Experience Africa in a meaningful way
Imagine experiencing Africa — we mean really experiencing it. Imagine getting to know the indigenous culture while encountering wild rhinos, elephants, giraffes, zebras and springboks. Imagine falling asleep to the roar of a desert lion. Imagine an elephant's life being spared as a result of your direct efforts. From this truly unforgettable experience, your life will inevitably change — from new relationships, the satisfaction of making a difference and the connection with Mother Africa.
This is a volunteer project created as a result of the escalation in competition in natural resources between the desert elephants and human inhabitants of the northern Erongo and Kunene regions of Namibia. During the two-week project, you will work with local subsistence farmers, building protective walls around their critical water sources while educating locals on how to manage conflict with the elephants. In addition, you will learn to track elephants, recording invaluable data on their movements and diet.
Volunteers hail from all over the world with the majority coming from the United States, Canada and Europe. Ages range from college graduates to retirees, including an even mix of males and females. While there is no consistent demographic, you can be sure every volunteer is an amazing and interesting individual.
Please note: we do require an application for this trip. Please do not book your flight until you have been accepted/confirmed by our office. The trip duration is eleven days.
$1,350 for two week project
January 8 - January 19
January 22 - February 2
February 5 - February 16
February 19 - March 2
March 5 - March 16
March 19 - March 30
April 2 - April 13
April 16 - April 27
April 30 - May 11
May 14 - May 25
May 28 - June 8
June 11 - June 22
June 25 - July 6
July 9 - July 20
July 23 - August 3
August 6 - August 17
August 21 - August 31
September 3 - September 14
September 17 - September 29
October 1 - October 12
October 15 - October 26
October 29 - November 9
November 12 - November 23
November 26 - December 7
The project will be based in Damaraland, located in the northwest section of Namibia. Damaraland has neither fences nor boundaries in the vast, stony desert landscape. Just endless vistas across stark plains, ancient valleys and brooding, distant mountains which, bring the traveler as close to nature as is comfortably possible. Here, the plants and animals have evolved side by side with their environment over millennia and unusual geological features, a wealth of rock paintings and engravings, and populations of elephant, rhino, springbok, giraffe and lion combine to form the unique attraction of Damaraland.
THE ISSUE AND THE SOLUTION
Depletion of the natural water table with increasing human use has led to less-available surface water for consumption. Therefore, man-made water points located close to the riverbeds have become the target for elephants in their quest for fresh water. In their search for these water sources elephants cause extensive damage to windmills, dams, reservoirs, hand-pumps and wells. With the escalation of tourism as an increasing potential revenue stream for these communities, the value of elephants and other wildlife in communal areas has increased dramatically. We will assist these communities by constructing protective structures around water points, educate community members about elephant behavior, create alternative drinking points for the elephants, and promote tourism in the affected areas. Through this work we can assist in alleviating the current pressure facing communal farmers, thereby helping to promote the future of the desert dwelling elephant in harmony with the continuous positive development of the conservancies and their ideals.
PHYSICAL REQUIREMENTS AND SKILLS
To make the most of this project, you must be reasonably fit. There are no special skills required. You will be trained on proper desert camping, wall construction, and elephant tracking.
MEALS AND CONDITIONS
Meals will be provided by your fellow volunteers on a rotational basis. The food, while basic out of necessity, is given utmost care and is quite delicious. If you have special dietary requirements, we advise you to bring your own food to supplement your meals.
While on patrol, you will be sleeping under the desert stars. Bed rolls will be provided, but you will need to bring your own sleeping bag. While the seasons vary, the climate is nearly always ideal for open-air camping. Showers are available during portions of the project. Throughout your time in the desert, you will always have access to a long-drop toilet.
WHAT DOES A TYPICAL DAY LOOK LIKE?
Your day will start with a cup of tea or coffee. As you take in the gorgeous sunrise, your breakfast is being prepared for you over the fire. Once fully fed, your day of making a difference begins. Depending on the stage of the project, you will either be constructing a wall around a well or be on patrol tracking elephants. Once your day is complete, you’ll settle back into the camp where dinner is being prepared. The evenings consist of great food, stories from the day and camaraderie. Sitting around the fire, you will inevitably forge lifetime bonds with your fellow volunteers, most of whom are multinational.
- All accommodations during project
- All meals during project
- All transportation (excluding airfare)
- Experienced guides
WHAT IS NOT INCLUDED
- Round-trip air transportation to Walvis Bay, Namibia
- Travel and lodging before and after project
- Shuttle from airport
- Travel insurance
- Personal items
You will fly into Walvis Bay, a coastal town in Namibia. From there, a shuttle will be waiting to take you to your hotel 30 minutes away in Swakopmund. Here you will unwind, rest, and meet your fellow volunteers. In the evening, the project team will take you through the details of the next two weeks. You will learn more about the importance of the effort, how it has already made a difference, and hear stories from past volunteers. The project begins Monday morning, so it is recommended you arrive at least by Sunday prior to the start date. Please wait for a confirmation email in addition to your receipt before booking a flight.
After the project is completed, you can either fly back that Sunday or stay in Africa for more adventure! Many volunteers choose to further explore the region by staying on the project for another two weeks, venturing to Zimbabwe to see Victoria Falls, or flying to Cape Town, South Africa for a change in pace. These are just a few examples—your guides have a wealth of knowledge and will happily assist you in planning your next adventure.
CONTACT US WITH QUESTIONS. WE LOVE TO HELP!
We love talking about this project so please feel free to contact us with any questions. Occasionally, we host meet-and-greets so you can ask all your questions in person and meet other volunteers. If you do not see one scheduled on our calendar, please contact us and we will happily arrange a meeting.