Volunteer Blog 13th-24th June

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Volunteers on their way to see the elephants!

This happy group of volunteers continued the work of previous group on building the elephant protection wall at farm Otjongundu. On elephant patrol week they were privileged to see Voortekker with younger bulls and Mama Afrika’s herd as well as other wildlife such as ostriches, black-backed jackals and different antelopes. As it comes to desert elephants interestingly, H2-herd is back in the Ugab area again. The volunteers seemed to enjoy their time, and they even had time for some yoga led by Selina, a volunteer from Germany! Working at a farm is not always easy, as there might be some distractions….but let the volunteers tell their stories:

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Group photo by the wall!

 

Tuesday, June 12, 2016

“Tuesday morning we woke up at 05:45 am since we were on duty. We started the fire and prepared tea and coffee for everybody including this porridge we didn’t enjoy. I will never ever eat it in my life. I prefer it with milk and fruits instead. But since we started the day in such an unbelievable place, this was not a problem at all.

We prepared and loaded the cars. But still had time to take some pictures of this wonderful place at the base camp. Approximately around 09 am we were ready to start towards our building site. But luckily, Hamish forgot the spare tire for the van, so we had to go back and pick it up from the camp. On our second attempt to leave the camp we had a magical moment: we saw the elephants of herd G6 passing by the camp on their way to the Ugab river valley.

We arrived at the White Lady painting around 11 am. and directly started to build up our campsites in a valley nearby, beautifully situated next to the Brandberg Mountain. We had lunch and afterwards started our working at the building site. This was quite a lot of fun, because every participant did their very best for the success of our work. In particular we created a new foundation for the water tanks – at least we started it. We went back to the campsite earlier and there EHRA showed their competence in providing really delicious food for so many people. Even we were able to prepare an excellent meal with chicken and butternut for the group.

Later on the evening ended in a relaxed way while sitting around the fire……..”

Friedhelm and Martin (Germany)

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Wednesday, June 13 2016

“We woke up at 06h00 to prepare the breakfast for everyone…..We started with making fire with dry baby wipes from the day before. This burned very well with the small wood. For the porridge, we cooked less oats than the morning before because some of us hated it and still hate it. So for some of us, the day started with frustration…but with a smile on the face for the majority.

At 8 o’clock we started with carrying stones, mixing cement, sand runs – always trying to follow the rules, which means: no beer at lunch for Fred, using the right shovels for mixing cement, learning how to lift rocks without breaking your back, not using these soft and lovely wheel barrows to carry rocks.

On our first break which was supposed to be short became longer when we realised that we ran out of water. So we had to wait for Mattheus who went to refill the container. Then, when the water arrived we hardly came back to work and make cement again to build a foundation for water tanks. At 12:30 we went for lunch, which was the perfect timing because we became to suffocate under the sun of noon. After eating, we rest in the freshness and shade under the roof.  None the less, some of us had enough energy to climb the mountain next to the camp.

So in the afternoon we continued with our work. We started in the morning till it was time for dinner. Fred was happy now because it was already 5 o’clock and he was allowed to drink a (not so cold) beer🙂. We cooked lamb tagine for the meat eaters which took 1½ hours on the fire – too long for the empty stomachs around the fire. The vegetarians had lentils instead of meat which was ready after 25 minutes but they were kind and waited till everybody had something to eat. Was a perfect dinner to end this amazing day at Brandberg Mountain.”

Maren and Louisa

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Local residents of the farm

 

“There are some seriously confused roosters around here, the action kicked off at 2:50 a.m., then they realised their mistake by 3 and went back to bed unlike us. The duty team arose at 5:45 to commence preparation, Mattias was instantly promoted to porridge captain, much to our relief, the decision was justified on the basis that we all got to enjoy porridge without sand. Breakfast passed without any events and it’s now 07h30 and we have only been told off 5 times – we are pleased with our achievements.

The day’s work begins, three rock runs were completed. We were all surprised at how excited and possessive you could get about rocks. We all look for different things when searching for a special rock – the good news is that they come in many different shapes and sizes, so there was a rock for everyone.

Ashleigh loves big rocks…

P.S We had to go for a hospital run and got stuck in the sand.

The end!”

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Zoe got stuck in the Damaraland traffic jam!

