Work and Travel in Namibia
VOLUNTEER AND PAID WORK OPPORTUNITIES IN NAMIBIA FOR TRAVELLERS
Namibia is a favourite on anybody’s Africa itinerary. Located above South Africa and next to Botswana, Namibia is known for its incredible landscapes and is extremely popular for driving holidays.
Contrary to what many think, travel in Namibia is extremely expensive. It’s one of the most prosperous countries in the whole of Africa. So if you want to work and travel in Namibia you need to consider how you’re going to extend your stay and make the most of your time.
Our travel guide to Namibia will introduce you to all the volunteering jobs you can take on during your time here.
1. Teach English in Namibia
Namibia has a range of different languages that are all given equal status. As well as local languages, there are a huge number of German speakers and English speakers. You can teach English in Namibia and give people skills they will use for the rest of their lives.
Teaching English can take many forms as you travel in Namibia. You could work with a charity and work in an impoverished area. Alternatively, you could take advantage of a homestay and teach English to members of your home family.
The other option is to work in a school in a city like Windhoek. They typically demand longer term commitments of a month or more. Typically, schools may also require a TEFL qualification.
2. Work with Elephants in Namibia
One of the most rewarding types of work in Namibia is working with elephants. The most common reason people visit the country is to see the elephants.
Like everywhere else, elephants are endangered here and charities are taking big steps towards improving conditions for elephants.
Working in an elephant sanctuary will allow you to get close to these creatures and to care for them. There’s no better experience in Namibia.
3. Train Horses on a Farm in Namibia
There are lots of different farms in Namibia, including game farms, crop farms, and horse farms. Horse farms are becoming a popular way for travellers to spend their time.
You’ll be able to care for the horses and work with them as they’re trained. Anyone with prior experience working with horses will be highly valued.
It’s a chance to see a different side of Namibia and to connect with locals. It’s a great way to learn about the culture of the country.
VOLUNTEER WORK VISA / PERMIT REQUIREMENTS FOR NAMIBIA
Namibia has seen a big increase in tourism over the past few decades. If you want to take advantage of the volunteering opportunities in Namibia you’ll have the chance to visit visa-free if you’re from a developed nation.
UK citizens, European Union (EU) citizens, Canadians, Americans, the Japanese, South Koreans, Australians, Kiwis, Russians, and South Africans can enter the country for 90 days. Take note that this is 90 days per calendar year, so you can’t just enter and re-enter for a new visa.
Citizens of Mexico, China, and India will need to apply for a Namibian visa from an embassy in advance of travel. You can also do this in South Africa. It’s not necessary to do it in your home country and it will be valid for 90 days, if accepted.
SEASONAL BACKPACKER SKILLS NEEDED IN NAMIBIA
The spring season is the beginning of the dry season. It’s the best time to visit the country because there’s little foliage on the ground and you won’t experience any rain in many areas. We recommend opting for conservation initiatives at this time of year. You’ll be able to work with elephants, horses, and more. Many volunteers even combine their work in Namibia with a homestay.
Some volunteers may also want to take on flora and fauna conservation projects. You’ll be able to explore different landscapes and see parts of the country normal travellers don’t.
The summer season is much the same as the spring season. The dry season continues all the way until the start of autumn.
You should be aware that the summer season is the main travel season and it’s sometimes possible to get internships on the game reserves throughout the country. These are competitive and tend to fill up months in advance, though.
The autumn season is the shoulder season. The climate changes little, except for more rain. We recommend referring back to the previous two sections to find out more about some of the things you can do in the autumn.
For travellers who want to take up some of the volunteering opportunities in Namibia in winter, you have few options because this is the middle of the wet season. You should stick to the urban areas at this time of year as the rains can be intense and the grass is thick.
The reason why this is an issue is because you can’t see most of the animals, so any outdoor projects regarding game tend to be off the table.
There are projects in Windhoek available. Most of these revolve around teaching English and working with the elderly.
Another option is spreading awareness of HIV. Like many countries in Africa, there’s a high proportion of HIV sufferers. These outreach programmes help to teach people how to avoid contracting the disease and what to do when they do.
ATTITUDE TO FOREIGNERS WORKING OR VOLUNTEERING IN NAMIBIA
Do you want to work and travel in Namibia?
Now is your chance. Namibia is used to receiving tourists, so you’re not going to feel too out of place when you visit the country. Be aware that outside of Windhoek and the other major tourist destinations you’ll find it harder to get by due to poor infrastructure.
However, you should bear in mind that the harassment factor is far lower than in other countries, as is crime. You’ll have little problem connecting with the locals.
If you think Namibia is the place to be this year, plan your trip now!