A rare opportunity has come our way to help re-establish the eco-system, destroyed by hunting, on a reserve in Namibia. Teaching and safari also included.
Namibia - A Desert Jewel in Africa’s Crown
Namibia is officially ‘exceptionally beautiful’ and nothing like its surrounding ‘savannah’ landscaped countries. It’s completely unique, with its vast desert and empty landscapes, where wildlife interactions are infrequent but highly prized. The highest sand dunes in the world rise up in all their glory and skeleton coast beckons with its eerie allure. Etosha National Park, tribesman who can survive in this extreme environment, Fish River Canyon and Luderitz on the Diamond Coast should be enough to make you pack your bags. It’s all here and ready to be explored.
The KumKum Ranch
An amazing opportunity has come our way, in Southern Namibia, to help turn KumKum conservancy, previously run as a hunting ranch, back into a thriving eco-system. KumKum covers a stunningly beautiful semi-arid landscape of small mountains and plains with the oasis-like Oranje River running through and next door to the Sandfontein Conservancy, where black rhino are being protected. Together these two areas comprise almost 200,000 hectares of a continuous wild habitat where you can get stuck into a combination of conservation, adventure, and community projects before heading off on an optional 6 day safari.
Wildlife Monitoring, Tracking and Observation
KumKum has no data on the types or amounts of species that exist on the land. Collecting data on the wildlife populations is an essential part of conservation so the conservancy managers can identify the key threats - such as poaching, disease, predator prey relationships and/or water scarcity. The more data collected, the better directed the projects can be. You’ll help with:
Species identification and animal counts - This will require a lot of stalking as the animals are quite skittish.
Building and observing a vulture restaurant.
Heading out into the bush with local tribesman to learn how to track, identify spores, start a fire (from scratch), finding water and many other skills which have helped the Nama tribe survive in this semi-arid environment.
The previous hunting activities left a range of issues that need to be put right, these include:
Taking down old fences to increase wildlife movement and flow.
Making the bore holes more wildlife friendly.
Removing alien vegetation off the property and along the river.
Perma culture – working out new ways to live sustainably with minimal resources. Ideas which can be rolled out into the local villages, helping to improve their food and water security. Think drip fed veggie patches and clever water catchment techniques.
The community work will be in the village of Warmbad which is about a 30/40mins drive from camp. Your main focus here will be working with the local primary school where you’ll split your time between helping in the crèche and with the kids sport and art sessions.
The crèche is a simple yet colourful room where 2-3 year olds get fed and play. However, the children literally have nothing to entertain themselves with so we aim to set up a toy library and to make it a more child friendly, educational, stimulating and fun place to be.
Kum Kum is an explorers dream and there are many ways to enjoy the incredible scenery and terrain.
Raft down the Oranje river on an exhilarating 5 day adventure over white water, (up to level 4 rapids) stopping off at idyllic sandy beaches along the way. You’ll raft during the mornings before stopping off at a beach along the way to build a camp for the evening. Your afternoons will be spent sunbathing, swimming, fishing, reading and relaxing. Your evenings spent around the bonfire with roasted marshmallows! Whilst rafting you’ll see amazing bird life, perhaps the elusive clawless otter and conduct bird biodiversity surveys as you go. You’ll raft through gorges and canyons so the landscape is constantly changing. A definite highlight.
(This activity will be dependent on a min number of 5 ).
Venture out on a 3 day mission with pack horses and a fly camp across the reserve to get up, close and personal with the wildlife who are less skittish when approached in this way. Great photography opportunities, land surveys and wildlife counts will be done from the comfort of your saddle (!). Sleep under the stars, around a bonfire in true cowboy style.
Explore the reserve by mountain bike or on foot.
When wanting to wind down for an afternoon or maybe whilst on a hike or bike ride you can sit down by the river and cast out a line for catfish, bigmouth and small mouth yellow fish, to be subsequently thrown on the bbq.
Fish River Canyon
Fish River Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world, second only to the Grand Canyon in America, and words completely fail to do it any justice in attempting to describe the massive beauty. It is located a 2/3-hour drive from Kum Kum but it will feel like you have driven to Mars! (Trip included in the cost).
Sandfontein is a conservancy next door, home to black rhino, cheetah, giraffe, leopard. The land is a beautiful extension of what you will have experienced at Kum Kum but with even greater animal densities. (Trip included in the cost).
Safari Across Southern Namibia
After 5 weeks in KumKum you’ll have the option to hop into the fully equipped and loaded landrover to head off on a 6 day safari to see the cheetah in the Kgalagadi Trans Frontier Park, along the Auob River Valley, lion in Mata Mata and the famous Sosssusvlei and Dead Vlei. Awesome. You’ll be camping each night in a different place. There are only a maximum of 5 spaces, for this booked on a first come first served basis.
The safari will be an extra cost of £495 based on 4 confirmed bookings prior to departure (no safari in the July departure) and one we highly recommend. The itinerary in outline will include:
Day 1: Total 8 hours Drive to Kgalagadi from KumKum.
KumKum to Upington 4-hours drive, Upington to Kgalagadi 4 hours drive
On route you’ll stop at the last indigenous San tribe in South Africa, the Khomani. Today these earliest residents of the Kalahari, living here for 40 000 years, consist of only 400 people and are resident in an area between 40 and 70 km south of Twee Rivieren.
Day 2: Kgalagadi Trans Frontier Park (Camp in Mata Mata)
Game drive along the Auob River Valley on the Namibian Border. This is cheetah territory and is one the best, if not the best, places in Southern Africa to see cheetah.
Day 3: Game Drive through Mata Mata – Lion Country (Camp in Mata Mata)
Day 4: Drive from Kgalagadi Trans Frontier Park to Namib Naukluft Park (10 hours) camp in Sesriem
Day 5: Sosssusvlei and Dead Vlei
You ‘ll be free to discover Sosssusvlei and Dead Vlei in your own time and at your own pace. Possibility of visiting Sesriem Canyon in the afternoon.
Day 6:Drive to Windhoek and drop students off.
Generally, project activities take place 5 days a week, for 6 - 8 hours each day. But here the projects and adventure will be so intertwined and different you’ll forget what the day is. However, in and amongst all these different things there will always be time for a campfire chat.
In your free time, in the camp, you will be able to chill around the camp fire, watch movies and read books.
Evening sundowners are always a regular treat as are walks, fishing and swimming.
You will be picked up from the airport by the project leader and driven to the team accommodation.
Your base will be a safari style, semi-luxury canvas tented camp, located on one of KumKums plains surrounded by volcanic mountains. Think homely, boho, bedouin vibe – chill out zones full of sofa’s, cushions, a bar, campfire and star gazing. 2-man canvas tents with beds, cupboards, surrounding main hub tent. Separate shower and toilet tents.
The scenery from the camp will be breathtaking and you’ll spend hours scanning the mountains, through the binoculars, in the hope of spotting a leopard.
By contrast, on the other side of the mountains, is the orange river oasis plain running through the desert. Endless exploring possibilities with all the islands on the river, refreshing after trekking or cycling. Great fishing and tubing.
Three daily meals will be prepared, with your help, by the project leader and/or cook on the camp fire. You’ll help chop veggies, dishing up or clearing away on a rotation basis. You’ll eat a variety of food and vegetarians are easily accommodated.
Drinking water, tea, coffee, and juice will be provided throughout.
Soft drinks, snacks, beers and other alcoholic drinks are extra.