Volunteer – Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary

EKOSINI

WHAT WILL BE EXPECTED OF ME?

Wildlife Project

If you are looking for a hands-on wildlife experience, then the Wildlife Project is right for you! Participation in the volunteer program provides employment to the local Bushman community and ensures the rescue, survival and rehabilitation of the wildlife that are housed in natural environments around the reserve. This is a particularly popular program for volunteers who have a passion for various forms of wildlife. Other programs tend to focus on one species of animal, but the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary offers a wide variety of animals and activities that volunteers can experience.

The Sanctuary currently provides safe haven to lion, leopard, wild dog, cheetah, baboon, meerkat, African wildcat, caracal, jackal and tortoise.  The reserve on which the sanctuary resides is also home to all kinds of wildlife living in their natural environment, freely roaming the land including leopard, cheetah, kudu, oryx, hartebeest, duiker, warthog, ostrich, caracal, jackal, baboon, African wild cat, mongoose, meerkat, vulture, eagle, and various other bird species – the list is endless!

During your time on the wildlife project you can expect to participate in the following activities:

Animal Time – food preparation, feeding the animals, grooming, de-ticking, walking and playing with the animals, riding or exercising the horses, baboon and caracal walks, as well as cheetah time

Farm Work, Security & Maintenance – enclosure/fence patrol, building and maintenance both on the reserve and around the perimeter

Guest Carnivore Feeding Tours – assisting our tour guide with preparing meat & feeding the Lions, Leopards, Wild Dogs, Cheetahs and Baboons

Veterinary Care – should the need arise, we may ask you to assist us with caring for sick or injured animals

Research Project

If you are looking for a hands-on scientific experience, then the Research Project is right for you! The Namibian land is becoming more and more fragmented as a result of commercial farming and farmers often come into conflict with large carnivores (leopard, cheetah, brown hyena) as they pose a threat to their livestock. It is our vision to play a proactive role in reducing conflict between human and predator.  This initiative aims to trap, radio collar and monitor predators. Once we have fitted a radio collar, we will release them in order to track their activities and movements using telemetry, GPS and other suitable methods. At the moment the research program is monitoring the activities of five study animals, two leopards and three cheetahs.

Volunteers will work alongside experienced bushman trackers and follow predator spoors. Working with bushman people shall ensure high data quality as well as the best learning experience for our volunteers. The data obtained will be logged into a GIS database and updated on a regular basis. Our research program puts special focus on working on commercial farmlands in order to alleviate existing human – carnivore conflicts. We believe this to be of utmost importance as commercial farmlands still harbor the vast majority of Namibia’s cheetahs and leopards. Thus, our involvement is particularly concerned with generating information which can be used to lessen farmers’ losses, increase tolerance of so-called “problem animals” and expose the public to the importance of conserving these amazing natural assets.

You can expect a whole new perspective on wildlife while participating in our research program. Activities may include:

– Capture and immobilization of large carnivores

– Wildlife census (either from the car or at waterholes)

– Searching for cheetah marking trees

– Locating collared carnivores through telemetry

– Identifying, counting and tracking carnivore spoors

– Setting and checking box traps

– Vegetation survey

– Data entry

On top of the aforementioned activities, research volunteers may have the opportunity to assist us in the monitoring of three cheetahs that we have released into a conservation area in the South of Namibia recently (NamibRand Nature Reserve). This is a chance not to be missed! Volunteers together with a member of the research team will travel to the reserve for approx 7-8 days to locate the cheetahs by means of radio-telemetry and record their activities on a daily basis.  The NamibRand monitoring does not take place between Nov/Dec – Feb as the heat is unbearable.

Research volunteers need to be fit for hilly country, unpredictable weather and steep paths. Some activities will require walking long distances while others can be conducted from a car. It would be advantageous if you could bring your binoculars, GPS devices, compasses, and/or range finders as they can be useful during some of the activities or during your time “off duty.”

HOW LONG CAN I VOLUNTEER FOR?

1 week and up. Most volunteers stay for 2-4 weeks, but longer is possible.

WHAT QUALIFICATIONS, IF ANY, DO I REQUIRE?

The sanctuary accepts volunteers of 17+ years of age.  Volunteers under 17 years old are only considered when accompanied by a parent/guardian.  There isn’t a maximum age limit, though a reasonable fitness level is necessary.

Volunteers are required to sign an indemnity form acknowledging and accepting the consequences of working in close contact with wild animals.

WHAT LANGUAGE WILL I NEED TO KNOW?

English

HOW DO I GET TO YOUR LOCATION?

The closest city to the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary is WINDHOEK. Flights are available from Europe to Windhoek as well as from Johannesburg/Cape Town to Windhoek.  Great fares from Jo’Burg to Windhoek can be found at www.kulula.com. We can arrange “meet and greet” pickups at the Windhoek Airport.

There are no set dates for this project so volunteers just need to inform Enkosini Eco Experience of the date they are planning to arrive. Arrival transfers are included free-of-charge on Mondays and Thursdays, and departure transfers are free-of-charge every day. Off-schedule airport transfers cost 500 ZAR per person.

