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
Originating as a small wildlife sanctuary nestled in the Namibian bush, just 45 km from Namibia’s capital, Windhoek, the Wildlife Rescue Centre has grown into a world-famous conservation organisation. We provide a safe haven and second chance for countless injured, orphaned and conflict animals. Whenever possible our goal is to release animals back into the wild - only those animals too ill, abused or habituated remain at the sanctuary. Our volunteers are critical to enabling us to continue caring for the animals.
This program is a combination of volunteering at the Wildlife Rescue Centre and one week a tone 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 4 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.
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.
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.
A 30,000 hectare reserve is the newest conservation site. Located in Namibia’s west, the TimBila Nature Reserve is home to a vast number of prey and carnivore species. Forming a vital release site for conflict carnivores and the re establishment of wildlife, this reserve is a conservation gem and a volunteer project of massive proportions. Dubbed “the place of second chances”, lions removed from areas of conflict and their almost certain demise, have found a vast home at the TimBila Nature Reserve. These lions lost their mother due to conflict and were on the brink of starvation.
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.
Research of local ecology
Approximately 2-3 hours further southwest of Neuras and bordering the Namib Naukluft Park lies our Kanaan Desert Retreat. Red sand dunes, vast open grass plains and imposing mountain ranges make up the serene surroundings of Kanaan. Home to cheetah, brown hyena, spotted hyena, leopard and an array of other desert-adapted wildlife, Kanaan encompasses 352 km² of desert scenery where volunteers will get involved in vital research and conservation. Focus areas are:
- Spotted hyena research
- Small carnivore research (caracal and black-backed jackal)
- Human-wildlife conflict mitigation
- As well as new projects starting soon
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
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!
You will receive a 90 day tourist visa on arrival, remember to have a copy of your supporting letter.
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.
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.