Duration & Fees
Exclusive Wildlife Rehabilitation Course
Volunteer whilst staying in the Luxury Lodge
Please note: The currency conversion is an estimate based on today's exchange rates and is to be used as a guide only. All payments to Amanzi Travel have to be made in Pounds Sterling (GBP)
Volunteers can join at anytime throughout the year. We ask you to arrive on a Monday or Thursday if you would like your inclusive transfers. Volunteer can join on other days but there will be an additional charge of £45 if you would like to do this.
This project is open over Christmas and New Year.
£180 deposit at time of booking – balance payment of project fee due 12 weeks before departure
- Transfers to and from the Windhoek International Airport or Windhoek City on a Monday or Thursday
- Orientation and support from the project staff
- Accommodation and meals
What's not included
- Return flights to Windhoek International Airport
- Travel insurance to include cover for repatriation
- Visas if required
- Use of internet and telephone
- Soft drinks, alchol and snacks
The Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary was established to protect and conserve the wildlife, land and cultures of Namibia and in particular to rescue species threatened by an ever-shrinking habitat. Animals come to the Sanctuary from all over Namibia and the aim is to heal and rehabilitate them and where possible to release them back into the wild where they can be free to live a natural life. Sometimes, for various reasons, animals cannot be released - perhaps because their injury is too extensive or because their contact with humans could put them at risk. The Sanctuary provides a lifelong sanctuary for these animals in as natural an enviroment as possible.
The Sanctuary, situated in a 3,200 hectare game reserve within striking distance of Windhoek, is set in the majestic savanna of the region with areas of vegetation extending up to a beautiful mountain backdrop. The Otjihase River cuts through the land in the summer months and giraffe, zebra, ostrich, hartebeest, springbok, warthog and occasional cheetah and leopard roam freely across the reserve.
The resident wildlife at any time will vary but may include carnivores such as wild dogs, lions, leopard, cheetah, hyena and caracal; primates such as baboons and vervet monkeys; birds such as peacocks and vultures; antelope such as oryx, springbok, duiker and kudu; small mammals such as meerkats, rock dassies, polecats, genets and warthogs as well as a host of other species and farm animals. The sanctuary has become the first point of contact now for many of the farmers and residents in Namibia and so animals are coming to the sanctuary all the time and volunteers may be lucky enough to be a valuable part of a team that goes out to rescue wildlife in need or help a new arrival at the sanctuary settle in and get any medical attention they may require.
Activities at the Sanctuary are planned on a rotational basis so that everyone has the chance to get involved in all of the experiences available.
Possible activities could include:
- walking out with some of the wildlife on the reserve - the baboon walks are always a real highlight with volunteers
- food preparation and feeding the wildlife and farm animals including the Big Cat feeding runs
- cleaning and maintaining the animal enclosures
- providing enrichment for the animals - interacting with them, walking out into the bush or perhaps planning special activities for them
- being part of the team that goes out to offer assistance and rescue wildlife in need
- providing intensive care for the young wildlife
- helping to build new facilities for the animals.
- research projects - perhaps monitoring free-ranging carnivores in the area and surrounding farms to help in the Sanctuary's role in conserving threatened species. To achieve this it is vital that human-wildlife conflict is reduced and this is done through research, relationship-building, improved livestock protection and co-operation with the farmers to reduce their reasons for persecuting the predators.
- tracking and monitoring carnivores around the Sanctuary, horseback riding and game counts in the bush
- helping out with the enthusiastic children at the Clever Cubs School
Food Preparation and Enclosure Cleaning
Preparing food for the animals and cleaning their enclosures is an essential part of the daily activities. This is vital to the daily running of the sanctuary and it is very satisfying to know that you are helping to ensure that the animals are well fed and checking on their health and well-being. Foods to be prepared will include fruit, vegetables, meats and corn-based meal - all of which make up the diet for all the animals including baboons, cheetahs and the other big cats.
The time spent feeding the carnivores is always an enjoyable part of the day. This is a co-ordinator led activity but volunteers will get to see and possibly assist the feeding of the lions, leopards, cheetah and wild dogs. This is a great time to take photographs of the amazing wildlife and learn about their backgrounds and the reasons why each animal is at the Sanctuary, particularly the difficulties faced in trying to manage the human-wildlife conflict. Volunteers will also learn about the many big cats that have been part of the rehabilitation and release programme in the Namib Desert and been given a second chance at living in the wild. Volunteers can also spend 1 week or more tracking and monitoring these Big Cats and split their time between working at the wildlife sanctuary and at the release sites - to find out more about the Big Cat Release and Tracking Volunteer - Click Here
Another really enjoyable tasks is to take the younger baboons out for walks to allow them the chance to forage, explore the veldt and splash around in the large waterholes. Although the walks are primarily to enrich the lives of the baboons, they provide an opportunity for volunteers to learn more about them and to bond with these primates. Walks give the baboons a chance to stretch their legs, climb anything and everything in sight (including volunteers!) and supplement their diet with what they can find.
Volunteers may also spend time with the cheetahs - especially on the "cheetah run" - a way of exercising the cheetahs which uses a pulley system to encourage the cheetahs to chase a piece of cloth bait. This is a great chance to admire these fantastic creatures - the fastest land animals - in action and help to provide them with vital exercise to keep them happy and healthy.
There may also be chances for hands-on interaction with certain animals at the Sanctuary depending on the types of animals and their needs during your volunteering placement. Some may just need quiet observation but some may need company. Orphaned and injured animals arrive throughout the year so one never knows who might be in need of some extra tender loving care!
It is always important for volunteers to remember that these are wild animals and although some may be approachable, it is essential to listen to the staff who will give advice as to the best way to interact with the animals, but always to remember to respect their boundaries.
This varies depending on the needs of the project at any time but is an important part of all volunteer's time. It can range from easy and fun jobs to heavier labour that involves work with tools lifting and more. Some of the projects recently completed with the help of volunteers include:
- digging waterholes for the new caracal and baby baboon enclosures
- making and decorating new toys for enclosures
- digging holes and putting up fences for enclosures
- painting the school
This is a vital part of the work at the Sanctuary and volunteers enjoy a variety of activities such as setting camera traps, analysing the data and conducting game counts. The information gained from these activities helps understanding of the health, movement and behaviour of wildlife in Namibia and is a good way to see the land. Members of the research team will guide volunteers in tracking the animals fitted with GPS monitoring equipment and these activities are a great way to learn more about Namibia and its wildlife.
Any horse lovers are in luck! Activities at the Sanctuary may include horseback riding through the veldt - a great way to spend time in the African bush with the chance of close encounters with wildlife. Border fence patrols and game counts are other horseback activities in which volunteers may be involved during their stay. For anyone wanting to join the sanctuary's dedicated Wildlife Sanctuary Equine Experience - Click Here.
Clever Cubs School
There may also be a chance to volunteer with the San children and help the teacher at the Clever Cubs School which is located at the Sanctuary. This little pre-school provides vital free education to the San Bushman children whose parents work on site and who would otherwise not receive any education. The school opened in November 2009 and provides a full curriculum including English, Maths, Arts and Crafts, Sports and Environmental Studies. As well as learning how to read and write the children also enjoy dancing, singing and playing. It is also hoped to enrol as many of the older children as possible into mainstream schools in Windhoek so that they can continue their education. The children are all very friendly and love meeting new volunteers who can choose to spend time with the children and help the teacher. Anyone who would like to help at the Clever Cubs School should let Amanzi Travel know in advance if possible. Requests to take part in this activity can also be taken from volunteers on their arrival at the Sanctuary or at any time throughout their placement. Any volunteer who would like to focus solely on volunteering at the school throughout part or all of their stay should also indicate this to Amanzi Travel when making their booking as you can book on the split teaching and wildlife care project. For more information on the Teaching and Wildlife Volunteer in Namibia - Click Here
Volunteers are split into working groups which rotate daily to ensure variety when carrying out duties.
||Morning meeting with volunteer co-ordinator to plan the day's activities
||Morning Activities (varies daily)
||Tea break (depending on activity)
||Morning Activities (varies daily)
||Lunch and free time
||Afternoon Activities (varies daily)
||Dinner and free time
Note: volunteers should be prepared for the daily schedule to change at short notice to meet the needs of the project and animals. Please remember that the animals are rescued, cared for and if possible, released into their natural habitat, and therefore the variety and number of animals at the sanctuary can change daily and working with particular animals cannot be guaranteed. Volunteers are key to the success of the wildlife sanctuary - participation in the programme ensures the rescue, survival and rehabilitation of the animals which have found a safe home there.
