Play a vital role in alleviating the human-elephant conflict in water-scarce Namibia by building protective walls around community water points and tracking and monitoring wild elephant herds through the breathtaking desert landscape
Namibian Elephant Conservation Project Damaraland, Namibia
There is a lack of local knowledge about elephant behaviour and communities live in fear of their giant neighbours, unable to safeguard themselves or their water from the animals. The resulting ‘water war’ has proven deadly for the elephants: sadly, hunting permits are issued for so-called ‘problem elephants’ and they are shot.
The Namibian Elephant Conservation project plays an important role in fighting the call to eradicate the Damaraland desert elephant population, and continues to work towards resolving the crisis by implementing practical and sustainable measures that allow humans and elephants to live side by side in harmony.
To do this, volunteers build walls around farmers’ and communities’ water pumps, water tanks and windmills. The walls are designed to allow the elephants to access to the water but to prevent them from damaging the infrastructure. Elephants have a highly developed sense of smell and are experts at sniffing out water. Without these walls, elephants often pull up pipes or put their tusks through water tanks in an effort to get to the water that they know is there.
Volunteers also help with patrols, helping to track the various resident herds in the area and to record movement patterns and information such as new births, deaths and other important events such as mating. The data on elephant numbers that volunteers collect is incredibly important as this is the only project providing accurate figures to the government on the elephants in this area. In addition, teams are tasked with taking ID photos for the data base, such as photos of ears, tusks, tails and body/head shots.
On patrol week you will have the unforgettable experience of exploring the rugged, beautiful landscape of Damaraland – regarded as one of the last true wildernesses left on earth – far from the tourist track and living close to the earth and the wildlife. You will learn navigation and tracking skills, basic bush survival skills as well as how to camp wild – without any modern luxuries! You will have the privilege of observing the wild desert elephants in their natural habitat and our knowledgeable and passionate guides will explain the behaviour of these highly social animals.
What is the minimum stay?
Where exactly is it?
What will I be doing?
Helping to alleviate the human-elephant conflict by building protective walls around community water points and collecting important data by tracking and monitoring wild elephant herds
- See wild desert elephants in their natural environment
- Contribute physically to the conservation of these magnificent animals
- Sleep out in the open under the African night sky
- Learn bush craft such as how to approach dangerous animals on foot, animal behaviour, bush walking, navigation, map reading and using GPS
- Learn camp craft including cooking over a fire, bush camp setup, safety and hygiene
- Experience Africa’s rugged natural beauty while tracking elephant herds through the breath-taking landscapes of the Damaraland region of the Namib Desert
- Visit local villages and experience the local culture and way of life
- Make friends for life with the other international volunteers on the program!
- Project fee – this goes directly back into the project that you are involved with. It facilitates funding for resource items such as building materials, equipment, vehicles, and project supplies needed for the development of the project
- Accommodation in Swakopmund for the Sunday night prior to your placement
- Comprehensive Orientation by various trained guides and staff
- Camping equipment (excluding sleeping bag and pillow)
- 3 meals per day plus tea and coffee when at camp
- Plenty of clean drinking water throughout the day
- All project equipment
- Flights to Windhoek International Airport or Walvis Bay
- Visa fees
- Airport Transfers
- Personal travel insurance for the duration of your placement – must include cover for repatriation
- All items of a personal nature, such as curios, gifts, clothing (work and other)
- Email and telephone calls made during your placement (there won’t be phone or internet access during the week, but you’ll have the opportunity to visit the small town of Uis on the weekend between build week and patrol week where there is access to a phone and internet)
- Any activities and excursions outside of your planned project itinerary
- Soft drinks, wines, spirits, between meal snacks, and weekend food
Windhoek International Airport Transfer (each way):
GBP45 / USD71 / EUR53
Walvis Bay Airport Transfer (each way):
GBP18 / USD28 / EUR21
No previous experience is necessary.
Minimum 17 years – maximum decided on health of potential participant.
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