You will have the opportunity to take part in most, if not all, of the below activities on a rotational basis. There may also be additional activities that you can get involved with during your time at the sanctuary.
This, as you can imagine, is one of the most important activities at the sanctuary. You will be responsible for preparing the food for, and feeding all of the animals each day. Fruit, vegetables, meat, food leftovers (anything that can be recycled here will be!), miele pap (a kind of porridge), and milk formula for the little ones are used to feed the baboons and animals at the sanctuary.
As a volunteer you will be able to experience carnivore feeds with lions, leopards, both semi-tame and wild cheetahs, and even with rare African wild dogs. You will also get to hand-feed the resident meerkats, which is a truly fantastic experience and one you won't forget in a hurry!
As baboons are thought of as pests in Africa, a lot of them end up being killed and so the sanctuary takes in a large number of orphaned baby baboons who would simply not be able to survive on their own in the wild. Baby baboons need a lot of social interaction and so you will take them for a walk and watch them play together and will also help by feeding and bathing them and perhaps even taking care of some of the very young ones overnight! (Please note that this activity is not a guaranteed part of your itinerary,)
Cleaning and Maintenance
A necessary part of the project is the continued cleaning and maintenance of enclosures. You may, therefore, be involved in the clearing out of old food and bones from animal enclosures, the cleaning of waterholes, and the fixing of any damage to the animal enclosures. Some animals can never be released and for them, we want to make sure they have the best life possible at the sanctuary and a big part of this is ensuring the area they call home is as well kept as possible.
This is an absolute favourite activity of all volunteers. At the sanctuary there are often young orphaned animals such as cheetahs, hyenas or caracals that need to be taken out for regular exercise so you may find yourself spending a morning or afternoon taking these animals out for a walk in the beautiful area that surrounds the sanctuary. This activity, is of course dependent on the animals at the sanctuary at the time you volunteer. Please be aware that there is no hands on contact permitted with large carnivores.
The growing sanctuary needs constant repair and building work. Volunteers are required to help with these tasks, which can include: construction of new enclosures as animals arrive, border fence patrols, and de-bushing to remove invasive alien plant species. Whatever the task is project work is not easy but it is very satisfying knowing that if more enclosures can be built then more animals will have the chance for a better life at the sanctuary!
Clever Cubs School
On-site at the sanctuary, you will find the Clever Cubs School. This is here to help educate the children of the local San tribe, as well as some of the children whose parents work at the sanctuary. All volunteers will get to spend one afternoon a week working with the schoolchildren here, helping to teach them English and playing games! As this school is within the grounds of the sanctuary, you do have the opportunity to spend more time with them if you wish, as a lot of volunteers do!
Whilst on the project, you will have the weekday evenings as well as Saturday and Sunday afternoons free to relax. During the evenings you can socialise with your new friends around the fire with a drink or go back to your accommodation for an early night. Your free time on the weekends can be spent enjoying activities such as a nature walk, swimming or playing football against the bushman workers. This is usually followed by a traditional braai. The animals do still need to be fed on the weekends so on one of the mornings you may be needed to help with this.
Once a fortnight you will stay in the watchtower for the night to keep a look-out for poachers and suspicious activity. Volunteers will usually sleep in shifts, or you can try and stay up together playing a wild game of 'I Spy!' Sleeping outside under the stars is an amazing experience and is followed closely by watching the spectacular sunrise the next morning.
Game Count by Horseback
This activity offers you the chance to ride horses to do a game count of the animals in the area. Animals that are usually skittish around vehicles will allow the horses to get a lot closer, and it is also a much more environmentally friendly way of getting the job done! This is a great chance to get back to nature and to see some of Africa's wildlife in a very different way. (This activity will not run between 25th July and 5th September due to the horses needing their vaccinations).
Ancient San Skills
Visit the San people and learn some of their ancient skills! Nobody knows and understands the vast and dry southern African landscape better than the San people. Their expertise in understanding animals, plants and spoors is second to none. This activity is dependent upon enough volunteers wanting to participate, as well as availability during busy periods, but for a more culturally immersed experienced this is an absolute must! This activity is not onsite and so there is a very small additional fee for taking part of approximately N$300.
