Family Volunteering Project
4th - 14th August 2014
The first ever family trip was such a sucess in 2013 that we will be running the project again for interested families who want to volunteer together in 2014. Read Billy's Blog here (Billy is the one with the spade!)
We have changed the itinerary a little from our normal volunteer project to make it more child friendly and included more activities on the patrol week, keeping the children in mind.
The project will be lead by Hendrick Munembome, EHRA’s head tracker and community liaisons manager. Hendrick has been with EHRA for the last 4 years, is also a registered tour operator and has all his first aid qualifications. Hendrick has many fascinating stories to tell about his life, is a brilliant communicator and elephant expert.
Arrival in Swakopmund by Saturday at the latest, ready for the briefing at 6.30 on Saturday evening. We recommend that everyone stays at Villa Wiese which is reasonably priced, has family rooms and is nicely decorated. Ideally families should arrive a day before in Swakopmund, so you have time to acclimatise and explore this friendly and safe seaside town.
Transfer to EHRA Base Camp +- 4 hours.
Start of build project. Early in the morning we get the vehicles packed and head out for the build site. The group will be helping a farmer who lives on the Ugab to build a vegetable garden from an area where there is a natural spring with fresh water. We will need to build a wall as well as prepare the ground. There are various tasks that need completing, such as digging the ground, collecting sand and rocks, mixing cement and laying the stones on the wall. There are tasks to suit all strengths! We have a long lunch break during the heat of the day and then start work around 2pm and work until 5pm. We will sleep at EHRA base camp every night, but will remain at the farm during the lunch time.
Hendrick will introduce the group to the farmer and community and there will be a chance to really understand how the local Namibian’s live, from what they eat, to how they make their houses and what their daily life entails.
Every day a family will be on kitchen duty together which involves waking up first to make the morning coffee, tea and breakfast, to the sandwiches for lunch and the big dinner in the evening. Each evening we prepare a big healthy meal over the fire, ranging from roast chickens, spaghetti bolognese, lamb tagine, thai curry to name a few! We can cater for vegetarians as well.
Continue with build project.
Today is the last day build of the build project. When we are finished we will have a small celebration with Festus and Ella, the owners of the farm! We will then head back to base camp to relax – a job well done!
Today the group have a day to relax and explore the area surrounding base camp. In the afternoon Hendrick will take those who are interested on a nature walk (+- 3kms) and will also tell the group about different survival skills and edible plants from the desert. Today’s treat is a big Apple Crumble and custard cooked on the fire!
In the evening Hendrick will give the group a briefing on patrol, covering what the aim of the next few days is in terms of the elephants we need to track and specific information on safety whilst in close proximity to elephants.
On each patrol we have a different aim, at the time of writing our current focus is two fold, one is to have a presence in the area where elephants are under threat and check that all herds are together and without injuries, and secondly we need to start compiling identification files of ‘new’ herds of elephants in the northern reaches of our area, as these elephants are causing a lot of damage to farms. On each patrol we also spend a lot of time speaking to farmers and communities and chance will be given to the group to interact with local people.
We pack the patrol vehicles and head out early on patrol. During patrol week we sleep under the stars, with out a tent which is an amazing experience for all!
At some point during patrol we will also pay a visit to our local school, A.Gariseb Primary School in a small village on the Ugab River called Anixab. The group will be able to meet the teachers and pupils of the school and see how the school operates. EHRA has assisted the school in renovations over the last 7 years and we are very proud to have been able to help. The school has over 280 children from the local area, all farms affected by the presence of elephants, and around 80% of these children board at the school. It is a colourful and happy place and the group will definitely enjoy the visit.
On each day of patrol we will include an element of walking so that children don’t get bored on the cars for the whole day! If we head down into the wetland areas of the river system we may even have a fishing competition! Hendrick will explain how he tracks the elephants and the group will have the chance to put their tracking skills to the test. For those who are keen bird enthusiasts, the wetlands, river system and desert are home to some beautiful birds including Hornbills, Love Birds, Egypitan Geese, Rollers, various fabulous Eagles and other birds of prey and some stunning owls such as the Pearl Spotted Owl.
Today is the last day of patrol! Throughout the week you can expect to see other wildlife, asides elephant, such as black rhino which is rare but there is a small population in our area which are often spotted, springbok, oryx, kudu, giraffe, zebra! Around lunch time the group will head back to EHRA base camp, for yet another fabulous shower in the rocks and last night around the fire and sleep in the tree house!
After a leisurely breakfast we will pack up the Toyota Quantum and head back to the coast town on Swakopmund on the Skeleton Coast. We will aim to be back around lunch time and we can help make bookings for various activities which are fun for everyone including sandboarding, quad biking, desert tours, dolphin cruises and kayaking to name a few!
To secure your families place on this unique project or to ask any questions please email Rachel at
or call on +264 64 402501. Alternatively you can send us an enquiry through the site.