 

“Shifts were also taken in cement mixing as everyone learnt their own style, under Jill’s guidance. And the wall steadily grew in size as Matthias stoically masterminded its construction. For a change lunch was cheese, ham and salad sandwiches and leftovers, then during a post meal snooze the farmer arrived requesting a lift to the hospital for a pregnant lady. All was well and we were able to have an extended siesta as Hamish turned into an ambulance man. As we grasped the opportunity to improve community relations, by way of thank you they stole our beer out of the truck! It’s no wondering the locals love EHRA!

Upon return from his good deed Hamish led a party on a sand run. We managed to get stuck in the riverbed with a full load. Hamish’s eco-training immediately kicked in as he tried to phone his mom.  Alas no reception, so Ashleigh stepped into the breach – positive attitude and innovation saved the day.”

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Selina, David, Alice and Zoe have time to smile for the camera in the middle of carrying rocks!

Thursday 16th June 2016

“The lack of signal and Wi-Fi combined with being in the most remote and beautiful places just brings us closer to nature. Today is the last full day of building week, surprised of how far we have come, currently at 4 fact!

Day was one of warmer morning’s hard works – blood, sweat and tears but worth every moment. Great food – porridge and coffee – everyone actually wakens early with duty. Pair Alice did a great job fire making. She was very proud. Good job – lunch was ham/cheese sandwich dinner chicken and dinner was chicken moambe – delicious, the peanut butter was an interesting ingredient. Vegetarians vs. carnivores. It is an incredible terrain, dry desert, great, dedicated, very hardworking and passionate about the task -people, young folks and so much energy in a group. I am privileged to meet and work with them.

Scorpions, spiders and lizards are just some of the unique species we find during rock collection, making sure we return the rock to protect the individual from the killer sun. At the end of the day we were all excited for a cold beer and amazingly good food cooked over the fire. We finished the productive day with an hour of yoga before dinner, it was a peaceful end to the day.”

From Alice and the “annoying snorer”

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Our volunteer Selina led the beautiful yoga-moment in the dusk

Monday 21st June 2016

“My second patrol week and it just gets better and better! After tracking for 2 hours we found a mixture of individuals: an adult cow named Medusa and Roo (who fostered Madiba the baby male), as well as Tsaurab and Voortrekker the 2 males. These individuals do not make up a herd as they immigrate throughout. The usual aspect of these individuals is that 3 unknown males were present with them and viewing their behavioral differences towards us and the cars were particularly interesting

Voortrekker is a beautiful bull, with the largest tusks I have ever seen. He walked between the cars allowing us the opportunity to get close.

After lunch we located the elephants, but doing it by foot. We walked up the diverse landscape of rocks to view the elephants from a different angle, it was a highlighting moment.

Fight off between a dog protecting his goats and the elephants was amazing, continuous barking and head shaking concluded in the elephants relocating.

Sitting by the fire, sharing our thoughts under the stars, what a way to finish the day.”

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Voortrekker and the boys

 

Tuesday 22nd June 2016

“That was an amazing day!!!

In the morning we’ve seen the big males who were chilling in the sun. Then we drive for a long long long time without seeing nothing at all..In the afternoon we went to the riverbed and this was the best moment of the day and for me of the patrol day week. We were standing between a huge group of elephants (twenty I guess)!

They came very close to us and one touched Hamish! It was an incredible moment.

Then we went to a lodge in the desert to get some beer with the group (who were in the car of the big Mattheus) and then we just told silly jokes until the sun goes down.

Thanks a lot for this journey, this was for the moment the best that I ever had.

Frenchie girl, Zoe

P.s Sorry for my English, I will try to get better🙂

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Elephants!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Volunteer Project 30th May-10th June

 

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What a great journey once again! On Building week our volunteers worked very hard, and almost finished a wall in Otjongundu! The new group is already there continuing the work. On Patrol they were lucky to see many different elephants, and funny sightings like sleeping Bennie. Many elephants were still around EHRA’s Base Camp. Our volunteers together with EHRA staff also helped on their Patrol week in the Ohungu/Otjimboyo conservancy annual game count.Thank you for Rhiannon and Louise for sharing your thoughts with us!

