For the enthusiastic volunteer, this 15-day package is the perfect combination of touring Northern Namibia and wrapping up with a week of volunteering at the Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary. Enjoy sightings of wildlife at the Okonjima Nature Reserve and Etosha National Park before immersing ourselves in the rich culture of the Himba tribe. We explore Namibia’s Skeleton Coast and visit the seals at Cape Cross before enjoying our last night of the tour in Swakopmund, Namibia’s adventure capital. Here we can enjoy any number of adrenaline-inducing optional activities from sandboarding to quad biking and more before returning to Windhoek where our tour ends and our volunteering adventure begins.
Day 1: Friday – Chameleon Backpackers
We will be collected from the Hosea Kutako International Airport on arrival and transferred into Windhoek to Chameleon Backpackers. Depending on our arrival time, we may have the opportunity to join an afternoon City & Township Tour, or alternatively opt to relax by the pool or take a short walk into the city centre to collect supplies. Tonight’s meal is at own expense in one of the many restaurant Windhoek have to offer.
Day 2: Saturday Okonjima Nature Reserve Campsite
This morning we start our tour of Namibia, with a pre-departure meeting at 7h30 and hitting the road shortly after. We stop briefly at the Okahandja Wood carving markets with our next stop is our overnight destination, the Okonjima Nature Reserve. Okonjima, is an impressive 20,000ha nature reserve which is home to an incredible array of wildlife species. It is also home to the AfriCat Foundation, whose long term mission is the conservation of Namibia’s wildlife in their natural habitat, but in a protected conservation area. This includes predators and keystone species and the reserve is well known for leopard, cheetah, and hyena sightings. We aim to arrive at camp around midday, giving us ample time to set up camp and enjoy lunch before we join the afternoon activity where we have the chance to see some of the cheetah currently part of the AfriCat rehabilitation programme. The aim of this programme is to re-introduce these animals back into the wild where they can thrive. After our educational tour, we join an afternoon game drive on the reserve before enjoying our first spectacular sunset in the Namibian bush.
Day 3: Sunday Okaukuejo Campsite, Etosha National Park
We depart from camp after breakfast and stop briefly at Otjiwarongo, a small town north of Okonjima to gather some fresh supplies, before continuing on to Etosha National Park, one of Southern Africa’s premier wildlife reserves. Upon entering the gate, we start our search for antelope, such as springbok and impala and with any luck some megaherbivores such as elephant, rhino or giraffe, on our short game drive to Okaukuejo. We set up camp and enjoy a delicious lunch before heading out on an afternoon game drive. Etosha is unlike any other, and our game drives take us from waterhole to waterhole in search of predators as well as plains game, birds and if we are lucky,
even reptiles. We return to camp just before sunset, and whilst dinner is cooking, we have the chance to visit the excellent floodlit waterhole where rhino, elephant, giraffe, lion and hyena are frequent visitors. Dinner is prepared by our guide over an open fire.
Day 4: Monday Okaukuejo Campsite, Etosha National Park
A pre-dawn start today with a quick coffee and rusk before embarking on our full day game drive at sunrise to have any chance of catching a glimpse of predators that are returning home after a night of hunting. We make our way across the park, visiting various waterholes and enjoy a late breakfast at one of the picnic spots within the park. We continue our journey east in search of the many species that call Etosha home and arrive at Halali where we can take a dip in the pool, visit the waterhole and enjoy lunch. After lunch we visit the Etosha Pan where the park gets its name. Here we can get out of the vehicle and experience this 4500 sq km ‘saline desert’, a salt pan so large it can be seen from space. We continue our game drive to look for the Big 4 on our way back to Okaukuejo, arriving at camp by sunset. Enjoy our last night camping in Etosha, and a visit to the waterhole before and after dinner is highly recommended.
