Volunteer in Namibia

Volunteer in Namibia and discover one of the most underrated nations in Africa. Explore rugged mountains, abandoned ghost towns, picturesque cities from colonial times like Windhoek and vast national parks teeming with fascinating African wildlife. As Namibia is also one of the poorest countries in Africa, the hands-on help of international volunteers is much needed. Work at a wildlife sanctuary to rescue and care for injured and captivated animals that will be released back into the wild. You want to see lions, elephants, and rhinos from up close and protect these endangered animals? This is your chance to volunteer with the Namibian wildlife!

Wildlife Sanctuary Supporter

Here you’ll direct all of your efforts towards the long term rehabilitation of animals. Experience hands-on volunteering

Elephant Conservation Supporter

Here you’ll direct all of your efforts towards the long term rehabilitation of animals. Experience hands-on

Natural Horsemanship Course & Healing with Animals

Surround yourself with the spirit of Joseph’s Dream Appaloosas! Learn Natural Horsemanship

Horse Handler/Animal Carer or School Helper

Work with our beautiful and unique Appaloosas. To help rehabilitate neglected horses and wildlife orphans. Or help in teaching basic skills to underpriviledged

Volunteer in Namibia

While Namibia’s natural beauty is what makes this country shine, it is still one of the most underrated nations in all of Africa. From rough, rugged mountains to stunning seascapes and abandoned ghost towns, the beauty of this country might just take your breath away. Nevertheless, Namibia is not without its very own set of struggles either. As a volunteer in Namibia, you will be faced with dire poverty. After all, about half of the Namibian population lives in poverty, which unfortunately is typical for most African countries. Given that this country is both one of the poorest on the African continent and in the world, there is much for you to do as a volunteer in Namibia.

Whether you want to help the local population achieve a better life or you are interested in protecting the local wildlife as a volunteer in Namibia, there are several volunteer projects for you to choose from. Your charity and volunteer work in Namibia will certainly go a long way here. Do you want to learn more about the voluntary work you can do to help? Then read on to find out what it means to be a volunteer in Namibia!

Volunteer work in Namibia

Given both the remaining wild animal diversity and the poverty of this country, Namibia is one of the top destinations if you want to join a volunteer project in Africa. Becoming a hands-on volunteer in Namibia means that you can really make a difference in the lives of the local people and the wildlife. From getting to experience Namibian culture first-hand to seeing the stunning landscapes that will surround you in this country that is situated between Botswana, South Africa, Angola, Zambia, and the Atlantic Ocean, there is so much to look forward to!

Did we already get you excited about becoming a volunteer in Namibia? There are countless volunteer projects and volunteer opportunities in Namibia that could use your help and that we are happy to put you in touch with. Learn more about the available opportunities for volunteering in the following section. We hope to give you an idea which topics might interest you and what kind of work you would like to do as a volunteer in Namibia.

Animal and wildlife conservation

Thanks to its spectacular scenery and abundant wildlife, Namibia is known as one of the top safari destinations in Africa. From deserts and wetlands to savannas, the Southern African country offers a great variety of habitats for globally threatened animals to thrive.

Given that almost three-quarters of Namibia’s population rely on natural resources for food, income, and shelter, wildlife conservation is a priority: The country was the first African state to include environmental protection into its constitution and encourages every citizen to be involved in wildlife protection. By now, about one in four rural Namibians is part of a registered conservancy.

Today, a network of national parks covering about 17% of the country provides a home for elephants, giraffes, zebras, and many other exotic animals. Only in Namibia you can find the largest free-roaming populations of cheetahs and rhinos in the world. Can you imagine a place more worthy of a volunteer experience in wildlife conservation?

Whether you decide to work at a wildlife sanctuary or support research efforts, your hands-on work as a volunteer in Namibia will have a positive impact on people and planet.

Cheetah conservation

Cheetahs are fascinating animals. The beautiful wildcats known for their characteristic short, black-spotted fur coat can reach over 90 km/h when chasing prey such as antelopes, gazelles, or impalas.

In Namibia, the majority of the animals reside in open plains and savannah woodland. According to IUCN, Southern Africa is the stronghold of cheetah populations worldwide with about 4,200 of the 6674 individuals left in the wild.

Sadly, even in Namibia cheetahs are under threat. Despite its status as an endangered species under Namibian law, declining prey numbers, decreasing habitat, and illegal poaching are minimizing cheetah populations.

