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.
The use of motion-sensor trail cameras is an essential part of ecological wildlife monitoring. As they are non-invasive, they capture vital images of the varied species that are in the area. As they are on 24 hours a day, 365 days per year, they are particularly useful for recording the presence and densities of difficult to observe species such as the African Wild Dog. The photos allows us to identify individuals from unique coat patterns thereby providing more accurate data for population estimates and levels of breeding success.
Monitoring several elephants by GPS satellite tracking collars means that every morning we can download the data to monitor the movement of the herd. This allows us to identify any possible conflict and / or damage to infrastructure that my have occurred.
VHF Telemetry Tracking
Periodic tracking via the VHF transmitter beacon that is located within the GPS collar means that we can make detailed first hand observations. We can find out information on the exact herd structure and composition as well as build up a photographic ID guide to the individual animals.
Spoor (footprint) Tracking
Wildlife is just that; WILD! As such, they rarely stand around waiting to be observed and photographed. It is therefore important to perform detailed ground searches of areas to locate and identify the spoor (footprints/tracks) left behind by them. This is the first and often most important step in monitoring the activity and movements of focal study species to determine where further work must be carried out.
Making detailed records of all conflict that has occurred, whether perceived or actual, is important in making clear plans for the conservation of endangered wildlife species, such as the elephants and African wild dogs. It is only by understanding the underlying causes of persecution in response to conflict that a coherent and detailed plan can be created that will produce positive and measurable results in conservation. This may take the form of recording and photographing specific conflict incidents such as damage to infrastructure by elephants or the predation of livestock by wild dogs.
Understanding the attitudes of the local farmers and landowners towards species such as elephants and African wild dogs is essential to producing a clear plan of action for their conservation. Only by getting out onto the farmland and talking to locals can we hope to find practical solutions to the current conflict between humans and wildlife.
You will be staying in our volunteer accommodation located centrally in the Kavango Cattle Ranch in Mangetti Village with other volunteers and the researchers.
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.
Wifi – No
People per room – Up to 2
Single sex rooms – Yes
You will receive 3 meals per day, which are all served within the volunteer accommodation or packed and taken out into the field. The menu rotates on a 3 week basis and there is a lot of meat served (usually for both lunch and dinner) which is more than most meat eaters are used to (so a few volunteers often end up to swapping to the vegetarian option).
You can expect some of the following:
Breakfast – Cereal, toast, coffee, tea, sometimes eggs, bacon and muffins
Lunch & Dinner – Pizza, quiches, wraps, stews, pasta, rice, curries
With notice we can cater for all dietary requirements:
- Gluten Free
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 dose 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 the day before your selected start date, being any Tuesday. 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 Thursday 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 research site and will be transported around by our local team in 4×4’s.
Is there Internet and phone signal?
There is no Internet or at our research site due to its remote location. This is your chance to escape everything where you can relax and truly get involved with the conservation project. There is mobile signal except in the more remote areas and we recommend that you purchase a local sim card on arrival.
What is Mangetti like?
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 Thursday and will go through everything you need to know for your time at the research site. 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 to.
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 $129 within 7 days of receiving confirmation that your application was successful. The remaining balance is then due to 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, that 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 are 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 effect the project?
Although we try to be as clear as possible of all holidays that effect 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. Its 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.
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