Big Cat Release and Research Sites
For volunteers who wish to be more involved in the big cat, wild dog and elephant conservation research and the human-wildlife conflict resolution aspects of the work being done, there are three research sites across Namibia – including Neuras, Mangetti and Kanaan. These are places of outstanding natural beauty and tracking the wildlife in this area is an incredible exprience. Volunteers can join this part of the project for a minumum of one week. For more information on the Big Cat, Wild Dog and Elephant Research Volunteer - Click Here
Exclusive Naankuse Wildlife Rehabilitation and Captive Care Experience
28 September - 9 October 2020
1 February - 12 February 2021
20 September - 1 October 2021
This venture, which will be offered twice annually – in February and October each year – is specifically designed for students in the veterinary, zoology and wildlife fields as well as anyone with a real interest in expanding their current knowledge of various species of African wildlife. Participants will have the privilege of working with three of the sanctuaries wildlife staff including Marlice van Vuuren, founder and Wildlife Rehabilitation Course and director who is a world-renowned conservationist with a wealth of knowledge and experience. For more information on the Exclusive Wildlife Rehabilitation Course - Click Here.
The sanctuary offers two clean and comfortable accommodation options: volunteer rooms shared by up to three people (single sex) or large tents with a living and bedroom area which are shared by up to three people. Twin tents are also available for couples or friends. The rooms are basic but the beds are comfortable and bedding (duvets and pillows) are provided. There are communal showers and toilet facilities with hot water supplied by solar energy which is sometimes restricted. A few of the tents have basic en-suite facilities at the back of the tent. Power sockets for electrical items are available in communal areas.
Depending on availability we may be able to offer one of the tents on a single occupancy basis for those who would like private accommodation on their own. There is a small additional fee for this. To find out more please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Three balanced meals are provided each day on a self-serve basis. At weekends there is often a braai (barbecue). Vegetarian options are available on request. Breakfast typically consists of cereals and toast, lunch is typically pasta, stir-fry, burgers or wraps and there is a cooked evening meal - with meat or fish, vegetables and potatoes, pasta or rice.
Volunteers with special dietary needs should ensure they include these on their applicaiton form when booking or contact Amanzi Travel before they travel.
Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary
Why visit Namibia?
Namibia is one of those dreamlike places that makes one question whether something so visually fabulous could actually exist. It is characterised by vast open spaces, with breathtaking scenery and great contrasts – ocean, dunes, mountains and deserts. A predominantly arid country, Namibia can be divided into four main regions. The Namib Desert and vast plains of the Skeleton Coast in the west; the eastward-sloping Central Plateau; the Kalahari desert along the borders with South Africa and Botswana; and the densely wooded bushveld of the Kavango and Caprivi regions – a magical undeveloped oasis of waterways and wildlife, providing abundant game and birdlife viewing opportunities. Despite its harsh climate, Namibia has some of the world’s grandest national parks, ranging from the wildlife-rich Etosha National Park, to the dune fields and desert plains of the Namib-Naukluft Park. The Namib-Naukluft Park is superb for hiking, with a number of spectacular trails. It is also home to the renowned dunes of Sossusvlei - said to be the highest in the world - and the fascinating Sesriem Canyon. Windhoek is the country’s geographical heart and commercial nerve centre, with an ethnic mix of people, while surfers, anglers and beach-lovers won’t want to miss Swakopmund, with its lively entertainment and sporting activities.
- Etosha National Park is one of Africa’s finest parks, both in size and diversity of wildlife.
- The Namib-Naukluft Park is the largest conservation area in Namibia and one of the largest in the world.
- Two spectacular deserts - the Kalahari and Namib - each with distinctive wildlife and scenery.
- The Namib, at 80 million years, is the world's oldest desert. Namib means “open space”.
- The Namib and Damaraland offer remarkably clear skies for astronomers and keen star gazers.
- Stunning Fish River Canyon is the second largest canyon in the world, after the Grand Canyon – it is 161km long, up to 27km wide and 550m deep.
- Sossusvlei are said to be the highest sand-dunes in the world.
- Superb birding and good fishing is available from the banks of the Kavango and Kunene Rivers on the northern border.
- Popular self-drive destination with excellent infrastructure.
- Largely malaria-free.
- More than 300 days of sunshine per year.
|Summer/wet (October - April)
|Winter/dry (May - September)
|Rainfall: October – December “little rains”, January to April more stormy period
The winter months (May - September) range from 25 to 30°C during the day but night temperatures may drop to below freezing. June to August is the dry season with very little rain. This can be a good time for game viewing as wildlife converge at the waterholes.
The summer months (October - April) can reach highs of over 40°C and nights in the 20°C range (in the arid central Namib Desert temperatures can fall to below freezing during the night). This is a summer rainfall area, but overcast and rainy days are few and far between. Welcome thundershowers may occur in the late afternoon, bringing relief to flora and fauna. In October and November, large herds of blue wildebeest, zebra, springbok and oryx migrate from the Namutoni area to Okaukuejo, where they remain until May.
Rainfall is heaviest in the northeast, which enjoys a sub-tropical climate, and reaches over 600mm annually along the Okavango River. The northern and interior regions experience ‘little rains’ between October and December, while the main stormy period occurs from January to April.
Population – 2.1 million
Capital - Windhoek
Currency - Namibian dollar
Language – official language English; most widely spoken is Afrikaans; half of all Namibians speak Oshiwambo as their first language. German is also widely spoken, plus some Portuguese.
Namib – means “open space”
Etosha – means “great white place”
Time difference – GMT +2 hours
Telephone – country code 264, international access code 00
An experience of a lifetime!! Great 2 weeks spent in the company of several different nationalities all of whom had the welfare of animals in common! A great opportunity to get up close and personal with an amazing array of magnificent wild animals !! Definitely worth a return visit!!
Susie, UK, aged 66 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
From booking to actually going to Namibia, the entire experience was amazing and we couldn’t have done it without the support from Gemma and Amanzi travel who ensured that they we were prepared and comfortable for the trip. It’s been two of the best weeks of my life and I can’t wait to go again, hopefully for longer!
Ciara, UK, aged 18 (Naankuse Teaching and Wildlife Volunteer, Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
Before starting my journey to Namibia, I was very anxious as I had never done anything this this before and had never travelled alone before. Gemma was quick to help settle the nerves by answering any queries that I had promptly and helped keep me informed all the way up until I departed. When I arrived at the Sanctuary, all of the staff were really friendly and helped me settle in quickly. The experiences that I had there are something that I never thought I would have done in my life and I can safely say that it was the trip of a lifetime. (especially the baboon walk!) My only issue was I only went for 2 weeks! The work that is done at the sanctuary is truly amazing and the staff make you feel part of it by involving the volunteers in all aspects of life at the sanctuary, whether it be providing enrichment to the animals or helping to build enclosures for new arrivals. I would highly recommend going to Naankuse and also booking through Amanzi as their customer service and helpful guidance helped put me at ease and make the whole experience a lot less stressful and enjoyable. I definitely plan on returning to Naankuse and Amanzi Travel in the near future!
