Wildlife volunteer

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  Wildlife Volunteering

Originating as a small wildlife sanctuary nestled in the Namibian bush, just 45km from Namibia’s capital, Windhoek, the Naankuse Foundation Wildlife Sanctuary has grown into a world-famous conservation organisation. We provide a safe haven and second chance for countless injured, orphaned and conflict animals. Whenever possible our goal is to release animals back into the wild – only those animals too ill, abused or habituated remain at the sanctuary. Our volunteers are critical to enabling us to continue caring for the animals at Naankuse.


Embark with Naankuse on a conservation adventure!

Our volunteers come from all backgrounds and nationalities and with varied experience with animals and wildlife… from absolutely no experience to those with a professional background in veterinary or conservation science. What our volunteers do have in common is a love of wildlife and a passion for aiding in the conservation and care of Africa’s diverse species.

Volunteers are critical in the daily care and feeding of animals in rehabilitation or permanent captivity at the sanctuary, as well as helping to maintain and develop the sanctuary. This is an exceptional opportunity to get hands on with African wildlife and many aspects of their care. Additionally, although our focus is on animal welfare, there will also be educational and recreational activities for volunteers to take part in.

Activities at the sanctuary

Daily activities could include:

  • Preparing food and feeding the animals
  • Cleaning enclosures
  • Providing enrichment
  • Caring for juvenile wildlife
  • Physical labour such as building new facilities
  • Research (including monitoring free-roaming carnivores, analysing camera traps and GPS data)
  • Tracking, game counts or horseback game count

For those of you with a focus on Research we also offer a full week of research activities

Volunteering at Neuras and Kanaan

Naankuse provides volunteers with the unique opportunity to visit one or both of our carnivore research sites in Southern Namibia: Neuras Wine & Wildlife Estate and Kanaan Naankuse Desert Retreat. At both of these projects, you will have the chance to monitor large carnivores and other animals in the area, contributing to invaluable research that will help mitigate human-wildlife conflict in Africa.

Daily activities usually entail hiking in the vast outdoors of this semi-desert landscape. Volunteers will get ample field experience and be involved first hand with all aspects of our research programme, which includes:

capture mark release
radio telemetry tracking (as per availability)
game count
camera trapping
mapping and exploring the terrain and environment
data processing
assisting with capture and releases
maintenance and security on the reserve
cheetah feed
night drives and sleep-outs.

Volunteering at Mangetti

Come and delve into the lives of the world’s largest land animal and one of Africa’s most endangered carnivore species using GPS and VHF monitoring technology, motion-sensitive trail cameras and traditional spoor (footprint) tracking techniques.Although this research site focuses on the research of the African Elephant and African Wilddog, there is no guarantee of sighting these other than on camera trap footage.

The programme runs for 7 nights with transportation to and from the Sanctuary on Wednesdays. Pre-booking is recommended due to limited availability and can be made at the time of your booking or upon arrival at the Sanctuary. Volunteers have the option of spending one or more week/s at Mangetti as part of their trip, where they will focus on the research of free-roaming animals; particularly African elephants and African wild dogs. Alternatively, volunteers can choose to spend all of their time at this research site.

The Mangetti is a high risk Malaria area from November to March and anti-malarial medication is strongly recommended (we recommend you get the medication in Namibia and take it only when leaving for Mangetti, not beforehand). Suitable insect repellents should also be brought.

Daily activities usually entail hiking in the vast outdoors of this woodland landscape. Volunteers will get ample field experience and be involved first hand with all aspects of our research programme, which includes:

camera trapping
GPS monitoring
VHF telemetry tracking
spoor (footprint) tracking
conflict assessment
community outreach.

Food and Accommodation

We have two options of accommodation at the Wildlife Sanctuary.  Twin or triple share tents for same gender, couples or families to share.  The furnishings are basic with comfortable single beds with bedding provided (duvets and pillows). Showers and toilet facilities are communal and hot water is supplied by solar energy and therefore sometimes restricted. Power sockets for electrical items are available in communal areas.

The facilities at our research sites are very similar to the ones provided at the sanctuary, with accommodation being either in guest house rooms or in large tents.

Neuras has tented accommodation available to volunteers a short walk from the Neuras Lodge. Tents are fitted with two beds and all linen is provided. The bathroom facilities are communal and hot water is supplied by solar energy.

Kanaan has both tented and room accommodation. The four standard rooms are located in the guesthouse and can accommodate two guests in each. Each room has an en suite bathroom. When rooms are not available, two-person tents are utilised with shared bathroom facilities. Both options are fitted with linen and towels provided.

Volunteers and researcher(s) are accommodated in one of the management houses in the Mangetti village. The house has electricity and running water; the hotwater is supplied through a wood-burning water boiler or “donkey” as it is commonly known.

At the Sanctuary, Neuras and Kanaan, three balanced meals are provided per day on a self-serve basis. On weekends we often have a braai (barbecue). Vegetarian options are available upon request and all dietary conditions can be accommodated for provided you inform us prior to arrival.

Meals are a simple affair in the Mangetti. Breakfast will consist of cereal, tea/coffee and toast. Most days packed lunches (sandwich, fruit & juice) will be prepared by volunteers and staff to be eaten in the field. Everyone takes turns to cook the main evening meal and clean up afterwards. There will usually be a traditional braai one evening during the trip.

Find out more information on our FAQ page or email us at bookings@naankuse.com