Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary
More activities you'll be involved in as a volunteer at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary
The sanctuary has the privilege to be able to take some of their juvenile baboons from the sanctuary out for enrichment walks and provide them with the opportunity to forage, explore the veldt and splash around in the local waterholes.
The baboon walks are primarily for their enrichment as well as an opportunity for volunteers to learn more about and bond with these amazing primates. Taking the baboons for walks gives them the opportunity to forage and diversify their diet, stretch their legs and climb anything and everything - including you!
Further animal enrichment may include “cheetah time” where volunteers may spend time with the cheetahs and “cheetah run,” where volunteers are involved in exercising the cheetahs with the use of a pulley system to encourage the cheetahs to chase a piece of cloth“ bait.”
This is a great chance to admire the fastest land animal in action and to observe their beauty and grace while providing them with vital exercise to keep them happy and healthy.
You may also get the chance to interact hands-on with certain animals at the sanctuary depending on the needs and types of animals at the time of your arrival. Sometimes our youngest animals need to be “babysat” and provided extra attention while other animals require quiet observation and company. With orphaned and injured animals arriving throughout the year, you never know who may be in need of some extra tender loving care!
It is always important to remember that, while some animals are approachable, they are all wild animals at heart and thus it is important to always respect their boundaries. It is therefore essential to listen to any staff members accompanying you and who will provide you with the best practices for interactions.
Intensive Juvenile Care & Baboon Sleepovers
The Sanctuary is home to many orphaned animals, including baboons, which up until a certain age need extra care overnight when they are still very young. The purpose of this interaction is to simulate the role that their mother would play in the wild.
When sleeping overnight with a baboon, you will be responsible for bathing them, feeding them and taking them to bed with you so they have someone to cuddle with at night and don’t feel scared. It is the highlight of many people’s time at the wildlife sanctuary and is a crucial part of our project.
Without you, they wouldn’t be able to care for as many orphans as they do. Staff members are always there to help you with questions, and you will have a baboon induction to show you the ropes before you take your first baboon. It is not mandatory to be involved in the baboon sleepovers, but you are encouraged to try the experience as many people leave with baboons firmly in their heart.
Other orphaned baby animals come to us and may need intensive care such as bottle-feeding, observation and interaction.
Project work at the sanctuary varies depending on the needs of the project,and is a large and vital part of your time with them. Project work can range from easy and fun jobs to heavier labour that involves work with tools, lifting and more. Some of the projects completed in the past with the assistance of our volunteers included:
- Digging water holes for our new caracal and baby baboon enclosures
- Making and decorating new toys for baboon enclosures
- Digging holes and putting up fences for enclosures
- Painting the school
You will have the chance to take part in Wildlife Conservation at the Sanctuary. Research is a vital part of the work at the sanctuary, and they offer you a chance to be a part of it through a variety of activities.
Setting camera traps, analysing the data, and conducting game counts are common activities for the research group. The information gathered on game counts and from camera traps helps staff to to understand the health, movement and behaviour of the animals in Namibia and is also a fun way to see the reserve. The research team will also guide you in the tracking of animals fitted with GPS monitoring equipment (including snakes). These activities provide a great time to enjoy your surroundings and learn more about Namibia and it's wildlife.
If you are a horse lover, then you are in luck. Activities on the sanctuary may include horseback riding through the veldt, which is a special and unique way to spend time in the African bush with the chance of close encounters with wild game. Border fence patrol and game counts on horseback are other activities which you may be involved in during your stay.
The Local School
The Wildlife Conservation project may also entail volunteering with the San children and assisting the teacher at our School, located on premises at the Sanctuary. This Pre-School provides vital free education to the San Bushman children whose parents work onsite and who would otherwise not have access to education.
The school,opened in November 2009, provides a full curriculum including English, Mathematics, Arts & Crafts, Sports and Environmental Studies to the children and toddlers. As well as learning how to read and write, the children enjoy dancing, singing and playing. They are also working to enroll as many of the older children
as possible into mainstream schools in Windhoek to continue their education. The children are extremely friendly and love meeting new people–their enthusiasm and smiles are infectious to all!
Wildlife Conservation Volunteers may choose to spend time with the children and assisting our teachers at the school is located on the Sanctuary’s property.
If you would like to add on a week or two to help at the School please let us know in advance. You can also choose to volunteer entirely at the school for the duration of your stay.
Weekends at the sanctuary tend to involve a Saturday activity that can vary from paintball, a nature walk through the farm, raft racing in the dam, volleyball in the river or challenge sand quizzes. Evenings involve a braai (BBQ) and time to socialise and relax together. Sundays you may have the option to visit Windhoek or spend some time at the luxury lodge for the day.
We look forward to welcoming you at the Wildlife Sanctuary and working with you to make a difference to the conservation of African wildlife and people. Thank you!