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FCO Know Before You Go

Namibia Desert Elephant Conservation

  • In Brief
  • The Project
  • What to Expect
  • Reviews
  • Gallery
  • Extras
  • Dates & Costs
  • Apply
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Start your adventure now by reading our country guide for Namibia!


Frontier Partner Projects

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Namibia is a land of breath-taking sunsets, a place where you will find African wildlife roaming the plains of a nation with a proud and fascinating cultural heritage, preserved in the form of thriving indigenous communities imbued with the customs and traditions of their ancestors. Visit Namibia for an adventure into some of Africa's most dramatic terrains and enjoy an unforgettable project experience that will stay with you forever!

Come to Namibia and work with a team spearheading the research, gathering base line data, contributing towards policy decisions and vital elephant conservation in northern Namibia.

As the precious Namibian landscape becomes fragmented by farming, and economic pressures grow, human-wildlife conflict becomes an increasingly controversial topic. For anyone with a passion for wildlife and a desire to carry out essential conservation work, the unique experience available in this stunning location could be your perfect project.

  

  

Responsible Tourism Awards Winner

Camping Emergency Ground Transport Meals Terrestrial Wildlife Encounter Free Time Family
FAST FACTS
Location North-western Namibia
Activities Wild elephant monitoring
Water hole construction and maintenance projects 
Helping out with human/wildlife conflict awareness campaigns
Transport Make your way to the meeting point  
Accommodation Camping in the African bush

WHAT'S INCLUDED
Before you go

Pre-departure support 
Travel & medical advice & documentation
Advice on visas & equipment
Discounted medical kit
Free Frontier t-shirt

In-country All meals at basecamp
Accommodation at basecamp
Collection from meeting point
Project orientation and training
In-country emergency support
24-hour international HQ back-up

WHAT DOES THE PROJECT DO?

This project enables volunteers to contribute towards elephant conservation by helping to reduce conflict between elephants and humans.
 
Most of the work that we do is concentrated in the North West region of Namibia, known as Damaraland. This is one of the areas of Namibia that is seeing an increase of wild Elephants returning to habitats that they have not lived in for hundreds of years.
 
This project also gives us the opportunity to expose dedicated enthusiasts to the work we do in the field and offer a unique chance to make a personal difference and a real contribution to conservation and biosphere development in Namibia. 
 
Working from mobile base camps in the vicinity of the Brandberg in the ephemeral Ugab River, the volunteer teams immerse themselves in pioneer conservation work.  This project is not for those interested in bottle-feeding or caring for captive baby elephants.   
 
This is about real; spearhead conservation work in a harsh desert environment where small bands of secretive, desert adapted elephants roam vast wilderness areas.  Where subsistence farmers eke out an existence and need all the help they can get in their confrontation with the elephants competing for precious water resources.
 

WHAT WILL I BE DOING?

Our project takes you to the north-western regions of the Namib Desert, traditionally known as ‘Damaraland’.  
 
This harsh tribal wilderness area, runs parallel to the skeleton coast national park, and is home to a small population of desert-adapted elephants.  
 
The first week of the project will see you join the building project working  with the local subsistence farmers, building protective walls around their water points, or constructing new water points for elephants away from homesteads and farms. 
 
The following week is spent on elephant patrol assisting the local staff following, and monitoring the movements of these elephants, camping wild and experiencing life in the bush!   
 
This project is part of a long-term initiative to find solutions to the ever-growing problem of human wildlife conflicts and encouraging the peaceful co-habitation between the subsistence farmers, and the desert adapted elephants, through: 
 
• research 
• education 
• development 
 
The project’s emphasis is on the building of protective structures around communal water points, creation of additional water points for elephants, assisting with, and helping the farmers to financially benefit from tourism in the area, researching elephant movements, distributing and compiling identikits on herds and individuals.
 

Elephant Movement and ID Database

Volunteer project teams will track and monitor the desert elephant in the southern Kunene Region of Namibia in Africa this will enable us to compile identikits of all elephants and to map their movement patterns. Data collected is entered on our online database which links GPS positions to Google Earth maps.  From this information we can ascertain which farms and homesteads require protection and where the elephants roam during different seasons.
 
As the desert-dwelling elephants of Namibia are still adapting to the end of poaching and over-hunting and the vast areas of land now open to them, their movements and habits are still transient and largely unknown. Accurate data on elephant numbers and movements, the ability to identify each elephant, and knowledge of individual elephant personalities are paramount to effective conservation management in Africa.
 

Water point Protection Programme

In their search for water, elephants can cause extensive damage to valuable water sources, often depriving communities in Namibia of water for extensive periods. 
 
Our elephant conservation volunteer project works directly with local communities to protect vulnerable structures from damage with walls which allow the elephants to drink but prevent access to the windmills, water storage tanks or pumps.
 
