Volunteer Testimonials – Wildlife Sanctuary Volunteers
Sarah Booth from the UK, volunteered at the Wildlife Sanctuary from March till June and has now stayed on the on site Volunteer Coordinator!
I was booked to volunteer for 3 months and loved every single moment. The volunteer activities work on a rotation system, so each day I did something different. Whether it was preparing food for the animals or cleaning enclosures, riding out into the veldt on horseback, where you get right up close to the zebra, giraffe or countless antelope species, plus get to be in the most incredible landscape. Feeding the big cats. Getting involved in the research behind the human wildlife conflict, which is ultimately why all the animals in the sanctuary are there. Being part of the efforts to change peoples’ perceptions on the amazing wildlife in this country, which hopefully, ultimately means less animals end up in sanctuaries.
Working with incredible people. So passionate about what they do. I loved it all. And the skies! The most beautiful skies I’ve ever seen. I’ve never seen so many stars. And the sunsets and sunrises are simply spectacular.
Chris Goodman, UK
Volunteering was a special experience. Unlike many other volunteering places, the sanctuary manages to blend both inward and external conservation, from caring for injured cheetahs, to working with farmers to mitigate leopard conflict. If you want an unrivalled insight into the care, rehabilitation AND conservation of Namibia’s inspiring wildlife, then this is the place for you. The staff on the project are welcoming, knowledgeable and engaging; they will ensure that you not only make a real difference to conservation as well to your own personal development. Even when you’re cutting trees or sweating in the midday sun, the work is always for a purpose and you gain great pride in the smallest or largest activity you do. Whether it’s baboon sleepovers, translocating a beautiful leopard away from conflict with farmers, rehabilitating cheetahs and meerkats, playing an important role in cutting edge Namibian snake research or preparing food for many hungry animal mouths, or relaxing with the other volunteers by the pool surrounded by a curious vulture and inquisitive warthog the project will deliver an unforgettable opportunity to experience conservation in action.
Lene fjeldgren, Denmark
The project is amazing, it will change your heart and mind. Be prepared to be mind-blown, heartbroken and thrilled with life. You will meet coordinators willing to do their utmost to make your stay as amazing as possible. You will meet people that will be start of many new friendships for life. You will meet animals that will steal your heart, and your phone. Last but not least, you will find your second home, in a place filled with people trying to make a difference, trying to put their handprint on the world and say “I did something, I did not just stand and watch this beautiful world fall apart”.
Thank you guys for a fantastic month! Back home I thought 4 weeks would be sufficient, but time just flys by too quickly, I could definitely have stayed for more weeks. The atmosphere and people at the project are so down to earth and filled with jokes, laughter but also seriousness. I’ve learned a lot about conservation, the animals and problems that conservation and animals are facing. The coordinators teach you a lot during daily activities and more specified activities like anesthetize animals which Anais the vet informs you about. It has been a very interesting/informative and in general fun and amazing experience. I will definitely recommend this project to everybody interested in animals, conservation, and having an amazing time doing so. I’m sure this is not the last time I set foot here.
Meeting the animals here and the excellent staff who are knowledgeable and passionate about these animals has been an amazing experience. It will be a memory that I always treasure. You can tell that many people feel that way by the number of volunteers that return!
I am very thankful for the amazing time I spent at the project and for all the great experience I gained during my stay here. I was surrounded by great people and made very close friends all over the world. I wish to come back to this amazing place and work again with all the wild animals. It is still unbelievable for me that we were able to interact so intensely with cheetahs, baboons and many more impressing and stunning animals. I will definitely miss my time here and recommend it to everybody who is open-minded and has a heart for animals and/or kids. I also enjoyed being at the clever cubs school and play and study with these lovely children. Take the chance and do not miss this great experience, I could not imagine any better place for volunteer work.
Eloise Kannemeyer, Australia
I volunteered for a month and it was truly the best time of my life. The staff were amazing, so kind and friendly and I made the greatest friends from all over the world. I fell in love with all the animals on the farm, especially a little baby baboon called Frodo. I was the first volunteer to get to sleep with him at night time, so I grew very attached to him and I still miss him every day. My favourite activities were the game counts/afternoon horse rides with Tessa, baboon walks and carnivore feed. Cheetahs have always been my favourite animal, so it was incredible to get up close and personal with them. I will never forget the amazing experiences I had and I can’t wait until I can return to the farm and see how everyone has grown.
Michaela Hartig, US
My time here was unbelievable and an absolute joy. All of the wildlife coordinators seemed to truly enjoy what they do and helped make all of the activities so much better. I appreciate rotation of the activities and how the morning and afternoon activities are set up so that there is always something to look forward to. The staff members in general are fun to talk to. I also love how they are active not only with helping injured animals, but research conservation in hopes of eliminating the unnecessary killing of carnivores when there is no need of doing so. How how they are willing to educate farmers is a great example for other sanctuaries to follow. Over all, I’m excited to tell all of my friends and family about this amazing experience and I can’t wait to start planning my next trip!
