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Namibia Wildlife Rescue and Research


Namibia Wildlife Rescue and Research

Project Highlights

You will be living close to many wild animals in the Namibian bush. Nothing beats being surrounded by a pride of lions, leopards or cheetahs and being able to spend time observing their individual traits!
You will be able to participate in anti-poaching efforts
You will be accompanied by people who are very passionate about animals
You will learn and experience how each animal behaves, reacts and what their characters are like

This program is a combination of volunteering at the Wildlife Rescue Centre and one week at one of the research centres that are located in different parts of Namibia. Return transfer to one of the research centres is included. If you are staying for longer than 3 weeks and decide to spend more than one week at any of the research centres, you can organise this locally subject to availability. If there are additional transfer costs these can be paid locally. If possible, please let us know in advance which research centre you wish to visit.

Volunteer Tasks

You will have the rare and exciting opportunity to actively participate in the conservation, rehabilitation, care and research of African wildlife. The Wildlife Rescue Centre currently provides a safe refuge for orphaned, injured or conflict wildlife including several lions, leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs, caracals, warthogs, antelope, baboons, smaller African mammals and farmyard animals. Your contribution is crucial in helping us to care for the animals in rehabilitation or permanent captivity at the Wildlife Rescue Centre as well as helping to maintain and develop the sanctuary. This is an exceptional opportunity to get observational and hands-on experience with African wildlife and the many aspects of their care.

Duties that do not directly interact with the animals are still crucial to their well-being. General maintenance and cleaning of the grounds (for example cutting grass to ensure there are no ticks, fleas, snakes or spiders, and poop scooping) are regular tasks on the farm for the health and safety of all the animals in our care. As a volunteer, you will be able to experience each of the various jobs on the farm. We rotate the tasks among the volunteers to ensure everyone has an opportunity to both help with farm maintenance and animal care equally. If you are staying for less than 3 weeks at the Wildlife Rescue Centre, it may mean that you are not able to participate in all activities. Carefully check your schedule on arrival and speak to the local staff if there is a task you would really like to join, but isn’t included in your current schedule.

Average Working Day

Based on the rotation schedule, volunteers are divided into groups to work with two activities a day between 08:00 and 17:00. There is a short break in the morning followed by lunch from 13:00-14:30. The daily activities at the centre include:

Preparing food * and feeding the animals
Cleaning of enclosures
Providing enrichment ie. creating devices and objects that stimulate the animals' natural behaviour physically and mentally
Caring for juvenile wildlife
Physical labour such as building new facilities
Research including monitoring free-roaming carnivores, analysing camera traps and GPS data
Game counts in the bush

* While we require a lot of assistance with preparing meat for the animals, volunteers who do not feel comfortable with this task will not be forced to do so.

Working with animals requires flexibility, and while on weekends there are fewer tasks, the animals still need to be fed. Something out of the ordinary can also happen at night if it's for example your turn to look after the baby baboons. Please note the only animal interaction is with the baboons. On Saturday afternoons there will be a fun non-work related activity followed by a braai (barbeque). On Sundays you will be on food preparation duty either in the morning or in the afternoon, so you will have half the day off. All non-working hours are free time to explore the sanctuary!

Please note that from time to time there can be unavoidable changes to the project. These can be caused by weather, conservation priorities, materials supply, or because ongoing projects have progressed more quickly or slowly than originally planned. We ask you to accept the changes - we are sure that you will enjoy the replacement projects just as much.

Research Sites

Volunteers start at the wildlife sanctuary, getting hands-on with caring for animals. After that, it's pick-your-path time! Choose a research site with different focuses – wildlife tracking, habitat care, or community projects. It's like crafting your unique conservation journey, serious stuff with a touch of your personal flair. Due to the different start days at the various research sites, your time at the widlife rescue centre may be split around your time at the research centre.

Research Volunteering at TimBila

Timbila encompasses 30,500 hectares of pristine wildlife habitat, serving as a haven for diverse fauna and flora. Its residents include giraffes, white rhinoceroses, elands, Hartmann's mountain zebras, wildebeests, kudus, waterbucks, gemsboks, impalas, and Damara dik-diks. Functioning as a sanctuary for conflict animals and ambassador species, Timbila hosts African wild dogs, rehabilitated lions, and free-ranging carnivores such as leopards, cheetahs, and brown hyenas. Notably, the reserve focuses on monitoring rehabilitated lions and elephants originating from the Erongo Region due to human-wildlife conflicts. Camera traps have revealed fascinating nocturnal creatures like Aardvarks and elusive African Wild Cats. Timbila stands as a crucial space for conservation and research.

