Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary

Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary

Experience hands-on conservation efforts with big cats, baboons and much more as a volunteer at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary!

Nestled within the heart of a vast African savannah, the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary stands as one of the country’s leading conservation organisations. The sanctuary provides a lifeline to many of Africa’s in-need wildlife species, taking in a number of animals that have either become orphaned or injured as a result of the enduring human-animal conflict.

As a volunteer, you will help the sanctuary provide a safe refuge for its animals, and you will also support them in their primary aim of releasing as many animals as possible into safe conservation areas. But while the project’s mantra is to ‘return the wild to the wild’, some of the animals here are either too injured or habituated to survive on their own, meaning they will spend the rest of their days at the sanctuary.

With hundreds of animals unable to be released, it is important that they are given a positive quality of life, and your time at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary will see you actively getting involved with a range of activities designed to do just that. Take a walk into the African bush with baboons by your side; face-off with the sanctuary’s resident carnivores during their feeding times; and do your part to help rehabilitate Namibia’s incredible wildlife species by creating an array of challenging and stimulating enrichment for the animals!

Since it opened, the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary has released hundreds of animals back into the wild and provided a safe refuge for hundreds more. The work volunteers do is integral to this and they have enabled the sanctuary to grow year on year. By volunteering, you will help to see this great work continue as you help forge a future for Namibia’s wildlife in one of Africa’s most vibrant ecological landscapes, all whilst creating lifelong memories for not only yourself but the animals too.

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Lauren Mackinnon


During your time on the project, you will have the opportunity to engage in a wide variety of activities. These will vary depending on the needs of the sanctuary, with other activities not listed here potentially taking place too.

