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The Great Projects

Big Cat Conservation & Research

Assist the team as a Big Cat Conservation Volunteer with data collection to help with research on carnivore species in the stunning Kanaan.

About the Project

With over a third of the world's cheetah population, Namibia is at the centre of the species' struggle for survival. It is estimated that 95% of cheetah numbers in Namibia live outside of protected areas of conservation, meaning that they are readily killed by farmers who view them as a threat to livestock. Because of this, cheetah numbers are falling, resulting in their endangerment – something which the project is trying to address and counteract.

Kanaan is the newest addition to the project network – a true desert gemstone situated within the heart of the country. Previously utilised as a film, photography and holiday destination, the aim here is to establish an unfenced wildlife reserve in order to provide a refuge or safe haven for an extensive array of endangered species.

During your stay, you will be able to help record statistical data of the wildlife species resident here, ultimately contributing to the long-term management of the area. The main flagship species here are cheetah, brown hyena, spotted hyena, leopards and an extensive variety of desert-adapted wildlife species.The work here is being started from scratch, so as a volunteer you will really be able to make a significant impact.

This conservation and research project includes both conservation work at Kanaan and also at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary. Whilst at the sanctuary you will have the chance to work on research and data collection regarding the area's cheetahs and carnivores and site maintenance. You will also help out with the carnivores, baboons, caracals, and other animals at the sanctuary. This project provides the unique opportunity of experiencing the power and majesty of the continent's most magnificent big cats first hand whilst actively working towards the conservation of the species.

Prior to Arrival

In order to join this project you will need to apply for a work visa before travel. We will provide further information and documents for this upon booking. We can also put you in touch with an agent in Namibia who can organise this for you.

Suitable for


Typical day

Day 1 - The Adventure Begins:
Upon arrival into Windhoek Airport you will be met by a project representative in the arrivals hall and transferred to the project site. The transfer is a drive of approximately 45 minutes. Once at the sanctuary you will settle in to your accommodation and spend rest of the day at the site meeting with other volunteers and volunteer co-ordinators before joining an orientation talk.

Day 2 - 5 - Wildlife Sanctuary:
These days will be spent working at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary. For this part of your project, you will be taking part in several activities, including:

Animal Feeding - Wildlife Sanctuary
Volunteers are able to experience regular carnivore-feeds with lions, leopards, semi-tame and wild cheetahs, and even with rare African wild dogs. Volunteers are responsible for preparing the food for and feeding all of the animals each day.

Animal Time - Wildlife Sanctuary
This is often volunteers' favourite activity when at the Sanctuary. You will get to spend part of each day playing with and looking after some of the animals on the farm. These interactions include one on one time with the semi-tame cheetahs and meeting the resident pack of African Wild Dogs and many other animals.

Project Work - Wildlife Sanctuary
The growing Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary needs constant repair and building work. You may be required to help with these tasks which may include: constructing new enclosures as animals arrive, border fence patrols and de-bushing to remove invasive alien plant species.

Baboon Care - Wildlife Sanctuary
Volunteers are encouraged to help look after the resident baby baboons - this will almost definitely include regular walks across the beautiful veldt with the baby and junior baboons!

Day 6 - Transfer to Kanaan:
Today you will transfer to the carnivore research and release site at Kanaan, which is about a 5 hour drive from the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary. Upon arrival you will meet the facilitators before having an orientation talk followed by dinner in the evening. The setting here is utterly stunning, and you will really be able to enjoy the sand dunes, vast grass plains and withered thorn trees – along with the wildlife of course!

Day 7 - 12 - Project Days:
These days will be spent working with the staff at the research and release site. Here you will monitor carnivores, set and check camera traps and hike to see the San Bushmen amongst other things. The setting here is utterly stunning, and you will really be able to enjoy the sand dunes, vast grass plains and withered thorn trees – along with the wildlife of course!

Day 13 - Transfer back to the Sanctuary:
Today you will transfer back to the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary and after dinner, you will spend the first of your final two nights there.

Day 14 - Namibia Wildlife Activities:
This will be your final full day at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary. After completing a day of activities at the sanctuary you will enjoy your final night with the team and the other volunteers.