Jordan, Scotland, aged 24
A wonderful two weeks away arranged by Gemma. Nothing was too much trouble for her - I constantly emailed her questions which she promptly and politely replied to. Naankuse was a little luxury in Namibia, but the work they do for animals, children and San people is amazing. The Namibian Highlights tour was really fun and the accommodation and food standards way above our expectations. Our driver, Gideon was very professional and informative.
Mary and Family of 13, UK (Namibia Short Tour and Naankuse Lodge)
If any one wants to book a volunteer project I strongly recommend Amanzi travel. The service was excellent and i had an absolutely amazing trip to namibia. Thank you all at amanzi.
Angela, UK, aged 56 (Etosha and Swakopmund Adventure - 4 Days, Naankuse Big Cat, Wild Dog and Elephant Conservation Project , Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
"We certainly were making a difference to the conservation of all the beautiful animals and they made us feel like our help was very well appreciated and needed"
Kirsty, UK, aged 19 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary Equine Experience, Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
I have just returned from 3 weeks volunteering at the Namibian Wildlife Sanctuary and it was one of the best experiences of my life. This Sanctuary provides a safe haven for all types of animals found all over Namibia and provides vital medical care to sick and injured animals. It also provides essential job and education opportunities for the people of the local community. It is also a very hands on project and all the staff encourage you to be actively involved in the care of all the animals at the Sanctuary including the babies. I would recommend this project to anyone who wishes to make a positive difference not only to the animals but also the people of Namibia
David, UK, aged 32 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
I just wanted to say THANK YOU! Thank you for your great support. Thank you for answering all my questions. Thank you for planning my volunteer and my stay at the N/a'an ku se lodge with all personal wishes that I had. Thank you for booking my fathers stay at the N/a'an kuse lodge. Thank you for the best experience I had in my life until now! :)
Everything was perfect and just the way I hoped it would be. The staff was very caring and friendly (at the volunteer camp and at the lodge). We had two amazing cottages and great food at the lodge. And at the camp I learned a lot about African animals, endangered species, the bushmen culture and much more.
Someday I´ll return to the sanctuary and I would always book the trip with you again.
Viola, aged 34, Germany (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary Lodge, Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
Stop thinking about it and book it. The most amazing and wonderful experience of my life. Where else would you be able to sleep with baby baboons, walk with cheetahs and wake as the sun rises with the roar of lions beneath you. This wasn't a holiday if was a life changing experience. GO FOR IT !!!!
Jeannette, aged 59, UK (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
This was an excellent experience. Na'an ku se wildlife sanctuary is doing an excellent job with animal care, with their mission of helping to mitigate wildlife-human conflict, and have a very well set-up program for using the volunteers. I loved the variety of the activities. Although the baboon walk, cheetah cub walk, and work with the vet were my favorite activities, I was really glad to learn about and participate in the preparation of food for all the animals, as well as the harder labor involved in helping to maintain and improve a sanctuary. I learned a tremendous amount about what is involved with caring for injured and orphaned wildlife, as well as the challenges in reintroduction back to wild habitat. The staff are excellent, and I felt that my efforts were a good contribution to the overall project, as well as to research that is being conducted by the sanctuary. Amanzi Travel did a great job in all the coordination pieces. I will definitely do another wildlife conservation project organized by them. Thank you!
Jana, USA, aged 59 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
My volunteering experience at N'aankuse Wildlife Sanctuary in Namibia was absolutely amazing. Hard work but very rewarding. It was incredible to spend so much time up close and personal with so many incredible animals. I booked through Amanzi Travel and I have to say that they were super organised and made the whole trip wonderfully easy.
Chris, UK aged 47 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
I had the most amazing time at the sanctuary, loved every minute of it, even the freezing temperatures in the tent at night and sometimes the lack of power and water! The whole ethos of the place, the care of the animals and the hard working and very dedicated coordinators made it very special. The extra trips down to Neuras an Kannan were also fantastic, for a City girl I loved the desert, so empty but teeming with life.
I would definitely recommend the sanctuary to other people, and your efficiency and enthusiasm for the place really helped and made the booking and admin very easy.
Sarah, UK, aged 53 (Naankuse Big Cat, Wild Dog and Elephant Conservation Project , Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
Amanzi helped me plan a really great experience for my first time volunteering. The projects were rewarding as well as informative and has made me appreciate what life is like in Africa for both humans and animals. Gemma was on hand right up until I left for my trip, even during Christmas holidays, answering no end of questions I had. I felt comfortable going into the unknown with Amanzi behind me incase anything didn't go to plan. I would especially recommend Amanzi if its your first time as they have all the knowledge and experience to help you prepare for your big adventure. Thank you!
Mary, UK aged 44 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary, Desert Elephant Volunteer)
Thanks for all your patience and help with my memorable trip to the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary. It was a great experience and I would recommend you to others.
Constance, UK, aged 73 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
I had a fabulous time at the Big Cat Release and Tracking Project in Namibia. Having the opportunity to work hands-on with the animals at the Wildlife Sanctuary and doing some conservation work at Neuras, it was the perfect fit for me. Everyone including staff and volunteers were a joy to work with. The weather was hot and the work was hard. But being one of the more "mature" volunteers I pushed myself to keep up, which made me feel good about what I had accomplished. Helping the animals! It was an amazing experience. Never a dull moment!
Susan, aged 59. USA (Naankuse Big Cat, Wild Dog and Elephant Conservation Project , Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
I had an amazing, once in a lifetime experience while at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary. I feel the volunteer project I participated in was highly valuable to both the local community and its wildlife.
I had an incredibly positive experience booking my African adventure through Amanzi Travel. This was my first time traveling abroad, and Amanzi Travel and Gemma made the process incredibly easy and painless. My expectations were always met, and even in most cases exceeded, both in using Amanzi Travel to book my journey, as well as throughout my stay at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary. I will absolutely use Amanzi Travel to book my next African adventure!
Lindsay, aged 24, USA (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
I spent 3 weeks volunteering at the Namibian Wildlife Sanctuary and it was by far the best experience of my life! I have made friends for life from all over the globe who I still keep in touch with. The project was very valuable to conservation efforts to protect big cat populations in the wild, including Cheetahs and Leopards. I loved helping with the rehabilitation of all the animals at the sanctuary, especially babysitting the orphaned baby baboons overnight! Not only does the Sanctuary support the animals in need, they also give back to the community by letting the volunteers help out at the school, built for the worker’s children, which was a very rewarding and unforgettable experience.
The Co-ordinators and other volunteers were all very welcoming when I arrived and I felt at home immediately. The accommodation was great and the food was amazing.
The Amanzi Travel Team are extremely helpful and I felt at ease throughout the booking process, having spoken to Gemma who was very informative from her own personal experiences in Namibia, and was able to answer any of my queries as well as give me many useful tips! Gemma was also very helpful when booking my airport transfers and accommodation at Chameleon Backpackers! The My Journey page on the Amanzi Travel website is a very useful tool ensuring that all the important details about the project, as well as personal details including insurance, visa forms and flight details are in one place, making the whole process simple and easy to follow!
In addition, I went on the Namibia Dunes and Wildlife Experience Overland Trip which I would highly recommend to anyone who loves an adventure! On this trip I had a true African Experience and the flood lit waterhole in Etosha was definitely a highlight, as well as sand boarding in the Namib desert. The tour guide was fantastic and all accommodation and food was excellent.
Becky, 18, Wales (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary, Namibia Dunes and Wildlife Experience - 6 Days)
I cannot even begin to start with how incredible this experience was for me. From the people and coordinators, to the animals and the geography around me, everything made this trip one to remember. I would highly recommend anyone who is up for a new adventure or change of scenery to join in on the amazing memories and fun. I can say with full confidence it is a place I would love to go back to again, hopefully someday soon.
I could not have been more pleased with the help and information that I was given while preparing for this trip.
I believe the work that has been put in by every individual has made a great contribution to the project and the lives of the animals. It's clear to say without the volunteers it would be a lot harder for the animals to survive on such a strong basis and get such amazing food and care!!! I would say this project is extremely valuable.
