During your time on the project, you will take part in most (if not 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.
As baboons are thought of as pests in Africa, many of them sadly end up being shot 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. As a volunteer, you’ll help to care for these very social animals and accompany them on enrichment walks through the bush. You’ll certainly be used as an extra climbing frame!
Take a walk on the wild side with the resident cheetahs at the sanctuary! Due to the human-wildlife conflict in Namibia, the sanctuary has a number of cheetahs that are too habituated to be released in the wild. Although these cheetahs have huge enclosures, volunteers will experience enrichment walks with these big cats providing them with the freedom to run as they would in the wild. Make sure to grab your camera, these cheetahs make quite the models!
As a volunteer, you’ll have the awe-inspiring opportunity to feed the big carnivores of the sanctuary. You’ll help to prepare and throw food to lions, leopards, cheetahs, and even rare African wild dogs! This is also a unique learning experience as your project facilitators are very knowledgeable and will reel off the facts about all your favourite carnivores. You won't forget this experience in a hurry…
Help sanctuary staff make fun and creative enrichment to keep the animals stimulated. Enrichment is extremely important as it enhances the quality of life of captive animals, allowing them to explore their curiosities as they would in the wild. Previous enrichment has included spices, new scents, puzzle-type toys and even papier-mâché animals for the carnivores to rip open! Watching the animals interact with your enrichment item is a proud moment, so if you have an idea that will energise the animals make sure to put it forward!
Grab your chef’s hat! Whether it’s arranging a vegetable platter for the herbivores or preparing snacks for the meat eaters, you’ll help to create nutritional dishes for all the animals at the sanctuary. Fruit, vegetables, meat, food leftovers from volunteers, mielie pap and milk formula for the little ones will be on the menu, so prepare to get your hands dirty!
Enclosure Cleaning & Animal Feeding
The Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary is home to hundreds of animals of all shapes, sizes and species! As a volunteer, you’ll help to care for these amazing animals in the most nurturing of ways, making sure they are well fed and have clean, comfortable spaces to live in. Meerkats, rock dassies, vervet monkeys, genets, lambs and warthogs are just some of the animals you’ll encounter on this activity!
As a volunteer, you’ll help care for the resident horses by feeding, cleaning, and exercising them to keep them fit and healthy. During this activity, you will learn the ropes on how to canter and gallop into the distance or take a leisurely stroll through Namibia’s scenic landscapes, spotting the local wildlife such as giraffes, ostriches and zebras, as you go! (This activity will not run between 25th July and 5th September due to the horses needing their vaccinations).
This exciting activity gives volunteers the opportunity to put on their research caps while exploring the neighbouring reserve. This land is so much more than just a game reserve, it is a tool in managing human-wildlife conflict! Join the research team in retrieving camera traps, sorting and analysing data, as well as locating the free-roaming rhinos, elephants, and wild dogs using GPS trackers either by vehicle or by foot.
Once a fortnight you have the opportunity to be the eyes and ears for the anti-poaching team that work on the ground to keep all the animals safe. You will spend a night out on one of the platforms that overlook the sanctuary grounds to keep a look-out for potential poachers and suspicious activity, and radio such activity to the team to deal with should the need arise. Volunteers will usually sleep in shifts, or you can try and stay up together drinking hot chocolate and 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.
A necessary part of the project is the continued cleaning, building and maintenance work. All these tasks allow the sanctuary to create the most natural, comfortable and safe surroundings for the animals living here. Tasks such as the construction of new enclosures, border fence patrols and de-bushing of invasive alien plants could be on the agenda to ensure that all animals, whether they are long-term or short-term residents, have the best lives possible.
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 bushman, as well as some of the children whose parents work at the sanctuary. Volunteers can choose to swap five days out of their week to work with the schoolchildren, helping to teach them English and the skills they’ll need for public school. This is a really fun-filled and rewarding experience. You'll be sure to make lots of friends!
