The experiences provided at Naankuse are rare and unique.
Volunteering at the Wildlife Sanctuary gives you the rare opportunity to work hands-on with Namibia’s wildlife. We actively participate in conservation, which means at any time volunteers can be whisked away to assist in carnivore releases or mitigation of human-wildlife conflict. A whirlwind of exciting wildlife experiences, Naankuse provides you with the chance to make the wild your home.
With their diversity of wildlife amid spectacular scenery, Neuras, Kanaan and Mangetti are the perfect locations to become involved firsthand with all aspects of our carnivore and elephant research programme from data collection and processing to ample field experience.
You may also have the chance to be involved in humanitarian work with the San Bushman children at our Clever Cubs School or the Bushman at our Lifeline Clinic, providing vital education and healthcare to individuals of this ancient culture.
What will you get out of it? That is entirely up to you, but many people find their experiences to be life-changing. One thing is for sure, you will leave with experiences you have never had before.
The volunteering schedule works on a rotational group system, which ensures every volunteer gets to experience as many of the Naankuse activities as possible.
The groups work two to three activities a day between the hours of 8am and 5pm. Volunteers get a short break in the morning followed by lunch from 1pm-2:30pm.
Weekends are not part of the rotation schedule; on Saturdays, volunteers will participate in certain activities in the morning, and in the afternoon there will be a fun non-work related activity followed by a braai (barbecue). On Sunday, a small team will participate in food prep in the morning and a different small team will participate in the afternoon, so you will have half the day off. All non-working hours are free time to explore the sanctuary!
Electricity is 220 Volts and the main socket type is earthed with three pins (as used in South Africa – Type M). Please bring plug adaptors so you can charge mobile phones and cameras.
Power cuts do occur and can be prolonged (longer than 24 hours), particularly in the rainy season and particularly at the Lifeline Clinic.
At Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary:
Naankuse is fully fitted with electricity. Power sockets are available in the communal lapa area for recharge, however adaptors must be self supplied.
At Kanaan Desert Retreat:
Electricity is especially limited at Kanaan. Due to the rural nature of the Kanaan site, power is restricted to minimal usage. Kanaan is largely solar powered to make the lodge as eco friendly as possible.
At Neuras Wine and Wildlife Estate:
Power sockets are available in communal areas for recharge however adaptors must be self supplied.
At Mangetti Cattle Ranch:
Power sockets are available in the house however adaptors must be self supplied.
At The Lifeline Clinic:
The Lifeline Clinic is fully fitted with electricity and power sockets are available in the communal house.
Naankuse has a bar that sells drinks and snacks in the evenings (except Sundays) and a shop that sells Naankuse merchandise in the afternoons on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays (closed on Thursday and weekends). While we do not sell any toiletries, cosmetics or sunscreen, Sunday trips to Windhoek may be available to purchase such items.
It is safe to drink from the taps at the Naankuse Sanctuary, Neuras, Kanaan and Mangetti, however as an alternative, bottled water can be purchased from the bar when available or in town.
We do not recommend that you drink the water from the taps at the Lifeline Clinic as it has a high salt and calcium content. The water is from boreholes and has minimal bacterial/viral load – it is safe to brush your teeth with. The house and clinic have a reverse osmosis water filtration system and this is backed up by 25 litre water containers that are filled in Windhoek or at the Wildlife Sanctuary. We have also have up to 40,000 litres of rain water as backup for when the water goes off in the village (which is common in rainy season).
At Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary:
As a desert country, Namibia experiences an average of 300 days of sunshine in the year with hot summers and generally mild winters, with temperatures tending to drop at night.
The dry winter season generally runs from May until September, where daytime temperatures remain pleasant and warm, ranging from 18 degrees Celsius to 25 degrees Celsius and often plummeting in the evenings, sometimes falling to below zero degrees Celsius. Be sure to pack some warm clothing and a sleeping bag for the chilly evenings in this season!
The summer season from October to April consists of hot days ranging from 20 degrees Celsius to sometimes 40 degrees Celsius and cooler nights. From November to March, Namibia experiences its rainy season and is sometimes blessed with sporadic rainfall which can include flash floods and heavy thunderstorms.