Claya, aged 18, Canada (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
Caring for the animals and observing the research studies conducted by the sanctuary staff were the highlights of my trip.
At night, the number of stars was amazing and then hearing the vocalizations of jackals and lions in the distance gave me goosebumps, I was really in Africa! I highly recommend hi-top trail boots, the soil is very rocky, sometimes like sand and at other spots hard as cement. Everything you do involves walking, and I wished I had brought hi-top trail boots.
I think the work that the wildlife sanctuary does is very valuable to the community and wildlife.
Carin, aged 51, USA (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
I spent two weeks volunteering in Namibia and wish I could have stayed longer. My friend and I decided to volunteer at the Namibia wildlife sanctuary.
The Amanzi team is extremely helpful and always answered my questions. I was nervous about traveling because I am a very inexperienced traveler. With Amanzi Travel’s help, my trip ran very smoothly. I arrived two days before the start of the project and stayed in Chameleon Backpackers which was also great. Chameleon Backpackers picked us up from the airport, then the NWS staff picked us up from Chameleon Backpackers which made transportation very easy.
Once at the project the staff and fellow volunteers were very welcoming. We stayed in the tents which were comfortable.(I would recommend bringing a sleeping bag if you are staying in the winter months, we used ours every night) There is a shower and bathroom about 15 feet from the tent that are usually shared with another tent, but we lucked out and did not have to share bathrooms with anyone. Our days consisted of breakfast, then a morning meeting, our activity, lunch, afternoon meeting, then our last activity. Every single day is different and plans our subject to change for working at a wildlife sanctuary is very unpredictable. No matter what your doing there, if you have a positive attitude you will have a great time. I never once felt like I was working, and enjoyed everything I got to do. After being there a week, we had the opportunity to go to Neuras, which is part of the Naankuse foundation.
We weren’t sure if we were going to like it as much as the sanctuary because we wanted to do as much hands on with animals as possible, but we loved it here! Neuras is almost like the behinds the scenes of conservation, and even though your not hands on with animals, it is just as rewarding. We were able to track footprints, check trapped cages, and review camera traps. It was so exciting to see wild leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, baboons, and various antelope species on the camera trap. The staff at neuras, especially Matt and Kate are so friendly and inviting, and since there isn’t as many volunteers as the sanctuary, you feel like a little family.
If you are considering going to the Namibia wildlife sanctuary, I strongly recommend spending at least a week at Neuras, I promise you will love it!
Here are the top three highlights of my trip:
1. The cheetah walk. -- You have to pay extra for this $50 U.S dollars but is INCREDIBLE, I would have payed $500 because you get to walk with, pet, and sit with a tame cheetah. I will never forget that.
2. Solitaire--While at Neuras you will come here for a day. It is home to 6 cheetahs and we come here to feed them. You get to get off the truck and be 5 feet from these beautiful animals while you give them meat. It is so much fun and you get incredible pictures.
3. The wild dog Feed.- At Naankuse they have a pack of wild dogs and you get to join the staff and watch them feed. This was incredible to watch. I loved seeing the hierarchy in the pack and the group dynamics as they fed. This was so much fun to watch, just make sure you bring a fully charged camera and videocamera, you will need it.
All in all, this was for sure the best time of my life. I can't wait to go back.
Julia, aged 22, USA (Naankuse Big Cat, Wild Dog and Elephant Conservation Project , Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
I had a blast! Once I finally picked my volunteer vacation, all fell perfectly into place. Amanzi Travel answered all my questions and got me all needed info very prompty. Their My Journey info pack truly had all the needed info.
The staff at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary were just plain wonderful - they made sure we were happy and safe, and that we all had an amazing time. They know how to handle lots of volunteeers and all personalities. I could have done more work there but I do realize they had lots of volunteers to keep busy.
This was one my the best adventures I have had and would do it again ! Many thanks to all who got me over to Africa!
Katie, aged 51, USA (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
For anyone thinking of the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary, do it! Amazing place full of wonderful people 😀
I'd stay forever if I could!
Clare, UK, aged 36 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
We are back now from a very special experience, although the Etosha overland trip was a bit of an anti climax …… after being so 'hands on' - just could not get excited about taking more photos of animals after being up close and personal (at the NWS). Also unfortunately we had a massive thunder storm of the first night in the park which meant flooded park roads and not many animals on the Game Drives the next day…….. we had an excellent Safari Driver who reminded me of a young Eddie Murphy with a humour to match.
I have no problem providing excellent references for any clients looking to embark on a trip.
Mike Chance, aged 66, UK (Etosha and Swakopmund Adventure - 4 Days, Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
All in all we had a great and rewarding volunteer experience and as we have told our stories, have mentioned Amanzi Travel numerous times.
We had no trouble with entry into the country, and thanks go to both Gemma and Emce, for their assistance with Visas. The website information was helpful…… Volunteers should know that laundry is done almost every day of week and or you can do your own…. The tents for couples are very spacious and clean. The food is basic…. The staff were helpful….
Again a big thank-you for all of your assistance in helping us plan this experience.
Winnie, aged 66 & John, aged 68 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
Just returned from working in a wildlife sanctuary in Namibia for 2 weeks with my son, arranged by Amanzi Travel. The first thing that struck me was the friendliness of the staff. In my experience many people who love animals are less comfortable with the 2 legged kind, but this was not the case here.
In spite of the considerable amount of work and the many demands placed upon them, they showed every concern for our needs and welfare. This was especially important to me as my son (age 18) is autistic and some adjustments to the tasks and activities were necessary. We are also vegetarians. We were never made to feel that these things were any sort of problem or imposition - quite the opposite.
As a result he (and I) had the most wonderful time.The staff kept all of us (between 30 -40 volunteers) fully informed about every aspect of the project and the background of each of the animals. We were allowed to do a very wide variety of tasks - from preparing the animals' food to helping with research programmes such as tracking radio-collared cheetahs and puff adders with one of the resident scientists. Of course we fed the animals - some by bottle and others by throwing hunks of meat over the electrified fence!
Autism means my son is a shy and anxious person who finds new situations very challenging. In spite of this he is studying Animal Care at college. This programme has not only given him lots of unique work experience, but most importantly it has given him confidence in dealing with new situations and people. To see him joining in with others, laughing and joking and enjoying the company of fellow-animal-lovers has been the most wonderful aspect of this brilliant experience.
I would recommend this project to anyone with a sense of adventure and who is not too attached to their creature comforts! The facilities are basic but perfectly acceptable, so long as you do not forget that you are in Africa - miles from anywhere - if you like camping, then you should not find it a hardship. Though sometimes wet (very very wet) it is soon dry again, and never cold. To lie in your tent at night and hear lions roaring in the distance is just one example of the special features of the accommodation.
Amanzi Travel have been so kind, helpful and efficient and have done all they can to make the booking process as painless as possible.
Helen, UK, aged 57 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
Gemma is an incredible asset to Amanzi Travel! Any question, any time, complete responses, empathetic consideration of concerns and issues, resourceful and professional. Even in retrospect when I noted the info I requested was available in the departure packets, she willingly and completely provided me with a thorough reply. I was completely impressed with Gemma's level of customer service ...
The tent was AWESOME. The animals were AWESOME. The food was of very good taste, and good quality, I liked the diverse jobs we managed, and felt amazed every morning when i visited the animals in the quiet… 5am was my wake up everyday. loved it!!!!
Paula, UK, aged 40 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
My African adventure was the experience of a lifetime and the memories I made are unforgettable...I had an absolutely amazing time, thanks! Thank you so much for everything and for making my trip possible! You have no idea how grateful I am.
Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary (link to project)
I had a completely amazing time volunteering at the sanctuary. Everything was perfect to me and I definitely plan on going back... Being able to work with such amazing animals as well as learn so much about them is something I will never stop appreciating. You really do feel like you're helping and contributing to the project and the staff seem make sure you know it... I feel that the sanctuary is doing an amazing job at helping out the wildlife. The effort and dedication to their wellbeing is fantastic and that is definitely one of the main reasons I plan on going back...It really is an amazing place and you really do start to feel at home there. It’s incredibly hard to leave!