Free Time & Extras
Weekday evenings, as well as Saturday and Sunday afternoons are free for volunteers to relax. During the evenings you can relax with your new friends or head in for an early night. On the weekends, you can enjoy time by the pool or for a small price you can sign yourself up for a trip into town or for lunch at the luxury lodge. On Saturday night there is a traditional braai, where you’ll be able to socialise with the staff and fellow volunteers. The animals still need to be fed on the weekends so on one of the mornings you may be needed to help with this.
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, an optional 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 divided into smaller teams to ensure variety and equal opportunity when carrying out tasks and joining activities. 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 and transferred to the project site (a drive of approximately 45 minutes). Once at the sanctuary, you will settle into your accommodation and spend rest of the day getting to know the other volunteers and project staff, as well as having some time to relax before your first day's work!
Day 2 - 14 - Project Days:
Your working week runs from Monday to Friday, with each day beginning with breakfast at 7am before a morning meeting at 8am, where you will learn about your activities for the day ahead. After, you will begin your morning activity which typically runs until 1pm when lunch is served. Your afternoon activity will take place from 2-5pm, after which, you will have some time to shower and relax before enjoying dinner. Evenings and weekends can be spent at your leisure, and there is the option to go into Windhoek on a weekend or just relax and play games with your fellow volunteers.
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 in time for your return flight, or to commence your independent travel plans. If you are staying in Namibia after your time at the sanctuary, it is possible to be dropped off at another accommodation in Windhoek 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.
Find out what volunteer Doug had to say about his time at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary: from aiding conservation to making friends for life, it's easy to see why this project was such a fantastic experience for him!
- posted on Jan 16, 2019
- by Ellie Hutchin
The Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary has been working closely with an organisation to develop technology that enables wild cheetahs and leopards to be tracked simply by using pictures of their footprints. This is revolutionary in the sanctuary's efforts to mitigate human-carnivore conflict. Read on to find out more!
- posted on Jan 10, 2019
- by Leanne Sturrock
During her time at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary, our very own Georgia got to sit down with a few of the volunteers to get the inside scoop on life at the sanctuary. Check out this video to see what Mollie, Nova and Melanie had to say!
Is this trip for you?
During your time on the project, you will stay in a fixed canvas cabin/tent. These are shared on a same-sex basis with two people per room and have an adjoining open-roofed private bathroom with western-style toilet and shower. Plug sockets and electric lighting are also available.
While hot water is available for showers it is provided by solar energy, therefore please be aware that hot water cannot always be guaranteed.
If you’d like to spend part of your volunteer experience in luxury, you may wish to upgrade to a chalet at the lodge. Each chalet boasts a private veranda overlooking the bushveld, air-conditioning and an en-suite bathroom. The lodge itself has a tranquil dining area with stunning views, a bar, and a swimming pool.
For more information about the lodge or to check availability, please contact our travel team.
Three meals a day are provided for you at the sanctuary, with water, tea and coffee freely available. Breakfast includes toast, cereal, fruit and juices, whilst lunch typically consists of pasta, burgers, stir-fry and wraps. Dinner includes meat, fish, vegetables, potatoes and pasta served in a buffet style, and on weekends there is often a braai (a traditional African barbeque)! 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 sanctuary.
You will take part in a range of activities on this project including construction and maintenance tasks, therefore, a moderate level of fitness is recommended. No specific skills are 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 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 and as such, the vaccinations you require will depend on your medical history. We, therefore, recommend that you consult your GP/Doctor regarding your own vaccination needs.
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 there are two distinct seasons which are explained in more detail below.
September – April: The day time temperature during these months is between 28-32°C (82-90°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.
May – 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 25°C (77°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.
All volunteers require a work visa to join this project. Upon booking, you will be provided with all the necessary information and documentation to obtain your visa. This can either be applied for in person at the Namibian embassy in London or via email using our visa agent in Namibia. The cost for this visa is approximately £90/US$110, and whilst the application process is simple, it can take up to 4 weeks for your application to be processed. If you need any help with this then please speak to your travel consultant and they will be able to assist you.
What's included in the price of the project?
- Three meals per day
- Water, fruit juice, tea and coffee
- Transfers to and from Windhoek International Airport or Windhoek City
- 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?
- Soft and alcoholic beverages