At Kanaan Desert Retreat & Neuras Wine and Wildlife Estate:
In the desert areas, the winter and summer season follow a similar pattern to the rest of the country, but little rainfall can be expected. Temperatures may rise above 40°C in summer months (October to April), sometimes even up to 50°C. In the winter months (May – September) temperatures still, reach a pleasant 20° C to 25° C. At night temperatures may drop below 0° C though.
At Mangetti Cattle Ranch:
Mangetti has a hot semi-arid climate, with hot summers and relatively mild winters (with warm days and chilly to cool nights). The average annual precipitation is around 570 mm.
At The Lifeline Clinic:
The Omaheke region has a semi-desert climate. This means that there are very hot summers, mild winters and the temperature drops significantly at night.
The Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary, Mangetti and the Lifeline Clinic are covered by Namibia’s main network provider MTC but some of the remote areas you may visit during your time there may not have reception. Neuras is a rural property and can be safely reached through a landline or in certain mobile reception hotspots. There is no phone reception at Kanaan but there is a landline.
It is worth considering buying a local SIM card to insert in your phone during your visit (giving you a Namibian number with an 081 prefix). You can then phone purchase “International bundles” from MTC that will enable you to phone home very reasonably. For more information see, http://www.mtc.com.na/services/pre-paid/international-voice-bundles
- If you plan to do this, you will need to get your phone unlocked before you leave.
- You can buy a local SIM card at the airport for only NAD 10.
- Phones using nano SIM’s may need a visit to Windhoek
Africa including Namibia is not gifted with great internet. Naankuse sites vary in their internet bandwidth and service. As such the offering to volunteers varies.
- Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary – WiFi is not available unless in case of emergencies.
- Lifeline Clinic offers internet with low bandwidth.
- Neuras offers a few hours in the evening to volunteers.
- Kanaan and Mangetti have internet.
Laundry services are available on selected days at the Wildlife Sanctuary, Kanaan and Neuras.
There is a washing machine in the Lifeline Clinic and at Mangetti which volunteers are welcome to use. Washing powder is provided. Wet clothes are air dried on a washing line (usually very quickly because of the heat … usually they fade due to high UV). There is no tumble drier.
Yes, clearly the price is different and you will need to discuss this with firstname.lastname@example.org
Before you arrive…
The Ministry of Home Affairs has advised the Naankuse Foundation that work visas are necessary for volunteer placements in Namibia and need to be arranged in advance. This is a requirement for all volunteers who are non-Namibians.
Once you confirm your booking with us, we will send you a visa application form and clear instructions on how to fill it out correctly.
If you are from the UK or Germany, you can use the Namibian Embassy in London or Berlin to process your visa.
If you are from countries other than the UK and Germany, we recommend that you use a visa agency in Windhoek to process your application as our experience is that many Namibian Embassies do not issue the correct visa. It generally takes about 6 – 8 weeks to process your visa. For further information, please contact email@example.com.
Volunteer work in research and conservation involves hands-on work with the animals so you are likely to get very dirty! Old and dispensable clothes marked with your name are advisable for daily activities as well as closed-toed shoes.
- Passport, insurance certificates and personal documentation
- Naankuse emergency contact number
- Photocopies of all the above to be left at home with your next of kin
- Spending money – bring Namibian Dollars or SA Rand, you can withdraw or transfer cash from the airport on arrival
- Proof of inoculations (please speak to your GP about necessary immunizations)
- Secure, waterproof bag for documents and money: sealable plastic bags will do
- Toiletries – Please bring biodegradable products if possible. As the Wildlife Sanctuary uses recycled water for our sprinkling system as part of our environmental awareness, we ask that volunteers please bring biodegradable products (i.e. shampoo, soap) for use from overseas to prevent our sprinkler system from malfunctioning.
- Sleeping bag: for use at our Research Sites and useful for winter months at the Sanctuary, possible overnight sleep outs in the field, or if you plan to travel outside of your project.
- Silk or Cotton Liner: Ideal for hot nights or as an extra layer to your sleeping bag.
- Sunglasses (high UV protection)
- Sunscreen (high factor needed)
- Torch and batteries (preferably a head torch)
- Alarm clock/watch
- Diary and writing pens
- Camera/batteries/film or memory card
- Water bottle at least 75cl
- Day pack/rucksack for everyday use
- Mobile phone set for roaming – local SIM cards are available at the airport or the Sanctuary
- Swimming towel
- Sewing kit and pocket knife for general use (not in hand luggage!)