Our conservation volunteer project provides valuable manpower for the construction of protection walls and also provides funding for twice monthly vehicle-based patrols of the area. Namibia is a beautiful area of Africa and volunteer groups can expect to see some of the most stunning landscapes the country has to offer.
 

Education

Education is an important tool in safe-guarding the future and conservation of the desert-dwelling elephants in Namibia.  The project also looks to provide community members (including school learners) with knowledge on elephant behaviour so they can live without fear of the desert elephants.   
 
We help by supporting local schools with volunteer efforts ranging from a project rebuilding classrooms, dormitories or toilets and showers to building a computer network from donated computers and installing a library.  
 
The volunteer conservation project is the pinnacle of the organisations existence; volunteers provide the manpower and funding for the conflict prevention programme.  All types of people from all over the world have offered their help as a volunteer, with groups ranging in size from around 7-14 participants, are always a mix of ages.
 
Detailed work programmes will be agreed with your project leader upon arrival.

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN I ARRIVE?

Your meeting point is the small town of Swakopmund on the Skeleton Coast which is where you will be met by the project staff.  There are plenty of cafes, restaurants, gift shops and internet cafes available.

The project site is located three hours away in the north west of the Namib Desert. Your transfer to the project will take you through rugged untamed semi-desert landscapes, it is just inland from the isolated beaches of the Skeleton Coast.

Please aim to fly into Walvis Bay on the Sunday, which is approximately 20 minutes from Swakopmund. South African Airways have a direct connection here from Johannesburg or Cape Town. We will provide you with detailed information about travel from Walvis Bay airport to the meeting point in Swakopmund in your project field brief. 

It is also possible to fly directly to the capital of Namibia, Windhoek, where we can help you arrange transport and accommodation to Swakopmund. Please arrive into Windhoek before 12pm on the Sunday at the latest so that you can catch one of the shuttle services through to Swakopmund. 

WHERE WILL I BE STAYING?

We set up our mobile base camp at each project site, which we try and make as comfortable as possible!  You will be accommodated in two man tents or you can choose to sleep under the stars.  Washing facilities are limited but a ‘bushman’ shower may be made available if there is a water dam at the site.  Toilet facilities will be in the form of long drops (enclosed and private).  Whilst on elephant patrol, we camp wild, and sleep under the stars on our bedrolls with mosquito nets.  Flushing toilets or showers are not available this week.

WHAT WILL I BE EATING?

All meals are included.  Meals are prepared on a rotational basis, over the open fire, and eaten around the campfire together.  We supply basic, but balanced food with adequate vegetarian options, examples would be Spaghetti Bolognese, Roast Chicken or Thai Curry. 

EXPERIENCES MAKE YOU RICHER  | 9 Dec 2014
We were lucky enough to see elephants everyday on patrol. Each time was a special moment watching...

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It was a fascinating, breathtaking spectacle!  | 2 Sep 2013
I am writing this in my second week sitting in my sleeping bag sipping a coffee and watching the ...

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THE SIGHTS AND SOUNDS ARE PRICELESS  | 30 May 2013
I came to Namibia because it is one of the most amazing places in the world. It is such a joy to ...

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ENJOYED IT SO MUCH THAT I AM CONSIDERING GOING BACK  | 5 Dec 2012
I have to say, I enjoyed it so much, that I am seriously considering to go back in 2013 and do an...

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I really loved my volunteer experience  | 5 Dec 2012
I really loved my volunteer experience with Frontier. Some of the highlights include learning to ...

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Volunteering is the way to go  | 24 Dec 2011
When I tried finding the right volunteer project for myself last year I wanted to do something us...

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Everyone should experience the project  | 28 Oct 2011
Everyone should experience the project! We all had our own reasons for doing a trip like this, so...

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Namibia's beauty is difficult to translate into words.  | 18 Mar 2011
My time with Frontier was more than I could have ever expected. I made some great friends and hav...

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ADDITIONAL OPPORTUNITIES

Namibia contains a wealth of activities and sights to explore before of after your project. Travel to the Namib Desert to experience the sparse beauty of this extreme environment, and see the wild horses of Namibia. Go dunes surfing down the vast sand-scape – a truly exhilarating rush! See the Kolmanskopp ghost town, an eerie place steeped in history, or venture to Cape Cross to catch sight of the vast seal colony that resides there. Admire prehistoric rock art, or take a hot air balloon ride where you will get the chance to view the big five from above, or even try a plane ride above the stunning scenery. Adventure sports such as biking, trekking and climbing are also readily available. Talk to your colleagues and project staff to get the best prices and information about local tours and book these direct.  

During your time at the project, you will have the opportunity to enjoy a number of fun activities, included in the cost of the program. These may include; a nature walk across the farm or an eco challenge competing in groups against your fellow volunteers, followed by a braai (barbeque) and an overnight sleep out in the field, star gazing and waking up to a fantastic sunrise! During your free time, there is a small swimming pool available for your use as well as a volley ball net and a lawn area for you to relax on in the sun, occasionally the volunteers play football against the local Bushman.