Namibia and Botswana Adventure - 14 Days - Southbound (link to project) / Northbound (link to project)
My overland tour from Victoria Falls to Swakopmund was also completely amazing. Everything was beautiful and I definitely plan on doing it again! The amount of incredible things I saw and did! From seeing all the wildlife in the national parks to my bush camp in the Okavango Delta, it was all indescribably beautiful. I absolutely plan on doing another overland tour! It's an incredible experience!
All in all, Africa gets in your blood and it's as though nothing is going to stop you from returning. All of the surreal things you see and do, as well as all of the incredible people you meet and friends you make, are irreplacebale. I would advise anyone to set aside the time to book your trip of a lifetime!
Alicia, Canada, aged 19 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
I had a great trip... Everything Amanzi promised they delivered, from scheduling & pickups to outlining the project. I felt as prepared as one can be going from a cushy 9-5 life to a wildlife sanctuary halfway across the globe :) Thank you.
Laurie, USA aged 47 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
Had a great time at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary and will hopefully go back one day!
What an experience! When I first met Samira the tame 10 year old cheetah, and then got to step into her enclosure and stroke her while she purred loudly, I was quite overcome with awe. And that was just the beginning….. Walking with the baby and junior baboons - and having the privilege of being groomed by the dominant junior female, was something I'll never forget. I loved babysitting Sheila the baby overnight - although putting on two nappies onto something with a tail, and that is clinging fiercely to your side, is quite a challenge! Watching her sleep with her bottle in her mouth, and cuddling up to me for comfort and warmth, was sheer delight. I never expected to fall in love with the baboons! I handled so many different creatures on this trip - Sylvie the tame duiker, Mollie the meerkat, Duckie the blind duck, Mo the baby sheep, Medusa and Cleo the caracals, Samira the cheetah and of course Sheila the baby baboon (amongst a crowd of other baboons!)….. it's an animal-lover's paradise. The work is constant and sometimes challenging, but you know you're doing it to help the animals. I would absolutely love to go back again and spend longer there - I'm missing Sheila and she'll be so much bigger by the time I next see her!
Jo, UK, aged 38 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
I had the most amazing time at the Namibian Wildlife Center! I was amazed at all the animals and thought it was AMAZING! I had the best 2 weeks of my life! It was very hard work though, however it made me feel very fit and energized at the end of it.
Alicia, Australia, aged 21 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
The time I spent at Namibia wildlife sanctuary was the best time of my life. I really felt that I made a contribution to the project. The tasks were fun to do and eventhough some were the same you got to do it with different people and therefor it never got boring. I loved everything about this place and the staff were brilliant. But the thing I loved the most was of course the animals and my favourites were the baboons since they got such personality. I would recommend anyone to join this project you won't regret it.
Sanne, Sweden, aged 18 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
It was the most fabulous holiday we have been on. Stroking cheetahs, walking through the bush with a baboon on each shoulder, walking with a caracal, feeding the animals, having a baby baboon in your bed all night, meerkats, a baboon and a warthog sharing your lunch - the list just goes on. Working with the most professional team on projects, whether being in an enclosure with cheetahs and distracting one with meat scraps whilst Stu persuaded the other to make footprints in sand for measuring or being with Rudi and Flo whilst they darted and collared a very wild leopard….Unbelievable . It will be in the forefront of our memories for ever. If anyone really wants to get close up to wild animals and doesn't mind getting their hands dirty, then this will be the experience of their life. An unbelievable experience that should be taken by everyone who really loves wildlife
Brian, UK, aged 65 (Naankuse Big Cat, Wild Dog and Elephant Conservation Project , Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
We had a wonderful trip to Africa and want to thank you for all your help getting us there. John loved the sanctuary and I felt very privileged to be part of the Lifeline Medical Clinic staff.
I want to pat Amanzi on the back. When I was at the Clinic there were 5 other volunteers there. All of the other volunteer stays had been organized by different travel companies. I was the only one from Amanzi. While there we compared notes about each travel company and Amanzi far out shone the other organizations. The information I was given in preparation for my trip was outstanding. The others were very lost. They hadn't packed properly, didn't know about currencies, electricity, climate, housing or what to do in an emergency. Thank you!!
Lynda and John, Canada, aged 34 (Medical Volunteer at Namibia Lifeline Clinic, Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
Thanks so much for all your help over the past few months. Gemma was amazing when it came to providing pre-departure information! She always replied to e-mails within a few hours and made planning my trip so hassle free. The standard of service was fantastic and I would have no hessitation in booking with Amanzi Travel again.
I loved every minute of my time at the Sanctuary. I found the induction slightly irrelevant to the day-to-day activities that I part-took in but in saying that it was interesting to find out the background to the project. The accomodation and meals were of an excellent standard. Overall, the placement was brilliant, the staff were so friendly and approachable and just so enthusiastic about the project, it was a pleasure to work with them.
I think the project was highly valuable to the wildlife it aimed to help. Without it, there would be many animals who would have to be put down or would be shot by farmers for no good reason.
My time at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary was unforgetable and one which I would recommend to any animal lover. All of the activities I got to take part in really made me feel as though I was making a difference and so my voluntary work was not only hugely enjoyable but highly rewarding. This experience was only made better by the fantastic service that Gemma & Amanzi Travel provided in making my booking of the project so easy and worry free.
Ciara, UK, aged 20 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
Thank you Gemma! I had a truly amazing time, one that I will never forget! I was really happy with both of the places I was at and will recommend them through Amanzi Travel to my friends if they ever want to do a similar kind of trip. Thank you so much again for all your support and guidance that helped make my trip fantastic and unforgettable!
I had a fantastic time at Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary and experienced the 'real' Africa. If you are like me and want hands on experience with wildlife conservation then this Sanctuary is for you - they truly enforce the conservation and rehabilitation of these endangered animals and I never for a moment felt that the animals weren't benefitting from our help.
I thoroughly enjoyed my time at Noah's Ark Wildlife Sanctuary and met some wonderful people along the way. The animal interaction that one was able to have with such amazing creatures is out of this world and something I will never forget.
The animals and activities are fantastic and I feel my hands on experience with animals has grown enormously. I highly recommend both of these projects to anyone whose best interest is in the animal's welfare and doesn't mind getting their hands dirty and live away from the 'luxury lifestyle'. You will have the time of your life!
The service provided by Amanzi Travel was excellent and I always felt my trip was in good hands. If I ever had any concerns, I knew I could ask in confidence and always have a constructive and prompt response.
Grace, aged 19, UK (Naankuse Big Cat, Wild Dog and Elephant Conservation Project , Noahs Ark Wildlife Sanctuary, Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary: My five weeks in Namibia wildlife sanctuary took place too quickly! It was like a dream. So many animals to take care. I loved taking care of the two babies zebras. We had to give them their bottles every two hours during the day. Having spent so much time with them, it is rewarding to see them grow up healthy. There were also the baboons to take for a walk. What a pleasure to receive a grooming of the dominant female ! There was also a baby baboon who had to sleep every night with one of the volunteers! Feeding carvivores (lions, cheetahs, leopards, wild dogs and caracals) is very rewarding. Knowing that Namibia wildlife sanctuary tries to release the animals is more significant. I advise all animal lovers to participate in a project like this!
Overland Tour: I discovered a new way of travel and I loved it. The other travelers and the staff were friendly. Sleeping in a tent is a great experience that I recommend. The food was very good and varied.
Safari Guide Course: this course allowed me to better know the flora and fauna of the region (I was at around 1 hour of Kruger park, in Karongwe). The feeling of being lost in the middle of nowhere is amazing. Sleeping in a tent and waking up to the sounds of lions or jackals is fabulous, and then in the morning to discover the footprints left during the night by the animals is unbelievable. In the morning we did a walk through the reserve and the afternoon we did a game drive, so we could learn a maximum.
