Written by Milly Whitehead on 17 / 01 / 2019
Gap Year Advice
It’s official, our project in Namibia has officially got under my skin. Having just returned from the most beautiful place on earth I am consumed with passion and pride for what we are helping to create out in the middle of the desert, in one of the last wildernesses left on this planet.
Our aim is simple but massive…we are helping a leading conservationist in Africa create a new National Park in Namibia which will ultimately become a safe sanctuary for protected Black Rhino who are under threat of becoming extinct.
Who wants to be part of this journey? We need more volunteers, more pairs of hands to work their magic to bring this piece of Africa back from the abused so it can safely support the rhino and other desert living species.
So, if you are lurking in May or July for a Gap Year in Namibia and crave a challenge where you will make a huge difference to the map of Namibia and the wildlife of Africa then read on…
This is what we have planned:
Oana Conservancy in Southern Namibia - 45,000 hectares of utterly stunning, raw Africa. It homes a dramatic semi-arid landscape made up of small mountains and plains with the Oranje River running alongside, creating an idyllic oasis of green contrasting with the terracotta hue of the sand and mountains. Honestly it is stunning.
You will live in our base camp, in the middle of the conservancy with our groovy project leaders Ed and Andrea who are the super hero’s behind this. The tented camp is super cool – think 1920 original safari camp with the benefits of flushing loos and showers.
Over the next 5 years we have lots of bite sized projects that need to be completed to get the land ready…
Rewilding – wildlife counts:
Oana is home to some of the most iconic species of flora and fauna such as the quiver tree, the African leopard, the Greater Kudu, Brown Hyena, Caracal, Oryx, Honey badger, Aardvark, Giant Kingfisher and the African Black Eagle.
However it is an area unstudied and given its history we need to understand who lives where and in what numbers - the first stage of 're-wilding' the land. To do this you will set off across the reserve to literally seek out the wildlife, count what you see and analyse faeces and track prints.
Leopards – where and in what number?
You will also be involved in an ongoing leopard survey, which involves identifying key game trails, setting up camera traps and ID-ing individuals, mapping out each leopard's territory to work out their home range.
At the same time you will help remove old buildings, structures and scrap left from its hunting days, develop water points for animals, build micro-basins to help with plains regeneration, remove alien vegetation and build hides for wildlife observation at water points.
Work and play intertwined - to keep you on your toes we have interwoven a few adventures for you…
Get ready for an exhilarating 4 day adventure over white water, (up to level 3 rapids), cutting through an ever changing vista of dramatic gorges and canyons.
You’ll raft during the mornings before stopping off at a beach along the way to build a camp for the evening. Afternoons will be spent sunbathing, swimming, fishing, reading and relaxing. Evenings are spent around the bonfire toasting marshmallows.
Now don’t be put off by this …when I say hiking I am talking about walking to places where no man has ever stepped – you are in one the last untouched wildernesses left on the planet.The views are breath taking.
Oana have built a specially designed 20km bike trail that weaves through their mountains and ridges which shows off the stunning mountain landscape and will get your blood pumping.
There are fast bits, slow(er) bits, technical bits and chilled straights but don’t worry riders of every ability will be able to do the trail.
Along the way you will carry out opportunistic game counts – mountain zebra live in these parts!
So come on – join our journey and be part of something super special – changing the map of Namibia and saving the rhino for future generations.
on 17 / 01 / 2019