"Everyone in the family is educated in this trip! Unique elephant experiences and rewarding local community experiences!"
Wildlife in a desert – what is the first thing that comes to your mind? Camels? Scorpions and snakes? But what about... elephants? Based in the Namib Desert in southwest Africa, this programme is focused on the conservation of a unique population of (yes, you guessed it) elephants, one of only two herds in the whole of Africa to inhabit a desert environment. Whilst many may use adjectives such as ‘majestic’ and ‘breath-taking’ when describing these massive mammals, sadly another equally appropriate adjective is ‘endangered’. These tusked titans may be awe-inspiring to the eye but their numbers are dwindling, with serious conservation work required to secure their futures...
That’s where you and your family come in. This family-focused conservation programme will see you spend 9 nights out in the field undertaking tasks that will hope to benefit not only the elephants but also the local communities that live alongside these giants. Get cracking building an elephant-proof wall to protect farming land and get tracking to try and find herds of elephants. As well as practical work, you will engage with the local primary school aiming to promote conservation and tolerance towards elephants. This is your chance to enjoy the once-in-a-lifetime experience of volunteering with elephants - and making family memories to last a lifetime.
This conservation programme will cover the main issues affecting elephants not only in the Namib Desert but also internationally. Their chief threats include poaching for ivory, habitat loss due to climate change and instances of human-wildlife conflict. As the desert elephants are an isolated and unique population, their conservation is especially crucial. Your voluntary work will aim to mediate and solve some of these issues as well as instil a pro-conservation mind-set in the local community in order to make sure that these problems are minimised in the future.
By monitoring and tracking herds of elephants, researchers can use the data collected to plot their movements and ultimately understand where there may be areas of potential conflict with humans. This information helps policy-makers to determine how best to manage human-wildlife interactions, helping to prevent both elephant habitat encroachment and crop raiding. With an emphasis on education, the hope is that future occurrences of poaching will be either limited or stopped completely, a potential boost to the survival of the elephants. This is a hugely significant project as it is the only organisation that provides accurate data to the Namibian government – as a volunteer, the work that you undertake may have a significant national influence.
Arrival day: After a 4 hour transfer, you'll spend some time getting comfortable at camp. Situated next to the Ugab River, you really are out in the wilderness. Once settled, your evening will consist of a briefing from the facilitator regarding health and safety and what you can expect in the coming days.
Back to school: No need to worry, this time you will be the teacher. Upon arriving at the local primary school, you will meet the teachers and pupils as well as take part in your first assembly. Your tasks will include painting classrooms and various teaching activities. On the last day at the school, there will be a small celebration before you return to base camp and complete the next stages of the project.
Rest day: Conservation can be hard work so a day off is scheduled, allowing you to either relax at base camp or explore your surroundings further and experience the local wildlife. Want to be the next Bear Grylls? A nature trail organised by the facilitators will give you an insight into basic desert survival skills including highlighting edible plants. During the evening, you will be given a short briefing about the work you will undertake in the next few days: patrolling.
Patrol days: Whether it be by foot or by truck, your next job will be to track and monitor herds of elephants in the nearby area using GPS trackers. Not only will you get memorable views of these magnificent creatures, you will also be sleeping under the stars in a tent. This will be an opportunity to gaze at the vast Namibian night sky and also to learn about the other wild inhabitants of the area. On the evening of the final patrol day, you will have one final night around the campfire together before tucking into bed in your own treehouse!
Leaving day: Sadly, your work is now done, and you will be transferred back to the airport in order to commence your onward travel plans. The facilitators, the school children and the elephants will miss you.
- The rate shown is a 'from' price per person
- Please note that participants on this project must be participating with children as it is a family trip only
- Click 'Ask a Question' to enquire about full project dates, availability and costs
- The minimum age for participation on this project is 8
- To secure a place on this project a 20% deposit is required at the time of booking, with the remaining balance due any time up to 60 days prior to your start date.
- A monetary contribution to the project itself
- Full orientation and support from the project managers
- Three meals a day
- Any flights
- Travel insurance to include cover for repatriation
- Visas if required
- Transfers to and from the airport (a cost of around 180 Rand or approximately £10)
- Use of internet and telephone
- Soft drinks, wines and spirits
- Trips undertaken other than in the planned itinerary
- Accommodation not included on the first night
- Anything else not mentioned in inclusions - if in doubt, click 'Ask a Question' to chat directly to the operator!
Area & Location
- 30th of july of 2018