Sabbatical Southern Africa: Wildlife Conservation between Desert and Water
Dreaming of recharging your energy reserves amidst Africa's incomparable wilderness, supporting a good cause and getting to know the incredible contrasts of the continent?
Travel to Namibia and the Seychelles, experience incredible scenic diversity and volunteer to protect endangered species!
While your main tasks in Namibia are to mitigate the human-elephant conflict and to research local elephant populations, in the Seychelles you are dedicated to conserving the pristine island flora and fauna.
In the dusty, dry expanses of Damaraland and on the dream island of North Island, an enriching time-out awaits you that not only allows you to completely switch off, but also teaches you valuable skills and insights.
The following description serves to give you an idea of how your conservation sabbatical in Namibia and the Seychelles may look like. It is up to you which destination you go first and how long you will stay. Just reach out to us, tell us about your wants and needs, and we will create your very own sabbatical adventure in the wild.
- Support the protection of elephants and turtles
- Get to know the contrasts of Africa
- Live amidst the wild nature of Damaraland
- Spend the night under the stars
- Enjoy the marine vibes of North Island
- Observe exotic animals in the wild
- Acquire new knowledge and skills
- Gather new energy in the midst of stunning landscapes
Sabbatical in Namibia and the Seychelles
During this conservation sabbatical, you can make a valuable contribution to the preservation of endangered elephants and turtles while switching off amidst the beautiful Damara wilderness and the island paradise of the Seychelles.
Arrival and orientation in Namibia
You will arrive at Walvis Bay Airport at the weekend, from where you will be picked up and brought to Swakopmund for an additional fee. There, you will first meet your supervisors and other volunteers and get an insight into the project and its tasks. On the following Monday morning, the project finally begins with final errands and the drive to your base camp.
Activities during your sabbatical year in Africa
You will spend your sabbatical as a volunteer in two different projects: the elephant conservation project in Namibia's Damaraland and the species conservation project on the Seychelles' North Island.
In Namibia, together with a team of other volunteers, you will help with the construction of protective walls, the development of new water points and the research of the local desert elephant populations via tracking and data documentation.
After the project in Namibia and (perhaps) a transition period (not included in the programme), you set off for your next destination.
On North Island, you will support restoration work together with other volunteers and dedicate yourself to the protection of endangered marine and land turtles by observing and monitoring populations and contributing to the conservation of marine habitats.
The itinerary below contains more details about the itinerary and your activities.
Accommodation during your time-out
Namibia: During the so-called "Building Week", a base camp is usually set up near the project site. The volunteers spend the night in two-man tents or around the campfire, where they cook and eat together.
During the following "Patrol Week", you and your team will follow the local desert elephants. During this time, you will spend the night in ever-changing, stunning open-air locations. Sanitary facilities are generally limited: In the "Building Week", outhouse toilets and bucket showers are used; in the "Patrol Week", no permanent facilities are available.
Seychelles: Together with other team members, you will be accommodated in a volunteer house on the island. The house is equipped with mixed-gender double bedrooms and a shared bathroom. You will receive three meals per day. Four times a week, you have the opportunity to buy small snacks in the on-site staff shop. WiFi is available in the so-called environment office, but it can only be used for e-mail communication.
Free time as a volunteer in Southern Africa
During your stay in the projects, you will always have some time for yourself. In Namibia, if you stay for more than two weeks, you can take the opportunity to go on an excursion to Swakopmund on your free weekend and enjoy the cozy restaurants, bars and some sights. Alternatively, you can spend your free time at the base camp surrounded by the unique wilderness.
In the Seychelles, you work six days a week. Fridays are usually free. Every day from 04:00 PM, you can rent water sports and surfing equipment in the staff village and get to know North Island's underwater world by swimming, snorkelling and diving. You can also go hiking on the island or head to the main island of Mahé and explore the capital of Victoria.
Arrival in Namibia
Elephant project in Damaraland
Onward journey from Namibia to the Seychelles
Species conservation project on North Island
End of your sabbatical and departure/onward travel
“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.”
“This project really does its job and benefits the locals.”
“Als Stadtmensch habe ich mich sofort in die Stille und Schönheit der Insel verliebt. Ich hatte mich der Natur noch nie so nahe gefühlt.”
“To me, the overall island feeling was beyond words and with it the “isolation from the outside”, animals and nature were unique.”
Damaraland is located in the northwest of Namibia. Characterized by gorges, hills and table mountains, it is one of the most impressive and interesting areas of the country. The extraordinary landscapes and the fauna, which constantly need to defy the region’s drought, surely leave each visitor in awe. Particularly in the west, populations of the highly endangered black rhino can be found alongside the impressive desert elephants.
Damaraland also has a lot to offer culturally: rock and cave paintings from thousands of years ago can be admired as part of a visit to the Spitzkoppe, the Brandberg or Twyfelfontein. Damaraland – a real highlight of a journey through the vastness of Namibia.
2. North Island
The private island of North Island in the Seychelles is a magnificent island jewel that combines peace and relaxation with unparalleled natural beauty. North Island lies in the heart of the Seychelles archipelago – white sandy beaches, a turquoise ocean and a mountainous, wooded hinterland characterize the landscape. Also the tropical mangrove forests and impressive granite formations amaze its guests.
During your time as a species conservation volunteer you will have the opportunity to experience the natural beauty of the island up close, actively contribute to its protection and encounter fascinating, partly endemic species in their natural habitat.
Background of your sabbatical in Namibia and the Seychelles
This sabbatical combines the magical, dusty expanses of Damaraland with the marine paradise of North Island.
As a volunteer in the two projects in Namibia and the Seychelles, you will gain a multi-faceted insight into real species conservation and get to know different species – from rare desert elephants to fascinating sea turtles.
But why exactly do we need your helping hands? Namibia's Damaraland is a region affected by the so-called human-elephant conflict. This conflict stems from the fact that the local population often uses the same water sources as the local elephant herds, making them inaccessible to them. In their search for water, the animals push further and further into human settlements and unknowingly damage the villages’ infrastructure.
As a result, the population tries to drive the elephants away which repeatedly leads to wounded or even dead animals. The aim of the species conservation project we support in Namibia is to protect the elephants from straying into human settlements by means of construction measures. In addition, alternative water sources are to be developed in order to provide both humans and animals with undisturbed access to drinking water.
In the Seychelles, on the other hand, large-scale coconut cultivation until the 1970s led to severe damage to nature and thus to the decrease of native species. As a volunteer, you contribute to restoring and preserving the island’s unique natural areas and habitats.
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