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
The easiest way to travel is by air, to either Windhoek International airport (must be by 12 noon) or Johannesburg airport, and then take a short flight from either to Walvis Bay airport arriving the day before the project start date where you will spend the night. You will be met at the 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).
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.
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.
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.
All meals and beverages are included, often cooked out in the open at the campsites.