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Namib Wilderness Experience

The Namib Wilderness Experience Project is located in Namibia’s south, bordering the Namib Naukluft Park. Red sand dunes, vast open grass plains and imposing mountain ranges make up the serene surroundings of the area. Home to an array of desert-adapted wildlife, the region encompasses 352 km2 of desert scenery where volunteers will get involved in vital conservation activities and enjoying the beautiful surrounding.

Overview:

Location Helmeringhausen (Karas District), Namibia
Duration From 2 - 12 weeks
Dates all year round
Requirements
  • You must have an Upper Intermediate level of English
  • Special skills: You need to be physically fit
  • Special skills: You should have a love for animals
Minimum Age: 18
Your impact
Documents required Enrolment form, curriculum vitae, letter of motivation, passport copy, proof of medical insurance, (all travellers to Namibia are required to have a valid passport).
Day of arrival Friday
Day of departure Sunday

Highlights

  • Help with environmental rehabilitation and landscape conservation in a unique dessert setting.
  • Enjoy a combination of many fun-filled activities, such as climbing sand dunes, dune boarding or swimming in natural pools
  • Animal sightings of desert-adapted wildlife is guaranteed.
  • Night drives and sleep-outs
  • Make new friends from all over the world.

Project Information

Herbivores of all sizes are an integral part of African ecosystems.
In the vast Namibian Desert, it is critical to understand local ungulate population dynamics and migrations to ensure a sufficient water supply. At the same time, ungulate populations need to be assessed against the available vegetation to avoid damage to the ecosystem, for example, from overgrazing.
The volunteers will participate in regular game counts, on either horseback or by car, to assist in these monitoring efforts. The project has historically been home to large herds of migratory and desert-adapted oryx (gemsbok) and springbok but also contains less known species such as the greater kudu or klipspringer. Ostrich populations will also be counted.

Questions to answer include, for example:

  • how wildlife utilises this semi-arid landscape on a seasonal basis, and
  • how this correlates with predator populations.

During the early resource identification stage and continuous monitoring of wildlife populations, the project relies on “additional eyes” in the form of motion-triggered camera traps. Because the cameras record data 24/7 every day of the year, they often “observe” wildlife that humans overlook. Moreover, the cameras are non-selective and therefore capture information on all wildlife that pass in front of them, whether carnivores, herbivores, birds, or others. This helps the researchers assess which species are present and where they are most active, especially for usually cryptic animals or entirely nocturnal animals.
The cameras are non-invasive and sometimes record interesting behavioural data that we would otherwise have no access to.
Volunteers will help set cameras in the field (for example, at water points, cheetah marking trees, caves etc.), maintain them (refresh batteries and memory cards) but also go through the abundance of images to assess and structure the data recorded.

Educational presentations about animals & nature will be provided by the project. 

Your Role

Volunteers may be involved in environment rehabilitation and landscape conservation.
Possible tasks could include:

  • Maintaining camera traps & sorting through camera trap images and collection
  • Maintenance and security on the reserve
  • Game counts
  • Night drives and sleep-outs
  • Educational hiking
  • Research
  • Environmental rehabilitation, including wire braiding and general fence work
  • Forest conservation revegetation project and learning about the desert

Accommodation

The volunteer accommodation is in a 5-bedroomed farmhouse. Volunteers stay in shared bedrooms of 2 – 4 persons of the same gender. All bedrooms have an en-suite bathroom that is shared by the volunteers staying in that room. The volunteer house also has an inviting swimming pool which is always popular in free time.

WiFi is not available in the farmhouse but there is some cell phone reception with 3G. Free laundry service is provided.

Three full meals are served daily. The project also adapts to special dietary requirements and you would need to clarify this with your enrolment.