Help research human &
animal conflict in Mangetti
Collect vital data on African elephants & wild dogs
Namibia elephant & wild dog research
Come and help our researchers and other volunteers in Mangetti where you will actively contribute vital data to aid with our conservation efforts. You will research the levels and causes of conflict between humans and animals (mainly elephants and African wild dogs) in an effort to devise an effective conservation plan.
The impact of human activities on native wildlife has never been more apparent than it is in respect to two of Africa’s iconic species; the African painted dog (or more commonly known as wild dog) and the African elephant. Both have endured decades of suffering through habitat fragmentation, hunting and persecution.
Situated in the North-eastern Kalahari woodlands about 100km southwest of Rundu, lies the Mangetti Cattle Ranch. The Mangetti Complex comprises of two main areas; the Kavango Cattle Ranch and the nearby Mangetti National Park.
We have been granted access to this amazing site for our elephant and African wild dog research. In total the study area is more than 2,000km2 of Kalahari woodlands and mixed Acacia savannah. The vegetation is thick and dense allowing even the largest species of wildlife to simply vanish before your very eyes!
Volunteers will assist our researchers in documenting the movements and activities of elephant and wild dog populations. Using GPS and VHF monitoring technology, motion-sensitive trail cameras and traditional spoor (footprint) tracking techniques, come and delve into the lives of the world’s largest land animals and one of Africa’s most endangered carnivore species.
The African wild dog is currently endangered, with only about 6,500 left in the wild and a prognosis of further decline. Although the African elephant are not yet endangered, they have suffered huge losses to their numbers due to human-wildlife conflicts and ivory poaching.
The vital research that is gathered at Mangetti, will help with strategies and conservation techniques that can be put into place to stop wildlife populations declining. You will make a positive impact every day, surrounded by a team of passionate, like-minded people, who are all striving to make a difference in Namibia.
Everyday will see you out in the field where not only will you get to see these incredible animals up close, but also get to explore the vast landscapes that Namibia has to offer. With natural savannahs, lush grass plains and magnificent views this is your chance to discover the depths of Namibia’s natural beauty.
Accommodation & meals
Accommodation & meals
While volunteering at Mangetti, you will be accommodated at the management house in a rural village close to both research sites - Kavango Cattle Ranch and the Mangeetti National Park.
You will be surrounded by the vast bushveld, where you can enjoy the peace and tranquility of remote living and be excited by the fact that there could be wild elephants and other animals nearby!
There is a large seating area indoors, but most people tend to sit and eat outside under the roofed area - the perfect place to congregate after a busy day volunteering.
Although the house is basic, it is more than suitable for your time here and you will be provided with everything you may need. You will be staying in same sex bedrooms with up to 2 other volunteers in either bunk beds or single beds - all bedding is provided. There are western style toilets and hot water showers, although this can be intermittent as it is supplied through a wood-burning boiler.
Mobile phone signal is generally good except in some of the more remote areas and there is no internet. There is electricity for you to charge your mobile phones and cameras.
Meals are a simple affair in the Mangetti. Most days you will prepare and take a packed lunch out into the field with you, while everyone takes it in turns to cook the main evening meal and clean up afterwards. There is generally at least one braai during your trip (a traditional African BBQ).
You can expect some of the following:
Breakfast – Cereal, toast, coffee, tea,
Lunch – Sandwich, fruit, juice
Dinner – Meat, vegetables, pizza, quiches, pasta, rice, curries
Most dietary requirements can be catered for, however we would need to know these in advance.
All of the below prices exclude the £149 registration fee. The total price payable is the below price + £149, as will be confirmed in the application process. To find out exactly what's included as part of fees, please click the What's Included box on the programme page.
The fees you pay go towards the structure and support put in place in order to provide you with an organised and safe environment in which to volunteer. The programme fee goes directly to our local team in Namibia and is used towards the following:
- 24-hour airport pickup and return transfer
- Three meals per day
- In-country orientation
- 24-hour in-country support
The registration fee that you pay to confirm your place on the volunteer programme is retained by our team in the United Kingdom. This fee is used towards the following:
- 24-hour UK based emergency support
- Unlimited telephone and email support
- A comprehensive volunteer handbook
- Assistance with all aspects of your trip
- 100% financial protection
- Regular programme inspections
- Certificate of completion
What's not included
There are still some parts of your trip that will need to be funded by yourself, these include:
- Flights to Windhoek (£400 - £700)
- Travel insurance
- Visa (£65)
- Criminal background check (£25)
- Spending money (estimated at £50 - £100 per week)
Frequently asked questions
Frequently asked questions
What are the requirements to join?
