Naankuse Namibia Predator Research Project

Study Africa’s largest cheetah population in the breathtaking Namib desert.

Have you always wanted to experience the more adventurous side of wildlife conservation? As a volunteer on our Predator Research Experience, you’ll be based across two locations. One of which is a remote outpost deep in the heart of Namibia’s vast desert landscape.

The towering sand dunes here are home to 25% of the world’s remaining cheetahs, most of whom still roam freely across the wilderness. Working alongside scientists who specialise in big cat research, you’ll study the predators’ movement and behaviour. You’ll also have the chance to camp out in the desert overnight to observe the region’s nocturnal brown hyena.

This experience will also take you to a farm where you’ll support the project team in monitoring and feeding a group of cheetah that have been released into this safe, controlled environment.

If you love the idea of an intrepid adventure, working with big cats across two extraordinary environments, this is the experience for you.

Rhino Rating


This tells you how physical the experience is. More >

4 out of 5 rhino rating

Wildlife Research and Management


Cheetah, leopard, brown hyena


Wildlife research and monitoring
Human-wildlife conflict



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Focus on cheetah, hyena and leopards

The Namibian desert is home to one of the world’s largest cheetah population, plus many brown hyena and leopards. As this project helps to rehabilitate injured predators, you’ll also get to see semi-wild cheetahs up close.

A real wilderness experience

Live and work in a remote location surrounded by some of the most striking landscapes on Earth. Accommodation is basic but comfortable, with an African farmhouse and tented camp.

Discover Namibia’s famous landscape

During your volunteer experience, you’ll have the chance to visit the mountainous sand dunes of Sesriem, Sossusvlei and Deadvlei. These excursions are offered as optional extras.

Sleep under the stars

Spending a night under the African night sky is an experience you’ll remember for the rest of your life. If you’re thinking of travelling during Africa’s winter (June – August), please bear in mind the air temperature can fall below freezing overnight so camping isn’t for the faint hearted!


As a volunteer, your role will be very hands-on. Depending on the animals being studied, you’ll get involved in the following activities:

Wildlife research

Our Predator Research Experience is centred around two permanent carnivore research sites and a huge area of Namibia’s desert. Monitoring animals in this environment, you’ll have to use a variety of research techniques.

  • Set up camera traps for 24/7 monitoring of wildlife
  • Analyse footage to help build a database of the region’s predator population
  • Identify hyena groups and study their social structures
  • Capture, collar and release wild predators to track their movements
  • Use GPS equipment to map wildlife territories and habitats
  • Monitor ungulates to ensure a sustainable source of water and avoid overgrazing

Practical conservation work

As well as studying predators, you’ll help to make small but vital improvements to the environment that support the area’s big cat populations.

  • Remove old fence lines that can ensnare wildlife
  • Maintain trails to ensure wildlife and researchers can access key sites
  • Help to establish unfenced boundaries for nature reserves


While this experience primarily focuses on wild animal research, you may also assist the team in rescuing animals who have been injured or put themselves at risk by threatening humans. Predators in this situation are given sanctuary in a semi-wild environment while other animals are usually treated then reintroduced into the wild.

  • Help with supplementary feeding of semi-captive cheetahs
  • Assist with any reintroduction of animals back into the wild
  • Learn about the response unit for wildlife rescues across Namibia


As well as gaining hands-on experience (which you can read about under the ‘do’ tab), you’ll also learn about the ecology and behaviour of Namibia’s big cats, including the challenges of human-wildlife conflict.


  • How to prevent conflict between local farm owners and leopards, who sometimes hunt their livestock as prey
  • Methods used by poachers such as snares
  • How to create an effective conservation strategy that covers wildlife research, animal care and community outreach


  • Predator ecology in the harsh semi-desert environments of Namibia
  • Competition between wildlife for the region’s limited resources
  • Predator territories as well as breeding and feeding opportunities
  • The ungulate populations that are the main prey for Namibia’s big cats
  • Compare population numbers of different species at the two research sites


  • The diets of wild Namibian predators and compare to predators in a bush based habitat
  • Namibian predator breeding habitats and compare to predators in a bush based habitat
  • The ungulate populations at the research sites


  • The behaviours of African animals, both in the wild and in captivity
  • How animals communicate with each other

Community outreach

To help reduce human-wildlife conflict, you’ll also learn about the work that is being done with local people.

  • Provide data on predator movement to local landowners
  • Gain information from local people about ‘problem predators’ and any reports of human-wildlife conflict in the area

Our costs include:


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Looking for something bespoke?

You can volunteer at more than one project during your time in Africa. Please contact us for a bespoke quote including travel arrangements between locations.


Costs are subject to change but will be confirmed in writing at the time of booking.

There is not a project with ACE that I would not recommend. There is something for everyone and they will make sure that you have the most amazing time!

From helping us work out which volunteering experience would suit best, to making sure we knew exactly when and where to be in country, we found the level of service from ACE to be exceptional. So much so that we want to continue helping them with their great work supporting meaningful conservation projects in Africa, with the right type of volunteer.

As someone who is well-travelled and particularly well-versed in adventure/adrenaline-fuelled activities I found the whole experience truly rewarding, especially as it gave me a chance to give something useful back. My daughter, Sarah, had spent an equally rewarding 3 weeks at Phinda 9 years ago and it was on her recommendation that I ‘followed in her footsteps’ - I’m extremely glad that I did!

I feel very privileged that I had the opportunity to be part of such a great project and contribute to wildlife conservation in Namibia.

What Makes Us Different?

ACE have been operating as a conservation travel company since 1999

Southern Africa's original conservation travel company

We are qualified zoologists and conservationists

Personal guidance before you book

Join real wildlife conservation projects

Enjoy total peace of mind, with 24/7 in-country support

Empower vital conservation initiatives


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