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Rhiannon carrying a rock on Building week

Patrol day 1

We got packed up this morning and left Base camp at 8 am. Everyone was excited to be starting out on patrol week after last nights’ briefing with Chris. By 9:15 we were looking at a big lone bull elephant named Bennie. As we turned the corner and first caught sight of him, I actually thought he looked dead! That would not have been a good first encounter!!! Luckily, he was just taking a well earned rest after travelling a very long way. We watched him for about 15 minutes – he wasn’t bothered at all by our presence. What a privilege. In less than 30 minutes, we then found ourselves watching 2 herds together on the river bed – the G6 herd and the Ugab small herd. The G6 herd were busy drinking water from the ground. We sat and watched quietly, and just before we left a six year old bull calf called Tremor came towards us, quite close and headed into the bushes. We also saw some kudu, oryx and a black chested snake and a eagle along the way and Chris/ Mattias pointed out various tracks including lion, leopard, hyena and rhino.

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Bennie the bull taking a nice nap

 

We are now all set up in our base camp for the first night. What a fantastic first day though – we were so lucky, and can’t wait to see what tomorrow brings! For now we relax on our bed rolls and discuss the day over a cold bottled Windhoek Lager, while we wait for our caborana. I don’t think anyone will be very late to bed tonight, and I am looking forward to waking up early to make the breakfast, while the sun comes up in this breathtaking spot.

Rhiannon Swannell, UK (35)

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Louise with Young Matheus

 

Tuesday 7/6/16

This entry comes on day 1, post-apocalypse. Against all the odds, there was a thunder storm last night. Stunning to look at when it was a few miles away, but it soon caught up with us. Everyone was peacefully laid out on the ground tarp falling asleep when the winds and rain descended upon us. It took maybe 5 minutes for the tarp over our heads to cease having any effect. Cirka 11 volunteers running around in the pouring rain, diving under cars, huddling together for protection – all while big Mattias slept on a few feet away. A lot of laughter and chaotic scrambling later – including Chris clambering up some rocks in nothing but his boxers – we all got some sleep.

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After packing up a soggy camp this morning, we continued to search for Mama Afrika’s herd. We finally found them in the Ugab riverbed, along with G6 herd, and some members of Ugab small herd not far away. We were so lucky to see all three herds hanging out in close proximity, with a bull elephant called (Bennie) showing off for us too. We had been searching for a specific young bull, Ullysses, who had a suspected bullet wound. We found him nursing his wound under a tree – he scratched it with his trunk, and blew dust and water over it to form a protective coating. It was clearly bothering him, but the good news is that he is walking normally and seemed at ease, so we were able to report that he is on the mend. We also found Bennie teaching another young bull, Ullysseb , the important life lessons – like how to shake a tree to get the very best pods down for snacking.

It was a great day, checking in with so many of the resident elephants in the Ugab, and lovely to see how well they are doing up close. We set up camp in high spirits, and the thunder storm of last night feels like a dim distant memory.

Louise Bond (London, UK)

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Volunteer Project 16th-27th May

IMG_336123 May 2016, Monday

Today was amazing, unlike any of the days before because we set on our trek across the desert. The morning began at the EHRA base camp, busy packing and trying to imagine what the day would hold. We have a diverse group of people (2 from Germany, 2 from Switzerland, 3 from England, 2 from Australia, and me from America. Some of us have been here before and others with various time spent in Namibia. Nevertheless, under the faithful guidance of Chris and Tate Matias we began our journey far from camp and deep into the heart of one of the deserts of Namibia. Chris impressed us with his knowledge of many of the wildlife and got us all to laugh with his light-hearted jokes. We saw a variety of birds, and animal tracks and spotted an Oryx and steenbok. However I think I speak for everyone when I say we were most captivated by the ever changing contrasting land of Namibia. Like the Namibian national anthem “Beautiful contrasting Namibia” we all experienced that this in fact is true. We spent the day in the car but felt as though we travelled the world. We saw many different kinds of vegetation and quickly saw how the vegetation became smaller and smaller, less and less until we were left with a variety of metamorphic and sedimentary rocks.  Rocks in all kinds of shapes, sizes, many and sometimes few. We reached our camping site and camped. We excitedly explored everything. We soon enjoyed our tasty pasta meal and I was surprised with being the chosen one to write the entry because I speak “American English” which everyone finds “amusing”.

