Your internship begins and ends in the town of Maun, from where you will be picked up and to which you will be returned. If travelling by plane, you will probably fly to Johannesburg with connecting flight to Maun. When planning your journey, you can count on information and support from NATUCATE.
In order to obtain a better understanding of the habitats of the unique flora and fauna, the local national parks and game reserves collect extensive data in their spheres of responsibility, which provide information about the animal and plant populations, their behaviour patterns and many other factors which affect the ability to protect them. The data are collated in a mutually accessible data pool, which is monitored by the Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) and is designed to ensure better administration of this vast area.
The idea is to understand the role played by certain plant or animal species in this ecosystem, enabling the introduction of appropriate steps in support of the natural dynamics in this environment and avoiding any adverse effects.
You and your team will start the day before the sun rises. In the morning, your activities will include bird, track, herbivore and vegetation transects, as well as checking on camera traps. The early afternoon will be given over to data entry and planning the rest of the day. Afterwards, you will return to the field and carry out further research. At least one day per week will be devoted to inputting data so that you have a better understanding of the work which you will need to do in the next week. Other activities depend on the time of year, and include recording rainfall, high water levels and bushfires, taking photos, reporting poaching incidents and identifying and monitoring rare and endangered animal species.
We realise that some of the people on our projects in Southern Africa want to see as many animals as possible in their natural environment. However, this is dependent on a number of factors. Please note that NATUCATE makes no guarantee that you will see a variety of animals, in particular the big five, as nature doesn’t always give us what we want. To make such a guarantee would be unprofessional and against our corporate philosophy.
While working in the nature conservation project you will be on the move throughout the entire Khwai Community Concession game reserve on the eastern side of the Okavango Delta between the Moremi Game Reserve and Chobe National Park. You will be based with the whole team in a camp on a picturesque island in the south-east of the region. You will sleep in spacious two-man tents which are arranged in groups of three – each with a bathroom for joint use. There is also a kitchen and washing machine as well as a central meeting place which is used for communal meals and training. This is where the team usually meets up in the evenings and chats about the events of the day.
Everybody interested in volunteering abroad should be able to adjust to entirely unfamiliar standards of living in their future host country. Therefore, we would like to point out the importance of being flexible and adaptable regarding the accommodation and sanitary facilities provided by the project. Those are very basic and – depending on the project – cannot be compared to European standards. The equipment and furnishings are limited to a minimum; air conditioning is not available. Depending on your host country occasional power blackouts or water outages are quite common. Please contact us if you have further questions about your accommodation. We are pleased to provide you with comprehensive information since we would like you to feel entirely prepared for your time abroad.
Your stay in Botswana will be the greatest nature adventure where the focus is on experiencing nature at its wildest and most natural in the Okavango Delta. You certainly won’t miss that lounger for lazing around in! In your spare time you will have ample opportunity to relax in the camp and surroundings, watch the animals, read or sit around the campfire socialising with the others and reflecting on the day’s activities. On free weekends you can explore the countryside of the Khwai Community Concession or visit nearby national parks and game reserves. The nearest “town”, Maun, which is the capital of the north-western region of Botswana, is about 4-5 hours away from the camp. It is therefore better to visit the town either before or after your stay, if you are only a intern for a short while. Discover the nearby aquatic world in a “mekoro” – a traditionally built canoe – on the River Khwai or one of the many arms of the delta. But, as with all excursions beyond the camp, you should only venture out when accompanied by a trained guide. During your time on the conservation project you will learn many interesting things, seeing and experiencing much and acquiring not only impressions to take home but unforgettable memories made far from the beaten track.
Due to its unique biodiversity and fascinating hydro-geological characteristics, the Okavango Delta was added to the UNESCO World Heritage list in 2014. The area is home to over 1300 plant species, 500 bird species, 190 reptile and amphibian species and 150 species of mammal. It is home to the rarely seen African wild dog and the big five (rhinoceros, elephant, Cape buffalo, lion and leopard). International efforts have established a number of nature and species conservation projects which carry out research using tracking technology in a number of areas, such as populations and movement patterns of endangered wild dogs. Mapping (monitoring) of animal and plant species helps to monitor wildlife populations and planning future conservation measures.