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 farm animals.
Volunteers are also able to experience carnivore-feeds with lions, leopards, 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.
Often there are large numbers of baby baboons that reside at the centre which you may be encouraged to look after, and this is an activity which is often a highlight for many volunteers. As part of the project, you may also be needed to help feed and bathe them. However, please bear in mind that this activity is subject to the presence of baboons at the sanctuary, so do please consider that it may not be a 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.
A favourite activity amongst volunteers, you will get to spend part of each day playing with and looking after some of the animals on the farm. These interactions include one-on-one time with the semi-tame cheetah cubs, along with many other animals. (Please bear in mind that cub care cannot be guaranteed, and is subject to necessity.)
The growing sanctuary needs constant repair and building work. Volunteers may be required to help with these tasks, which include: construction of new enclosures as animals arrive, border fence patrols, and de-bushing to remove invasive alien plant species.
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. Volunteers will spend one afternoon a week working with the schoolchildren here, helping to teach them English and games!
Whilst on the project, you have the weekday evenings and Saturday and Sunday afternoons to relax (please note, however, that the animals still need to be fed on the weekends). This time can be spent enjoying activities such as a nature walk, swimming, playing football against the bushman workers, or an eco-challenge competing in groups. This is usually followed by a traditional braai (barbeque).
Stay in the watch tower for the night to keep look out for poachers and suspicious activity, and watch the sunrise over the sanctuary grounds. Volunteers will sleep in shifts, or can try and stay up together playing a wild game of eye spy! Please note that everyone will take part in this activity during their stay, so be prepared to sleep out and watch the stars!
Game Count by Horseback
This new activity offers you the chance to ride horses to do a game count of animals in the area. Animals that are usually skittish around vehicles allow the horses to get a lot closer, and it is a much more economically friendly way of getting the job done! (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! (N$250 - £12.50) 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.
Neuras Conservation and Research Site
For an additional £70, you can swap one of your weeks at The Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary for a week exploring a mountainous area of Namibia (Saturday-Saturday.) This will be an adventurous week with hiking through the beautiful rocky landscapes, and will also involve data/research analysis, setting camera traps, some telemetry, a day trip to Sossusvlei, a visit to a local natural spring (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 £70 is the option to swap a week to visit another research site, but this time in the stunning Namibian desert! This is a newer site so is in earlier stages, and this means volunteers are currently helping to construct areas around the base such as walking trails, an enclosure for horses made entirely from recycled materials (once the site is ready, horses will be brought to Kanaan so that horseback game counts can be done here too!) You will also hike around the 35,000 hectare grounds in search of hyena dens and marking trees. Activities also include camera traps, cage traps, animal/bird identification, data analysis, and cheetah feeding, as there are some cheetahs on-site that have been relocated to a large enclosure here!
African Wild Dog & Elephant Monitoring at Mangetti
If you want to make your trip to Namibia even more unique and special, then you can add a week at the Mangetti Research Site for just £70. 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 them 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. A week's stay at Mangetti is a great way to see a side of Namibia which very few others have had the chance to.
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. Please note, however, that itineraries are subject to change and therefore this is only a rough guideline. This 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 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 meeting with other volunteers and relaxing before your first days work!
Day 2 - 14 - Project Days:
On these days you will rise early and eat breakfast at around 7 am 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. You will then begin a second morning activity after this, followed by lunch at 1 pm. Afternoon activities begin at 2:30pm and finish between 4 and 5pm. Dinner is then at 6pm and 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 from the project site to Windhoek airport for your return flight, or to commence your independent travel plans.
Dates, Availability & Price
Important Information: This project is extremely popular with dates getting fully booked up to 6 months in advance. Therefore, we 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.
Not only do volunteers help make these animals lives as good as possible, but they may also get the rare opportunity to work alongside the big cat experts and Bushman trackers in the conservation research programme. This involves the monitoring and tracking of a number of leopards and cheetahs within the local area, taking part in game counts for data collection, or preparing for new arrivals into the sanctuary.
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.
We've received an update from the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary and they have had a busy 2017 so far! There have been animals that have needed new homes, animals that have needed medical attention and even some animals that have been released back out into the wild! Read up to learn a little more about what has been going on at this incredible project so far this year!
- posted on Jul 5, 2017
- by Gaynor H.
Gaynor, one of The Great Projects' volunteers had such an incredible time at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary that she wanted to write a personal review! Gaynor discusses what it was like to volunteer with cheetahs, giraffes, meerkats, babboons and more in a touching personal account of her experience, which she feels has completely changed her life!
The Namibia WIldlife Sanctuary is one of our most popular projects, creating some amazing memories for volunteers from all over the world, but we wanted to take a closer look at what makes it so great! To do that we have put together a collection of images from the project which will get you inspired and ready to visit this incredible country! Take a look here!
Is this trip for you?
There are two accommodation options: volunteer rooms with up to two 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.
Showers and toilet facilities are communal and hot water is supplied by solar energy, therefore please be aware that they are sometimes restricted.
The adjacent lodge contains six luxurious chalets and a tranquil dining area with stunning views, a bar, and a swimming pool. You can choose to upgrade your accommodation and stay at the lodge 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 tea and coffee freely available throughout the day. Breakfast includes toast and cereal; lunch includes pasta, wraps, burgers or stir-frys; and evening dinners include meat, fish, vegetables, rice, potatoes, and pasta. On weekends there is often a braai (barbecue). 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, have a respect for the wildlife and sanctuary staff with whom you’ll be working, and aren’t afraid to get your hands dirty!
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?
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 this is 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 may 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 day 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 Africa 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 an 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 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 contribution to the project itself including funding for items such as building materials, food, and animal medications
- Transfers to and from the Windhoek International Airport or Windhoek City
- Full orientation and support from the project managers for the duration of your project
- Accommodation, three meals per day and tea and coffee
What's not included?
- Any flights
- Travel insurance (including cover for repatriation)
- Soft and alcoholic beverages
- Any extra activities not included in the itinerary