- Plug adaptor (3 large round pins)
- Travel Guide, such as Lonely Planet or Rough Guide
- The evenings can be quiet so bring books, cards, iPod etc.
- While we do not sell any toiletries, cosmetics, sunscreen or other items apart from snacks and drinks at the Sanctuary, Sunday trips to Windhoek are available but it is advisable to bring enough of what you need for the duration of your stay.
Clothing: – if possible, please mark your clothing with your name prior to arrival
- Sets of outdoor loose fitting cotton clothes with adequate cover for cool mornings and evenings
- Sun hat / bandan
- Closed-toed shoes for walks in the field, as well as boots or sturdy trainers for project work
- Gardening gloves to protect your hands
- Work clothes that you don’t mind getting worn and dirty
- Casual clothes for day trips to Windhoek and for weekend activities
- Flip flops/sandals
- Underwear enough for at least seven days (laundry services are available on premises)
- Lightweight fleece or jumper
- Waterproof jacket
- Warm clothes for winter and early mornings.
- Volunteer work at the Sanctuary includes being very hands on with animals, project work and walking with baboons, so you are likely to get very dirty! Old and dispensable clothes with your name written on it are advisable for daily activities.
- The Lifeline Clinic is based in the dusty and remote area of Namibia. You will be provided with scrubs to wear when helping at the clinic but will need suitable footwear and casual old clothes for evenings and weekends.
- The type of clothing you should bring depends on the time of year you visit. May to September is the winter period and can be very cold at night and in the early mornings and daytime temperatures can vary. A sleeping bag is recommended! October to April is the summer period and the rainy season is from November-February. Whilst during this time it is generally hot during the day it can rain and become chilly in the evenings, particularly at our Research Sites so do pack a jumper or fleece and waterproof jacket.
- Hand sanitizer and wet wipes
- Personal First Aid Kit
- Re-hydration salts and Imodium or similar product
- Any personal medication e.g. prescription drugs/inhalers
- Contact lenses and solution if necessary
- Lip Balm with SPF
- Sanitary products if necessary
- Mosquito repellent (please bring non-DEET mosquito repellent since DEET is not environmentally friendly)
- Ear Plugs – you may be sharing a room with 1 or 2 people and sometimes even an animal
Volunteers book and pay for their flights independently. You book your flight to Windhoek Hosea Kutako Airport (WDH), Namibia.
Once you have booked your flight it is important to emails us at firstname.lastname@example.org with:
- Flight number;
- Carrier (who you are flying with);
- Where you are flying from;
- Arrival date and time in Windhoek;
- Departure details from Windhoek.
If an emergency at home necessitates a message being passed to you urgently please use the following contact details:
Emergency number: +264 81 2612709 or +264 61 307338
Different countries offer different advice about travel immunizations. We, therefore, recommend that you seek medical advice at least 6–8 weeks before you leave about what is recommended for travel to Namibia.
If you are arriving from a country that has a risk of yellow fever transmission, you will need a yellow fever vaccination certificate for entry into Namibia. This may not apply to travellers on scheduled flights who have only been ‘in transit’ through countries with a risk of yellow fever transmission and who have not left the airport or adjacent town.
We also recommend you have rabies and tetanus vaccination but there are others your clinic will recommend. You may wish to look at the FitForTravel website for more information prior to seeing your doctor or nurse.
Don’t forget your vaccination certificate!
The currency in Namibia is the Namibian Dollar (NAD). South African Rand is also widely accepted in Namibia and 1 SA rand is equivalent to 1 Namibian dollar.
There are ATM machines at the airport, Windhoek and Gobabis (the nearest town to the Lifeline Clinic). There may be a small charge for cash withdrawals. We recommend that you withdraw cash from the airport when you arrive as you may need money before you get to Gobabis or Windhoek.
We do not generally recommend bringing travellers cheques as they cannot be cashed at the airport or on our sites. You can cash them in Windhoek and in Gobabis but you may have very limited opportunities to visit a bank during opening hours during your stay at the Lifeline Clinic. If you do decide to bring travellers cheques please ensure you have enough money to last until you are able to get them cashed.
