Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary

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Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary

Originating as a small wildlife sanctuary nestled in the Namibian bush, Naankuse is now a world-famous conservation organisation.

The Naankuse Foundation Wildlife Sanctuary provides a safe haven and second chance for countless injured, orphaned and conflict animals. Wherever possible our aim is to release animals back into the wild.

Only animals too ill, abused or habituated remain at the sanctuary. This is done purely for their safety and survival chances, particularly vital for big cats. The release of carnivores, both cheetahs and leopards, is a top priority at Naankuse – “returning the wild to the wild” being the mantra that forms the backbone of our projects.




Orphaned animals are raised with dedication, and their natural needs are carefully considered. We tend away from the feeling of “captivity” and instead create an environment where their natural behaviours are nurtured and encouraged. For example, baboons thrive in large enclosures and enjoy daily bush walks. The sanctuary provides a home to the smallest of meerkats, mongooses and rock hyraxes, to the largest of carnivores such as lions, leopards, cheetahs and African wild dogs, with a wide range of feathered, furry and scaled animals in between.

We do not receive any government funding and are solely reliant on generous donations and the time of volunteers to continue our vital work.
Volunteer or make a donation to the Naankuse Foundation Wildlife Sanctuary.


We pride ourselves on our strong ethics with regards to both animal welfare and animals being kept in captivity. In accordance with Namibian law as stipulated by the Ministry of Environment and Tourism (MET), breeding with captive large carnivores is strictly forbidden, as is the touching of large carnivores. At Naankuse we limit human contact with those large carnivores ear-marked for potential release, as habituation of any kind can lower their survival chances in the wild.

Trading in large carnivores is another serious offence in Namibia, and at Naankuse we are strongly against this practice.

Those animals having found a permanent home at Naankuse through various circumstances are provided with enrichment activities crucial to their emotional well-being.

Whenever possible, animals are released into suitable habitats – from the smallest meerkat to the largest leopard.

It is Naankuse’s motto to keep the wild in the wild where possible, and to return the wild to the wild if circumstances allow.

N/a’an ku se and volunteering there changed my life

A volunteer review by Nicola Bardon from Ireland submitted 01 of October 2019

 I have reevaluated things and look at things in a different light. It is hard to sit by when the world is in flames, but when you get involved hands on, it makes it easier, makes it feel like you really can make a difference. I shop less and try and buy what I can secondhand. I use less water after seeing the drought there and I constantly tell people about the incredible people you can meet there. I have made so many friends for life, we have about 30 of us in regular contact!