Wildlife conservation and community volunteer projects and internships worldwide

Wildlife Conservation & San Bushmen Community Project, Namibia

10 days to 12 weeks from

minimum age

  • Get involved in research of wild dogs and lions in the Namib Desert
  • Help to protect, rehabilitate and care for vulnerable wildlife at the Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Provide medical support to the San Bushmen community assisting doctors in their medical clinic
  • Join specialist wildlife rehabilitation courses and anti-poaching Rhino teams

Rescued meerkats at Wildlife Sanctuary in Namibia

About the Wildlife Sanctuary Project

The Wildlife Conservation and San Bushmen Community Project is renowned by conservationists worldwide and has received global awards. By joining this project  volunteers will have the opportunity to help to protect vulnerable wildlife or provide medical support to the San Bushmen community. Volunteers can choose between seven different projects during their stay in Namibia:

  • Wildlife Sanctuary Volunteer Project
  • Wildlife Conservation Kanaan Desert
  • San Bushmen Medical Programme
  • Equine Experience
  • Wildlife Conservation Volunteering – TimBila Research site
  • Rhino Rangers – Anti Poaching Programme
  • Adventure Week- Neuras Mountains
  • Coastal Conservation Project – Swakopmund

Wildlife Sanctuary Volunteer Project

Volunteering at the wildlife sanctuary will provide you with a once in a lifetime opportunity to work with African wildlife. The project provides refuge for orphaned and injured animals including baboons, caracals, wild dogs, cheetahs, leopards and lions.

Baboons at the Wildlife Sanctuary in NamibiaAs a volunteer you will be involved with caring for and feeding the animals as well as helping to maintain and develop the sanctuary (please note there is no hands-on contact with predators). During your time on the project a typical day will include preparing the animals food, cleaning and maintaining enclosures, feeding the animals, taking them on walks and providing intensive care for juvenile wildlife.

Volunteers will also be involved in physical labour such as building new facilities, animal interaction such as taking care of a baby baboon overnight and you will also spend time out in the surrounding environment to conduct game counts.

Adjacent to the Wildlife Sanctuary is the Zannier reserve, home to lions, elephants, rhino and other big five game wildlife.  Volunteers will spend time here doing game counts and also with the option to spend a day and night out with the rhino rangers.

As a Wildlife Sanctuary volunteer you will also have the opportunity to visit the clever cubs schools. This amazing pre-school provides free education to the San Bushmen children who would otherwise not have access to education. The school provides a full curriculum as well as being a place for the children to dance, sing and play.  For anyone who is a qualified teacher, there are also opportunities for longer term teaching placements in the school. Please enquire if you are interested.

Cheetah conservation in Namibia fitted with tracking collar

Wildlife Conservation Kanaan Desert

The Wildlife Conservation Project in the Kanaan Desert aims to establish an unfenced wildlife reserve, creating a refuge for endangered species. The area covers 33,000 hectares of stunning desert scenery. During your stay you will get hands on experience with a variety of skills such as mapping using a GPS, radio telemetry tracking, game counts, camera trapping and maintenance and security. Volunteers will also have the chance to experience some of the must do activities in the Namib Desert such as night drives, sleep outs and waterhole observations.  Volunteers conduct monitoring on a variety of wildlife in the area, which include leopard, brown and spotted hyena, jackal as well as other desert-adapted animals.

Medical volunteering in Namibia

San Bushmen Medical Programme

As a volunteer on the San Bushmen Medical Programme you will help provide primary healthcare to the local community and surrounding area in which around 500 San and Herero people live. Around 80% of the patients treated are San. The San are considered to be the oldest culture in the world and currently live in extreme poverty. Often suffering from malnutrition, disease, discrimination and abuse the San Bushmen Programme is providing a lifeline to this community through healthcare and education. Daily duties for volunteers may include:

  • Primary healthcare: observations, reassurance, treatments and emergency referrals.
  • Observations: pregnancy tests and urine tests
  • Weighing babies and recording growth charts
  • Blood pressure recordings
  • Volunteer doing medical work in NamibiaGlucose testing and recording
  • Wound dressings
  • Help in the pharmacy: stock control and new orders
  • Family planning
  • Substance abuse counselling
  • Data capture input
  • Assisting with community visits
  • General maintenance and cleaning

If volunteers have specific skills they feel the programme could benefit from they are always encouraged to use them and suggest new activities.  Medical volunteers usually join for 2 weeks – as they run on a 12 night schedule (for the transfers), however, we also offer 5 day and 7 day options for those with limited time.