We welcome all volunteers from any background, religion and nationality, as long as you have no criminal convictions and are able to supply a clean criminal background check. In order to join the programme you need to be at least 18 years old on the programme start date.
Individuals need to have a good level / understanding of English but it does not need to be your first language. As some programmes can be quite strenuous, we recommend that you should be physically fit.
What date should I arrive and leave?
You should arrive at Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek (WDH) on your selected start date, being any Thursday. You will be met by one of our local team members or an appointed driver who will be holding a named sign and who will then take you to the Wildlife Sanctuary – around a 45 minute drive.
The programme ends on a Sunday of your final week and you should depart the accommodation on this day. Our local team will take you back to the airport.
Are there any age restrictions for solo travellers?
The only age restriction in place is that you have to be at least 18 years old before your programme start date. Anyone over this age is welcome. Generally the average age range for our programmes is 18 - 25, although this is by no means definitive and we regularly have volunteers of all ages.
What is the minimum age for travelling with my family?
If you are travelling with family and at least one member is aged 18 years old or over, then we welcome anyone from 12 years and up.
When should I apply for the programme?
You can apply for this programme at anytime, however we advise that you apply as soon as possible to have the best chances of securing your placement on your selected dates. Some of our programmes have limited capacity and spaces can get filled up quickly.
If you are wanting to volunteer within the next few weeks, then please contact us and we will do our best to accommodate your needs.
It is possible to change your start dates once you have been accepted, however this is subject to availability and can attract a small administration fee.
What duration would you recommend?
On gaining feedback from previous volunteers, we believe 3 - 6 weeks is the ideal time to get settled in and really involved with the programme. This also allows you to make the most of your free time, to explore this beautiful country and to participate in any activities.
We regularly have volunteers come for 2 weeks that tell us that they did not believe they had enough time and wish they had stayed for longer.
What will my itinerary be?
Please make sure you arrive into Hosea Kutako International Airport in Windhoek (WDH) on Tuesday.
Day 1 (Tuesday) – Arrival
A member of our local team will be waiting for you in arrivals holding a named sign. You will be taken straight to the wildlife sanctuary (around a 45 minute drive) where you will have the rest of the day to meet everyone else and settle in.
Day 2 (Wednesday) – Travelling To Maori Camp
During the morning you will start your journey to the Mangetti research site, approximately 6 hours away. You will take the IncerCape bus as a group and is all arranged by our local team. This is an experience in itself as you travel through Namibia and witness some breath-taking views! You will spend the night at Maori Camp with our local co-ordinator.
Day 3 (Thursday) – Travelling To Mangetti
After a quick stop at the supermarket to get some provisions for the week, you will drive on to the Mangetti site – around an hour away. You will receive your orientation and then have the rest of the day to meet everyone else and to settle in.
Most of your time will be out in the field conducting research and other important tasks. A typical day starts at 8am and finishes around 5pm. You will find that time flies by, so it’s important to make the most of your time! Don’t forget, our local team are there to support you and to answer any questions you may have.
Weekends are a little more relaxed, but there are still a few activities and tasks that need to be completed. You will get slightly more free time over the weekend for you to enjoy around the accommodation and other fun group activities will be arranged.
Last day (Wednesday)
On the Wednesday of your last week you will travel back to the wildlife sanctuary overnight. We recommend that volunteers book their return flights for Thursday afternoon and the return airport transfer is included.
How will I get to the project?
You will be staying within our volunteer accommodation in the middle of the desert and transported around the project site to carry out volunteering journeys by our local team in 4×4’s.
Is there Internet and phone signal?
There is no Internet at our research site due to its remote location, however there is phone signal at certain places. This is your chance to escape everything where you can relax and truly get involved with the conservation project. In case of emergencies, there is a landline phone that can be used.
The Mighty Roar Local Team in Namibia
Our programmes in Namibia are run by a dedicated local team, who are committed to ensuring you have the best time ever. These team members provide the structure for your stay, including the accommodation, meals, airport pickup, in-country orientation and of course support.
They are sure to become your good friends and you will not meet nicer people that are willing to do everything in their power to make your stay the most memorable.
Will I get an in-country orientation?
Yes. Your orientation will be on Friday morning and will go through everything you need to know for your time at the research site and sanctuary. All of the important health and safety information will be shared with you along with an overview of what you will be doing.
What is the weather like in Namibia?
In the desert, the winter and summer seasons follow a similar pattern to the rest of the Namibia, but little rainfall can be expected. Temperatures may rise above 40°C in summer months (October to April), with rare occasions of it even reaching up to 50°C. In the winter months (May – September) temperatures still reach a pleasant 20° C to 25° C but at night the temperatures may drop below 0° C.
Can I volunteer if I live outside of the UK?
