Elephant conservation volunteering in Namibia

“Two magical weeks in the Namibian desert, working on important elephant conservation work in the wild. Camping in the wild. And having an all round wild and wonderful experience. ”

Highlights

Swakopmund | Wild elephant conservation work | Namib Desert | Work with Namibian farming communities | Tracking and monitoring elephants

Travel Team

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Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
US pricing:
The currency converter above works on todays exchange rate. We do take bookings in USD but the price is set at a rate confirmed months in advance and is typically above the current exchange rate. Please inquire for details.
Accessible overview:
There are challenges associated with volunteer travel, and these can make accessible travel difficult. However, we are very keen to chat with travelers with specific needs to see if we can make a trip possible.
Diet:
We cater for both vegetarians and vegans.
Vouchers
Accepted

Responsible tourism

As the pioneers of responsible tourism, we screen every trip so you can travel knowing your vacation will help support conservation and local people.

Environment
Conserving elephants
This project has been running since 2004 and was established as a result of the conflict between communal farmers and in the north west Namibian desert and desert dwelling elephants, mainly centerd around scarce water resources. The elephants all live in the wild and we encourage a zero tolerance contact policy. These elephants are wild, and will be left to live in the wild with minimal human contact. When tracking the elephants the 4x4 will not invade the elephant's territory and will remain at a respectful distance.

Waste
The base camp in the desert is used an experimental project for natural building materials, recycling, building home made energy generating systems such as wind generators, solar water heaters, composting toilet designs. All the refuse produced is removed from the desert environment and brought through to the towns where recycling schemes exist.

One of the most important issues in the desert is choosing non invasive camps during the elephant patrols, staying on established road tracks in sensitive areas and leaving nothing behind.

Protecting the world
We insist that all participants bring their own water bottles when they travel with us, and clean free water is always available. We have even created a water bottle that can be purchased before departure and encourage people to use it at all stages of their journey including at the airport, on flights and whilst on their project. We are striving for all of our projects to be free of single use plastic.
Community

The Impacts of this Trip

Meeting local needs
The building element of this project directly helps the local community, as it allows farmers and elephants to share the same water sources safely. Without this initiative, the elephants tear at the water pumps in their eagerness to access the water - which often destroys the only access to water that the farmer has. Pumps are incredibly expensive, and if they are destroyed, it can take several years until they can be replaced.

The bi-monthly tracking projects ascertain where the elephants are and which farms might be at risk. Through thorough observation and monitoring, farms can be forewarned in the short term, and in the long term protective walls around the water sources can be built. Farmers and locals can also apply directly for assistance in this matter.

Impact on the local economy
As many local people as possible are employed on this project. Staff are employed from the immediate area which in turn supports many family members. A local man has his own business providing wood (from sustainable sources), a neighbouring farmer's wife has her own business washing the volunteers clothes at weekends for a fee. Food and fuel for the elephant patrol weeks are sourced from a small village called Uis where there is a supermarket and fuel station.

Cultural sensitivity
We emphasise the importance of showing respect for local people and their customs in our briefing material. Participants will work alongside permanent staff, forming close bonds and getting an insight into real life in rural Namibia.

Climate

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