Discover Namibia with your entire family and help to save endangered desert elephants as part of this fascinating species conservation project. Together, you experience an unforgettable outdoor adventure in the wilderness with the chance of unique wildlife viewings; and through contact to natives you get authentic insights into the culture of Namibia. In the first few days, you participate in a “Building Project” that is carried out at a primary school in Erongo to help contain the human-wildlife conflict. The second part of the course is spent with patrols through the Erongo region to collect important data for the protection of the endangered desert elephants. Besides these impressive animals, you get the chance to see other wild animals like rhinos, kudus, giraffes, zebras, and springboks! Experience Namibia in an unforgettable way and discover the home of the desert elephants as a volunteer together with your family.
When traveling to Namibia you get to see a land of contrasts: desert landscapes near the coast, bizarre mountain ranges and rocky high plateaus as well as verdant riversides. The species conservation project is mostly active in the mountainous landscape of the Erongo region. In the south of Erongo you can find the enormous Brandberg Mountains, whose highest point is the mountain Königstein with a height of about 2.600 meters. When you go farther north the landscape gets hillier and the vegetation richer. Despite the dry climate and the low water resources, this region is the habitat of several wild animals like the desert elephants, leopards, giraffes, zebras, lions, and rhinos. Travel to southern Africa and experience an unforgettable family adventure in the pristine, wild nature of Namibia.
You and your family arrive in Swakopmund either at the day of the start of the project or preferably one day earlier and spend a night in the town. You get picked up at the following morning and are brought to your basecamp for the first days. After you and your group settled in, you get an introduction in the project, its goals, and the planed course in the evening.
The next morning you and your supervisor set out to a primary school that is a few walking minutes away from your basecamp. The closeness between the village, in which the school is located, and the native elephants is unique. The main task of the upcoming “Building Project” is, first of all, to help contain the prevailing human-wildlife conflict with selected structural measures. The locals often perceive the elephants as a threat – an attitude that can be dangerous for the animals. The project aims at showing the people ways for a peaceful cohabitation between them and the animals and thus causing them to rethink. In the first days of the project you not only get the chance to help reduce the human-wildlife conflict but also to get an authentic insight in the Namibian way of life through contact to the locals.
After finishing the school project your group relaxes for a day before the “Patrol Days” start at the next day. The goals of these drives are twofold: on the one hand, it is to have a presence in an area where elephants are under threat and to make sure that they have no injuries. On the other hand, it is necessary to comply identification files of ‘new’ herds of elephants in the northern reaches of the area, because these elephants are causing a lot of damage to the local farms. To pursue these tasks, you drive through the wild Namibian backcountry with a jeep and record the necessary data. Each day of patrol includes some time of walking, so that especially the children will not get bored in the car. Your experienced course guide teaches you basic skills on how to track elephants and also shares his knowledge about the flora and fauna. You camp at a different location in the wilderness each night and sleep under Namibia’s breathtaking starry sky. At the last day of your “Patrol Days” you go back to your basecamp around midday and finish your volunteer adventure together at the campfire. You start your way back to Swakopmund the next morning and will surely have had lots of cultural insights and wildlife viewings.
We realise that some participants of our projects in Southern Africa would like 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.
Your time as a volunteer starts and ends in Swakopmund at the east coast of Namibia. After you and your family have spent a night in the city, you will be picked up and brought to a basecamp around 120 kilometers north of the town Omaruru, where you sleep and eat for just under a week. You usually sleep at the campfire under the starry sky, where you also cook and eat together. Every day a family will be on “kitchen duty” which involves making breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
The second part of the project consists of tracking and following desert elephants so that you camp at different, spectacular locations under the stars every night. Your project ends after ten days and you start your way back to Swakopmund.
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.
After dinner you have time to relax and end the day together at the campfire. Between the “Building Days” and “Patrol Days”, your group has a whole day off to relax and discover the surroundings. Anyone who is interested can join a nature walk, where your course guide teaches you about the nature of Namibia, edible plants, and important survival skills.
Species conservation is frequently required in conflict situations where humans are encroaching on animal habitats. The rare African Desert elephant, which lives in Damaraland in the dry environment of Western Namibia, is the victim of one such conflict. The local population frequently uses the same water sources as elephants, rendering them inaccessible. Driven by their natural instincts to find new water sources, they are forced deeper and deeper into human settlements, where they cause unintentional damage to infrastructure. Local people react by driving the elephants off, which frequently results in animals being injured or killed. One aim of the project is to use construction work to prevent elephants wandering into human settlements and getting into unnecessary danger. it also aims to provide alternative water sources so that both people and elephants have consistent access to drinking water.