I love my group and everything so far! Space as well!!

More later

Angela “The American and Peace Corps volunteer in Namibia”

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Tuesday 24 May 2016

An absolutely awesome day in all respects! After a “late night” when everybody was asleep by 8-15pm! We woke to a wonderful morning sunrise after a “flood lit” night!

Everyone was up bright and early and we sat off early – a reward for this group! Even Angela!

Chris took us through a “lunar” landscape of truly outstanding scenery which changed totally every few miles. Black, red, white, sand, rocks, valleys and mountains. Amazing! Everyone was speechless! At about lunch time we reached the Huab river to a scene of a bushfire that had ripped through the river beds. On the way we had seen a few oryx and springbok, but in the river bed we began to see greater numbers of ostrich, kudus, baboons and more springboks.

The river bed is also a stunning area of really unusual scenery. Unfortunately, the fire seems to have scared off the ellies, but just before setting up camp we spotted new tracks, heading in our direction, so we are all hopeful of a better “ellie” day tomorrow. Another evening of much hilarity and B.S around the camp fire we retired very happy and massively impressed by a stunning day.

Ian from Oxford area.

The old snorer!

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Wednesday, 25 May 2016

This is already the last full day of this very event.

The team on cooking duty established a new record by beginning to serve coffee or tea a few minutes before 6 am! The group has become quite efficient establishing and breaking camp. We departed before 7h30 am and thanks to the excellent tracking skills of Chris and Mattias, we saw  H2-herd walking at a fast pace to a waterpoint where they stopped to drink. There’s  four vehicles from the Lodges carrying tourists , Chris decided to leave and look for another herd in the Huab river near Twyfelfontein. Driving in the dry riverbed, we spotted some species of wildlife. For me personally, the most exciting moment of the day happened when a zebra snake, a species related to be very aggressive and venomous spitting cobra crossed the road ahead of the leading vehicle. Chris and Mattias jumped out of the Toyotas and followed the snake. It turned back 180°and came, much to our surprise, back towards the road, then crossing it at great speed right under the vehicle I was sitting in. All this happened so fast that I didn’t manage to get the camera ready. Chris told me that there is a snake park in Swakop where I will go to get another look at this quite beautiful reptile.

Before lunch, we located herd H1 and after the 2 hour lunch break we soon found the herd again and we enjoyed watching these impressive animals at close range, feeding relaxed off the trees and bushes. Obviously, the baby elephants are always a joy to observe for, especially for those volunteers being at EHRA for the first time, and this was really and exciting day. For myself, even when I am a EHRA veteran (4th time here) meeting elephants is always a new and wonderful experience!

Urs Thierstein

Switzerland

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Wednesday 25 May 2016

“Life” spelled with a big “if” in the middle!!! And “if” everyday were to be like today. What a joy “life” would be! Waking up to the beautiful sunrise in the Namibian desert with fabulous group of people who are now friends. After breakfast track up ellies, and yes the day just gets better and better. They are indeed out to play just like a dream come true. We see them going about their business obvious to the pleasure they are giving us. Mother and babies are two hours pass before we need to find another camp and set up for the evening. Teamwork is the name of the game and everyone has played their part tremendously.  It will be really sad to leave and I’m sure I will do another trip with EHRA, hopefully their good work will continue and go from strength to strength.

Thanks a million to them from me and am sure on behalf of the fabulous Namibian ellies.

Lesley Hoggart

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Thursday 26th May 2016

Another day on patrol, another beautiful sunrise. I don’t know if EHRA picks these spots specifically so that I can sit up in bed, grab my camera and get some beautiful shots of the sun rising, but it seems to be working out that way. We only have a half day on patrol today, so no time to do the dishes, we just have to load up the car and get tracking! It doesn’t take long to catch up with a herd, and we have time to park alongside them, turn off the engines and enjoy the view. I will never get tired of watching ellies – they are so peaceful and graceful. It is mesmerizing. We were lucky enough to see a particular hungry bull with it’s hind legs and leaping to reach the high branches. Apparently it’s a very rare occurrence, and it was magical to see a creature so large hop up with such grace.

