But if not (like me) there are enough blankets to survive :) The landscape is also magical. There's a lot of sand and dust in the reserve, but everywhere you go there are animals. It's an experience I wouldn't want to miss.

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What's Included

  • Accommodation
  • Transfers to and from Windhoek International Airport or Windhoek City
  • Three meals per day
  • Water, fruit juice, tea and coffee
  • Full orientation and support from the project managers for the duration of your project
  • A contribution to the project itself, including funding for items such as building materials, food, and animal medications

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Soft and alcoholic beverages
  • Volunteer uniform (t-shirt & trousers/shorts) - approx. $42