Thank you for a great trip
Harmony, Switzerland, aged 23 (Safari Guide Course - 28 Day, Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
The staff are very knowledgeable at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary, the work can be hard but the overall experience is excellent. I will miss the lions and jackals at night the most.
Kirstie, Scotland, aged 37 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
We have just returned from a wonderful trip to Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary. I was terrified that my partner would not enjoy the experience as I practically forced him to become a volunteer for two weeks. However, I needn't have worried, as on the second day he announced what a fantastic experience it was, so much better being hands on and not merely being on Safari and watching the animals from a landrover. He now wants to do it again in Botswana next time. The trip itself was inspiring. The work with the animals was interesting, exciting, and fun , made even more so by the knowledge and expertise of the staff working there ( I never thought for one moment that I would take a Cheetah's temperature, or check it's heart rate after being darted!) We both thought that the balance between work and "animal time" was just right. Great people, great place and great diversity of wildlife. We will never do safari holidays again! Thank you Amanzi Travel, we'll be in touch about Botswana!
Carole, aged 57 & Stephen, aged 58, UK (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
I was lucky enough to have a tent to myself for two weeks - it seems that they put the 'older' volunteers in tents, which are a short distance away from the main area. You do need to be reasonably fit and used to walking for this project but all in all I enjoyed the trip. The staff were very supportive and friendly and the food was plentiful and tasty. Bottle feeding a baby zebra and taking a baby baboon to bed for the night are experiences that very few people get to have, and to stroke a purring cheetah is amazing!
Julie, UK, aged 52 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
This has been my dream since I was young, and it's fulfiled all my hopes. As soon as I have the money/the time I will do something similar to this again - and will most probably book via Amanzi Travel. Thanks for this time!
Camilla, Sweden, aged 20 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
Thank you Amanzi Travel, I had an unforgettable trip to Namibia and I wish I could stay down there forever! I just love the life you live there with animals around you all the time and the landscape is so beautiful. It's a fantastic experience and definitely something everyone should do, at least, once in their life. I've met friends the world over and have some great experiences with me that I'll never forget. Now, it's back to reality but I'm already planning next years travelling so I'll be in touch soon.
Andrea, Sweden, aged 22 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
Thank you for organising such an incredible trip for me.
Namibia Wildlife Sanctary is now a very special place for me. I over came massive hurdles in my life to get there. I was very nervous about coping with a new place, country and people! It went better than I could have ever dreamt of! I shocked myself and family. My Dad was expecting a phone call a few days in with me asking to go home! No chance! I had settled within the first few days and was made welcome by everyone. Towards the end of my stay people commented on how much I had opened out and relaxed around people.
The experience was incredible. I now crave it. The work we did was hard and rewarding. I fell in love with the Baboons instantly! I wish I could be back there each day! For me it was a dream come true that also helped me grow as a person. I can't wait for the day that I can go back! Mean while I'm going to start volunteering at some local animal rescue centres, I loved every second we spent helping the animals.
I thank you again for your amazing help, with out you and your colleges I would have never had such a life changing experience.
Thank you all, your company changes lives for people like me and gives us experiences of a lifetime.
I thank you a million times over!
Jasmine, UK, aged 19 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
I've been meaning to email you to say thank you for all your help organising my trip, I had the most amazing time at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary, its such a wonderful programme - only wish I could have stayed longer!...
I'd highly recommend this programme to anyone looking to experience the 'real' Africa!
Aimee, UK, aged 21 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
I had a great time at the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary; interacted with some amazing wildlife and met some great people. Anyone looking for a hands on experience with animals would not be dissapointed! Amanzi made the experience even better by providing fantastic support and information.
Sarah, UK, aged 23 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
It was FANTASTIC!!!!!!! We loved it!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Thank you soooooooooooooooooooo much for your help in making this come true....It was truly great. Jacky (58) and I (56) did our best to "give", but it was nothing in comparison to what we recieved! As my husband summarized, " If we had known the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary when we were 20, our lives would have been very different"....In a nutshell, GO! GO! GO!
Patricia, France, aged 56 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
Its our second visit to the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary and we loved it as much as the first. Be prepared for the unexpected! Anything from helping with a critically ill waterbuck, meeting a porcupine in the lapa, or a sudden 250km dash to retrieve a brown hyena who would otherwise have been shot. Amazing experiences we'll never forget.
Amanda and Stephen, UK (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
The project and the staff working there was very profesional. I had the real feeling of actually helping the animals at the sanctuary.
Sarah, UK, aged 19 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
Had a wonderful time!! Wish I had stayed longer.
Judith, UK, aged 55 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
Best vacation that I have ever been on. I loved Namibia, the people I volunteered with, the staff, and of course all of the animals. I was able to have such an up-close personal experience with all of the wildlife that you just cant get on a safari. The days were long, but rewarding. I went to bed every night with a smile on my face. This is the trip of a lifetime
Alexandra, USA, aged 24 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
It was a very interesting experience. The work on the farm makes sense, because the project also involves the locals, they have work. I think therefore they get more respect to their nature and to the animals living there, because they benefit from the farm.
Cornelia, Germany, aged 52 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary, Desert Elephant Volunteer)
It was really all about getting back to basics and for me as well as indulging my passion to live, eat (not literally!), sleep and dream animals for 2 weeks, forgetting all about the 'push, shove and complain' mentality of Western European culture; to see life and her bones in the scorching setting of Namibia and to bring home a new perspective and some re-vamped values whilst having had the chance to contribute to the conservation and welfare of its native animals and peoples.
Caroline, Netherlands, aged 42 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
It was an amazing experience - including a baboon attack and a beetle in my ear - and I would do it all over again (except I shall sleep with ear plugs anywhere from home for the rest of my life:)
Edina, Netherlands, aged 44 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
I had a wonderful time and I was really happy to be in the farm with all that beautiful animals and also the nice people I met.
Reingard, Germany, aged 68 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
Being a volunteer on the Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary will stay with me forever. This work is very hard and the facilities very rustic, but knowing that the animals benefit from all your efforts will touch your heart like nothing ever has or ever will. If you volunteer on this project, it will not change the world, but it will change you. Thanks again for all your help Gemma! It was fantastic....
Cathy, USA, aged 62 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
It was an amazing experience!!! Spending my days with all these beautiful animals, taking care of them, feeding, cleaning and so on. I have no words to describe my first encounter with Semira the tame cheetah, looking at you with her beautiful eyes and purring. My stay here touched my heart deeply and the worst of it all was the day I had to leave this little heaven and leave all my beautiful friends behind.... I miss them so much!! I have great hopes that this volunteer project will open peoples eyes (locals and farmers) to the beauty of their nature. And that the only way to keep it, is to live and share the land with all its wild animals, respect their environment and space and to save this beautiful nature!
Patricia, Switzerland, aged 47 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
This was the first time I was abroad so all this was very new and confusing for me. But I really got amazing help from Amanzi Travel with all this. You didn't feel stupid for asking questions and they were both kind and helpful. The trip to Namibia was wonderful. I love animals more than anything so this was like a dream come true. An experience of a lifetime!
Amanda, Sweden, aged 19 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
I feel I must add that I have done a good deal of travelling over the years, albeit never in Africa. So this Continent is a first for me, but I have been very impressed by the professional way that Amanzi Travel have dealt with all my arrangements and enquiries. I do recognise how busy you must be, however, you have always been accessible and have answered any queries I may have had, which is much appreciated. I would highly recommend your company. It's been an excellent trip.