Equine volunteer programme in Namibia

Equine Experience in Namibia

The equine experience is available for a minimum of two weeks and is suitable for experienced riders. Volunteers will stay at the wildlife sanctuary and spend their time here with the on-site horses. Mornings will be spent helping with cleaning and feeding, training young and new horses, as well as taming and raising foals. Training will involve the use of Natural Horsemanship and Parelli tactics. These training strategies involve playful work from the ground as well as longer training rides in the bush with the more experienced horses.

From time to time we also have foals, which will need halter training and introduction to human contact. Afternoons will be spent feeding the horses and riding, trotting and galloping in the veldt on the sanctuary’s reserve. Other activities may include herding and helping with fixing and building structures around the horse’s camps.

Elephant capture in Namibia

Wildlife Conservation Volunteering – TimBila Research site

This project is located 45km North East of Omaruru. It is a 25000 ha property which will be used as a wildlife reserve with a focus on the conflict animals, whether they come from the sanctuary or via our Response Unit Program.

TimBila is home to African Wild dogs, Lions, Rhino and Elephants. Currently cheetah, leopard and brown hyaena occur naturally on the reserve. Volunteers are involved in the related research efforts on this reserve and the management of the animals situated on it.  This programme runs from a Saturday to Saturday with transfers to and from the Wildlife Sanctuary.

Volunteer activities will include:

African painted dog eating carcass in Namibia

  • Wildlife Tracking: The research team shows volunteers how to find and identify tracks and scat markings from animals, as well as how to use GPS.
  • Camera Traps: Placing camera traps at strategic locations in order to establish the biodiversity of the reserve. This will include sorting through all camera trap images
  • Game Counts: Volunteers will participate in game counts to gain an indication of game population sizes and biodiversity
  • Fence Removal: Volunteers will assist in the removal of internal fences in order to rehabilitate landscape and allow for the free movement of wildlife
  • Maintenance: Building and maintaining any internal required structures

Rhino Rangers Anti-Poaching Programme

Rhino Research and Anti poaching volunteering

This unique opportunity allows volunteers to experience and learn from our inspiring Anti-Poaching Unit (APU), who dedicate their lives to protecting our wildlife. In today’s world these efforts are of increasing importance for us to ensure the survival of the majestic animals who are at home here in Namibia but at risk every day.

Based on a Wildlife Reserve which is a 7600 hectare property,  right next to the Wildlife Sanctuary, our Rhino Rangers will follow a fixed 7 night schedule where they will spend the time out in the bush together with our APU joining them on their patrols, learning about bush survival, the science of poaching and about tracking and the use of firearms.

Rhino research volunteering in NamibiaVolunteers will get basic accommodation in our tented camp or sleep outs in the bush at observation positions. The volunteers will need to bring their own sleeping bag, pillow and camping towel. They will be provided food rations which they will cook together with the APU. 2 special APU uniforms will be provided per person as well.

All transfers to and from the project are included and volunteers will need to arrive on the Monday for an early Tuesday morning start and leave the following Tuesday in the afternoon.  Please note, this can only run with a minimum of 4 people, so this is ideal for a group.

Two cheetah brothers in Neuras, Namibia

Adventure Week – Neuras Mountains

Located in the majestic Naukluft Mountain range and the Tsauchab river system these environments along with springs provide specialised ecosystems and contain highly adapted wildlife that the Neuras team strives to  protect and study. As well as protecting wildlife Neuras also produces wine on site, all of which is done by hand. This novel approach helps to sustain the conservation project.

Previously this was the base of a research site, but it has now become a place where we offer an Adventure week –  this includes guided hiking 5-10 kms each day in the Namib Naukluft National Park, a day trip to the iconic red Sossusvlei Dunes, sleep-out in the bush, wine tasting and feeding/visiting the 6 cheetahs that are resident at Neuras brought there as a result of human-animal conflict.  A stunning landscape in Namibia, the dunes are an absolute must see and the hiking is stunning!  This week offers a great adventure package for anyone wanting to take a break from volunteering for one week.