But patrol week didn’t end there – after a 2 hour drive back to base camp, when we think the dream is finally coming to an end, a herd of elephants walks straight into our camp! They walk up the riverbed, giving everyone in the tree house a great view, and then drink at the water point just around the corner, we are crouched behind a wall, holding our breaths and watching them completely at ease. Watching them interact just meters away, out of the vehicle, in the comfort of our Namibian home, is a perfect way to end our 2 weeks.

I’m lucky enough to be coming back next week. I haven’t even left base camp yet, and I already can’t wait to return. Thank you EHRA, for some unforgettable ellie encounters!

Louise (from London, UK)

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Volunteer Blog 2nd-13th May 2016

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Our group

What an adventurous journey once again. The group started a wall at Farm Horizon just outside Khorixas and got to around halfway ready. The current group continues with the wall at the moment. The First day of the Patrol week was very exciting: as the team was about to leave to look for the Elephants, Mama Afrika’s herd walked to our Base Camp to greet all the volunteers and staff members! There was also a little bit of sadness in the air, as the team together with Dr. Betsy Fox and the volunteers assisted Ministry of Environment and Tourism to assess a dead elephant on a farm near Khorixas. This is reflected in the blog stories.  Again this time our volunteers were a versatile, hard-working  group, all ages, all walks of life, from all around the world. Let’s let our volunteers tell their stories:

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There’s nothing like Campfire tea or coffee

 

“This was my first experience with EHRA and I will definitely be recommending this to my friends. The staff, food and volunteers were all great with a great international mix. Build week was very satisfying as we could nearly see the help we were doing, although I would have hoped for a few more build days to make it closer to a week than 3 days. Never the less I think we achieved a lot in our time, so I was very happy.

Patrol week was equally enjoyable, with Chris being a great teacher who was keen to answer our questions. I learnt and saw a great deal, even in the dry area around camp, including kudu and springbok. The elephant encounters were very close and personal, but I never felt in danger, thanks to the EHRA staff and guides, and camp was always comfortable.

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Elephant at sunset

I will especially remember our time with the elephant carcass found on a nearby farm. The chance to see the anatomy up close with Chris was fascinating, but it was most important to see what our work was for. Chris concluded it was likely shot by farmers, highlighting the importance of the wall building the week before. In this respect I would love to return and continue to contribute. Conservation is a field I hope to work in in the future, and EHRA has set an excellent example for how to go about it. I only wish I had more days building and a few less relaxing at camp, as that is what I intended for. Amazing 2 weeks, thanks to everyone.”

William Weston, 18

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This dead elephant was sadly most probably a victim of Human-Wildlife Conflict

“Last day in camp. It is so cold that I regret for the first time in weeks to not having bought a 3 season sleeping bag. So finally, winter is coming.

The last patrol week had its ups and downs. Especially the first day was a good example for that. Starting with having the long not seen Mamma Afrika herd in camp, we went to Khorixas to investigate a recently found dead elephant. Watching the herd passing through camp was for sure my best elephant experience with EHRA in the last weeks. Never have we been that close and seeing them enjoying our “Home Sweet Home” was an unforgettable experience. Later that day we spent hours around the dead body of a probably shot elephant. Not so much fun to be honest. But I guess it made us rethink the time we were building the week before. There is real danger to the elephants in Damaraland and it is important to help the farmers by protecting their water tanks and pumps.

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Mama Afrika’s herd visiting our Base camp!

We all are shocked by seeing a killed elephant. No discussion about that. But it is too easy to just blame the farmers. They are not well educated and often are forced to desperate means. Maybe this is the most important thing I learned in my 4 weeks with EHRA. It is not about elephants. It is about ELEPHANTS AND FARMERS.”

Tobias from Germany

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A wall completed by EHRA volunteers

 

” Had a good time with EHRA! Thanks, I loved sleeping under the stars, fire camp conversations, dinner, patrolling or building and waking up with the sunrise.

After 2 weeks with EHRA, we are upside down with this nice experience.”

Anne from Switzerland, from the French Part

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Volunteer Blog 18th – 29th April 2016

Sunday 24th April 2016 – in Base Camp

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The Team at the end of Build Week

We survived build week!  The group of excited travellers who hopped around camp on Monday evening hobbled back on Friday like a group of pensioners who had just attempted a marathon – tired, sore BUT very happy and satisfied.  For all of our talk and reflection you would think we had just reconstructed the Great Wall of China but, in reality we had put the finishing touches to one walls, built a platform to elevate a water tank and laid the foundations for its protective wall.

