cheetah, Namibia (image courtesy of Estelle Clerc, Frontier volunteer)

Experience big cat conservation in Namibia

Guest blogger Jack Plumb, of NGO Frontier, profiles a wildlife project where two African deserts collide in Namibia…

On the south west coast of Africa where the Namib and Kalahari deserts collide sits Namibia. As one of the newest and most sparsely populated countries in Africa, Namibia is a wildlife lover’s dream. Endless desert skies, sweeping sand dunes and densely wooded bushveld set a pristine backdrop to nature’s finest displays.

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Despite its apparent harsh climate, Namibia is home to two of the world’s most expansive national parks: Etosha National Park and Namib-Naukluft Park. Living amongst its endless beauty is a rich melting pot of cultures and traditions.

Frontier operates the Namibia Carnivore Conservation project which gives you the chance to work alongside biologists tracking and monitoring cheetahs and other big cats in the wild. Track and capture the world’s fastest land mammal in a truly wild and breathtakingly beautiful country.

Life as a volunteer on the project

You will spend the majority of your time assisting biologists and conservation workers in tracking and monitoring cheetahs and leopards. When based at the main reserve your tasks may include: game counts, box trap checking, carnivore capture and immobilization, camp maintenance and data analysis. When spending time at the remote field site your tasks may include: GPS tracking, night observations, birds of prey monitoring and data entry. Additionally you will occasionally be caring for animals at the rescue and release centre, giving you hands on experience of wildlife and animal rehabilitation.

When you’re not assisting in essential conservation work, Namibia is a stunning country to explore. For any budding photography or wildlife lover, you’re in for a treat!

Accommodation

You will be staying in a large volunteer house with shared bedrooms in the wilds of Namibia, close to Windhoek. There may be limited running water, and during storms there is the possibility of power outages. Phone signal and internet access is limited, but available in certain areas of the camp.

Food

Three basic meals are provided from the camp stores, comprising meats, vegetables and staples such as rice and pasta. Dinner is typically a hot meal and occasionally a braai (barbeque), and vegetarian options can be provided.

Recommended for… Adventurous conservation inclined travellers interested in contributing to important scientific research. This project would be especially enjoyable for anyone looking for a truly wild and natural experience of Africa and a desert climate.

Be aware that… The placement lasts for three weeks with the option to extend by one week, and departures take place monthly from March to October.

About the author: Jack Plumb is an Online Journalism Intern at Frontier, an international non-profit volunteering NGO. Check out Frontier’s blog Into the Wild for more gap year ideas to help make your time out meaningful. For more information about travel and volunteering opportunities available please visit www.frontier.ac.uk.

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