Coastal Conservation Programme

This new coastal conservation programme based between Swakopmund and Walvis Bay,  aims to contribute to the conservation of the coastal ecosystem by the removal of waste from the area by both on foot, and by kayak in the bay and harbour areas spread along the coastline. Following the coastline to clean up waste, a night will be spent
camping along the route before returning to the main base. As the surrounding area offers unique experiences such quad-biking in one of the world’s oldest deserts, a day is allocated for project volunteers to experience the thrills and fun activities available in the area. This runs on a 7 day itinerary.  Please email for more information.

Combined Volunteer Projects

Volunteer feeding baby animal at Wildlife Sanctuary in NamibiaVolunteers have the opportunity to combine projects – so for example, a San Bushmen Medical Volunteer may choose to spend 3 weeks at the Clinic and 1 week at the Sanctuary. Alternatively, a Wildlife Sanctuary volunteer may choose to spend half their time at the sanctuary and half their time at one of our research sites. Thus there are many possibilities for combining and rotating amongst the different projects on our programme. Many of our Wildlife Sanctuary Volunteers choose to spend most of their time at the sanctuary but then do one week of research to see another part of Namibia and do something totally different. Then there are some Wildlife Conservation Research volunteers who choose to focus solely on the research at one or other sites. Medical volunteers may also partake in our animal projects. Transfers to our research sites occur Saturday – Saturday and the clinic transfers occur on Sundays (to and from the clinic), thus volunteers often stay a few nights at the sanctuary depending on their arrival, or they may choose to plan their flights so they arrive on the day before the transfer to their given project. With regards to numbers of volunteers present, currently our research site at Kanaan takes 6 volunteers, Neuras takes 12, TimBila takes 8, the Clinic takes 4, the Rhino Rangers can take 8 and the sanctuary can accommodate maximum 44 volunteers.

Leopard conservation in Namibia

Specific Projects and Courses

We also offer specific courses for those wishing to delve deeper into their field.  We are offering a Wildlife Rehabilitation and Captive Care course where participants will have the privilege of working with three of our core wildlife staff, including founder and director who is a world-renowned conservationist whose background will provide participants with a wealth of knowledge and experience.  Mornings will be spent learning about theory and afternoons will be spent doing practical work. For more information on dates and costs, please email:  victoria.mcneil@workingabroad.com

Family Volunteering

We are able to accept families on this programme at all the sites with children above 12 years of age.  Please just be aware that for some activities where children are too small/young, they may not be able to participate, but we will still ensure that they benefit from the full volunteer experience.  Families will be provided with their own room/tented camp. For specific questions on family volunteer options and costs, please email: victoria.mcneil@workingabroad.com

Volunteer Free Time

Whilst not working on the projects there is plenty for volunteers to see and do.  At Neuras volunteers can enjoy sundowners and a braai, swimming in nearby water pools and nature walks, or do a day tour to the incredible Sossusvlei sand dunes.

Sand boarding in Kanaan in Namibia

Volunteers at the Wildlife Sanctuary can spend their free time swimming in the pool, playing football or paintball and enjoying nature walks in the local area as well as the traditional sundowners and a braai and volunteers at Kanaan can spend time exploring the Namib Desert, sand boarding or sleeping out under a blanket of stars. You may also have the chance to visit Windhoek for the day or stay overnight at a luxury lodge.

The full Volunteer Programme is in effect Monday to Saturday, with an activity in the afternoon. Sundays are more of a rest day when you may have the opportunity to go into town, but you will still be expected to help with food preparation and feeding animals.  Please be aware that if you arrive over a weekend, you may not experience the full programme of volunteer activities until Monday.

“Volunteers are the backbone of this project. From taking care of a myriad of rescued wildlife species, to improving the quality of life of the marginalised San community, and contributing to riveting, first-hand conservation research – we simply could not achieve what we do without their enthusiastic involvement and unfaltering support. Embark on an inspiring and life-changing journey with us!” – quote from the Project Manager

Wildlife Conservation & San Bushmen Community Project, Namibia

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