Snake Awareness and Education
You will have the chance to take part in a snake awareness course when on the project and learn all about the wide range of snakes that are present in the area. Southern Africa is home to 143 species of snake, and the idea of this course is to educate you on which snakes are harmless and which you have to keep an eye out for! You’ll enjoy a talk on the snakes before heading out to see some of the species discussed including puff adders and the black mamba, so make sure you have your camera ready!
Neuras Conservation and Research Site
For an additional £100, you can swap one of your weeks at The Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary for a week exploring a mountainous area of Namibia (Saturday-Saturday). This is an exciting and adventurous week and involves with hiking through the beautiful rocky landscapes, data/research analysis, setting camera traps, a day trip to the sand dunes at Sossusvlei, a visit to a local natural springs (jump in if you wish!), pizza making and a sleep out under the stars! The food is fantastic, and the site itself makes its own wine where all profits go directly back into the conservation work. This site is also sometimes used as a release site for animals that have been looked after at the sanctuary and are ready to go back into the wild!
Kanaan Conservation and Research Site
Also available for an additional £100 is the option to swap a week to visit another research site, but this time in the stunning Namibian desert! This research site is in a stunning location, surrounded by vibrant red sand dunes, and is a fantastic place in which to add to your volunteer experience. Here you’ll be helping to record statistical data of the various species found here, which will help with the long term management of the area. You’ll be taking part in activities such as mapping, radio telemetry tracking and game counts, and the work you do here will help protect the local carnivore population which has been suffering at the hands of farmers who believe the animals to be a threat to their livestock. This is one of the most picturesque areas in Namibia and one that you simply have to see!
African Wild Dog & Elephant Monitoring at Mangetti
If you want to see a completely different part of Namibia then you can swap a week at the sanctuary to visit the Mangetti Research Site for just £100. Here, you will take part in crucial elephant and African wild dog monitoring to help observe the behaviour of the animals and to note any patterns in their movements, group composition, and even mating habits. Through tracking and monitoring these animals, one of the aims is to be able to change the perception of local farmers who see the animals as a threat to their livelihood. Elephants are known to raid crops and African wild dogs pose a threat to the livestock on farms, so by working with the farmers to raise awareness of best practice when dealing with these animals, you will help to make a difference.
You can volunteer at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary in Africa for 2 to 12 weeks. Whilst on the project, you will be split into working groups to ensure variety and equal opportunity when carrying out tasks and joining activities. The below is an example of a two-week stay, which will repeat for those who stay longer.
Day 1 - The Adventure Begins:
Upon arrival into Windhoek Airport, you will be met by a project representative in the arrivals hall and transferred to the project site. The private transfer is a drive of approximately 45 minutes. Once at the sanctuary, you will settle into your accommodation and spend rest of the day at the site getting to know other volunteers and relaxing before your first day's work!
Day 2 - 14 - Project Days:
On these days, you will rise early and eat breakfast at around 7am before having a morning meeting with your fellow volunteers and the volunteer coordinators at 8am. After this, you will begin your morning activities which are distributed on a rotational basis. Then, you will then begin a second morning activity, followed by lunch at 1pm. Afternoon activities begin at 2:30pm and finish between 4 and 5pm. Dinner is then at 6pm and the evenings are free for you to spend as you please.
Day 15 - Final Day:
Today will be your final day at the sanctuary. After fond farewells, you will be transferred in a private vehicle from the project site back to Windhoek Airport for your return flight, or to commence your independent travel plans. It is also possible to drop you off at another accommodation in Windhoek if you are staying on in Namibia but please check with us in advance!
Dates, Availability & Price
Important Information: This project is extremely popular, with dates getting fully booked up to 6 months in advance. We therefore recommend that you secure your place as early as possible to ensure you can join on your preferred start date.
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!
Updates & Outcomes
This project directs all its efforts towards the long-term rehabilitation of animals within the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary. Sadly, not all of the animals housed here are able to be released back into the wild, as many are orphaned and have been hand-raised, meaning that they have become too used to captivity and would simply not survive in the wild.
Volunteers are key to the success of the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary, and their participation ensures the rescue, survival, and rehabilitation of the animals which have found a safe home here. Since 2008, the sanctuary has also rescued and safely re-released over 80 cheetahs, leopards and brown hyenas. These re-located carnivores are then monitored via tracking collars and GPS in order to assess their welfare within the new regions in which they have been released.