To save cheetahs from extinction in the future, conservation projects need funding and manpower to make sure their programs are implemented effectively. You can be part of this endeavor!

Are you ready to live your best life in the Namibian bush and to save vulnerable cheetah populations from wildlife crime? Then we are more than happy to connect you to local cheetah conservation projects that make a difference.

One thing is for sure: You will not get bored wandering the ever-changing, lunar-like Namibian landscapes as a cheetah conservation volunteer. At a wildlife research center or sanctuary in Namibia you will be involved in many different activities, such as:

  • Set and check camera traps
  • Feed rescued cheetahs
  • Record statistical data on cheetahs
  • Clean and maintain sanctuary enclosures and project site
  • Dig new waterholes
  • Play with cheetah cubs
  • Teach children English and conservation
  • Watch over reserve to spot poachers

What are you waiting for? Book your volunteer stay at a cheetah conservation in Namibia today and take this opportunity to see the country’s fascinating wildlife with your own eyes.

Teaching in Namibia

If you would love to help improve the lives of the local population, volunteering at an education project might be the right volunteer work in Namibia for you. Whether you want to work with children or adults and pass on your knowledge, the choice is yours.

The many social projects in Namibia will warmly welcome volunteers with good Maths and English skills, as well as active or retired teachers. If you are a college or university student that is currently receiving a degree in Early Childhood or Primary School Education, volunteering for an educational project in Namibia could be an ideal internship opportunity and experience for you. As a teacher for one of those projects, you will be engaging in many different activities. Some of these might be:

  • teaching English
  • teaching Maths
  • teaching vocational skills
  • coaching sports
  • tutoring individual students
  • supervising small groups
  • helping to prepare lunch
  • playing games with children

As an education volunteer in Namibia, you will get to experience what it means to be a teacher first-hand. While you will receive all the help and support you need from your volunteer project lead, you might be free to come up with your own lesson plans.

If you really want to get in touch with locals during your time in Namibia and immerse yourself in their culture as much as possible, being an education volunteer is the way to go. And not only that, as an aspiring teacher, your time spent abroad as a volunteer in Namibia will look great on your resume as well.

Cost of living

The suggested daily budget for living as a volunteer in Namibia is between US$ 30 and US$ 45. This is an estimate made considering the average price of some of the services volunteers might need and things volunteers might want to buy for one of the volunteer opportunities in Namibia. It gives you a general overview of how much things cost in this country, so you can be prepared and save the money you will need.

Additional costs volunteers should consider when traveling to Africa:

  • program fees
  • flight tickets
  • travel insurance
  • fees for your visa
  • personal expenses

Things to know before volunteering in Namibia

When you travel to a different country for voluntary work it is important to familiarise yourself with its culture and social characteristics. This helps you to settle in quickly and avoid misunderstandings. These are some tips that you might find helpful when preparing for your volunteer work in Namibia:

Safety & Precautions

Every time you travel internationally, you might want to exercise some common sense as muggings and pickpocketing are very common. Please keep the following tips in mind during your travel and volunteering journey:

  • Unfortunately, Namibia is a rather poor country with correspondingly high theft rates. Therefore, make sure to only carry the money that you will need for the day in your wallet.
  • Leave the rest in a safe in your hotel/hostel room together with credit/debit cards, air tickets and passport.
  • It also makes sense to bring attested photocopies of these documents, in case you lose them.
  • Don’t wear expensive jewelry when walking around.
  • Watch where you leave your bags on public transportation (Tip for ladies: don’t put your bags on the floor!).
  • Avoid leaving valuables in your car.
  • Do not stop on the side of the road – even if you think someone needs help or you see something suspicious; call the police instead.
  • Make sure that you do not share a cab with a stranger.
  • Monitor your credit card statement so that you can report any fraudulent activities right away.

Culture & religion

In the past, Namibia was colonized by Germany and South Africa and many indigenous people were dispossessed of their lands and relegated to reserves during the colonial period. Following the apartheid, there are still to this day significant differences in wealth between Namibia’s white settlers and its indigenous people, which you will notice all over the country.

Nevertheless, Namibia is a fascinating and multicultural country worth exploring. Even though the nation only has about 2.3 million inhabitants, the population is made up of 13 different ethnic groups. The largest ethnic group, accounting for around half the population, is the Ovambo. Some of the country’s smaller ethnic groups, such as the San in the east, still keep to their age-old nomadic or semi-nomadic lifestyles.

