Volunteer Abroad Conservation Work in Botswana

Species Conservation – Okavango Wildlife Monitoring

Conservation work in Botswana

Your student activity will take you to the eastern edge of the Okavango Delta, to a conservation project which is responsible for the over 1,800 km² area of the Khwai Community Concession. Your tasks will range from observing over 480 bird species and their nesting places, the population and behaviour of herbivorous animals, predators and fish, to monitoring endangered species. Equipped with binoculars, a compass, walkie-talkie, tracking systems, range finder and a telemetry antenna you will follow the animal tracks in this breathtaking country and be confronted with new aspects of nature conservation every day. Working with a team of trained colleagues, you will discover how professional nature conservation is carried out both theoretically and in practice and what it means to play an active part in preserving a unique natural habitat. No easy task, because the bush is always full of surprises. Take part in this fascinating and meaningful nature conservation project and experience the adventure of a lifetime – a combination of both is possible in the Okavango Delta.

There are many facets to the Okavango Delta which is a magical place with a completely different landscape for each season. It is influenced by the ever-changing rotation between droughts and floods. Every spring, the heavy rainfall in the Bihé Highlands in Angola causes the upper course of the Okavango to swell. Huge volumes of water channel their way over 1200 km to the mouth of the delta. Before reaching the delta in May at the latest, they have to force their way through a natural bottle-neck, the so-called Panhandle. The Panhandle is the start of the lower course of the Okavango, which carries water all year round. From here, the river floods the northern Kalahari which is completely dried out by this time and transforms the vast floodplains in the Okavango Basin into a lush green area with countless rivers and lakes dotted with numerous little islands. Life here is constantly on the move, governed by the constant rise and fall of the level of water in the Okavango and the alternation between flooding and drought. Often large herds of animals roam through the countryside following the water and it becomes clear why the Okavango Delta is known as the beating heart, the lifeline of the Kalahari. The breathtaking landscape and biodiversity are a stirring spectacle which is utterly exceptional even in comparison with Africa’s other natural wonders.

Services Our Services at a Glance

Included

  • Placement in the project
  • Accommodation during the project
  • Assistance with travel arrangements
  • All meals during the project – volunteers help to cook
  • Assistance with selecting travel insurance
  • On-site orientation and project training
  • Assistance with booking flights
  • English-speaking support by long-term experienced staff
  • Pre-departure information pack
  • 24/7 support throughout the project

Not included

  • Flights
  • Airport pick up and drop off
  • Travel insurance
  • Personal expenses and optional excursions
  • Visa fees

Botswana

Start DateDurationCostNATUCATE-ID V.B-001
4 Weeks 2.700 €
6 Weeks 3.600 €
8 Weeks 4.500 €
10 Weeks 5.400 €
12 Weeks 6.300 €
Requirements

Requirements

The only prerequisites for participating in this nature conservation project are a particular affinity with nature, interest in becoming active in a conservation project and a level of fitness allowing you to undertake long treks at relatively high temperatures. If you are only able to travel at certain times of the year, we would recommend that you contact us in good time, as the project can only take on a limited number of participants. In addition to the above, if you are at least 18 years old and a registered student then there is nothing to stand in the way of your application.

Details Voluntary service in Botswana

Volunteering in Botswana

Details
Country Information

    Volunteering in Botswana

    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.


    Accommodation

    Accommodation during the project

    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.


    Leisure time

    Leisure time

    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.


    Background

    Project background

    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.

    Got questions? — We'll call you back