Young Baboon with Volunteers in Namibia
Baboon Walk 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, where you’ll certainly be used as an extra climbing frame!
Cheetah Walk at the NAmibia Wildlife Sanctuary
Carnivore Walk The sanctuary is home to a number of cheetahs and caracals, many of which were rescued from the pet trade or human-wildlife conflict areas created when these cats venture onto farmlands. Although the carnivores have large enclosures, volunteers will experience enrichment walks through the bush with the cheetahs and/or caracals, providing them with the freedom to run and explore as they would in the wild.
Cheetah Chasing Lure at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary
Cheetah Run & Observation Take the chance to watch the world’s fastest land mammal in action! Whilst spending time with the resident cheetahs, you’ll observe and assess their physical health by taking part in this enrichment exercise activity. A pulley-system lure is put in place for the cheetahs to chase, mimicking hunting in the wild, as well as exercising the cheetahs both physically and mentally. Make sure to grab your camera and don’t forget to use a fast shutter speed!
Feeding Wild Dogs
Carnivore Feeding Join the sanctuary’s resident carnivores for their mealtime as you help to prepare and throw food to the lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, and wild dogs! Enjoy a front-row seat as you watch the carnivores enjoy their meals whilst the project facilitators share their impressive knowledge with you. This is an opportunity to witness the animals at their most wild and is an experience you won't forget in a hurry!
Food Preparation & Animal Feeding
Food Preparation & Animal Feeding 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 all be on the menu, so prepare to get your hands dirty! Alongside playing chef, you’ll also become a waiter as you distribute the food and bottle feed the baby animals along the way!
Lion Enrichment at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary
Enrichment Help the 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 introducing new scents, puzzle-type toys and even papier-mâché animals for the carnivores to rip open! Creativity is encouraged so don’t be afraid to put your ideas forward!
Horse Riding in Namibia
Horseback Riding As a volunteer, you’ll help care for the project’s resident horses by feeding, cleaning and exercising them to keep them fit and healthy! You will learn how to canter and gallop as you head out across Namibia’s scenic landscape, keeping an eye out for local wildlife (such as zebras, ostriches, and giraffes) as you go. Please note, if you volunteer between the months of July and September, this activity may not be a part of your itinerary as the horses require their annual vaccinations during this time.
Enclosure Maintenance at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary
Project Work 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 or remodelling existing ones, building animal playgrounds, and fixing roads and fences could be on the agenda, as well as enclosure cleaning to ensure all the animals, whether they are long-term or short-term residents, have the best lives possible.
Child at the Clever Cubs School
Primary School On-site at the sanctuary, you will find the sanctuary's primary 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 opt to spend an afternoon with the children where 1-hour will be dedicated to a fun, educational activity, followed by a sports activity to really get everyone’s endorphins going! This opportunity will allow you to immerse yourself in the region’s culture whilst giving back to the local community.
Telemetry Tracking in Africa
Reserve Research & Animal Tracking Join the team in retrieving camera trap images from the neighbouring reserve, sorting and analysing the data to better understand the animals in the area. Using GPS tracking, you'll go in search of a whole host of wildlife that have previously been released onto the reserve including lions, rhinos and elephants. As these are endangered and vulnerable species, it is vital to collect and monitor data that shows how they are adapting to life on the reserve. You’ll also take part in spoor tracking led by a highly skilled San tracker, learning how to tell the carnivore density, activity and favourite habitats from their footprints alone!
Anti-Poaching K9 Dog Training
Anti-Poaching K9 Dog Training Spend the day at the Anti-Poaching Unit’s incredible K9 Dog Training Centre. You will complete 4 activities with the dogs as you help get them ready for a future working to protect the reserves’ elephants and rhinos. These are to teach simple commands such as sit, lay, and play, the sniff test which teaches them how to recognise and track key scents including ivory, an obstacle course to ensure they are agile across all terrains and the bite test to make sure they are ready in case they come across any poachers while out on patrol.
Map Reading with the Anti-poaching Team
Anti-Poaching Experience Have what it takes to become part of the Anti-Poaching Unit? Head out into the field in search of the resident rhinos, helping to track and monitor them as you go. You’ll learn what it takes to protect endangered rhinos from the very real threat of poaching and illegal snare traps, whilst spending a wild night in the African bush. During this activity, you’ll have the opportunity to get to know and learn from skilled rangers, as you acquire knowledge of navigation and tracking techniques that all play a vital part in the protection of rhinos worldwide.
Swimming Pool at Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary Lodge
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 fee, sign yourself up for a trip into Windhoek or for lunch at the luxury lodge. On Saturday nights there is also a traditional braai (BBQ) where you’ll be able to socialise with the staff and your fellow volunteers.
TimBila Nature Reserve
TimBila Nature Reserve For an additional $100, you can swap one of your weeks at the sanctuary for a week at the TimBila Nature Reserve. Dubbed “the place of second chances”, this 30,000-hectare reserve is home to lions, wild dogs, rhinos, and elephants that have been rescued from conflict areas and given a new lease on life. Here, you’ll spend your time monitoring these relocated conflict animals, as well as aiding the research efforts to allow for the future introduction of additional species to the area. Tracking using GPS and spoor methods, collecting and analysing camera trap data, and even participating in the release of wildlife could be on the cards during your stay!
Kanaan Research Site
Kanaan Desert Research Site Also available for an additional $100 is the option to swap a week to visit another research site, this time in the stunning Namibian desert! The Kanaan Desert Research Site is surrounded by sand dunes and as unforgiving as the desert may seem, numerous wildlife species (including hyenas) can thrive here. You will help to record statistical data on the species found here, ultimately aiding the long-term management of the area by taking part in activities such as mapping, radio telemetry and game counts. Kanaan is one of the most picturesque areas in all of Namibia and is also a vital location for the conservation of carnivores.
Cheetah in Neuras
Neuras Adventure Week If you like a little adventure, why not join the Neuras Adventure Week for an additional $100. In this mountainous region, you can hike across a rocky landscape on a variety of hiking trails and also take part in carnivore feeds with the cheetahs that call this area home. You will also have the option to spend a day at Sossusvlei, where you can take in the sight of its iconic red sand dunes, including the famous ‘Big Daddy’. Elsewhere, you can visit a local natural spring or sleep under the stars, and you will even have the opportunity to make pizza with your group! Finally, Neuras is also home to a vineyard, with all profits from the wine produced going straight back into their conservation efforts – so why not grab a glass and enjoy!
Seal Colony and a jackal in Swakopmund
Coastal Conservation Week For $100, why not swap a week and embark on a coastal expedition? Dive into environmental stewardship as you clean up the Namibian coastline, learn the art of fishing in Namibian waters, witness the astounding Cape Cross seal colony, unveil the secrets of the desert on the Living Desert conservation tour, and kayak your way through the Walvisbay tidal lagoon. Your journey will be a seaside adventure and a meaningful one, as your participation contributes to preserving this stunning coastal region. After a day of exploration, you’ll celebrate your achievements with a series of beach sundowners, where you can raise a glass to your positive impact on this beautiful corner of the world.