About 87% of all Namibians are Christian. The other 13% of the Namibian population adhere to traditional African religions, which you might want to learn more about during your time as a volunteer.

The languages spoken in Namibia are just as diverse as the existing ethnicities and religions. While English is the official national language, only a few Namibians speak it as their mother-tongue. Oshiwambo, which is the language of the Ovambo people is the most widely-spoken language but you might also encounter Khoekhoe, one of the Khoisan languages in Africa which are characterized by their clicking sounds. You are quite likely to encounter someone communicating in Khoekhoe as it is spoken by around a quarter of a million Namibians.

During your stay in Namibia, you should be aware that extended greetings and handshakes are very important in the Namibian cultures. To be polite, keep in mind that when food and drink are offered, you should always accept. Further, public displays of affection are frowned upon and there is a general emphasis on emotional restraint in public, especially in rural areas.

Health advice

If there’s one thing you definitely do not want during your volunteer work in Namibia, it’s falling ill. And whilst you can’t always avoid it, there are definitely some things that will help you to stay healthy during your time in Namibia:

  • Eat and drink safely: Don’t eat undercooked food, avoid eating street food and don’t drink water from the tap!
  • Also, wash your hands often, especially before eating.
  • Plan for how you will get health care during your stay. Get a travel insurance and bring medicine with you, especially if you need special medication.
  • Prevent bug bites: You might want to cover exposed skin, use an insect repellent, and use a bed net.
  • Make sure you are up-to-date on routine vaccinations before every trip. These vaccines include MMR, diphtheria-tetanus-pertussis, varicella (chickenpox), polio, and your yearly flu shot.
  • If you are going to volunteer with animals, the US-based health protection agency CDC recommends that you should consider an anti-rabies vaccination in addition to your routine vaccinations.

Who can volunteer in Namibia?

You might have noticed by now that there are many different volunteer opportunities in Namibia that require different skills and abilities from their international volunteers. While you can find out the specific requirements for each project on their profiles on Volunteer World, here are some general requirements that apply to most projects in Namibia:

  • You need to be at least 18 years old for most of the volunteer projects. When in doubt, we advise you to get in contact with the local project manager, as in some projects you can also volunteer when you’re 16 years old.
  • You should have an intermediate level of the English language; some projects also require an advanced English knowledge.
  • Depending on the project you’re interested in, you might need to provide a criminal background check and a health declaration before volunteering.

What visa do I need for volunteering in Namibia?

You have made it to the last section of this guide, which is another really important aspect while planning your trip to Africa: getting your volunteer visa for Namibia.

Please consider that the following information is based on a best practice approach, which has been made according to the best of our knowledge and in cooperation with several volunteer organizations. That’s why you should please make sure to discuss your visa requirements with your contact person on Volunteer World. If in doubt, we also recommend getting in touch with the embassy or consulate of Namibia in your country.

General entry information

There are some general requirements you should comply upon your arrival:

  • Please check the current validity of your passport. Your passport should have at least 6-month validity from the date of arrival in Namibia.
  • Make sure your passport has at least two blank visa pages. Namibia requires that you have adequate unused pages in your passport, allowing for any necessary stamps upon arrival and departure.
  • Please check if a transit visa is required for any connections.
  • Make sure to be in possession of a valid return ticket.

Best practice for short-term volunteers

If you are planning to volunteer in Namibia for 90 days or less, you have to apply for a Work Visa. Make sure to submit the filled and signed application form to your closest Namibian Embassy or Consulate before entering Namibia. They will provide you with a checklist of documents that need to be submitted. The organization you are volunteering with will assist you in the visa application process. The application process for a work visa takes roughly five weeks and costs around US$130.

Along with the work visa, you will also need a Temporary Residence Permit for Work Purposes .

Best practice for long-term volunteers

If you are planning to volunteer in Namibia for more than 90 days, you need to apply for a Work Permit. Of course, it takes a bit more documentation but lasts up to three years!

To make this step as easy as possible, you can find the application form right here. Make sure to submit the filled and signed application form to your closest Namibian Embassy or Consulate . They will provide you with all further information and give you a checklist of documents that need to be submitted. The organization you are volunteering with will help you through this process as well.