Terry, UK, aged 54 (Tanzanian Game Parks and Zanzibar - 10 Days, Naankuse Big Cat, Wild Dog and Elephant Conservation Project , Namibia South - 7 days (Southbound), Tanzanian Game Parks and Zanzibar - 10 days, Namibia South - 7 Days (Northbound), Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
Fantastic experience. Thanks for all you did. Having an 8 month old leopard rubbing his head against your face while you are loading him into a land rover, an orphaned baboon snuggling up to you for warmth at night and walking young lions along the edge of the Zambezi river are just a few of many highlights of my 3 months in Africa. Earning and obtaining the trust of these magnificent animals is a very special experience which for certain will live with me for the rest of my life. Africa is magnificent, as is the work and dedication of the people who run these projects. I would get on a plane back there tomorrow if I could.
Paul, UK, aged 48 (Zambia Lion Conservation and Community, Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
...was very glad I went because I ended up teaching the children for 2 weeks which was a wonderful experience and definitely of value as it prompted the Bushmen to set up their own kindergarten after I left. The farm was wonderful and there was always something that needed doing.
Amanzi is obviously a well run company and has a brilliant choice of projects...
Bryony, UK, aged 20 (Medical Volunteer at Namibia Lifeline Clinic, Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
My trip was amazing! I had a wonderful experience and would love to go back in the future.
I spent 2 weeks in a small town working at the Lifeline Clinic for the very poor and neglected Bushman people. During my time there, I helped provide basic treatment for patients that came to the clinic as well as spent a lot of time with the Bushman people in the community. I especially enjoyed playing with the Bushman kids. Hopefully I brightened their lives as much as they did for me. Spending time with them and seeing their smiling faces despite the conditions they live in made me greatly appreciate the life I have.
I spent the rest of my time working in a clinic in the city of Windhoek with Dr Rudie van Vuuren. During this time I learned a lot about basic medicine. As a future medical student, I was glad to get a chance to take patient histories as well as administer injections and draw blood. I was also lucky enough to observe one of Dr V’s surgeries and I spent a night at one of the local hospitals in the maternity ward watching deliveries. Dr V was an excellent teacher and an amazing person in general. I learned a lot and it was very satisfying to help the people in any way I could.
During my time at Namibia Sanctuary I met a lot of interesting people from all over the world. There were many other volunteers that I worked with and I made many new friends. When I first arrived I thought 4 weeks would be a long time but it went by way too fast. I wish I could have stayed longer! All in all this was probably the best trip I have ever been on.
I recommend this trip to anybody who loves animals or would like to get involved in medical volunteering and learn from a great doctor.
Mark, USA, aged 21 (Medical Volunteer at Namibia Lifeline Clinic, Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
Wildlife and research in Gorisas NamibRand was awesome. Cila was a very enthusiastic and infectious coordinator who is obviously passionate about her work. The wildlife staff were also incredibly helpful and are what makes the programs successful.
I was very impressed with the projects and the information provided by Amanzi. There were no surprises and I know exactly what to expect. The projects are well structured and I had an amazing experience. Amanzi was also very helpful with booking post project travel for me which made my whole holiday stress free and very enjoyable. I would definitely book another project with Amanzi.
Kathryn, Canada, aged 47 (Medical Volunteer at Namibia Lifeline Clinic, Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
I have always been interested in doing a volunteer program and after extensive research on the internet I came across this and it sounded ideal, I wasn't disappointed when I got there. We were fortunate enough to have two baby baboons to look after, sleeping with a four week old baboon for the first time is an experience I won't forget and for the next eleven weeks I was a baboon mother and it was brilliant. Every day is different, there are the same jobs to complete but there's always something new going on so you never know what is going to happen, for example getting a cheetah with her four cubs come in or finding a cheetah in a box trap. I had originally only booked for eight weeks but extended my trip whilst I was there, a decision which I certainly didn't regret. The farm has a brilliant family atmosphere and the staff are all willing to help you if ever you need them, you immediately feel at home and it's like you've been there for weeks when it's only been a couple of days.
I'd recommend this project if you have a keen interest in animals and you're not afraid of doing some hard work, digging trenches in the middle of the day is tough but it's rewarding to know you're helping build a new home for the animals. There are so many rewarding features of the trip, stroking a cheetah is an unforgettable experience and one people back home will be jealous of.
Caroline, UK, aged 22 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
Extremely valuable – every small activity done really felt like it was useful and important to the project and to the wildlife the project was supporting.
Within a day of arriving at the Wildlife Sanctuary I felt completely at home, the volunteers are all incredibly friendly and the staff really make you feel at ease and are always around to help.
Getting to know all the animals was the best part of the project, the Sanctuary currently has 5 lions, 2 leopards, 3 tame cheetahs, 2 wild dogs, 4 horses, 15 baby baboons, 3 meercats and a lot of dogs and tortoises! The baboons seem really scary at first because they can be rather boisterous but they are all so adorable and you definitely form a close bond with them, and spending time petting the tame cheetahs is as incredible as it sounds!
The volunteers at the Sanctuary are divided into three categories; wildlife, research and medical. Wildlife volunteers spend their time feeding the animals, carrying out any manual work that needs to be done around the farm, and spending time with the animals. Research volunteers leave the farm every morning to carry out research tasks including checking the box traps in the neighbouring farm, doing game counts of the animals in the area, and spoor (animal track) counts. These are all to keep a check on and find out more about the local leopard and cheetah population, with the cooperation of the neighbouring farmers. I spent a week on research and it was fascinating, the highlight probably being tracking a collared leopard using a VHF radio.
There is also the chance to go to the NamibRand private nature reserve for a week (about a 6 hour drive south from the farm), where the project released 3 cheetahs in May 2008. You sleep in a small farm house with no electricity, and head out early every morning to track the cheetahs with a VHF radio and try to catch a sighting. We spent quite a few hours sitting on rocks holding the radio aerial and looking through our binoculars, and our group was lucky enough to have caught two sightings of them. It’s a fantastic experience, and is also a good week to catch up on your tan!
Overall my time at the Sanctuary was the best four weeks of my life; you make such strong friendships, not only with the volunteers but with the animals too, and for everyone the worst part of the experience is having to say goodbye to people as they leave. Four weeks there certainly wasn't enough, but even though for me it felt like such a short time I know it's an experience that will affect me for life.
Holly, UK, aged 19 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
Spending time at the Namibian Wildlife Sanctuary was the experience of a lifetime. Within minutes of arriving, a meerkat was sitting on my head and later that same day I spent time in the baboon cage playing with the five youngest baboons.
I was there for two months and it was probably the best thing I have ever done. My main reason for going was the tame cheetahs as my dream has always been to see them close up. So to be able to go inside their enclosure and groom and pet them was a dream come true. Other volunteer jobs were to cut up meat that was later fed to the cheetahs, wild dogs, leopards, and lions. On a rotating basis all the volunteers were able to participate in feeding these animals. There are also the meerkats, baboons, and assorted farm animals that are fed daily and cared for by the groups of volunteers. One day we were shown how to de-tick and vaccinate the flock of sheep and the farm workers were fairly amused by the sight of the volunteers trying to catch all 36 sheep.
The main interaction volunteers had was with the young baboons. They ranged in age from several weeks to almost one year old. We got to play with them, took them into the bush for walks, and then at night they slept with you in your room if you wished. That is a great experience as they get attached to you and respond to you.
I was lucky enough to be at the farm when one of the meerkats gave birth. Once the four babies were about ten days old they started to venture out of the burrow with the adults and soon enough they were also taking small pieces of meat and apple from us at the daily feedings.
When we were not caring for the animals, there were waterholes to dig, or we prepared the ground and dug holes for enclosures and lookouts and helped maintain the existing fences and enclosures. We also took turns doing enclosure patrol where the lions, leopards, wild dogs, and cheetahs are kept to make sure there are no holes in the fences or that no animal has dug in or out.
