Day 1 - 7
Tuesday morning we travel to the local Namibian farm or homestead where you will spend the week building protective walls around water sources or building alternative water points for the elephants and the area’s newly-released black rhinos. Volunteer teams will be living in mobile base camps in the vicinity of the homesteads and elephants. Tents are provided this week, and soon you will make the camp home! All cooking is done over the fire and you’ll take turns being on kitchen duty, which includes providing the first cup of coffee to everyone in bed, to breakfast, lunch, and dinner. We have great recipes, and we can also cater for vegetarians.
You’ll rise early to beat the Namibian heat and then stop around noon to travel back to camp for a traditional African siesta and lunch. In the afternoons you start work after 2:30 pm and work for a couple of hours, before the time comes to head back to camp in time for the obligatory sundowner. Evenings are spent talking and relaxing around the campfire, listening to the sounds of Africa.
Saturday morning you pack up the camp and travel back to the EHRA Base Camp for a much-deserved shower and relaxation. The next two days are yours to explore, read, relax, take a swim in the elephant drinking dam, and enjoy yourself!
Day 8 - 14
On Monday morning, volunteer teams pack the Land Cruisers and leave on elephant patrol. This is an amazing week where you join the EHRA trackers on a (mostly) vehicle-based patrol to track the local herds of desert elephants. This week is your reward for all the hard work on building week. The aim of this week is to track the elephants, record data on births, deaths, and new elephants, GPS their positions, and take ID shots and notes about each and every elephant.
EHRA believes that effective conservation management is only possible through knowing each elephant personally — through its physical features and its personality traits — as well as having accurate and up-to-date information on numbers and movements. This is particularly important when ‘problem’ elephants are declared. The information gathered on patrol is entered onto our online database which maps each herd’s movements on Google Earth. From this, we can ascertain which farms and homesteads are visited and may require protection walls. The database also holds all ID shots of each elephant.
During patrol, you’ll sleep at a new place every evening, depending on where the day’s tracking takes you. Sleeping out under the stars is one of the most magical experiences of the project.
It is likely that you will see no other humans the entire week. Your only company will be the area’s wildlife. Aside from elephants, you can expect to see giraffe, oryx, ostrich, kudu, zebra, springbok, and if you are very lucky, black rhino, as well as hundreds of different birds.