ARE THERE ANY COSTS INVOLVED TO VOLUNTEER?

Click HERE to find out up to date costs and requirements for volunteering with NAMIBIA WILDLIFE SANCTUARY.

WHAT TYPE OF ACCOMMODATION, MEALS AND FACILITIES CAN I EXPECT TO BE AVAILABLE TO ME?

Meals & Accommodation

Food is basic but tasty.  Breakfast is self-service and includes toast & cereals. Lunch is typically cold and varies between sandwiches, soup or filled pancakes and fruit when available. Dinner is typically a hot meal or on occasion a braai (barbeque) and typically includes meat (local game), vegetables, bread, pasta and rice.

Accommodation is basic, clean and single-sex sharing with 3 beds in each room. The single beds are comfortable with bedding provided (sheets, duvets and pillows).  Bathrooms include 3 showers, wash basins and 3 toilets. Towels are provided on arrival (although towels for sunbathing should be added to your list of things to bring).

Electricity is available in the rooms.  The plugs used in Namibia are 3 large round pins (same as the South African style) so you will need to bring an adaptor in order to charge electronic items such as phones and camera batteries. Please be sensible when using electricity, as it is much more of a luxury in Africa than it is in your home country. Also please be prepared for frequent power cuts and try to be understanding and flexible about charging your items and bring spare batteries!

A laundry service is provided twice a week.  However, you will have to hand-wash your own underwear and socks so please bring travel wash with you.

Communication

Due to the rural location of the project, there is only very unreliable internet service at the camp and therefore this is used for emergencies only. If you get the chance to take a trip to Windhoek, you will be able to access the internet from there.

We suggest that you bring your mobile phone with you (roaming activated).  It is also a good idea to unlock your phone in case you get the opportunity to buy a local Namibian SIM card for about £15, which will allow you to call and text home cheaply and easily. Due to the rural location of the project, the mobile phone signal is quite weak, although there are a few spots around camp where you can get reception, but you will need to walk around a bit to find these! The international dialing code for Namibia is +264.

WHAT WILDLIFE SPECIES ARE THERE?

The animals that the volunteers will mostly work with are baboons, caracals, cheetahs and farm yard animals. There will also be leopards, lions and wildogs.

There are also many free roaming animals and it’s hard to say which ones are seen most often as it depends on time of year.

WHAT ATTRACTIONS CAN I EXPERIENCE DURING FREE-TIME?

Extra Activities

Nature walks, volleyball, football with the Bushmen, trips to Windhoek, evenings at the Guest Lodge and sleep outs in the summer months – setting up camp under the stars and watching the sunset surrounded by nature is an exhilarating experience. Making a camp fire, baking bread on sticks and having a braai (barbeque) is all part of the fun!

IN CONCLUSION

The Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary is the perfect place for you to live your dream whether your interests lie in helping orphaned or injured African wildlife, researching cheetah and leopard or making a difference to the medical welfare of the under privileged Bushman community. The Sanctuary has 3 projects available to you: Wildlife, Research and Medical. The Wildlife and Research projects work hand in hand, so not only will you assist the project coordinators with caring for the large carnivores and various other species of African wildlife rehabilitated at the sanctuary, but you may also have the opportunity to research and release cheetah and leopard in the local area. In addition, depending on the length of your stay, you may be privileged to join our wild cheetah release and tracking project in the beautiful release site, Namib Rand Nature Reserve, located in the south of Namibia.

The Medical project can be booked as an individual project or it can be combined with the Wildlife and Research projects, depending on the length of your stay. The main aim of the Bushman Clinic is to provide accessible affordable primary healthcare to the people living in the region of Epukiro in the east of Namibia. If you are interested in volunteering at the Bushman Clinic, please contact us for additional information.

Background

Namibia is a country blessed with breathtaking sceneries, magnificent vistas and the most diverse array of unique landscapes. Besides its beautiful land, Namibia is fortunate enough to possess healthy populations of wildlife; it is one of the few African nations where six species of large carnivores still occur: cheetah, leopard, lion, spotted hyena, brown hyena and wild dog.

At the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary it is our vision to play a pro-active role in nature conservation because we believe that we hold this invaluable heritage in our trust for future generations. Threatened animals are rescued (following a range of complete health check ups) and are then cared for or relocated to suitable protected areas or other conservation friendly farms with the correct habitat and food chain. The wildlife sanctuary itself will only accommodate animals which cannot be rehabilitated back into their natural environment; mostly for reasons of human impact. We strongly believe the wild belongs in the wild, and thus all our efforts are directed at long term rehabilitation.

People are key to the success of our idea and we wish to share with you the incredible experience, sense of fulfillment and achievement associated with caring for, researching and releasing our spectacular wildlife.  We hope that you will build memories for a lifetime.

For more information on ENKOSINI ECO EXPERIENCE, please visit www.enkosini.org

For important information on travelling overseas, please read ‘KNOW BEFORE YOU GO WILD!‘