Desert Elephant Conservation

Search for and see the desert elephants on this elephant volunteer program in the beautiful Namibian Desert.

About the Project

This award-winning project exists with the sole purpose of protecting the Namibian population of desert elephants and ensuring safety and security for the communities who live alongside these herds.

Namibia's desert-dwelling elephants are facing serious threats, both nationally and internationally. They are one of only two populations of elephants in Africa living in a desert environment and threats to their livelihood include human – elephant conflict, mainly as a result of decreasing elephant living space due to the large numbers of humans and livestock settling in their formerly vast range-areas.

Although desert elephants used to roam throughout most of western Namibia, their numbers were reduced to fewer than 300 by the early 1990s due to rampant poaching. Since then, protected under new Namibian law and merging conservation organizations, they have expanded their range from the north as far south as the Erongo Region, as well as east onto commercial farmland. Many of the Damara and Herero people who moved into the arid homelands of northwest Namibia are not familiar with desert elephants, and so often do not know how to react to them.

Volunteers on this project join the staff in the vast, beautiful Namibian Wilderness and help with elephant conservation activities including tracking and monitoring, constructing walls to protect valuable water sources, as well as taking part in the education of locals as to the value of elephant conservation.

Prior to Arrival

There is no visa required to enter Namibia for periods up to 90 days for most Nationalities. Please check with your Namibian Embassy if unsure. For periods longer than 90 days, all visitors will need a visa, regardless of nationality. This needs to be obtained prior to departure from your nearest Namibian embassy.

Suitable for


Typical day

Day 1 - The Adventure Begins:
At 11am you will be picked up from your accommodation Swakopmund and transferred to the base camp (4-hour drive). In the evening, there is a full safety briefing and explanation of the project to be undertaken.

Day 2-5 - Construction Tasks:
Early in the morning on the second day you will pack and leave for the build-site (1-hour drive). Upon arrival you will set up camp for the week and engage in the various construction activities.

Day 6 - Return to Base Camp:
On Saturday morning, you will return to base camp and enjoy the rest of the weekend at your leisure. The area around camp is beautiful and wonderful to explore.

Day 7 - Trip to the Local Town:
Today you can join staff on a trip to the local town of Uis, where there is a supermarket, a lodge with internet, a pool and a restaurant. In the evening, there is a briefing specific to the upcoming week’s elephant conservation patrol work.

Day 8 - 11 - Elephant Conservation Patrol:
During these days you will be actively involved in the elephant conservation patrol activities and will spend the week tracking the local herds and recording the data you collect.

Day 12 - Final Day:
This is your final day. You will be transferred back to Swakopmund to commence your independent travel plans or spend a final night.

Program Requirements

Minimum Age
18 years
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Other Skills
No specific skills or experience are required, just commitment to the project and its aims.
Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday

Do you have any questions concerning this volunteer opportunity in Namibia? Volunteer World directly connects you with The Great Projects

Desert Elephant Conservation Desert Elephant Conservation Desert Elephant Conservation Desert Elephant Conservation Desert Elephant Conservation Desert Elephant Conservation

Free-time activities

You will have free time to explore the surrounding area, and take a trip into town where there is a lodge with wifi, pool, supermarkets and a restaurant.



What's included?
A monetary contribution to the project itself - Full orientation and support from the project managers - Accommodation - Three meals a day
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.
Airport Pickup

You will be met at the Walvis Bay airport and taken to Amanpuri in Swakopmund for the night and this transfer cost will depend on which airport you choose to fly into (N$480 from Windhoek, N$200 from Walvis Bay). You will then be met at 11am on the start date of your project and transferred to the project site. If you are staying at other accommodation in Swakopmund then simply inform us of where you are staying and the facilitator will pick you up from there. If you arrive early and stay in the dedicated dormitory room at the Project it will cost N$200 or there are single and double rooms available for N$450 and N$700 respectively.


Volunteers are each provided with a bed-roll, including a mattress, but you will need to bring your own sleeping bags and pillows. During the rainy and colder season we provide two-man tents on build week. Otherwise you will sleep outside under a tarpaulin. At base camp you will be accommodated up a tree, on a large platform. There are two elephant drinking dams in this campsite and the elephants often wander past.

During build week there is a long-drop toilet provided. There are no washing facilities this week, so you are advised to bring wet wipes. At base camp there are toilets and showers which have hot water. During patrol, camps are very basic and depend on the location of the elephants being tracked.

Food & Beverages

All meals and beverages are included, often cooked out in the open at the campsites.

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
2 weeks (min. stay)
3 weeks
4 weeks
5 weeks
6 weeks
7 weeks
12 weeks (max. stay)

You can volunteer at the project site in Swakopmund/Namibia between 2 weeks and 12 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. The Great Projects will tell you your final price during your application process.
Average Fees
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.
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 Rooikop (WVB) in Walvis Bay. 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.
Packing List
Packing our bags is important to prepare your trip, but often turns into a last minute horror. Make sure you don't forget the essentials by creating a personalised packing list for your volunteer program in Namibia upfront.
Walvis Bay, Swakopmund, Namibia