‘Save Our Wildlife’ Project is situated in a sanctuary that provides refuge to orphaned and injured wildlife. The project provides volunteers with a rare and exciting opportunity to work closely with wild animals like lions, leopards, cheetahs, wild dogs, caracals and baboons.
Goal of the Project
Even the name of the project ‘Save our Wildlife’ makes it clear what its primary goal is. SO as the name goes, the project aims at saving wildlife, particularly those which have been orphaned and injured. The project basically focuses on providing shelter to these animals.
Volunteers will get to be engaged in hands on participation in the conservation of African wildlife. They will be involved in various activities like caring for and feeding animals on a daily basis, helping to maintain and develop the sanctuary and becoming surrogate parents to the orphaned baby baboons who need constant care and attention. Maintenance work may include de-bushing to help remove invasive species, digging trenches to help water supplies to camps, and other manual activities.
Volunteers are involved in all aspects of the sanctuary work including the rescue, care for, cleaning and feeding, and rehabilitation and release of the animals at the Sanctuary. Volunteers can also work alongside carnivore experts in the project’s research program. It may include getting involved in monitoring and tracking activities of carnivorous animals like leopards and cheetahs, taking part in game counts and preparing for new arrivals. The research aims at gaining a better understanding of big cat ecology for future conservation and to help prevent human-wildlife conflict.
Volunteers will be split into groups with other fellow volunteers, rotating duties daily to undertake the following during your time at the project:
- Feeding and caring for the animals (cutting raw meat and throwing to the large carnivores, preparing veggies, fruit and mielepap for the baboon and other animals, clearing out old food and bones, clearing waterholes and fixing holes / damage to animal enclosures).
- Animal Time (you may spend time with cheetah's and baby baboons, feeding and observing the meercats, walking some of the animals or spending time with them in their enclosures, and caring for the orphaned baboons. Some of these activities are not guaranteed, as it may also depend on whether they are at the project when you are there).
- Assisting with the Bushman School (spending one morning assisting the teacher in providing an education to the children on the project - please note however that this is an optional activity, and not guaranteed).
- Big Cat Conservation work (learning and taking part in various monitoring and tracking techniques, undertaking game counts and building or clearing out temporary enclosures for new residents, and contributing to the conservation research project to help conserve cheetah and leopard and help prevent human-wildlife conflict).
- Project Work (de-bushing, which involves removing most of the very dense patched of black thorn from areas on the farm, in order to allow other vegetation to grow and for game on the farm to become more visible, fence breakdown, so that the wildlife can roam freely for the benefit of conservation, building new enclosures, preparing of materials, digging foundations and waterholes, and the erecting of enclosures).
- Security and Maintenance (taking part in fence and enclosure patrols, filling in holes created by wild animals and repairing of fences, and overnight security watches, which means sleeping in the watch tower at the project with other volunteers).
Volunteers should be prepared for the daily schedule to change at short notice to meet the needs of the project and animals. Volunteers also need to be ready to take on any tasks that may be required of them, and to get dirty in the process!
Fees and Dates
Except our registration fee of $299, our fees are as affordable as $1050. The detailed fee structure of ‘Save our Wildlife’ Program is as follows:
| 1 Week
| 2 Wks
| 3 Wks
| 4 Wks
| 5 Wks
| 6 Wks
| 7 Wks
| 8 Wks
| Extra Week
Mondays and Thursdays. These are the only 2 days when there are set transfers from Windhoek to the Project. Should you not be able to arrive on either of these 2 days, then volunteers could stay in Windhoek at one of the local backpackers (at their own expense) until the set transfer on either a Monday or Thursday, or pay an additional R500-00 to transfer to the project on the day they arrive (if not a Monday or Thursday).
Should you depart later than your set departure date, you will be expected to overnight in Windhoek, at your own expense.
Volunteers will have sufficient hours to relax each day. Note however that volunteers are required to spend their weekends at the sanctuary performing various tasks related to the care of animals and cleaning their enclosures; however, Sundays are dedicated as free time of the volunteer. Depending on the exigency of service, the project may schedule a trip into Windhoek for supply provision; when this happens, ask the project staff if you can come along and explore the area.
As part of its program to provide for an all inclusive experience for its volunteers, the project makes sure that program fees cover various activities like swimming in the pool or waterfall; challenging activities like paintball; relaxing activities like walking across the farm, sunset viewing complete with barbeque, stargazing, movie nights, just to name a few.
A hard day’s work in the sanctuary requires a dip in the swimming pool which is conveniently located near the volunteers’ residence. Another activity that volunteers may engage in is playing football games together with the resident San Bushman workers.
- Where do I need to fly?
What volunteers should do is to book their flight arrivals and departures making Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek as their point of destination.
- How can I get to the project?
Depending on your travel plans and schedule, a representative from the project will pick you up from the airport or central Windhoek. From there, you will travel to the project site for approximately 40 minutes.
- What vaccinations do I need?
Volunteers should take note that the project site is not exposed to high risk malaria. However, this should not prevent you from taking precautions by having yourself vaccinated for anti-malaria since the area outside the project site is exposed to malaria. Since you’ll also be working closely with animals, having shots for anti-rabies is also recommended.
- How can I communicate with family?
One of the challenges in this project site is the internet service. Hence, when you’re into town, make sure that you use the internet service and let your family know your whereabouts like the date when you’ll be arriving back to your home.
Volunteers are free to take their mobile phones with them wherever they go, just make sure that it’s international roaming is activated. There are local Namibian sim cards you can sure just make sure that your phone settings allows the use of the local sim card which costs around £15. Using the local sim card is cheap and is an easy means of communicating since signal is available. Note however that because of the remoteness of the project site, you may not get continuous signal reception.
- How safe is the project?
If there’s one thing that the project management ensure it would be the safety of volunteers and the people composing the project. However, volunteers are advised at all times to guard their personal belongings as well as travel documents; bringing their travel documents everywhere they go.
- Will there be someone to guide/supervise us?
Project management and leaders are hands-on; they make sure that volunteers are supported in their activities and supplied with everything they need. Project management and leaders are available anytime for consultation.
In cases of emergency, a 24-hour emergency hotline is available for volunteers to contact project staff and other team members.
- Will there be other volunteers?
This project is solely based on the participation of volunteers; hence, there are always volunteers in the project site which is about 15 to 30 individuals, all depending on the number of volunteers participating in the program.
- Any other important information to consider?
It is imperative that you arrive on schedule. If you’re early, then you may be compelled to stay overnight in Windhoek, bearing your own expenses. Volunteers have the option to stay several nights in Windhoek for some individual tours, after the project staff drops you off. Several tour operators are available in the area which you can pay to guide you in touring the place.
These tours include 3 day Etosha Link / Express, 3 days Sossusvlei Link / Express, 6 days Taste of Namibia, just to name a few.
NOTE: Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) is derived from generic information about the country, and should not be used as a definitive travel guide. Travel information and situations abroad change constantly, and the information contained here may not be up to date. Participants should consult Helping Abroad staff or travel advisors to verify this information