Adam Reingold, US
There are many good conservation programs that do good for animals in Africa and THEN there is this which is simply GREAT. Its staff, and volunteers are purely dedicated to preserving and protecting the animals of Namibia and beyond! They do far more than animal care and conservation. Through working with people, they aim to improve human v. animal conflict so that the beautiful and majestic animals of Africa can remain where they belong, wild and free in the veldt. As a volunteer I truly gained a detailed working knowledge of the animals that we cared for and a love for conserving them for future generations.
Upon arriving at camp, stepping out of the truck, I was greeted by a baby zebra named Benny who I would later take turns bottle feeding every 2 hours. I knew right then that my experience here would be memorable. What captured my attention immediately was the passion of the staff; it was inspiring to say the least. Not to mention their vast knowledge of animal behaviour. These are people devoting their time, energy, expertise and hard work towards caring for and conserving these amazing animals. Their selflessness is humbling. Thank God there are people like this so perhaps the wildlife in Namibia will flourish for generations to come. As a volunteer, be prepared to work. It takes time to care for all the animals, but you will be amply rewarded with activities like the baby baboon walk, the caracal walk, carnivore feeding, etc… A baby giraffe was even born during my time at the project! These memories are etched in my mind forever. Thank you for an experience of a lifetime!
Lars Poeck, Germany
I had an amazing time as a Teaching and Wildlife Volunteer. The Clever Cubs School with only two classrooms is one of the smallest schools I’ve ever seen. The school’s budget is tiny compared to that of developed normal schools – but the Namibian teacher Hilma was so creative in teaching the Bushman kids. I assisted her in teaching the children English, first steps in Mathematics, reading and much more. But I also got the whole experience of African Wildlife. Half of the day I worked in the Wildlife Volunteer programme. First time in my life I got that close to all these beautiful animals like cheetahs, baboons, wild dogs, leopards. The Teaching and Wildlife programme was a perfect mixture and I will definitely come back some day.
Volunteer Testimonials – Carnivore Conservation Research Volunteers
India Hewitt, UK
The most incredible place I have ever been to in my life and I will definitely be back. The work you do here makes you feel like you are actually helping the animals and contributing to conservation efforts. Plus where else can you text your mum when she calls you to say “Sorry can’t talk right now, busy darting a cheetah”. Incredible animals, incredible people, incredible place.
Hollie Saunders, UK
I spent 10 days volunteering at the Carnivore Conservation Centre. The programme allowed me to witness and contribute to the rehabilitation and soft release method of cheetah conservation. In my time at the NCC I was able to take part in the daily activities such as wild cheetah tracking, exploration and placing of camera traps in the surrounding area so that the carnivore population can be established, game drives and nature tours, data entry, and feeding the cheetahs. There is a relaxed and positive atmosphere which makes the whole experience unique. The Carnivore Conservation centre shows the reality of conservation instead of an attempt to domesticate the naturally wild cheetahs and the fact that it is set in such a beautiful place completes the whole experience. Taking part in the programme actually feels like you are contributing something significant to wildlife conservation, therefore I strongly recommend volunteering there for anyone interested in conservation.
Eleanor Scully, UK
It was a fantastic opportunity to see how a cheetah capture and release works from beginning to end, and to see a wild cheetah so close. It is an experience none of us will forget when we return to our jobs or studies and the relative normality of day to day life. It has been a privilege to work with a team that cares so deeply about the wild carnivores of Namibia that they dedicate all of their time and energy to their humane capture and release, and I hope they can continue to do so for a long time to come.
Volunteer Testimonials – San Bushmen Medical Volunteers
Kim Anna Jacob, Germany
It might sound crazy, but what I will take from this experience is beauty.
And not just in the way the sun comes up and goes down here. There is a beauty in the way a hungry child digs into the porridge I made. There is a beauty in how kind words and humanity light up faces. How in the San Community they share the little they have. There is a beauty in the endless effort of the doctors to not just heal but help. Laughing together even with no common language is beautiful. Me failing in trying to say a name with a click-sound in it. There is even beauty in the worried voices regarding patients at the dinner table. And as a nursing student I am proud to say: there is a beauty in treating infected wounds.
I want to thank everyone at Lifeline Clinic for showing and sharing this beauty with me. Beautiful memories, especially crazy sounding ones, are the ones I will carry with me every day.
Miguel Ernesto Velez, Puerto Rico
After countless years of constantly dreaming about visiting Africa I was finally able to volunteer in a medical capacity. I find it COMPLETELY IMPOSSIBLE to even try to put the significance of this experience in words. This was without a doubt the apex of my adventures in preparation for medical school, mainly because of the insight I obtained into the lack of a health care system in places of extreme poverty and the opportunity of meeting people like my amazing mentor Dr. Sarah France and all the San and Herero People living at Epukiro.