It can be a little difficult to picture what you will be getting up to on a volunteering project without having been there already, but luckily for you we are here to help! In this blog we will be taking you through some of the incredible activites that you can take part in if you choose to become a volunteer at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary!
Look back at a successful 2017 and see what the team at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary had achieved over the course of the year, and find out what they'll be getting up to over the next 12 months! Want to help them achieve their goals? Become a volunteer today!
Last year Charles decided to make a difference to the wildlife in Namibia and become a volunteer at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary! Whilst in the country he also paid a visit to both the Kanaan and Mangetti research sites, and he has been kind enough to tell us all about them. Sit back and read up about Charles' experience and see if this is the trip for you!
Is this trip for you?
There are two accommodation options at the project. The first is volunteer rooms with up to three people (of the same gender) sharing. Alternatively, there are large tent style rooms with a bedroom and outdoor shower and bathroom to be shared by two volunteers (of the same gender or a couple). Although we can take requests for which accommodation is preferred, we cannot guarantee this selection as this will be subject to availability.
While hot water is available for showers it is provided by solar energy, therefore please be aware that hot water cannot always be guaranteed.
The adjacent lodge contains six luxurious chalets and a tranquil dining area with stunning views, a bar, and a swimming pool. If you would like you can choose to upgrade your accommodation and stay at the lodge for a night, over the weekend or at the end of your stay.
Lots of volunteers also take the opportunity to visit the lodge for a delicious buffet lunch on a Sunday.
Three meals a day are provided at the sanctuary with water, tea and coffee freely available throughout the day. Breakfast includes toast, cereal, fruit and juices; lunch includes pasta, wraps, burgers or stir-fry; and evening dinners include meat, fish, vegetables, rice, potatoes, and pasta and on weekends there is often a braai! A vegetarian option is also always available. Other drinks and snacks can be purchased at the Sanctuary for an additional fee, including alcoholic beverages.
As you will be involved in all aspects of the project (including construction and maintenance of enclosures) we recommend that volunteers come with at least a moderate level of fitness. No specific skills are required - all we ask is that you arrive with a willingness to get involved with every activity, aren't afraid to get your hands dirty, and that you have a respect for the wildlife and the sanctuary staff whom you’ll be working alongside!
The vaccinations required will depend on your medical history. We recommend that you consult with your GP regarding your own immunisation needs. In conjunction with this, we would recommend that you check Fit for Travel’s website.
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 favourable time to volunteer regarding wildlife. Weather,
however, can impact some people’s decision, and the seasons are explained in more
September – May: The day time temperature
during these months is between 25 and 30°C (77-86°F) and it remains warm at
night with temperatures of around 15°C (59°F). January to March is also the
rainy season with some rain expected every few days, but not too much.
June – August: This is the driest period of
the year with nearly no rain at all. It is also cooler during the day however
temperatures still reach 23°C (74°F). The biggest
difference during this period is the night time temperature which can go as low
as 7°C (45°F). Therefore, if you
travel during these months you will need some warmer clothes for the evening.
You will need to fly into Windhoek International Airport (also known as Hosea Kutako International Airport) on your project start date between 7am - 5pm, where you will be met on arrival and transferred to the project. This transfer will take approximately 45 minutes.
There are several daily flights here from the South African hub cities of Johannesburg and Cape Town, as well as daily flights from a range of international destinations.
If you would like help booking your flights, please visit our flight page and fill out the form. A member of our team will get back in touch as soon as possible with
a suitable quote.
In order to volunteer in Africa at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary, you will need to apply for a work visa before travel. We will provide further information and documents for this upon booking. We can also put you in touch with our agent in Namibia who can organise this for you.
Currency and Exchange Rates
The currency in Namibia is the Namibian Dollar, but South African Rand is also accepted. The exchange rate is around N$1 = £0.06, US$0.07 and €0.07. Please note exchange rates are subject to change.
What's included in the price of the project?
- Three meals per day
- Water, fruit juice, tea and coffee
- A contribution to the project itself, including funding for items such as building materials, food, and animal medications
- Transfers to and from Windhoek International Airport or Windhoek City
- Full orientation and support from the project managers for the duration of your project
What's not included?
- Travel insurance
- Soft and alcoholic beverages
- Any extra activities not included in the itinerary