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.
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.
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
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!
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 pro active 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 leopard and three cheetah.
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.”
The sanctuary accepts volunteers of 18+ years of age. Volunteers under 18 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. Families are welcome to join our "exclusive" program!
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.
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.
Work Visa Requirement
The Namibian Department of Home Affairs requires work visas for all volunteers of all nationalities joining the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary. We have engaged a company in Windhoek to process all work visa applications and the application fee will be $99 USD. Please submit your visa application with passport copy and document of independence 6 weeks before arrival. Unless you have a work visa in hand, you must never mention that you are volunteering at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary - you may be denied entry as this can be misconstrued by Immigration at working in the country.
We welcome volunteers from all across the world aged 17+ to join our projects. No experience or qualifications are necessary.
Volunteers are required to sign an indemnity form acknowledging and accepting the consequences of working in close contact with wild animals.
2 weeks: GB£695 / US$995
3 weeks: GB£975 / US$1295
4 weeks: GB£1195 / US$1595
Extra weeks: GB£195 / US$295 per week
Volunteers can spend their full stay at the Wildlife Program or experience a combination of the Wildlife and Research Programs (highly recommend). The Research Program costs an extra $100 per week to cover additional travel expenses to the research site.
Volunteers get discounted rates when joining 2 or more Enkosini programs!
Enkosini uses USD rates as standard due to currency fluctuations. GBP rates are indications of approx recent values. Currency convertor atwww.xe.com.
The volunteer contribution covers meals, accommodation, activities, airport transfers from Windhoek to the Sanctuary, training, and donation to the project. Flights and travel/medical insurance are NOT included. The only additional spending money required will be for personal purchases (curios, alcohol, soda, chocolates, sweets, toiletries), communication (phone/email), social excursions away from the sanctuary, and pre/post project travel.
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.
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.
“I cannot thank you enough for your guidance in steering me towards the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary and Makalali Game Reserve. I loved both places, each one a perfect counterpoint to the other and both so different. Asking me to choose one experience over the other would be tantamount to asking a mother to pick between her children. I love them both for entirely different reasons.
As you know, the primary focus at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary is the care and protection of the animals that are fortunate enough to have found there way there, albeit by various means. The dedication of the staff there, Carol, Jo, Flo, Cila (to name a few) is humbling. Working side by side with them was indeed a privilege. Whether it was preparing food, repairing roads, building animal enclosures, pulling up fence posts or just playing with the cheetahs, baboons and caracals, the goal was always a common one: whatever was best for the animals. I developed such a bond with one of the baboons, a young male named "Bucket," that I honestly didn't know how I would bring myself to leave him. I called him my "Bucket of Love" and that's exactly what he was.
Then there were the three cheetah siblings. There simply are no words to describe the absolute thrill I experienced when I first met them. All I can tell you that spending time with them was the culmination of a lifelong dream. These animals embody the plight of so many of Africa's creatures and a more noble representative, Africa could not have.
Makalali, on the other hand, was equally enthralling yet totally different. Rather than having to rely on human intervention for their day-to-care as the animals do at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary, as you know Makalali wildife is totally self sufficient. Instead of hands on care, as a volunteer I enjoyed the privilege of tracking and monitoring the various animals and their behaviors at Makalali. Never a morning person, I found myself eager to arise at 5:30 AM daily to begin our morning quest for the animals. Never knowing what to anticipate, my experiences included sitting in a landrover surrounded by elephants, watching a large male lion and a female lioness mating just a few feet away and tracking a rhino and her calf on foot. Like the staff at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary, the Makalali rangers/trackers are a dedicated group with whom I developed a real bond and for whom I felt great affection. This was especially true of Mike, Andrews, Hannes and Katie. I wil always be grateful to them for their knowledge, support and patience in guiding and educating me in my efforts.
” - Anne Robertson
"Testimonial Research Project - "As part of the research project, four of us volunteers, Paul, Cristina, Rob and Rebecca, were asked to help our researcher Flo in tracking 3 cheetahs that were collared and released in a nature reserve in Southern Namibia. Prior to our departure, we organized all of our food and supplies as we knew we would be in a remote part of Namibia where there were no amenities for over 200km. After a long drive, we finally arrived at the entrance of the nature reserve where we were welcomed by lots of game including a group of ostriches and an aardwolf. After another hour and a half of slow driving, so as not to scare the game away, we arrived at what would be our home for the next 17 days.
Our accommodation was comfortable but basic with no electricity or hot water unless you heated the donkey for two hours. However this was more than compensated by the amazing view we had from our front porch. The mountainous area was beautiful and being in the wild made you forget about everything else going on in the world.
The reserve was semi-desert with open plains of grass and large boulders emerging out of the ground. These boulders gave us great views when we climbed them. Our task for the next 17 days would be to find and track the cheetahs that were released ten days prior to our arrival. We needed to check their movements within the reserve and also the condition they were in, to make sure that they were fit and healthy.
For our first nine days we couldn’t find the cheetahs, so we used the opportunity to check for spoors and to do a game count of the surrounding area which included, springbok, oryx and ostriches. After, nine days, 30 mountains, 120km, annoying grass seeds and even more annoying flies (which flew into our eyes, mouth, ears and nose), we finally got our reward a signal from the cheetahs….Hurray!!!! After finding the signal we stayed there for the rest of the day looking through our binoculars until our eyes were red. Later that afternoon we found what we had been waiting for three black spots in the distance running through the grass…our cheetahs!
For the next eight days the cheetahs stayed in the same area. Each day we sat on the same boulders recording their activities into a data sheet. We did this using telemetry every 15 minutes. In addition to watching the cheetahs, we had plenty of time to count game and watch the wildlife, as well as sunbathing and having 14 minutes naps… although snoring was not allowed as it would scare the cheetahs away! We got to see lots of wildlife, including aardwolves, hyenas, porcupines, puff adders (we ran for our lives!), ground squirrels, hyraxes and also a very scary leopard!
After our daily work, our evening duties consisted of cooking, heating our water, and washing up (which caused the only arguments amongst the group!). We amused ourselves in the evening by having some cool beers, playing cards and eating chocolate. After 17 days without any contact with the outside world, with no phone signal, and the semi-desert sun shining on us, we almost turned into monkeys.
In all, our time at the reserve has been one of the most amazing experiences of our lives. Our team grew very close, which made our working and living together a unique and unforgettable experience.” - Cristina, Paul, Becca, Rob