We went on a couple of nature walks exploring the countryside on foot for three or four hours and ending the day with a brai.(barbeque) Volunteers also took turns playing with the local children. There is "playschool” three mornings a week and they love colouring, playing in the yard, or visiting with the small animals. But the favourite is getting a "piggyback” ride home to their village at the end of the morning. All in all it was a great experience and I can't wait to go back
Julie, Canada, aged 52 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
I loved this placement and wish I had been able to stay longer. The volunteer leader, Carol, was extremely supportive and we were all able to learn a lot from her. The animals were amazing and the other volunteers were great company. Gemma was very helpful and friendly and always offered good advice and support.
Anna, UK, aged 47 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
I felt that my contribution to the farm via the different activities I did. For example the enclosure, helped re-release an African Wild Cat, and help rescue a horse, all of which I feel had an impact on the farm.
Auguste, USA, aged 19 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
My visit to Namibia was everything I’d hoped for and more. A fantastic experience. I felt very valued. Staff very approachable and knowledgeable.
Jackie, UK, aged 48 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
My time at the sanctuary was fantastic. After losing my job as a Firefighter due to injury, I have struggled to find a new career that was as fulfilling and exciting. I have always loved animals and decided to do some volunteer work to see if I could find the inspiration for a new career in working with animals. My time in the Sanctuary was unforgettable – you just can’t describe it to others when you get home. I met lots of great people who have become new friends and we worked great as a team. I definitely gained the inspiration I was looking for that new career. I’m hoping to embark on my next Africa volunteer project very soon – it’s just such a life changing experience – it makes you appreciate how amazing, beautiful yet powerful the animals are and also how resourceful and happy the local community is. My experience has made me very much appreciate what we have back home but also makes me want to change my life in order to embark on something more fulfilling. I would recommend the experience to anyone!
Alison, UK, aged 37 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
My experience with Amanzi Travel was excellent throughout the entire process. The website was informative and easy to navigate. Gemma was very helpful and prompt in answering my questions while I was deciding which project was right for me. Upon arrival at my volunteer project, I realised how accurate the website was in describing my particular project. I will certainly recommend Amanzi Travel in the future as well as explore future travel with Amanzi myself.
Aaron, USA, aged 30 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
Without the money and work from the volunteers this place would not exist.
Kerstin, Sweden, aged 66 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
I had the best time! I didn’t really know what to expect – but it was better than I could have dreamed. How can you possibly think of “spending time with animals” as work!! I had 2 weeks off work to do this trip and thought I would be surrounded by students, but the range of nationalities and ages was absolutely perfect, certainly a well-rounded bunch. My love of animals has increased so much from this holiday – if only I could have a pet Caracal…
Nicola, UK, aged 36 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
I had the most amazing time thanks (as I’m sure you hear from all of your returning volunteers).
Helen, UK, aged 38 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
We had soo much fun in Namibia and we really had “the time of our lives”. It has been an amazing trip that we will never forget.
Sophie, Mikaela, Jennika, Camilla, Ida, Sweden, aged 19 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
This was quite a life changing adventure, one that I was not expecting to impact on me as much as it did. What made it even more special was seeing Sarah’s face when up close to the animals – priceless.
Steve and Sarah, UK, aged 52 and 24 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
I loved every minute of my 3 week stay. It was hard physical work but at the same time it doesn’t feel like work because you’re learning so much about the animals there. The experience really opened my eyes to how easy it would be for any of these animals to become extinct due to hunters and poaching and the work the sanctuary does with the surrounding farms to educate people is truly inspiring. So much so I hope to return to the sanctuary next year and stay for 3 months!
Very valuable (the volunteer project to the community/wildlife). There was no way they would be able to continue with the work they do without the volunteers, they would have to pay staff and as the sanctuary does not receive any funding it would not be possible.
Amanda, UK, aged 29 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
I don’t think this project could exist without its volunteers. I felt like what we were doing and what we were part of… actually made a difference. We were very happy with the services Amanzi Travel provided for us. From competitive and better prices than other providers to great and friendly staff. They helped us to take our dream trip.
Jen, aged 32, USA (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
I had the most amazing trip ever thank you. It is such an incredible place and I fell in love with the baboons. I’m really gonna try and go back but for a longer period of time.
Going to the NWS was truly life changing! I’ve always wanted to work with wild animals in Africa and finally I took the time and money to go as a volunteer… At night all volunteers take turns sleeping together with the baby baboons and it’s the best. Baboons hugging and sleeping on you all night is a very special and unforgettable feeling! Another unforgettable feeling is of course that you get to cuddle with cheetahs. It feels so unreal… Some work is hard and tough at the farm and some less fun but you don’t think like that when being there because at the end of the day it’s all for a good cause. You feel great having done it and it’s a very rewarding feeling to see the animals happy and you feel great of what you have accomplished… The staff are lovely! They are very friendly and make you feel welcome right at the start… The trip was incredible and I’ve never felt better that when being there. The place, the people, the atmosphere and surrounding is just so nice and relaxing. It was great to be away from civilisation, the city pulse and all its noise and instead going to sleep and waking up with the sound of roaring lions… I know I’ll go back soon again and I really can’t wait. I really do recommend and advice you to do the same! Don’t think, just go! It will be a life changing and rewarding trip I assure you. Have fun!
Caroline, Sweden, aged 29 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
Thanks for an amazing trip and all your help. I will definitely book another trip asap. This has been a once in a lifetime experience and the friends I have made will be friends for life. No matter how long each volunteer is staying for we are all treated equally and you feel part of the group immediately. The animals and the coordinators make the stay even more amazing and I would recommend it to anyone.
Paul, UK, aged 27 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
My dream was always to go to Africa since I was little and get up close to wildlife there (especially cheetah) and could not believe my dream was about to come true when I found the Amanzi website. My 40th birthday was coming up and thought its now or never to do what I have always wanted to do. I phoned and spoke to Gemma Whitehouse, who I can honestly say is the most helpful travel agent I have come across. I had never done anything like this before (travelled to a foreign country on my own) so was pretty nervous, but Gemma helped me with all my travel arrangements, flights, travel insurance, and anything I was not sure about, all I had to do was email her and she helped me get things on track whatever the question, from money, to what I should take out with me, to what injections I would need etc etc.... and when I book another trip which I am hoping to do next year I will definitely be contacting Gemma again.
It still feels like I was dreaming sometimes and cannot quite believe I did it. I met some fantastic people… and have made some great friends for life and we all had the best laugh. I loved the animals too… Nobody can quite believe me when I tell them I had a baboon sleeping in my bed but it was a great experience. Thank you for all you did for me Gemma, I really appreciated it.
Julie, UK, aged 40 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
Our trip was SO wonderful. We definitely enjoyed every minute of it! Have no expectations for the projects, because they will all be a million times better! While you’re there, a dream will come true!
Saskia, Holland, aged 26 (Medical Volunteer at Namibia Lifeline Clinic, Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
From the moment I arrived the staff were most welcoming. From them on, each day just got better the time spent with the animals large and small was so rewarding. At all times any questions always answered. The relaxed, but organised manner of the place only added to my enjoyment. Looking after leopard cubs one day, walking the baboons the next was magic. I would like to thank all concerned for a fantastic time.
Steve, UK, aged 51 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
It was an amazing experience. The highlight for me was the close contacts with the big cats, which exceeded my expectations. I also thoroughly enjoyed the time I spent with the baboons.
Many thanks for all your help in answering my many questions over a long period. I must admit I did become very anxious before leaving, mainly because of my age, but I did feel quite pleased that I was able to achieve most things.
Marion, New Zealand, aged 67 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
I had a great time. The Namibia project was just an amazing experience, and although I turned 66 there and the average age was 22, the people were great. It's the best run volunteer programme I’ve experienced, including university-based archaeology and biology ones.
Robin, Australia, aged 66 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)
The staff there were awesome, there was not a single member of staff that I did not get on with. Everyone was so nice! I was staying in one of the new tents, and to be honest, I think it was better than the rooms! I've not got a bad word to say about any of it! What I loved about the place was the fact that it only exists for the benefit of the animals…
Alun, UK, aged 24 (Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary)