Volunteer in Namibia
Language: English/ Afrikaans
Currency: Namibian Dollar / South African Rand
Time: UTC +2
Responsible volunteering in Namibia
Climb the highest sand dunes in the world or descend to the bottom of Africa’s deepest canyon. Explore the world’s driest desert and take time to appreciate the silence. Join one of our carefully selected wildlife volunteer projects in Namibia, or take part in a self-drive or off-the-beaten-track adventure!
Volunteering in Namibia is an experience like no other. A country of breathtaking beauty and wild extremes, it is the perfect destination to combine conservation or community volunteering with a journey of exploration and discovery.
Namibia has so much to offer volunteers: cheetah conservation, desert-adapted elephants, large carnivore research and work in communities that live in one of the world’s harshest environments. In addition to the vital conservation and community work on our volunteer projects, Namibia is also home to the iconic red dunes of Sossusvlei, the laid-back beach town of Swakopmund, and Etosha National Park – a completely unique safari experience.
Namibia is perfect for volunteers and travellers looking for unspoilt wilderness. Combine that with 300 days a year of sunshine, a massive array of small and large animals on offer, a stable infrastructure and good transport network, its the perfect place to get off the beaten track. The country is also largely malaria free, with only a small area in the far north affected.
We offer tours and excursions, both guided or independent, to Namibia’s main attractions – the sand dunes of Sossusvlei, the wildlife spectacle that is Etosha National Park, the ancient Bushmen paintings at Twyfelfontein and of course, Swakopmund – Namibia’s coastal playground. We can also include some less well-known destinations – giving you the opportunity to experience the country as, or with, a local.
Namibia is an incredible destination for family volunteers and travellers – take a look at our blog post – 10 reasons to take your family to Namibia, to give you some ideas!
Namibia is a popular destination for eco-tourists, and was the first African country to incorporate protection of the environment into its constitution. Over 43% of Namibia’s land is under community management, and this sense of ownership over wildlife has encouraged people to use their resources sustainably. Wildlife is embraced as a complementary land use method, alongside agriculture and livestock herding – a true holistic conservation success story.
Despite its harsh climate, Namibia has some of the world’s grandest National Parks and wildlife areas and, in addition to boasting the largest free-roaming population of black rhinos and cheetahs in the world, it is the only country with an expanding population of free-roaming lions. Namibia’s elephant population more than doubled between 1995 and 2008 from 7,500 to over 16,000 individuals, and the country is also home to one of only two populations of the desert-adapted elephant. This remarkable turnaround has led many conservationists to label Namibia’s conservation efforts the greatest African wildlife recovery story ever told.
Traveling with Conservation Travel Africa partners who are immersed in Namibia’s wildlife industry, means that you’ll achieve your dream safari holiday, whether your interests are conservation, safaris, tours, adrenalin activities, or a once-in-a-lifetime family adventure.
Namibia’s traditional culture is one of the most ancient in the world, and its history can be found carved into rock paintings dating back to 26,000 BC. A long lineage of groups including traditional San Bushmen, Bantu herdsmen and the Himba, Herero and Nama tribes, have called this rugged land their home for thousands of years.
The San, traditional hunters and gatherers, continue to live off the land today and are considered to be one of the oldest cultures in the world. There are opportunities to learn traditional hunting and survival skills from members of the San community. The Himba are a tribe of nomadic herders inhabiting the Kaokaland region of Namibia, who cling to their traditions of moving around from one home to another in search of grazing for their animals. It takes incredible skills and knowledge to thrive in an arid desert climate, and the Himba are some of the most proficient of Africa’s herders, thanks also in part to their cultural, family-orientated way of life – “He who has people will not perish”.
With only 2.2 million people in the country, and one of the lowest population densities in the world (1.5 people per square km), the country almost never feels crowded, and you can drive for miles without passing another person or vehicle. The country is very tourist-friendly, and we would encourage solo travellers, including solo female travellers, and families of all ages to pay a visit.
Namibia is a country that truly has it all for volunteers and travellers. Stunning coastlines, spectacular desert and dune landscapes, unique National Parks and rocky moonscapes. We highly recommend you allow some time to visit some of the countries finest and most iconic sights, as well as its less well-known attractions. To add any of these to your volunteer itinerary, please get in touch.
Etosha National Park is Namibia’s first conservation area, designated in 1907. One of Africa’s finest game reserves, Etosha is home to huge herds of elephant, black-maned lions, and the world’s largest population of the endangered black rhino. Namibia is home to the largest population of free-roaming cheetah in the world, most living in Etosha. For the greater part of the year (the dry season), Etosha’s animals and birds are dependent on about 30 springs and waterholes. These provide incredible game viewing and photographic opportunities.
Namibia’s Skeleton Coast is a stark reminder of the power of nature – a vast, brutal place where the cold Atlantic Ocean crashes into the barren Namib desert. Portuguese sailors called it ‘The Gates of Hell’, and to the nomadic tribes who crossed, it was known as ‘the land God made in anger’. Most easily accessible by plane, a few adventurous travellers a year can witness elephants wading into the sea and desert-adapted lions wandering the shore. The southern tip is opening up, with a lodge now open at the end of the road in Mowe Bay.
Sossusvlei is home to the highest sand dune in the world, Dune 7 (383m tall), and is Namibia’s most outstanding scenic attraction. Climbing to the top of one of these dunes provides breathtaking views of the whole area, including Deadvlei, a large ghostly expanse of dried white clay punctuated by skeletons of ancient camelthorn trees, carbon dated between 500-600 years old. The Namib Desert is the oldest desert on earth, at 80 million years old, and is an absolute must-see destination.
Kolmanskop ghost town – in the dry barren Namib desert lies the abandoned bones of a ghost town. From huge sand drifts rise ornate buildings, where once the richest diamond deposits in the world were found. In the 1930s, the diamond rush took people elsewhere, and the town’s inhabitants literally abandoned their homes and possessions for greener pastures. Today the elements are in control and the land has been reclaimed by nature. It is a fascinating place and well worth a visit.
Small creatures safari, Swakopmund – this half day eco tour takes place in the dunes between Walvis Bay and Swakopmund, and gives a fascinating insight into the desert-adapted creatures and plants that make the dunes their home. Forget rhinos and elephants and focus on the web-footed gecko, Namaqua chameleon and Namib sand snake.
The Fish River Canyon is Africa’s deepest gorge and the second largest in the world, with a 500m vertical drop. The canyon is a spectacular natural phenomenon and definitely worth visiting on a tour to Kolmanskop.
Volunteer projects in Namibia
Support the responsible conservation of Namibia’s large carnivores, and help mitigate the human-wildlife conflict in one of Namibia’s remote desert locations. Participate in the research, tracking, and monitoring of free-ranging leopard, cheetah, and hyena in a spectacular environment, and contribute to the long-term management of two of Namibia’s most successful wildlife estates.
Volunteer in Namibia, and participate in delivering solutions to the human-elephant conflict in remote villages. Monitor populations of the rare desert-adapted elephant, and work in rural communities to reduce and repair elephant damage. This is a very hands-on project where you will join building projects to provide alternative water sources for elephants.
Support local staff in all aspects of daily animal care, at this busy sanctuary in Namibia. Volunteers are responsible for daily food preparation and animal feeding, released animal monitoring and game counts. You will also work on rehabilitation strategies and enrichment activities for long term residents and those that cannot be released.
Namibia is a magical volunteer destination for families – spectacular, unique and safe. Explore the remote Damaraland region, track the rare desert-adapted elephant and work on building projects in rural communities. Camp under the vast Namibian skies, witness incredible night skies and experience dramatic desert landscapes.