If you are volunteering at our Mangetti project in northern Namibia we advise you take malaria tablets. For volunteering at the Lifeline Clinic, which is in the Omaheke region of Namibia, FitForTravel suggests that during the rainy season (Nov-June) there is a risk of malaria. There are mosquito nets available in the Lifeline Clinic house.
The Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary, Neuras and Kanaan are not located in malaria risk areas.
Please contact the bookings manager for further information. Please note it may be necessary to take malaria tablets should you decide to travel to other parts of Namibia during your stay or after the project. Please consult with your doctor for advice.
Rates start from N$16,534 for two weeks. Please download our rates here.
N/a’an ku sê is run purely of generous donations and volunteer fees. Every cent of your volunteering fee is ploughed back into our projects allowing us to achieve our goals and continue our good work. The cost (or price) of volunteering depends on the length of your stay. For a quote, please complete the provisional booking form.
Convert from Namibian Dollars (NAD) to your selected currency:
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The cost we quote includes:
- Transfer to and from the airport on a Monday or Thursday to the Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary.
- Transfer from the Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary to the Lifeline Clinic on a Sunday morning (alternate weeks).
- Accommodation at the Lifeline Clinic house and at the Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary (includes towels and bedding).
- Food daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
- Full support and assistance from your program coordinator throughout your time at Naankuse.
We do not cover the cost of:
- Transfer from the airport to the Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary on a non-transfer day (i.e. Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday)
- Transfer from the Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary to the Lifeline Clinic at times other than a Sunday morning
- Personal travel insurance
- All items of a personal nature e.g. curios, gifts, clothing, toiletries, etc.
- Snacks and alcoholic drinks
Volunteers contribute to Naankuse in two ways, physically and financially. Day to day maintenance of the Wildlife Sanctuary, as well as food preparation and feeding, is performed by our dedicated volunteers. For social animals like our baboons, volunteers provide vital daily interaction. In the case of research, volunteers join our research team to collect vital data on Namibia’s wildlife. Financially, the volunteering fee goes towards keeping the sanctuary running. Without this stream of revenue, we could not continue to provide homes and care to injured and orphaned wildlife.
Absolutely! In fact Naankuse encourages experiencing all aspects of our organisation. Tailor your trip to suit you by booking the full Naankuse experience. Explore the red dunes of Kanaan, assist in providing free healthcare to the marginalised San Bushman community at our Lifeline Clinic and relax by the pool at our luxury charity Lodge. Naankuse has everything you need and combining volunteer projects is recommended for a full experience.
You can stay for a minimum of two weeks up to a maximum of three months.
We welcome volunteers from all across the globe and from any age above 18 years old! Those under 18 years can however attend some of our courses. There is no upper age restriction to joining us but please bear in mind you need to be fit enough for outdoor activities.
You need to speak English while working on our sites. If English is not your first language, you should be able to speak it reasonably fluently. The Lifeline Clinic employs local people who can translate from San, Afrikaans, Otjiherero and Damara into English.
No qualifications are necessary to volunteer and anyone can be a volunteer as long as they are prepared to work hard. Just bring a good attitude and you are ready to go!
At Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary:
Depending on the season, volunteer numbers can range from 15 to 65.
At Kanaan Desert Retreat, Neuras Wine & Wildlife Estate and Mangetti Cattle Ranch:
We take up to 16 volunteers at a time at Kanaan and Neuras, and up to 8 volunteers at Mangetti, ensuring a comfortable and cozy environment where you are sure to receive quality time with the coordinator and your fellow volunteers as well as be able to take a hands-on role in all activities.
At The Lifeline Clinic:
Depending on the season, volunteer numbers range from 2 -6.
Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary is located just 45km out of Windhoek (Namibia’s capital) and 35km from Windhoek International airport, in the Khomas region of Namibia. The travel distances to the other sites from the Sanctuary are as follows:
Neuras: 4-5 hour drive South;
Kanaan: 6-7 hour drive South;
Mangetti: 8 hour drive North;
The lifeline Clinic: 4 hour drive East.
If you book early enough there should be no problem in volunteering with your friends or partner. Please let us know upon booking if you wish to share a room with them.