Day 5: Tuesday Palmwag Campsite, Kunene Region
Another early start where we can take in a spectacular sunrise whilst having breakfast and then a short game drive back to the park gate. The route today takes us west into the area known as the Kunene Region. Our first stop is a visit to the Otjikandero Himba Village. The Himba people are one of the last tribes in Namibia who still embrace their ancient culture and customs. We participate in a guided tour around the village where we have the chance to not only gain an in-depth insight into the Himba way of life, but to get to know the Himba people to share a little of our own culture with them.
We continue west and stop briefly in the small town of Kamanjab before continuing on to the Palmwag Campsite, situated on the edge of the Palmwag Concession. Here we set up camp before enjoying a leisurely afternoon and watching the sunset from the Palmwag deck. Dinner is prepared by our guide over an open fire.
Day 6: Wednesday Cape Cross Campsite, Skeleton Coast
Today our adventure takes us through the infamous Skeleton Coast National Park all the way to the Atlantic Ocean. The coastline itself is a very hostile but a fascinating area known for the Welwitschia mirabilis, the Northern Namibia sand sea, the derelict oil rig near Toscanini, the Huab lagoon and the diminishing remains of the Winston Shipwreck.
On exiting the national park we stop for Instagram worthy photos of the iconic skull and cross bones gate. We arrive at Cape Cross late afternoon where we set up camp for the night and have the opportunity for a sunset walk on the beach. Dinner is prepared by our guide over an open fire.
Day 7: Thursday Hotel A La Mer, Swakopmund
Today is a chance for a rare lie in and after a hearty cooked breakfast we take a short walk to the Cape Cross Reserve. The reserve is home to one of the world’s largest breeding colonies of Cape Fur seals and during breeding season (November-December) up to 200 000 seals can be spotted basking on the beach, certainly a sight and smell to behold. After our visit to the seal colony we continue travelling along the coast stopping to view the Zeila Shipwreck, one of the latest victims of the Skeleton Coast from as recent as 2007. We arrive in Swakopmund early afternoon and have plenty of time to explore this quaint little town on foot, or join one of the optional activities on
offer from skydiving, scenic flights, quad biking and more. Dinner tonight is at own expense in one of Swakopmund’s excellent restaurants and our guide will be happy to make recommendations or bookings depending on what we feel like.
Day 8: Friday Chameleon Backpackers, Windhoek
Leisurely breakfast and for those interested in birds our driver will be happy to take us to Walvis Bay to see the flamingos in the Walvis Bay lagoon which is a protected RAMSAR Site for birds and a visit to Dune 7, the highest dune in the area, to experience the “sand sea” along the coastal strip. We will return to Windhoek in the afternoon
with a light lunch served en-route. We aim to arrive at Chameleon Backpackers in Windhoek late afternoon. Dinner tonight is at own expenses in one of the many restaurants Windhoek have to offer.
Day 9: Saturday Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary
An early breakfast this morning and 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. Arriving early this morning we will meet the Naankuse team for an induction presentation before heading out in the afternoon for our first hands-on activity.
Day 10: Sunday Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary
Our morning starts with an early breakfast and Sundays are rest days but not before we prepare and feed the orphaned and injured animals, anything from carnivores to reptiles or small mammals. This usually takes between 1 and 2 hours in the morning and the rest of the day can be spent enjoying the beautiful outdoors, horse riding or lazing around the pool reading a book or learning more about the conservation work done at the volunteer centre, the perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon. However we choose to spend our the day, be sure to relax a little before another busy couple of days on the reserve.
Days 11 – 14: Monday – Thursday Naankuse Wildlife Sanctuary
We start each day with an early morning breakfast and a quick team meeting before heading out for a full day of activities. The next couple of 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 ongoing 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 15: Friday Departure
Depending on our flight time, we may have time for a leisurely breakfast and morning activity before being transferred to the International Airport approximately 3 hours before our scheduled flight departure. Be sure to say goodbye to all new friends before departing. Transfer times are subject to flight departure times.