Elephant conservation holiday for families, Namibia

“An eleven day family adventure, combining community work and conservation work in the Namibian desert. Staying in desert camps throughout. A truly unique way to make a difference. Minimum age eight. ”

Highlights

Namib Desert | Elephant tracking | Working with rural Namibian communities | Desert camps | Plenty of family leisure time.

Description of Elephant conservation holiday for families, Namibia

Take an unforgettable family break volunteering to protect and conserve elephants in the desert regions of Namibia. Become part of an important elephant conservation mission to keep these gentle giants living in peace and safety within the wild.

This project combines community work and conservation in equal measure, allowing you and your family to become immersed in this rural way of life. The project is all about helping humans and elephants to survive alongside each other in these desert conditions, and you will all become genuinely involved in this important mission.

The first part of your project rotates around the local school. You will meet the teachers and pupils and have the opportunity to learn more about a very different lifestyle to your own. The main task here will be helping to repaint the dormitories and classrooms in vibrant colours for the children to have a more positive learning environment.

The second part of the project focuses more on the elephants. This involves hitting the road to track and monitor the elephants in their lives in the desert. The importance of this is twofold: firstly it helps to understand the movements and behaviour of the wild elephants so that the community can be further educated about them; secondly it is about identification of the elephants so that there is a knowledge of the elephants in the area. Each patrol involves a lot of speaking with farmers and communities to understand more about their lives living alongside elephants.

This volunteer holiday has been designed specifically for families in mind, so there will always be plenty of time to relax, explore and learn! This can include family games, fishing trips, nature walks and more!

Accommodation

One of the most exciting parts of this trip is to really get stuck in to desert life, unchanged for many hundreds of years. You will be camping in the desert, cooking around camp fires and going to sleep under a thick blanket of stars- worlds away from modern day life. You will prepare dinners as a family and eat together.

Day-by-day experiences

Day 1:Arrival day in Swakopmund. Meet the other families in your group and receive a briefing from the charity staff.
Day 2:Into the desert we go! You will be transferred up to Base Camp through the desert. This takes about 4 hours through dramatic scenery.
Day 3:Meet the community and the teachers at the local school. Paint brushes to the ready - let the work begin!
Day 4:Community project continues
Day 5:End of the community project! But don't be too despondent, this is where the elephants come in!
Day 6:Day off. Relax, explore and unwind. You can join us on a nature walk and attempt to bake a chocolate cake over the fire!
Day 7:Let the tracking begin! Head out into the desert in pursuit of the ellies. You will camp out in the desert under the blanket of stars
Day 8:Elephant tracking continues
Day 9:Elephant tracking continues
Day 10:Last day of patrol. Head back to Base Camp for some refreshing showers!
Day 11:Return transfer to Swakopmund

Travel Team

If you'd like to chat about this holiday or need help finding one we're very happy to help. The Travel Team.

01273 823 700 Calling from outside the UK?

Departure information

This trip can be tailor made throughout the year to suit your requirements
US pricing:
The currency converter above works on todays exchange rate. We do take bookings in USD but the price is set at a rate confirmed months in advance and is typically above the current exchange rate. Please enquire for details.
Accessible overview:
There are challenges associated with volunteer travel, and these can make accessible travel difficult. However, we are very keen to chat with travellers with specific needs to see if we can make a trip possible.
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Responsible tourism

Elephant conservation holiday for families, Namibia

Carbon reduction

Your holiday will help support local people and conservation. We must also reduce CO2. Learn about the CO2 emissions of this holiday and how to reduce them.

For each participant that goes away with us, we plant a tree in Africa with our charity partners Tree Aid
Where food is provided, it is locally produced and sourced, reducing food miles, supporting local industry and minimising single-use plastic
As a traveller you will learn about the importance of reducing our carbon footprint, both pre-departure and through your volunteer project
Camping accommodation
Where possible, and without jeopardising safety or quality, transfers are done on a shared basis to reduce carbon emissions

Environment

Conserving elephants
This project has been running since 2004 and was established as a result of the conflict between communal farmers and in the north west Namibian desert and desert dwelling elephants, mainly centred around scarce water resources. The elephants all live in the wild and we encourage a zero tolerance contact policy. These elephants are wild, and will be left to live in the wild with minimal human contact. When tracking the elephants the 4x4 will not invade the elephant's territory and will remain at a respectful distance.

Waste
The base camp in the desert is used an experimental project for natural building materials, recycling, building home made energy generating systems such as wind generators, solar water heaters, composting toilet designs. All the refuse produced is removed from the desert environment and brought through to the towns where recycling schemes exist.

One of the most important issues in the desert is choosing non invasive camps during the elephant patrols, staying on established road tracks in sensitive areas and leaving nothing behind.

Protecting the world
We are passionate about encouraging our travellers to be kind to the environment as they travel. Each participant receives advice about how to care for the environment whilst they are away. This includes water usage, how to avoid single use plastic, and electricity usage.

We insist that all participants bring their own water bottles when they travel with us, and clean free water is always available. We have even created a water bottle that can be purchased before departure and encourage people to use it at all stages of their journey including at the airport, on flights and whilst on their project. We are striving for all of our projects to be free of single use plastic.

Community

Meeting local needs
In addition to the family volunteer project, there is a general volunteer project that runs throughout the year for participants of all ages above 18. This project focuses on building walls to protect water sources, allowing farmers and elephants to share the same water sources safely. Without this initiative, the elephants tear at the water pumps in their eagerness to access the water - which often destroys the only access to water that the farmer has. Pumps are incredibly expensive, and if they are destroyed, it can take several years until they can be replaced.

The bi-monthly tracking projects ascertain where the elephants are and which farms might be at risk. Through thorough observation and monitoring, farms can be forewarned in the short term, and in the long term protective walls around the water sources can be built. Farmers and locals can also apply directly for assistance in this matter.

Impact on the local economy
As many local people as possible are employed on this project. Staff are employed from the immediate area which in turn supports many family members. A local man has his own business providing wood (from sustainable sources), a neighbouring farmer's wife has her own business washing the volunteers clothes at weekends for a fee. Food and fuel for the elephant patrol weeks are sourced from a small village called Uis where there is a supermarket and fuel station.

Cultural sensitivity
We emphasise the importance of showing respect for local people and their customs in our briefing material. Participants will work alongside permanent staff, forming close bonds and getting an insight into real life in rural Namibia.

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