Volunteer activities will include
Maintenance of camera traps
Monitoring camera trap images - Placing camera traps at strategic locations in order to establish the biodiversity of the reserve. This will include sorting through all camera trap images
Monitoring GPS data from collared carnivores
Participating in the release of wildlife (should the occasion arise)
Learning tracking skills - The research team shows volunteers how to find and identify tracks and scat markings from animals, as well as how to use GPS.
Road maintenance - Building and maintaining any internal required structures.
Fence maintenance and removal - Volunteers will assist in the removal of internal fences in order to rehabilitate landscape and allow for the free movement of wildlife.
Game counts
Research of local ecology
Carnivore research

Research Volunteering at Kanaan

Research volunteers at Kanaan may be involved with mapping the terrain, assisting with capture and releases, tracking, game counts, camera trap placement and analysis, maintenance and security on the reserve, and landscape conservation. Night drives and sleep-outs are an irreplaceable experience. During free-time, sundowners amidst the beauty of the Namib Desert and sandboarding are definite highlights.Focus areas are:
- Wildlife Tracking
- Maintaining camera traps & sorting through camera trap images
- Game counts
- Hiking
- Environmental rehabilitation including wire braiding
- Research presentations

Other Activites at Kanaan

One of the must-do activities in the Namib Desert is the sun-downer (local payment applies). Enjoy the tranquillity and breath-taking scenery of the Namib when the sun sets and paints the desert in unimaginable colours. We also conduct night drives or sleep-outs as part of our security protocol, but also to observe some of the nocturnal desert wildlife. While you're here, make sure you sit back and let your mind wander away from the buzz of civilization – Kanaan is the ideal place for relaxation. The Namib night sky with its ever-prominent Milky Way is another highlight not to be missed.

Coastal Conservation

Explore Namibia's coastal wonders, where the Atlantic Ocean meets the ancient Namib Desert, Earth's oldest living desert. This dynamic ecosystem, crucial for marine and bird life, faces peril from unsustainable tourism and fishing practices. The Coastal Conservation Project, situated near Swakopmund, strives to safeguard this delicate balance. Volunteers actively engage in cleaning up waste, aiding wildlife affected by debris, and gaining insights into the coastal ecosystem's conservation significance. Positioned at Long Beach, the project offers an ideal base for conservation exploration, historical immersion, and adventurous activities, creating a unique volunteering experience that intertwines conservation, adrenaline, and Namibia's colonial heritage.

Volunteering Activities will include
Cleaning up waste at the coastline near Henties Bay and the volunteer house - Average of 350 kg waste collected per week
Weigh collected trash
Clean camping equipment
Observe seals at Pelican Point
To clean up the coast of waste product and debris, going from Swakopmund to the north and to the south
Provide a day of fun and unique activities that can only be experienced in the surroundings of Swakopmund
To promote sustainable practices and provide education as to the importance of coastal ecosystem conservation for biodiversity maintenance, to both visitors to the project and local communities.
Camping at Jakkalsputz and Camping at St. Nowhere
Swakopmund exploration

Additional activities - Local payment

Living Desert Tour from NAD 850/ € 45
Dune quad-biking (2 hours) from NAD 850/ €45
Kayaking with seals from NAD 1.200 / € 60
Catamaran Tour from NAD 1.200 / € 55
Skydiving (incl. video) from NAD 5.500 / € 275
Swakopmund Fat Bike Tour from NAD 750 / € 40 (3 hours)

Inclusions for all research centres

Airport pick-up on arrival & drop-off at departure (Windhoek International)
Three meals a day
Return transport to one of the research centres
24-hour support & supervision
Donation to the project
Certificate of appreciation

Mandatory Volunteer Requirements

Minimum age of 18
Basic level of competency in English
Completed application form
The most important things to bring are a sense of humour, patience, an open mind and a positive attitude!

Visa Info
You will receive a 90 day tourist visa on arrival, remember to have a copy of your supporting letter.

Why not add on the Namibia Adventure Week?
Get out and explore the deserts of Namibia. Activities included are hiking (approximately 5k - 10km per day), Sossusvlei day trip, sleep outs in the bush, and wine tasting.

What Makes a Good Volunteer?

Volunteers need to be flexible and keep an open mind concerning their placements as situations can arise beyond our control which could require you to be placed at a different project than the one you have initially chosen. We will of course always do our utmost to fulfill your initial wishes but do remember that where you are going is quite different from where you are coming and as such one should be prepared for things not always going according to plan.

Volunteering and intercultural travel share a common trait: the more you put into it, the more you get out of it. This program is designed for proactive individuals and groups that are prepared to adapt to the local environment and its current needs. Naturally, the scheduling and activities of our program are subject to change. Alterations in activities are mainly due to changes in local conditions, which we believe is part of what makes overseas programs the interesting adventure and incredible learning experience that they are.

How Long Should I Volunteer?

Our projects range from 1 week up to approx. 30 weeks. Projects have a specified minimum stay, then it’s up to you how long you can commit. In our experience the longer you stay the more you will gain, as your understanding of the project broadens and you take on more responsibilities. Every volunteer will be given a certificate of appreciation at the end of their stay as a symbol of volunteering stay.