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 sanctuary (a drive of approximately 45 minutes). Once at the sanctuary, you will settle into your accommodation and spend the 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 back to Windhoek Airport in a private vehicle 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 also possible to be transferred to another accommodation in Windhoek.

Start Dates & 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 your start date below to view these.

Tip: You can join on any day of the year, so if your preferred date is not listed, please get in touch with our travel team to book an alternative. Select dates can get fully booked up to 6 months in advance, therefore, if your travel plans are limited to a specific time, we recommend securing your place as early as possible to avoid disappointment.

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

Payment breakdown



During your time on the project, you will stay in a fixed canvas cabin/tent. Each is complete with bed linens, plug sockets, electric lighting, and an open-roofed bathroom with a Western-style toilet and shower. Hot water is available for showers, however, as it is provided by solar energy, please be aware that it cannot always be guaranteed.

The accommodation is provided on a twin or triple-share, same-sex basis (except for couples who will be accommodated together), but it is also possible to pay a single supplement to have your own room (depending on availability).

Accommodation Upgrade

If you’d like to spend a night, a weekend or more of your volunteer experience in luxury, you can book a chalet at the beautiful on-site 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.

A night at the luxury lodge is charged at an additional $188 per night for a single room and $163 per night per person for a double room, and includes transfers, dinner and breakfast. For more information or to check availability, please contact our 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, 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.

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 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.

October – April: The daytime temperature during these months 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 nearly 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.

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 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.

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 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. 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.


Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary Project Video - 2022
Experience The Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary

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

Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary Volunteer Reviews - 2022
Volunteers Review Their Time at the Sanctuary

Meet Paulina, Liz, Tom and Laurent who review the time they spent at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary.

A Minute With The Baboons At The Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary
A Minute With The Baboons

Spending time with the baboons is a firm favourite activity among all volunteers. Take a look and find out why!

A Minute With The Carnivores At The Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary
A Minute With The Carnivores

From lions and cheetahs to African wild dogs, take a look at some of the resident carnivores you might meet at the sanctuary.


Bev Hanson, 2024

Had the most incredible time at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary and the TimBila Nature Reserve. Loved the close interaction with the animals and learnt so much about the animals and the environment met some fantastic people and all the staff were great. The food wasn’t always the best at Namibia - often cold - but that didn’t spoil anything. Communication could at times have been better - particularly at the start. We arrived on Saturday morning and missed some stuff over the weekend as didn’t know what was going on then missed a full morning on Monday for the induction. Other than that it was fantastic, the reserve at TimBila was so informative and went out on several animal counts/ game drives. We were incredibly fortunate to be there when a leopard was released Namibia, highlights were camping out with rhino rangers, cheetah walk, carnivore feeding and small animal care. Unfortunately didn’t get to see the dogs or do the horse riding activity (although was able to pay extra for a fantastic sunset ride) loved it so much.

Edward Palmer, 2024

The trip of a lifetime! If anyone is contemplating going on a trip like this just take the plunge and go! Memories to last a lifetime!

Karen Owens, 2024

Was wonderful. In fact thinking of going back again. Being in such a natural environment with wild animals so close by. Had two giraffes cross the path right in front of me. Then there’s the pleasure of a early wakeup call around 4 to 5 every morning from Clarence the lion. Lol. Being able to help take care of the needs of the sanctuary’s resident animals. Making friends with people from so many different countries who all are sharing this same bonding experience with you. I thought going on a safari was the highlight if my light and nothing would every come close to it. Well this did.

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What's Included

  • Accommodation
  • 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
  • 1 x Set of volunteer uniform (t-shirt & trousers/shorts) - additional sets can be purchased for approx. $42
  • Wi-Fi

What's Not Included

  • Flights
  • Soft and alcoholic beverages