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Okavango Wilderness Project

Discover the stunning Okavango Delta, home to many of Africa’s most charismatic species.

A vast maze of waterways, bushlands, dry pans and Kalahari desert vegetation, Botswana’s Okavango Delta is one of Africa’s last true wildernesses. Home to the largest population of elephants on Earth, this awe-inspiring landscape is also one of the last strongholds of the endangered African wild dog.

As a volunteer on our Okavango Wilderness Project, you’ll join an intrepid team of conservationists in these spectacular surroundings. You’ll assist directly in monitoring priority species according to guidelines set out by the Botswana government.

With 900,000 acres (360,000ha) to explore, you’ll also find yourself covering some serious distances in the wild and picking up a variety of bushcraft skills.

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Category

Wildlife Research and Management

Species

Lion, leopard, hyena, wild dog, sable, antelope, buffalo, giraffe, wild dog

Impact

Wildlife research

Country

  Botswana

View all
  • Highlights
  • Do
  • Learn
  • News
  • Costs

Highlights

A real wilderness experience

With nearly a million acres to monitor, you’ll regularly move from camp to camp. The accommodation is basic and pretty raw, just as you’d expect in such a remote part of the world.

A new era in wildlife conservation

In the wake of Botswana’s hunting ban, this project is monitoring changes in wildlife population numbers, structure and movement. In the process it is helping transform a former hunting area into a viable ecotourism destination, which is helping local communities find new sources of income.

Work with Africa’s most iconic species

The Okavango Delta is an area of incredible biodiversity. As a volunteer, you’ll get to observe elephants, wild dogs, lions, giraffe, hippos, crocodiles and many other species in their natural environment.

Explore the infamous Moremi Game Reserve

During your experience, you’ll get to participate in a game drive through one of Africa’s most biodiverse wildlife reserves.

Pick up bushcraft skills

The experience of living in such a remote a basic bush camp wouldn’t be complete without learning a few bush survival skills. You may even learn how to make and bake bread on a fire.

Government approved

This project’s work feeds directly into the objectives of the Government of Botswana’s Department of Wildlife and National Parks (DWNP) and complies with the South African Regional Environmental Program (SAREP) standardised wildlife monitoring protocols. It was created in partnership with well-known bodies like the Okavango Research Institute (ORI) and longtime Okavango Delta expert Christiaan Winterbach.

DO

As a conservation traveller on our Okavango Wilderness Project, you’ll be part of a small and close-knit team of conservationists. You’ll get involved with every aspect of project life and make a real contribution to Botswana’s wildlife conservation:

Wildlife monitoring

The project’s main goal is to monitor the movement and populations of various species.

  • Monitor wildlife including predators and antelope
  • Use ‘line transects’ to collect data on wildlife in the area
  • Use GPS equipment to record transects and wildlife sightings
  • Set up camera traps to monitor elusive species
  • Survey wildlife dynamics at waterholes
  • Used fixed point photography to monitor seasonal changes in plants
  • Survey plants and animals to gain a better understanding of the Okavango Delta ecosystem as a whole

Practical conservation

There aren’t many home comforts in the Okavango Delta so you’ll have to lend a hand wherever it’s needed.

  • Help to maintain the camps
  • Learn basic skills to maintain your monitoring vehicle in the field

LEARN

As well as gaining hands-on experience (which you can read about under the ‘do’ tab), you’ll also learn about the conservation, ecology, biology and behaviour of the region’s wildlife.

Conservation

  • Human-wildlife conflict, a growing issue in Botswana as wildlife populations continue to increase
  • Wildlife poaching, anti-poaching methods in the field and relocation programmes
  • How and why the hunting ban was introduced in Botswana and the challenges of keeping it in place
  • Employment issues for local communities in former hunting areas

Ecology

  • The natural environment of African species including elephant, African wild dog, lion, leopard and spotted hyena
  • The unique ecosystems of the Okavango Delta and how they’re created
  • The role of different species in the different ecosystems
  • The impact of wildlife population growth on the ecosystem in the wake of the hunting ban
  • Seasonal changes and how this affects plants and wildlife movement

Biology

  • The physiology and natural diets of African species including lion, leopard, African wild dog and elephant.
  • Native African plants, reptiles, amphibians and birds in the Okavango Delta

Behaviour

  • Natural animal behaviour in a region that is unfenced, unmanaged and has little human intervention
  • The mass migration of large herds of animals
  • The relationship between predator and prey species
  • Behaviour of animal groups, such as the hierarchy systems in prides of lions, troops of primates and herds of antelope
  • Predator hunting behaviour and the differences between social predators such as lions, hyena and African wild dogs, compared with solitary predators such as leopards and cheetah
  • Predator territorial behaviour
  • Breeding behaviour of African species including lion, African wild dog, leopard and elephant

 

COSTS

Our costs include:

Accommodation

Internal Flights

Airport Meet & Greet

Transfers

24/7 Support

Personal Guidance

Meals

Cost Calculator

TOTAL COST: £0000

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.

Payment

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

This project is a conservation project in the Okavango area and it’s been absolutely amazing. You feel like you really contribute. To nature. To the ecological environment.

There is something quite rewarding in meeting people who share your views about conservation and like you who are willing to put some of your own time into making some slight difference.

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.

I had a very enjoyable three weeks in Botswana on an African Conservation Experience volunteer holiday. We were based in a campsite about 2 hours bumpy ride from Maun on the southeast edge of the Okavango Delta area. The facilities were much better than I was expecting - I had my own tent and there was a metal bed frame so I wasn't sleeping on the ground, there was a plumbed-in toilet, sink and bucket shower.

It’s actually nature – everywhere. In Botswana, everything is so wild and pure, and you never know when the animals will appear from the thick bush.

The Okavango Wilderness Experience in Botswana (Moremi Game reserve) is truly amazing! A real feeling of being out in the bush and at the same helping out for a great cause. The outcomes from this volunteering are retained for ever!

For a full month at Okavango, I had the opportunity to assist in vital research, documenting species presence on the Kwatale conservancy. We had some truly special sightings while there.

Sunset on the Okavango while watching the maribou storks and cormorants settle at the heronry for the night was awesome. We watched the sun’s rays slanting across the water colouring everything with its red glow and then fading as the sun dipped below the grasses and out of sight leaving us in gathering gloom and heading back to our island abode for dinner.

What Makes Us Different?

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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