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Alice Clark - Namibia Teaching and Wildlife 

Alice volunteered in an animal sanctuary in Namibia, learning about how to help and rehabilitate the animals. Read on to hear more about her impression of her time in this beautiful country!

1) Why did you choose this particular project?

I study zoology so I love animals and really wanted to gain experience by working alongside them and learn more about different species, especially big cats. I chose Namibia because I heard that it is a beautiful country and I love discovering new places.

2) Which kind of work and activities did you do during your project?

All the volunteers are separated into groups, each group does different activities each day and the activities are rotated around so that eventually each group has done every activity. The activities consisted of cleaning the animal enclosures, preparing the food for all the animals in the sanctuary, taking the baby baboons for walks, taking the cheetahs for walks (the animals walk freely alongside you), driving around the property to do game counts, doing game counts on horseback. We also did work around the property for example checking the boarders making sure they are still secure, digging trenches for pipes and digging up alien plant species. There is also an activity called nature appreciation in which you walk around the sanctuary and learn how to track different animals. Another activity that I really enjoyed was enrichment, in enrichment you build things for the animals in the sanctuary to put in their enclosures that will enhance their natural behaviours that they may not be able to perform in captivity like they would naturally in the wild. Saturdays are a bit more relaxed, there’s just one activity in the morning and then in the afternoon we have a bit more time off and then do a different activity in groups for example while I was there we had a dance competition, each group had to prepare a dance and the staff would judge which group did best and they are given a prize. It’s a really fun opportunity to get to know the other volunteers better and it’s just a good laugh in general. On Sundays all that has to be done is prepare the food for the animals for the next day, feed the animals and clean their enclosures and when everyone helps this gets done very quickly. The rest of the day is free. There is also a trip to a shopping centre in Windhoek on Sundays for those who wish to go.

3) How did the culture and people differ to home, and what were the locals like?

Unfortunately I was not there long enough to properly meet the locals and I did not leave Naankuse while I was there. However the locals working at Naankuse were all very kind and welcoming.

4) What was the accommodation like?

There are two types of accommodation, you either stay in a room or a tent but both are very comfortable. Sheets and duvets are provided as well as a towel. The rooms are cleaned everyday while you are out doing the activities. There is also a free laundry service which was very handy as you tend to get very dirty throughout the day. The food was also very good and they have a vegetarian option for those who want it.

5) What were the staff and other volunteers like?

The staff there were all really nice and helpful and you could tell that they were all very passionate about what they are doing. The volunteers there were also all very nice, I’ve made some really good friends. Something that I really liked is that the volunteers came from all different places so it was really nice to get to learn about different cultures. The ages of the volunteers ranged from 17 to 60 and what was really nice was that everyone spoke to everyone no matter what their nationality or age.

6) What was your most amazing moment or your best memory?

One of my favourite moments from my trip to Namibia was being a baboon surrogate for a night. Some of the orphaned baby baboons are still very young and still need that affection that they would receive from their own mother and they are afraid of the dark so they sleep with volunteers.

7) Do you feel the work you were doing was worthwhile?

I definitely felt like the work was worthwhile, if Naankuse did not have all the volunteers there it would be a very hard job to manage all the animals.

8 ) What sort of wildlife did you encounter?

I encountered all types of different wildlife, from big carnivores like cheetahs, lions, leopards and African Wild Dogs to smaller animals such as meerkats, porcupines, mongoose and many more. We also saw many different types of antelope.

9) What were you hoping to learn while on project, and have you achieved those goals?

I was hoping to learn a lot about the wildlife in Namibia and be able to interact with the animals and these goals were definitely achieved!

10) Any tips and advice you might like to pass on to future volunteers?

If you’re planning on going during the winter (southern hemisphere winter) make sure to bring a lot of layers as it can get very cold at night!

11) What do you have planned next?

Not too sure yet but I’m thinking of maybe returning to Namibia or maybe I’ll try a different country, we’ll see…

12) Anything else you would like to add?

Don’t be scared of getting your hands dirty!

By Alice Clark - Namibia Teaching and Wildlife

Frontier runs conservationdevelopmentteaching and adventure travel projects in over 50 countries worldwide - so join us and explore the world!

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