For the enthusiastic volunteer, this 14 day package is the perfect combination of touring the main attractions in Namibia and volunteering at the N/a’an ku sê Wildlife Sanctuary. Overnight in well located lodges in and near Etosha National Park and outside Namib Naukluft National Park and includes 1 night at Swakopmund in between. You will be able to experience the amazing sand dune sea of the Namib and Sossusvlei region as well as Etosha National Park, renowned as one of the best game reserves in Africa.
Day 1: Monday Chameleon Backpackers
We will be collected from the Hosea Kutako International Airport on arrival and transferred to Chameleon Backpackers in Windhoek. Upon arrival we have time to check into our accommodation, and if time permits we have the opportunity to join one of the optional activities that Chameleon Safaris has to offer. Tonight’s meal is at own expenses in one of the many restaurants in Windhoek, or order in and enjoy the evening at the Chameleon Backpackers’ bar.
Day 2: Tuesday Halali, Etosha National Park
We will be collected from our guesthouse/hotels at 07:15 and brought to Chameleon Backpackers Lodge for the pre-departure talk and to meet the rest of the group. After the departure from Windhoek, we stop briefly at Otjiwarongo to collect some last-minute supplies before continuing on to Etosha with a light lunch pack whilst “on the move”. We enjoy an afternoon game drive through the park visiting waterholes looking for predators as well as zebra, giraffe, elephant, rhino and many different species of antelope arriving at our lodge just before sunset to settle into our rooms, with en-suite bathroom and tea/coffee facilities. A visit to the flood lit waterhole is highly recommended while dinner is prepared by our guide over an open fire.
Day 3: Wednesday Etosha Village, near Anderson Gate
We start our first game drive at sunrise to catch the predators while they are still active, visiting many waterholes. Our second game drive mid-morning takes us to the impressive Etosha Pan “great white place” where we can get out of the vehicle and experience this 4500 sq km “saline desert” before continuing our game drive to look for the Big 4. After lunch we begin our final game drive across the park towards Okaukuejo calling into some well-known waterholes and leave the park prior to sunset. Our lodge tonight is located just outside the park gate and accommodation tonight will give you a comfort and modern atmosphere in twin share rooms with en-suite bathroom facilities. Dinner is prepared by our guide and another early night is recommended.
Day 4: Thursday Hotel A La Mer, Swakopmund
Early morning breakfast before departing from our lodge at 07h40 for our drive via the communal lands of Damaraland where we see the communal farmers in this arid region. We stop at the Ugab River bridge to visit with the beautiful Herero ladies who sell their small art and craft items to support their families. We lunch in the shadow of the Brandberg Mountain and have a short visit with a Himba group who have moved into this area to sell their jewellery and other items (dependent on Himba tribespeople). After lunch we head directly through the Namib Desert and stop at the latest shipwreck on the Skeleton Coast before arriving late afternoon in Swakopmund. We recommend exploring this seaside town on foot this afternoon and perhaps visiting the jetty for sundowners overlooking the cold Atlantic Ocean. Our guide will be happy to recommend a good restaurant for your evening meal (own expense).
Day 5: Friday Desert Camp, Namib Desert
This morning after breakfast we highly recommend a visit to the Museum or Aquarium (optional and unguided) and for the adrenaline junkies a 2 hour sand boarding experience in the dunes should get your pulse racing. Departure from Swakopmund at 12h00 noon. Driving through the Namib Desert via the Kuiseb Pass and Solitaire we arrive at our camp late afternoon and have a chance to relax and enjoy the views before taking a short walk for sunset looking over the Naukluft mountain range. Pool and bar available and dinner is prepared by our guide.
Day 6: Saturday Desert Camp, Namib Desert
Dawn departure from camp to arrive at the park gate for sunrise. We drive down an ancient river bed surrounded by towering dunes to the 2×4 parking (around 55kms) and take a 4×4 shuttle into the Sossusvlei area to appreciate the beauty of this place in early morning light and enjoy the peace and tranquility of the region. We explore this unique area on foot before heading into Dead Vlei with its large expanse of bleached cracked clay and skeletal camel thorn trees, contrasting with a backdrop of huge dunes with their ever-changing colours. We can either walk or take the 4×4 shuttle back to our vehicle. As we drive back to our accommodation we will stop at the famous Dune 45 and climb this dune if we wish or just wander around the base. We return to Sesriem and visit the nearby Sesriem Canyon, one of the few permanent water sources before arriving back at our lodge late afternoon to watch the sunset over this spectacular desert.
Day 7: Sunday Chameleon Backpackers, Windhoek
Early morning breakfast before heading to Solitaire where we jump onto an open vehicle and visit the local conservation project. Here they have a number of cheetah that are unable to be released for different reasons. This 1hour activity allows us the chance to learn all about the cheetah, the work done by local conservations projects, and get some incredible photos of the world’s fastest land mammal. We return to Windhoek via Bullsport and Rehoboth. We arrive mid-afternoon in Windhoek and will be dropped at Chameleon Backpackers. Dinner tonight is at own expense in one of Windhoek’s excellent restaurants and our guide will be happy to make some suggestions.
Day 8: Monday Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary
A leisurely breakfast and after breakfast we will be transferred to the volunteer centre at Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary, which provides a safe haven for injured, orphaned or conflict animals. Whenever possible the goal is to re-introduce the animals into the wild. Only animals too ill, abused or habituated remain at the sanctuary. Depending on our arrival time we have the opportunity to meet some of the other volunteers and meet some of the animals that we will be working with before we join the N/a’an ku sê team for an induction presentation and a lovely welcome braai as our evening meal.
Days 9 – 13: Tuesday – Saturday Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary
The next 5 days are spent with the same routine but packed full of varying activities. We enjoy an early morning breakfast and a quick morning meeting with the team to start the day off. Then, it’s a morning activity, lunch and then back at it during the afternoon. These next 5 days are the perfect opportunity to learn about and actively participate in the conservation, rehabilitation, care and research of the African wildlife. The wildlife team takes us out for group-based morning activities, such as feeding orphaned and injured animals, cleaning enclosures or project work and animal enrichment. After a morning full of fun and work, we enjoy a light lunch at the Lapa.
After lunch we start the afternoon activities with a presentation from the research team before we learn about the on-going projects Naankuse is involved with to support wildlife conservation. Research activities may include; monitoring free-roaming carnivores, analysing camera traps, analysing GPS data or game counts. Dinner each night is a home cooked meal served at the Lapa.
Day 14: Sunday International Airport – End of services
A leisurely breakfast and after breakfast we will be transferred to the International Airport approximately 3 hours before our scheduled flight departure.