Absolutely! Clever Cubs is located on the Wildlife Sanctuary so Volunteers can spend as much or as little time helping out there. If you are interested in volunteering most of your time at the Clever Cubs School please notify us in advance or tell our staff when you arrive here and we will make sure you have a chance to join in the fun!
Hiking and trekking the mountainous terrain make up a large part of the daily activities at Neuras, Kanaan and Mangetti, and thus a good level of fitness is recommended. However, activities can be tailored to suit the fitness needs and levels of most people. Appropriate footwear is required.
We welcome volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds:
- Healthcare professionals: doctors, nurses and allied health professionals e.g. pharmacists, physiotherapists, optometrists, occupational therapists and paramedics.
- Other professionals: e.g. gardeners, engineers, plumbers, architects, painters and decorators, joiners, teachers, statisticians and data analysts, etc.
- Students: e.g. medical and nursing students, as well as those who are thinking of applying for a healthcare professional career.
Although it is true to say that “the more experience you have, the better” — what is more important than your qualifications and experience is your attitude and approach to life. We are looking for volunteers who are self-motivated; flexible; able to work both independently and in a team; patient, kind and considerate; able to cope with setbacks; and of course have sense of humour!
Qualified doctors and nurses who volunteer at the Lifeline Clinic work under the direction of the resident clinic doctors (or in an advisory capacity to the clinic doctors) and as such do not require an authorisation to practice.
The resident doctors have “authorisation to practice” in Namibia. This authorisation is required to work independently and takes significant time and effort to acquire.
How to book
After sending the booking form you will receive an invoice which tells you to pay 4 weeks before arriving. The payment page gives you the instructions for payment. If you bank in RAND or NAD please use the electronic bank transfer as instructed on the invoice.
To check availability please go to the provisional booking page and fill in the form. The booking team will get back to you within 48 hours.
We recommend that you book as early as possible for the following reasons:
- Neuras, Kanaan, Mangetti and the Lifeline Clinic can accommodate a limited number of volunteers and can be fully booked particularly during July, August and September.
- It can take up to 8 weeks to get a visa.
- Flights tend to be cheaper the earlier you book.
For Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary Programme and Equine Experience:
Day of arrival: Monday or Thursday. Day of departure: Monday or Thursday.
If you arrive on a different week day, you will incur a N$ 500.00 fee. The Wildlife Conservation Volunteer programme at the Sanctuary runs 365 days a year.
For Kanaan Desert Retreat & Neuras Wine and Wildlife Estate:
Transfers to, from and between these sites occur on Saturdays. The starting point is the sanctuary.
Multiple week bookings are possible and encouraged, but stays for less than one week at Kanaan or Neuras are not possible. Please ensure you arrive at the Sanctuary at least one night prior to your early morning Saturday departure to Kanaan or Neuras (arrival dates are Mondays and Thursdays) and that your departing flight after your Saturday evening return from Kanaan or Neuras. You will be based on the Sanctuary for any additional nights that you are not at the research sites.
For Mangetti Cattle Ranch:
Transfers occur on Wednesdays. The starting point is the sanctuary.
Multiple week bookings are possible and encouraged, but stays for less than one week are not possible. Please ensure you arrive at the Sanctuary at least one night prior to your departure to Mangetti (arrival days are Mondays and Thursdays) and that your departing flight is after your Tuesday evening return from Mangetti. You will be based on the Sanctuary for any additional nights that you are not at the research sites.
For The Lifeline Clinic:
Day of arrival: every 2nd Saturday (see dates in volunteer packet). Day of departure: every 2nd Saturday (see dates in volunteer packet).
Transfer dates run on a set schedule throughout the year with departures from the Sanctuary on set Sundays and arrival back to the Sanctuary two Fridays thereafter. Extended stays are possible, but a weekend at the Sanctuary might be necessary between rotations. Departures from the Sanctuary can be on any day, included in the fee of the programme. If you wish to travel to and from the Lifeline Clinic on any other day than a scheduled transfer day, with advanced warning we can arrange a taxi. This costs about N$ 2,300 for one person and N$ 2,500 for two people
Flights should be booked to Windhoek Hosea Kutako Airport (WHK), Namibia.