Do you like wide, open spaces? Enjoy sleeping under the stars? One of the best reasons for choosing a volunteer abroad program in Namibia, a country beloved for its rugged, harsh, yet beautiful landscapes, is because you will be able to live and work in the great outdoors.
The word “Namib” means “vast place,” which is fitting because this is one of the least crowded places on the planet. With desolate mountains, golden deserts with towering dunes, shimmering salt pans, and treacherous Atlantic rollers, Namibia is a country of contrasts.
Wildlife and wild spaces are important to the people of Namibia. It was the first African nation to implement environmental protection into its constitution, and more than 40% of the country is under some type of conservation management plan.
Namibia is also an excellent place to see a big cat, since its home to the world’s largest population of free-roaming cheetahs. It’s a breathtaking sight, but the big cats are threatened in central Namibia, where much of its territory is now used for commercial farming. Free-roaming big cats are top predators and farmers don’t tolerate large carnivores that hunt and kill their livestock.
If you’re interested in working with a conservation program that helps the endangered cheetah, as well as other big cats and wildlife, take a look at Frontier’s Carnivore Conservation Program in Namibia. Work with biologists to track, capture, and relocate carnivores to a safe area. Conservation is also critical to the desert-adapted elephants of Namibia, one of only two desert-dwelling elephant populations in the world!
Water is a premium commodity in Damaraland, an arid section of Namibia. During the rainy season, rivers spring to life and create an ecosystem that’s critical to desert-adapted elephants. The water also is critical to the livelihood of subsistence farmers. When elephants compete with their human neighbors for water, damage ensues and conflict arises. With their keen sense of smell, elephants will locate water and use their strong trunks to pull out pipes, and their tusks to puncture water tanks to get at the source. The result is that these thirsty elephants, labeled as “problem animals,” are shot by farmers. Join African Impact on their Desert Elephant Conservation project mending walls.
Another Namibia volunteer opportunity places you on the Re-wilding Environmental Project with Global Nomadic, where your month-long retreat can be soul-saving as well as land saving. This project allows you to restore original flora and fauna, helping to reclaim Namibia’s “naturescape”.
If any of these projects sound interesting to you and strike a chord in your naturalists’ heart, read on!