COSTS

2 weeks £ 859

4 weeks £ 1,659

6 weeks £ 2,369

8 weeks £ 2,969

10 weeks £ 3,599

12 weeks £ 4,099

Departure Dates

Please aim to arrive on the Sunday.

The project has a two week itinerary, allowing you to join up for as many two week schedules as you wish splitting your time between the construction work and the elephant patrols. Please refer to the start and end dates of each two week phase below:

2016 dates:

Start

Finish

 

 

25 July

5 August (1 spot)

8 August

19 August (Fully Booked) 

22 August

2 September (7 spots)

5 September

16 September (Fully Booked)

19 September

30 September (Fully Booked)

3 October

14 October (6 spots)

17 October

28  October (10 spots)

31 October

11 November (12 spots)

14 November

25  November (13 spots)

28 November

9 December (12 spots)

2017 dates:

 

START

FINISH

9 January

20 January

23 January

3 February

6 February

17 February

20 February

3 March

6 March

17 March

20 March

31 March

3 April

14 April

17 April

28 April

1 May

12 May

15 May

26 May

29 May

9 June

12 June

23 June

26 June

7 July

10 July

21 July

24 July

4 August

7 August

18 August

21 August

1 September

4 September

15 September

18 September

29 September

2 October

13 October

16 October

27  October

30 October

10 November

13 November

24  November

27 November

8 December

 

DURATION

2 weeks, 4 weeks, 6 weeks, 8 weeks, 10 weeks, 12 weeks.

 

There is limited availability for this project, please see your volunteer coordinator for availability.

AIRPORT INFORMATION

Nearest airport(s): Walvis Bay (WVB)

WHAT'S NOT INCLUDED

Flights

Flights are not included in our project costs. However, Frontier have partnered with an experienced and professional team of travel experts to help our volunteers find the best flight deals for their trips with Frontier. This travel specialist operates in the tailor-made, long haul multi-stop travel market, arranging complex airfares and transfers for independent travellers. They provide expertise, security and a vast product range along with a Travel Butler service which is a single point of contact and support whilst you are overseas.

We recommend that you obtain a quote using the following contact details rather than book online, as our partner will offer you the most competitive fares. To receive your quote or to seek any advice for your flights, please contact Frontier’s dedicated team of travel experts on 0800 082 9994 (or +44 800 082 9994 outside the UK) or email frontier@flightcentre.co.uk .

Visas

For fast, efficient and up-to-date visa advice please contact our recommended visa consultancy partner:

Depending on your destination country and your country of origin, you might require a visa. Please see the appropriate country consular website for details or contact our affiliate visa consultancy service. Please note that your visa will usually start on the date that you enter the destination country regardless of when it was issued. Please check with the relevant embassy or high commission. If you are purchasing your visa or paying entry/exit fees in-country you will probably need to pay in US Dollars. If you have any questions please consult the relevant embassy or high commission. Please check the visa information regularly, as changes often happen without warning.

Insurance

You'll need to buy appropriate travel insurance covering your participation on the project. You won't be able to go without the right travel insurance so double check to avoid disappointment. Please make sure that you're covered for the whole duration of your trip – from the day you leave the UK to the day you return. It's also best to get your travel insurance at the same time as paying the deposit for your project. Depending on your policy, this will cover you for any unexpected cancellations.

Your insurance should include the following:

  • Medical cover, including medical emergencies and medical evacuations (up to USD$3,000,000 / GBP£2,000,000);
  • Personal liability (up to USD$1,500,000 / GBP£1,000,000);
  • Cancellation and curtailment of your trip (up to the value of your project contribution).

If you are going to be scuba diving you should get coverage for scuba diving up to 30m, including hyperbaric therapy treatment (unlimited). You should consider obtaining insurance to cover you for any additional activities which you plan to do during, before, or after your Frontier project. We recommend that you obtain cover for your baggage and personal effects.


LEGAL STATEMENT
Frontier Partner Projects and Frontier group projects are run in partnership with in-country NGOs, small community based organisations, local research institutes, academic organisations and conservation agencies. Project descriptions and information are supplied directly by our partners or field staff and are accurate at time of publishing.

We aim to keep information up to date and accurate, however, the nature of our projects and in particular the fact that they are constantly evolving and developing in response to changing needs means that project activities, travel schedules, tour itineraries and daily timetables can change overnight and without notice.

To apply for this project, or to register your interest, just click on the orange "Apply Now!" button at the top of the menu. Fill out and submit a short application form and then one of our advisors will give you a call back to answer any questions and to progress your application if you wish to continue.

There is no obligation when making an application, and you do not need to pay anything at this point.