Volunteering Namibia – Sabrina
Volunteer Sabrina became engaged in protecting and conserving Namibia's desert elephants. In the following feedback interview you can learn more about her time in Africa.
Project: Elephant conservation in Namibia
Duration: Beginning until mid-January 2019 – 12 days
Support from the Natucate team:
Volunteering in Namibia – Feedback: Seven questions for Sabrina
1) Could you give us a brief overview of your tasks in the project?
The project’s main idea is to protect the desert elephants. In order to improve the relationship between farmers and elephants, the construction of walls was one of our main activities during the first week of our two-week stay in the project. We built a protective wall around the tank with our own muscle power so the thirsty elephants who are in search of a water source do not destroy the farmers' water tank.
However, our tasks also included things like serving tables, cooking and washing up – depending if you were on duty.
The second week of the project rewarded us for the hard work. During the so-called Patrol Week we were roaming the Damaraland and searched for the elephants, using their footprints, and observed their behaviour. For later statistical purposes we also noted down the exact location of the herds.
2) What was the biggest challenge for you during the project?
On the one hand the building of the walls turned out to be quite exhausting, because only the simplest aids were available and therefore a lot of own muscle power was needed. On the other hand, it was the unfamiliar "simple" life that ultimately made up the project.
3) Was there something you liked most? Or something you remember particularly negatively?
Of course, observing the desert elephants was a great experience. However, I will never forget falling asleep under the incredibly beautiful starry sky, which was an absolute highlight for me. Also the beautiful sunrises in the early morning as well as the beautiful lighting of the landscape in the evening at sunset was a dream.
4) Did you have certain expectations before travelling to the project?
My only expectation of the project was to find the desert elephants. Since we saw the elephants on three out of four days during the patrol week, my expectations were more than fulfilled.
5) Have you done anything in your free time that you can recommend to future participants?
Swakopmund consists of some nice cafés, for example the Slowtown Coffee or, if you like it more traditional, the Village Cafe. Therefore, it is worth planning one or two more days in the coastal town, since you can see beautiful places and take part in exciting activities which are offered in the sand dunes.
6) What tips/recommendations would you give to other participants?
Since Swakopmund is quite European respectively "German" I can only recommend not to think too much if you have packed all items mentioned on the packing list. It is easier and cheaper to buy the missing items on site.
7) Can you estimate how many additional costs you had on site?
The provision of snacks spread over the two weeks, the purchase of souvenirs from the locals as well as lunch and the final dinner cause additional costs. However, as the currency in Namibia is very weak compared to ours, these costs amount to a maximum of CHF 100-150. (100 EUR).
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