Family Elephant Volunteering

Experience the majesty of elephant herds within the rolling expanses of the Namibian Desert.

This award-winning family volunteering project is now available to enjoy as a family; a unique adventure in the beautiful Namib Desert. The 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 face threats including human – elephant conflict and 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 over-hunting. Since then, protected under new Namibian law and merging conservation organizations, they have expanded their range, often coming into contact with the Damara and Herero people who moved into the arid homelands of northwest Namibia. They are not familiar with desert elephants and often do not know how to react to them.

Families volunteering on this project will join the staff in the vast Namibian Wilderness and help with elephant conservation activities including tracking and monitoring, constructing walls to protect valuable water sources, and will also take 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). 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.

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.

First Day

On your first day you will transfer to the project site which is roughly a 4 hour drive from the airport and you will arrive on the banks of the Ugab River. You will arrive in camp around 4pm and unpack before receiving a briefing on the week ahead. 

Regular Days

As volunteers on this project, your family will be taking part in a wide range of activities all designed to help elephant conservation in the local area. You will spend three days working at a local school, helping to teach the children and taking part in some maintenance activities such as painting classrooms and erecting fences. This is a great opportunity to immerse your children in a different culture to the one they may experience at home. 

As well as working closely with the local community on the school project, you will also take a much more hands-on approach to elephant conservation by going on multiple patrols through the bush to track these beautiful animals. Your project guides will be on hand to point out the wide variety of wildlife that can be seen in this incredible ecosystem, so make sure you all keep your eyes peeled! The highlight of the trip for many is the chance to sleep out under the stars and enjoy the clear African night sky. 

Final Day

After breakfast on the last day you will pack up and head back to the town in Swakopmund on the skeleton coast where you will commence your onward travel plans.  

Suitable for


Typical day

A typical day on this project will vary but you can guarantee that you will always be kept busy! The first part of the project consists of work in the local school, helping to teach the children about the importance of elephant conservation and taking part in any maintenance work that needs completing. After a rest day on day 5, you will then take part in multiple elephant patrols by foot and by vehicle to spot the elephants and learn more about the local wildlife, and you'll even get the chance to sleep out under the African stars!

Program Requirements

Minimum Age
18 years
Language Skills
You need to speak English (basic level)
Other Skills
Though there will obviously be an understanding that there will be children working here, the construction work undertaken on this project does involve physical labour, often in high temperatures, and so requires a moderately high level of fitness. Furthermore, 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, Thursday, Friday, Saturday and Sunday from 09:00 - 16:00

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

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Free-time activities

On day 5 the group have a day to relax and explore the area surrounding base-camp. Hendrick will take those who are interested in a nature walk and will also tell the group about different survival skills and edible plants from the desert. In the evening, Hendrick the facilitator will give you a briefing on patrolling. You may take your day off to relax and take in the wildlife, go for a walk, or even play football at the project site. The choice is yours! 



What's included?
What's included in the price of the project?

  • 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.
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.

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.

Every day a family will be on kitchen duty together which involves waking up first to make the morning coffee, tea and breakfast, to the sandwiches for lunch and the big dinner in the evening. Each evening the group prepares a big healthy meal over the fire, ranging from roast chicken, spaghetti bolognese, lamb tagine, thai curry to name a few! We can cater for vegetarians as well.

Internet Access
Sorry, no access at the project site
10 days (min. stay)

You can volunteer at the project site in Swakopmund/Namibia between 10 days and 10 days. 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.
Swakopmund, Swakopmund, Namibia