Day 15 - Final Day:
This will be your final Day. After saying goodbye to the facilitators and the new friends you have made, you will take a private transfer from the Sanctuary to Windhoek airport for your return flight, or to commence your independent travel plans.

If you are staying for more then 2 weeks then your time at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary will increase.

Details on Arrival

Start Dates

It is possible to start this project on any Monday throughout 2017 and 2018 (subject to availability)

Please contact us to check whether your preferred start date is still available!

Please note: This program is fully booked until November 2017.

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 18 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s).
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
It is advised that all participants be fit enough to walk between 10 and 15 kilometres on a daily basis, through rough terrain and in high tempretures
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday

Any questions? Just ask. We at The Great Projects are happy to help you.

Free-time activities

There is the option to enjoy a lot of hiking and exploring in the area, learning about the native flora and fauna as a group with the project staff. In such a beautiful area, this is a popular past time for all volunteers.


Included Services

What's included?
Airport pickup, accommodation and food & drink is included in the fees.
Airport Pickup at Hosea Kutako International (J. G. Strijdom)

You will need to fly into Windhoek International Airport (also known as Hosea Kutako International Airport) on your project start day between 7am - 5pm, where you will be met on arrival and transferred to the project. This transfer will take approximately 45 minutes.


At Kanaan, you will be staying in a beautifully renovated farmhouse with shared rooms and a bathroom. Depending on the time of year, tented accommodation may also become available. The guesthouse does have electricity, but you will need to bring your own South African socket adaptors to charge electric appliances. 6 volunteers can be accommodated at any one time, which means that you are guaranteed an intimate small group experience with a lot of hands-on experience! 

At the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary there are two accommodation options: volunteer rooms for up to three people (same gender), or large tents with a living and bedroom area to be shared by two volunteers (same gender or a couple). Showers and toilet facilities are communal and hot water is supplied by solar energy.

Accommodation Upgrade at the Sanctuary

The adjacent Lodge at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary contains six luxurious chalets and a tranquil dining area with stunning views, a bar and a swimming pool. You can choose to upgrade your accommodation and stay at the lodge over the weekend or at the end of your stay, depending on availability. Lots of volunteers do take the opportunity to visit the lodge for a delicious buffet lunch on a Sunday.

Accommodation Upgrade at the Research Site

Whilst at the research site there is an opportunity to upgrade your accommodation. The upgraded accommodation is in a newly built luxury tented lodge. The rate for this upgrade is £40 per person per night for a double room and £50 per person per night for a single room.

Dorm Room Camping
Food & Beverages

Three meals a day are provided. Breakfast includes toast and cereal, lunch includes pasta, wraps, burgers or stir-frys, and dinner includes meat, fish, vegetables, rice, potatoes and pasta. On weekends, there is often a braai (barbecue) in the evening. Tea, coffee and water are freely available throughout the day and other drinks and snacks can be purchased at the Sanctuary.

A vegetarian option is always available – however please let us know your dietary requirements on booking. Please note however that given the remote location of Kanaan, some fresh produce may only be available seasonally. Please also note that your own snacks and drinks should be purchased before you arrive at Kanaan.

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.

No worries, Volunteer World supports you in raising funds, checking your visa regulations and travel insurance. We also assist you in finding the cheapest flights for your journey.
Costs (Prices in USD)
2 weeks (min. stay)
3 weeks
4 weeks (max. stay)
Average fees

You can volunteer at the project site in Kanaan/Namibia between 2 weeks and 4 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. The Great Projects will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with The Great Projects during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.

Get ready to volunteer in Namibia

Check out first

Visa Regulations
Depending on your nationality, you have to arrange your visa for Namibia. Please check the visa regulations for Namibia.
Travel Seasons
Find out the best time to volunteer in Namibia and receive information on weather and climatic conditions.
Living Costs
Living costs vary with each destination. We give an overview of what you should plan as an estimated budget to volunteer in Namibia.
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in Namibia.

What's next?

The nearest airport is Hosea Kutako International (J. G. Strijdom) (WDH) in Windhoek. We assist you to find cheap flights to Namibia.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for Namibia provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccine Checker
If you are intending to volunteer in Namibia you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for Namibia.
What can you do in leisure-time in Namibia while you are not working at your volunteer opportunity?
Namibia, Kanaan, Namibia

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