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Tuesday, 01 January 2013

Volunteering with Wildlife Projects in Namibia: Enkosini Eco Experience

Written by Norman A. Rubin
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As newly retired folk, my wife and I thought that Southern Africa would be an excellent place to travel.  We were interested in learning about the cultures and traditions as well as learning about the array of spectacular wildlife.


So for one week this summer, we volunteered with the Noah's Ark Wildlife Center in Namibia, one of Enkosini Eco Experience’s projects.  I knew that short-term volunteer opportunities in Africa were becoming more accessible with the rise of “Voluntourism”.  There has been a rise in the number of tourists visiting Africa now who wish to spend a portion of their vacation in a more enriching way; such as helping local communities, or becoming involved in conservation efforts.


When we arrived at the camp, we first registered, and then were assigned a raised wooden cabin overlooking a big waterhole with a background of the beautiful desert land of Namibia. We were fortunate to get a cabin for ourselves, though we had to  share the showers and toilets. There was a separate kitchen and dining area as well.  


After unpacking we were given an official introduction to the Center.  We were then each given appointed tasks under a supervisor. My wife’s assignment was to to take care of a baby baboon.  The little animal was so cute and full of life.  I was assigned to help feed and clean the cheetahs, which I admit was a bit scary at first, but I quickly got used to it.  

Once the trip was over and we arrived back to our home in Israel, my wife and I realized that we were, in fact, able to make a difference in a short amount of time.  Therefore, we want to share all the information we have about becoming a volunteer with those who also might be thinking of giving some of their time to a worthy cause. There are plenty of opportunities available to volunteer  at the Enkosini Eco Experience.  As a volunteer, you will become an important part of their goal to create a model of responsible conservation that preserves Africa's natural heritage as well as promoting Southern Africa’s economy through local and international eco-tourism. .


Here are some points to consider when applying for volunteer opportunities.   First, most short-term volunteer jobs will not pay to cover costs. A volunteer contribution covers meals, accommodation, activities, transfers – the costs depend of the location of each conservation site. 


Second, accommodations are simple and rustic.  Volunteers sleep in comfortable dorm style rooms, with shared bathrooms. 




Third, as you will be working closely with the local population you will have to dress and behave in accordance with what is acceptable locally.


Lastly, remember that, diseases are quite prevalent throughout Africa so make sure you take all the medicine and precautions you need including the required inoculations.


Photo Image9 SmallestIf you find that the Enkosini Eco Experience is the right fit for you, you will get the rare opportunity to work with sharks, penguins, rhinos and a variety of other animals.  Their range of volunteer projects has something for everyone; even offering the most adventurous individual the chance to take part in rewarding ‘hands-on’ conservation work.  


Volunteer work ranges from 1 to 12 weeks, giving the volunteers the opportunity to become involved in a wide variety of conservation activities such as, anti-poaching patrols, animal care and feeding, monitoring and counting of varied types of wildlife, erecting and checking of game fences, bush rehabilitation and  day to day reserve maintenance. Each volunteer is given the choice to focus exclusively on one project or take part in a variety of conservation activities.


The Enkosini experience also includes plenty of free-time for volunteers to relax and explore the beautiful sanctuary.  It offers hiking, horseback riding,  and excellent fishing.  There are also rockpools and waterfalls which provide great swimming. In the evenings the knowledgeable staff taught us about the local flora and fauna.  


Below, I’ve listed additional details about this, and other Volunteer Projects that are currently being offered:


The Enkosini Wildlife Sanctuary - a spectacular 15,000 acre wildlife preserve, is a bushveld haven, offering a unique malaria-free bush experience for nature lovers seeking in depth the various habitats of Nature's creatures. 


Ekosini Ranger Program - The Enkosini Wildlife Sanctuary is currently accepting dedicated volunteers to work as rangers for a minimum of six months. An Enkosini ranger experience is an absolute must for anyone who is enthusiastic about wildlife and the environment.


Makalali Game Reserve - Makalali, meaning “Place of Rest” in Shangaan, is a unique conservation initiative to expand South Africa's green frontier by re-establishing the ancient traditional wildlife migration routes that linked the famous Kruger Park in the east to the lush Drakensberg Mountains in the west. 


Bab SmallerThe Baboon Sanctuary - established in 1989 as a sanctuary for all indigenous wildlife. The Baboon Sanctuary currently houses over 400 baboons and is the only facility in Southern Africa that accepts orphaned or abandoned baboons and offers them long term care and attention in a created habitat. - Volunteers are needed to assist in the daily running of the Sanctuary as well as the rehabilitation program. Caring for animals requires patience, compassion and above all a calm demeanor.  




Noah's Ark Project - gives volunteers the unique opportunity to care for and handle African wildlife in the beautiful desert of Namibia.                                                            


Kariega Game Reserve - the ultimate Bush, Beach and Community experience in South Africa.         


The Whale and Dolphin Project - volunteers learn about managing a marine and coastal zone and in the process experience the community, culture and environment in a more intimate way than most visitors.         


The Great White Shark Project - involves volunteers in all aspects of the project, including tasks such as preparing baits, packing the boat, washing the equipment, working hand in hand with the eco-tourists, and recording necessary data on the sharks                     

Shark Small                                                        

Penguin Conservation Center -  volunteers learn about the life-cycle and conservation of the African penguin, which is still an endangered species. 


Namibia Wildlife Sanctuary - perfect if you are looking for a hands-on wildlife experience.       


Vervet1 SmallZululand Endangered Species (Vervet Monkey Sanctuary) - a great opportunity for those with an interest in primates to get involved with animal welfare and conservation work.


For more details, you can visit  


©Norman A. Rubin  


For additional information on each individual conservation site, the volunteering work required, the contribution costs, transfers to the site, lodging, culture and tradition of each area, and extracurricular activities, you can contact: 


Enkosini Eco Experience -  P.O. Box 15355, Seattle, WA 98115, USA  Tel: +1.206.604.2664, Fax: +1.310.359.0269, Skype: enkosini E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 


Enkosini Eco Experience - P.O. Box 1197, Lydenbur 1120, South Africa - Tel: +27.82.442.6773, Skype: enkosini E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.











Last modified on Friday, 18 January 2013