Program Details

This project takes you to the northwestern 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 elephant
Windhoek, Namibia
Program Type:
Volunteer Abroad
Degree Level:
Work Types:
Animals, Environment
1-3 months

Program Overview

Program Description:
Track desert elephants and take part in community development volunteer work in the beautiful Damaraland region of the Namib Desert where the famous desert-adapted elephants roam free. This project is a perfect opportunity for people to really return to basic levels of living, learn simple camp-craft and survival skills and get back in touch with nature; whilst becoming directly involved in spearhead elephant conservation volunteer work. You can join for 2 weeks up to 12 weeks all year round and we have places all throughout 2014 & 2015 available. Individuals, groups, families and students doing research all welcome.

This project takes you to the northwestern 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. This project is part of a long-term initiative to find solutions to the ever-growing problem of facilitating the peaceful co-habitation between the subsistence farmers, and the desert adapted elephants. As a volunteer, you will work with the local subsistence farmers building protective walls around their water points to stop elephants causing damage. In addition, you will take part in following and monitoring the movements of these elephants on patrol, camping wild and living close to the earth, elephants and people.

Over the past 20 years, the population of desert dwelling elephants in the region has grown from as low as 52 members to a current population of over 600 elephants. As a result, elephants have expanded their range to the south and east into territories they have not occupied for many years. Subsistence farmers husbanding mainly cattle, goats and sheep, traditionally occupy these areas. As a result competition for water and grazing has escalated tremendously causing conflict between farmers and elephants. In their search for the source of water points elephants cause extensive damage to windmills, dams, reservoirs, hand-pumps and wells. As the farmers homesteads are normally located close to the water source, secondary damage is also caused and the lives of humans and livestock are threatened. Through assisting these communities by constructing protective structures around water points, educating community members about elephant behaviour, creating alternative drinking points for the elephants and promoting tourism in the affected areas, you can assist in alleviating the current pressure facing communal farmers. Thereby helping to promote the future of the desert dwelling elephant in harmony with the continuous positive development of the conservancies and their ideals.
Setting Description:
Namibia is in South West Africa, bordering on South Africa, Botswana, Angola and Zambia. Most of the work that the project does 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. The project base camp is located on the Ugab River, Northwest of Uis and Northeast of the Brandberg Mountain. Damaraland is a vast, scarcely populated communal trust land. As it is a transitional zone between the high rainfall area in the east, and the Skeleton coast in the west, it is regarded as un-farmable on a commercial basis. Therefore it has become a natural, unfenced refuge for desert adapted wildlife such as; black rhino, oryx, giraffe, springbuck, kudu, steenbok, baboon, lion, leopard, cheetah, spotted hyena, brown hyena, black backed jackal and more. Volunteers will often have the chance to see some of these unique species
The cost to join for a 2 week project is 790 GBP, 4 weeks is 1370 GBP, 6 weeks is 1940 GBP, 8 weeks is 2490 GBP, 10 weeks is 2920 GBP and 12 weeks is 3470 GBP. Your payment covers all your food, transportation and accommodation during the project. In addition, it goes towards the project cost such as building materials, fuel, vehicle cost, as well as WorkingAbroad Projects backup and placement support. The airfare to Namibia, travel/medical insurance and personal expenses (weekend in Swakop

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