Yes of course. We welcome volunteers from around the world, no matter how far away from the programmes you are. The majority of volunteers that we host come from the UK, US, Germany, Canada and Australia.
Can I go with my friend / partner?
We have many volunteers that travel with their friends, family members or with their partner. If required, we can ensure that you are based on the same project and stay within the same accommodation. On request, we can normally organise a private room too.
Is it safe to travel to Namibia?
We regularly visit and participate in each and every one of the programmes we offer in Namibia to rigorously check all aspects of the project and accommodation are safe and that all procedures are being followed. These include but are not limited to checking the living conditions within the volunteer accommodations, checking the neighbourhoods you’ll be staying in, tasting the food you’ll be eating and going on any weekend trips recommended by us or our local team.
We monitor the stability of all of our volunteer destinations on a daily basis and have constant contact with our overseas teams to ensure that our volunteers are safe.
All volunteers will receive a comprehensive volunteer handbook when you choose to join us on one of our programmes. This detailed document addresses a large range of issues such as health, safety, visas, as well as going into details about local cultures and traditions.
When you arrive in-country, you will be given a safety briefing during your orientation that will cover things like emergency procedures, how to use local transport and any cultural differences.
Our in-country team are on hand to help with any issues or to answer any questions and please do not forget that our UK office is available 24/7 in case of any rare emergencies.
While we can never guarantee your volunteer experience will be 100% trouble free, we have taken all of the necessary precautions to minimise all risks and to ensure the programme is as safe as possible.
Before You Depart
When do I pay? Can I pay in instalments?
To confirm and guarantee your placement on one of our programmes, you need to pay the registration fee of £149 within 7 days of receiving confirmation that your application was successful. The remaining balance is then due no less than 60 days prior to your programme start date.
Payments can be done all at once or be spread out over several months and can be paid via BACS (bank transfer). We do accept additional payments methods, such as debit and credit cards, although there may be additional fees.
Do I need any vaccinations and / or malaria tablets?
As we are not trained medical experts we cannot tell you exactly what vaccinations or other medication you may need for your trip. You will need to consult with your local doctors or travel clinic.
You can also find additional information on the NHS Fit For Travel website.
How do I arrange my flights?
All flights need to be booked by you, although we can point you in the right direction on where you may be able to find the best prices.
Before booking any flights, we strongly recommend that you wait to have confirmation that your application has been successful.
Do you offer travel insurance?
Travel insurance is a compulsory part of your volunteering trip, that’s why we have teamed up with Endsleigh to create an affordable and comprehensive travel insurance policy. It is suitable for all of the programmes we offer and can be taken out at any time. You can read more about our insurance here.
If you decide to purchase your travel insurance from an alternative provider, please ensure it covers you for everything you will be doing. Adequate travel insurance must be in place no less than 60 days before your programme start date. Without proof of this insurance, we will not be able to accept you onto the programme.
When will I receive my volunteer handbook?
You will receive a welcome email from us as soon as you have paid the registration fee and your placement has been confirmed. The welcome email will include the volunteer handbook that provides a wealth of information that will help you better understand all aspects of your upcoming trip as well as details about our insurance policy.
Please note, all material is sent via email and hard copies cannot be sent.
On Your Trip
Can I arrange a private room?
The majority of our accommodation only offers shared rooms that are usually same-sex. However, if you would prefer a private room please let us know and we will at least try for you.
Can you cater for my dietary requirements?
We will try our best to cater for any dietary requirements. When you submit your application please include any required details within the dietary section and we will liaise with our local coordinators.
Are there any public holidays that would affect the project?
Although we try to be as clear as possible of all holidays that affect project availability, due to the nature of some countries, holidays can often be sporadic or prone to change.
If such a holiday falls when you are on your placement, this is generally a good time to experience unique festivities where you can join in with the locals.
What is the dress code at the projects?
We ask that all volunteers take the approach of a smart and responsible image during your time in the communities and on projects. It is best to also take some older clothes that you don't mind getting dirty.
Generally, it is best to avoid tight and very short clothing and anything that may have offensive slogans on it. It's recommended that you take some nicer clothes for weekends or any free time you may have.
We do not wish to impose strict regulations, however we do ask that you respect the local culture and do your best to adhere to the clothing guidelines within the volunteer handbook.
How much spending money will I need?
For general expenses and some travelling, you should find that £50 - £100 per week is sufficient. However, this can vary greatly depending on the amount of activities or trips you do and if you are eating out during the week.
Will I be able to travel whilst on the programme?
There should be plenty of time to travel while on your placement and we actively encourage that you do! The local coordinators will be able to give you lots of travel tips and provide any help needed for your independent adventure.