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Stand for the water tank

The week started following lunch on Tuesday after we had set up the camp.  We kicked off with a quick demo on how to make cement by Kabwata (ed. young Matheus) – it really couldn’t be easier: 6 shovels of sand, 3 of cement a bucket of water a couple of stirs and there you have it!  A barrow of cement in under 2 minutes – it couldn’t be too much bother to knock up a couple of walls this week!!!  We learnt pretty quickly that we aren’t all Kabwata and that this whole business needs a fair bit more skill and strength than I had on day 1! Luckily we had a few strong team members and the expertise and patience of Kavari and Martha to show the rest of us the ropes and soon enough we had a great little production line on the go.

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Cement mixing
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Go TOM!

We finished up the wall on Tuesday and moved to our next farm where we built the other structures.  The next days passed in a blur of hard work, sweat, camaraderie and learning.  Multiple sand and rock runs, loads of rocks and enough cement mixes to give us a few blisters and an impetus to establish a cult to worship at the genius of the man who invented the cement mixer, we headed back to base camp with some new skills and a felling that we had contributed to something.

Challenging through the building week was it was made manageable – there was something we could each do and we learn to complement each other quickly.  By the last day the separation of ‘you do dry mix, I’ll do wet’ rotated clearly, and no sooner had wheelbarrows been returned to its spot, then it was refilled with the cement ingredients and a fresh water bucket was lined up.

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Intern Kavari taking a rest – in a bin!

On top of the rewarding days were the nights.  We were all impressed with the camps that materialised on a thorny piece of ground as if from no where and the food that we conjured up on the campfire was better than much of what I cook at home.  Lying under the tarpaulin, looking out on landscape lit by the nearly full moon and admiring the (occasionally shooting) stars, it was hard to feel anything other than enormously privileged.

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Beautiful sunsets
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Camp during build week

We arrived back to Base Camp on Friday in the spirit of those arriving at a 5* luxury lodge.  After a short stop at Khorixas for a much needed coke, it became clear that we were the grubbiest people in Namibia and the showers we enjoyed on our return to camp were blissful.  We have been treated to a very relaxing weekend and we are all looking forward to patrol week and all the new adventures it promises.

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Relaxing at base camp

Thank you to Kabwata, Kavari, Martha and Chris they have looked after us brilliantly, trained us patiently and kept the ‘craic’ going as we got tired.  It has been an unforgettable experience.

Niav Grant, UK.

 

Tuesday 26th April 2016 – Patrol week

We just finished our meal after a really long drive.  It took us all day to get from the Ugab River camp.  During this time we saw almost every combination of the 3 or 4 dominating colour in this area.  I am always surprised at what stunning landscapes are waiting right after the next corner.  The diversity of Namibia is in fact amazing and even Damaraland offers quite a lot.  Whenever you get used to rocks being red, they start being white or yellow.  Chris told us that this is the panorama route and the area fits to the name.

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giraffe

Our camp is on a little plateau and we have an amazing view of the land surrounding us.  Maybe tomorrow morning will bring us some more great views over the valley.

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Hyena Camp

We have been lucky to see elephants just after 2 hours of patrol week.  But although we saw many of them the day was dominated by these stupid little bees which seem to have a 9 to 5 job in annoying people!  There must be Japanese – Kamikaze training camp for little bees somewhere near!  They all want to die a heroic death by smashing in your ears of your just washed hair – I hate them!! (ed. These are Mopani Bees, very small and do not sting!!)

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One of the Ugab Herds G6

During the drives they stopped following us.  SO there was time to make some nice pictures of giraffe, oryx, and springbok.  I am sure with the help of Chris and Big Mattias the next day will bring us some more elephants.

Tobias, Germany

Volunteer Blog 21st March -1st of April

Nawa and cow 1

Our latest group was a  bit smaller, but they were also successful and worked  very hard for the benefit of our Elephants and the Local Communities. On their journey they saw plenty of wildlife, from gecko lizards to Chacma Baboons, Springboks (lots of calves) and of course the elephants! They were also hunting..for Easter eggs! (picture below)

Here is a story of one of the volunteers:

Thursday, 24th March

So, this is my first experience of Namibia, my first experience manual labour and also of tics and despite of the tic’s. I love it!