Wat is inbegrepen?


Wildlife Rescue Centre
The tented accommodation at the Wildlife Rescue Centre is shared between 2-4 people (same gender). The accommodation is basic, but our single beds are comfortable with bedding provided (duvets, pillows and linen). Showers and toilet facilities are shared and hot water is supplied by solar energy and therefore sometimes restricted. Please be aware that there may be a water shortage during the dry season. In general use water sparingly and have short showers. There is also a swimming pool and power sockets for electrical items in the communal areas. Laundry services are available on selected days.
Bring warm clothes for sleeping during the winter months, it can get cold at night and there isn't heating in the tents.

Research Centres
The facilities at our research sites are very similar to the ones provided at the Wildlife Rescue Centre, with accommodation either in guest house rooms or in large tents.

Comfortable volunteer area with a breathtaking view over the reserve
Lapa area with barbecue facilities
Three meals served daily (dietary requirements catered for)
Swimming pool
Laundry service
Twin share rooms (same gender sharing)
Linen and towels provided
Shop available, cell-phone reception, Wi-Fi available
Solar powered electricity, may not be strong enough for devices needing a lot of energy

Twin or quadruple share rooms (same gender sharing)
Linen and towels provided
3 meals provided per day, most dietary requirements can be catered for
Laundry service
Bar/shop for drinks, snacks, limited cell-phone reception,
Free Wi-Fi available at certain times

Coastal Conservation
Twin, triple and quadruple share rooms (same gender sharing)
Linen and towels provided
3 meals provided per day, most dietary requirements can be catered for
Laundry service
Cell phone reception,
Wi-Fi available

Lokaal vervoer

You will be met at Windhoek International Airport and taken to the project.
Arrival Day: Any day (Transfer to research site Depend on project chosen )

Transfer to the Research Centre

For Kanaan Desert Retreat / Timbila Nature Reserve
Transfers to, from and between these sites occur on Saturdays. The starting point is the sanctuary.
Please ensure you arrive at the Sanctuary at least one night prior to your early morning Saturday departure to site and that your departing flight is after your Saturday evening return from site. You will be based on the Sanctuary for any additional
nights that you are not at the research sites.

For Coastal project
Transfers to, from and between these sites occur on Friday . The starting point is the sanctuary.
Please ensure you arrive at the Sanctuary at least one night prior to your early morning Friday departure to site and that your departing flight is after your Friday evening return from site.

You will be based on the Sanctuary for any additional nights that you are not at the research sites. If you wish to visit more than one research centre, you can organise this locally with the project co-ordinator. Possible extra transportation costs are paid locally.

You will be taken to Windhoek International Airport to catch your departure flight.


At the Wildlife Rescue Centre, Timbala, Coastal conservation and Kanaan three balanced meals are provided daily on a self-serve basis. Breakfast consists of cereals, fruit, yoghurts, toast and spreads. Lunch varies from cold to hot meals (for example wraps, salads, pasta dishes, sandwiches). Dinner is a hot meal such as stews, chicken dishes etc. On weekends we often have a braai (barbecue). Tea and coffee will be available, while all other drinks are at your own expense. You can buy snacks in the several grocery stores located nearby. There are refrigerators available for volunteers’ personal food and soft drinks. Vegetarian options are available upon request and all dietary resrtiction can be accommodated for provided you inform us prior to arrival.

Houd er rekening mee

Insurances & Flight Tickets
Travel insurance is compulsory. You are also required to present a copy of your return flight itinerary when entering Namibia.

What to Bring
The type of clothing you should bring depends on the time of year. In any case bring old work clothes that you don't mind getting worn and dirty, you will be handling meat during food preperation. Proper boots or shoes with closed toes, as well as work gloves to protect your hands. If possible, please mark your clothing with your name prior to arrival. Lots of hiking is involved, so comfortable walking shoes needed.

Internet Access
There is no WiFi at the project due to the poor reception so we suggest you purchase a Namibian SIM card and load data on it. You can purchase a SIM card at the airport upon arrival or once you get to the project.

There is an ATM at the project, but it's not always functional due to signal problems. We therefore suggest that you get cash at the ATM at the airport upon arrival.

Shops/Grocery Stores
You can book a transfer to the city centre with your volunteer co-ordinator to purchase any essentials or additional food items at an additional cost of NAD250 per trip.

Winter in Namibia
May to September is the winter period and can be very cold at night and in the early mornings and daytime temperatures can vary. Please make sure to pack enough warm clothes if you plan your trip in that period. A sleeping bag is recommended! October to April is the summer period and the rainy season is from November-February. Whilst during this time it is generally hot during the day it can rain and become chilly in the evenings so do pack a jumper or fleece and waterproof jacket.

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