Conservation + Adventure


Itinerary Options

Let's go

Looking for something more flexible? Get in touch and we'll chat through options more suited to you.

Get back on the road...

And help create a new national park

Let's set the scene...

Oana Conservancy is tucked away in southern Namibia and covers about 45,000 hectares of utterly stunning, raw Africa. It homes a dramatic semi-arid landscape made up of small mountains and plains with the Orange River running alongside creating an idyllic oasis of green, contrasting with the terracotta hue of the sand and mountains. Simply breathtaking.

Oana was rescued from its previous life as a hunting ranch by the renowned conservationists Ian Craig and Pete Morkel. They secured the land with the aim to ecologically restore and link it up with neighbouring conservancies to, one day, create a national park to home Namibia's endangered wildlife. They have built a semi-permanent base camp and are focusing on volunteer tourism to help make this possible. It's all led by Ed Barthorp and Andrea Pawel who are quite simply an awesome couple and will make sure everyone has a great time.

This MidLife program will allow us to be part of their 'restore and preserve' journey - a wilderness African experience interwoven with adventure, morning yoga and pure escapism.

Having just returned, I promise you it doesn't get any better than this for adventure, wilderness, challenge, immersion and fun. We all had a ball.

Take a deep breath and dust down your rucksack - let's head to Namibia to help rebuild Oana's ecosystem, so it can once again be home to endangered wildlife. As a team we can make a difference whilst reminding ourselves that we've still got it!

Trip Itinerary

During a 9-day itinerary you will get stuck into a spot of conservation involving leopards, lizards and gemsbok and an adrenaline overhaul as you navigate the white water of the Orange River.

This is what we have in mind...


Oana Conservancy

Welcome to Oana

You will be picked up from Upington Airport in South Africa, where you will met by our trusted transfer team who will take you over the border into Namibia and onto the the famous 'crossing' where Ed and Andrea will be waiting for you. From that point in you will be totally submerged in the wilderness and seeing a part of Africa that is totally off the tourist grid.

The transfer time takes about 5 hours - so brace yourself and enjoy the scenery, which is utterly stunning.

We aim for everyone to be on the same flight so please let us co-ordinate as we need you to be in Upington by 12.30, so we reach the border before it closes at 4.00pm.


Think 1930's safari living: think glamping in a tented camp set out in the middle of the reserve surrounded by volcanic mountains: think homely, boho, Bedouin vibe – chill out zones full of sofas, cushions, a bar, campfire and star gazing.
2 - 3 man sleeping tents, with South African camp beds (really comfy).
Shared bathrooms.


3 meals a day provided of home cooked food over the campfire. From freshly baked bread, stews and salads to pizza. They have a great cook but we will be expected to help with the pots and pans and around the camp. It's all about the team spirit.

Day 2 - 3

Reserve Conservation Game counts + tree removal

Contributing to Long-Term Projects

Oana is home to some of the most iconic species of flora and fauna in Africa, 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 they need to understand who lives where and in what numbers - the first stage of 're-wilding' the land.

To help with this we will jump into the back of the landrover, bino's at the ready, to seek out and record what we find - whilst analysing footprints and spore.

We will also be involved in an ongoing leopard survey, which involves identifying key game trails, setting up camera traps and IDing individuals, mapping out each leopard's territory to work out their home range.

Land Development
Oana are in the process of removing old buildings, structures and scrap left from its hunting days, developing water points for animals, building micro-basins to help regenerate plains, removing alien vegetation and building hides for wildlife observation at water points.

Ed has suggested we start with the alien vegetation - which involves an axe and setting fire to the intruders. The gappies love this - and very very good for anger management.

Day 4

Desert Trek Trekking

Explore the Desert and Mountain Terrain

Hiking will be a big part of our time here, so dust down those walking boots...we will be finding evening sundowner spots as a matter of course, but we will be taken on early morning treks across the reserve to see it in all its glory.

The reserve encompasses everything from terracotta granite outcrops to towering black, perfectly formed, extinct volcanoes, interspersed with sandy grass plains and 50km of river frontage.

Lots of selfie opportunities here :)

Days 5 - 8

Orange River White Water Rafting

White Water Raft Down the Orange River

So this is the main adrenaline adventure for us to test our nerves and a great way to end the program. An exhilarating 3-day adventure over white water (up to level 3 rapids), cutting through an ever changing vista of dramatic gorges and canyons.

We’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 spent around the bonfire toasting marshmallows.

A definite highlight.

Please note: the safety of the white water depends on the level of water in the river and at times it might be too high or too low. If this is the case we will have to adjust the itinerary to accommodate the situation.


Tents along the riverbank.


All provided.

Day 9

Departure Day Back to Uppington

We will wake up in the white water rafting camp and head back to Upington to catch our flight out. It's possible to fly down to Cape Town or head off on safari..whatever you want to do.

Trip Details & Costs

After the success of the first MidLife trip back in November 2018 we have been invited back to help with the big push to create a new National Park.

8th - 16th October 2019

9th - 17th May 2020

7th - 15th October 2020

Please note: flights leave the day before and return a day later.

Reserve your place now.

Oct and May start dates:

2019: 8 Oct

2020: 9 May, 7 Oct


9 day Namibia - £2050
Oana Reserve + White Water Rafting
2019: £2050

9 day Namibia - £2148
Oana Reserve + White Water Rafting
2020: £2148

Safari living

Live the explorer's dream in a tented safari camp, in the middle of a private game reserve in raw Africa. I promise you, it doesn't get much better.

Big picture

A unique and exclusive opportunity to be part of creating a new National Park in Africa.


Whitewater rafting and maybe a spot of mountain biking - so get ready and be limbering up a few weeks beforehand.

Hands on conservation

Contribute to projects which are all aimed at getting this land ready for the introduction of the black rhino.

Time in, Time Out

The working day will start early, around 6:30/7:00 to take advantage of the cooler mornings. But there will be plenty of lunchtime siestas, down time for yoga sessions and perfectly chilled sundowners.

The Long-Term Plan for Oana

With rhino and elephants on the brink of extinction; renowned conservationist Ian Craig, Prince William and Sir David Attenborough’s right-hand man when it comes to conservation, made a heroic decision to intervene and secured 45,000 hectares of Namibia, with the single aim of providing a home for the last remaining black rhino.

He enrolled scientists, Andrea and Ed, to help his cause. Together they have turned the land into a conservancy called Oana and have drawn up a 5-year plan and list of tasks needed to transform the land back into the ideal habitat to reintroduce and protect the black rhino. Eventually they will join up with neighbouring reserves to create a new national park for Namibia.

All our leap volunteers, both gappers and midlifers, are key to this transition as they get stuck into hands-on conservation and leave knowing they have made a difference to the future of critically endangered wildlife of Africa.

Leaper's Highlights

Have a read of what our Leapers have been up to...I know these are gappers' stories but they will give you a flavour of things to come...

Rafting on the Orange River Millie Edwards

Snake hunting and volleyball matches Ellen Robshaw

Camera traps, game catching and animal tracking!

Welcome to the wilderness Sam Williams

Watch our videos


View Base camp on the reserve


Conservation on the reserve


Adventure on the reserve

Like what you see?

Want to know more or filled with panic about venturing off on a MidLifer? We're here to help.

Or give us a call on +441672 519 922

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