We arrived in Swakop on Sunday and met my fellow EHRA volunteers at the Amanpuri Lodge. I was suprised to see such a small group but knowing what I know I am pleased it turned out this way, it’s means we have all interacted and got to know each other well.

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Monday we set out for a bumpy ride to ‘base camp’, it was well worth all the bumps – the camp is beautiful. It reminds me of a scene from the film ‘Swiss family Robinson!

So I am writing this after two and half days of very hard work. We have 16 days of cement, moved ‘tons’ of sand and must have lifted 300 huge rocks between. Regardless I’ll be sad for the …of build week, but I will!

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The food has been great, Mattias is a wizard with rocks. Donna has been fantastic! Bring on patrol week!

(Bossy two)

Volunteer Blog 7th to 18th of March 2016

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This group had members from all over the world. They were busy on the Building week and managed to finish a Protection wall on a farm close to Khorixas. It was actually a re-building of the wall, as the workers of the farm had built it, but it had been knocked down by elephants. It looks very firm now! They had unforgettable and exciting moments as one night they woke up with Elephants in the camp…another one there was Lions close by!

But we will let the contributors of this journey’s blog, a mother and daughter from Finland, to tell their view of the story!

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Sunday 13th of March, 2016

I set up on my two week with EHRA with no other expectations than to have an African adventure in the wild with no gadgets other than my camera and to meet no people. Of course I did hope to see elephants as it is why I chose EHRA. So far this trip has beyond met my expectations and I have even seen an elephant although it was in the middle of the night so it was only a massive ghost like silhouette passing our camp only couple meters away. From the tents some of our volunteers slept in. Scary! When we first told everyone in the morning they didn’t believe us, but the footprints were there. The first week is now behind us and we are resting at the base camp after dirty, sweaty but rewarding days of building a wall around a water point. The base camp is amazing with the platform for sleeping up in the tree, toilets, running water and showers. The showering after returning from build week is the second best feeling right after a cold drink. Ice cold water that is really all you crave for. I feel like EHRA Is doing important work and I am so happy to be part of it even if it is only my two week time here. They have taken such  good care of us too. The food is so good and we each take turns in the kitchen duty to help cook and clean up. Morning porridge is enjoyed while watching the sun rise and dinner time it is already dark and the stars are becoming live on the night sky, and the milky way is the last thing you see before you fall asleep. If you can keep your eyes open for just a little while you might even see a shooting star.

Picture by Tiina Ramet.EHRA_Namibia_TR-750787

My stay is only half done and I have already learned so much, made new friends, and seen so many landscapes and creatures that I can hardly wait for next week when we go track for elephants. I would definitely encourage people to take this trip. Never a dull moment here and you are guaranteed to make memories for a lifetime! Flat tires, leaking fuel canisters, laughs around the fire….

Thank you Donna and all of the EHRA staff for the amazing work you do!

Tiina

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This is the last day of patrol-week and I’m so glad that I came here to do these 2 weeks. We had an awesome building-week making some farm owners really happy cause their water points are safe now. We build 3 walls on one farm where there were elephants EVERY NIGHT!! And because we were so quick we begun to start work on another farm for the next build group. I never thought that living in the nature 24/7 without toilet or showers could be this awesome. You can sleep under the stars which are beautiful! Weekend off in the base camp gives you time to just enjoy this beautiful place and you will love the showers there! We also went visiting Uis where we could swim and eat lunch , also did a little shopping in the supermarket. After all this a prize for all that good work starts on patrol-week.

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I can say that this was worth waiting for. Every day is different and you can see all of these amazing animals and views. Last night we had to do night shifts because there was lions. So you’ll never know what the day brings by. You will love it, I know I did. Plus, after all this you also get to know all these cool people who are joining in the same journey with you. We have people from England, Germany, Switzerland, Australia and USA. (p.s I am from Finland). Day after tomorrow I am leaving from here with all of these memories. I am really happy that I came!!

Neea Ramet, 16/03/2016

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