Women over 50 are increasingly seeking more adventurous holidays, volunteering their time to gain fabulous experiences while contributing to communities across the globe . Here we explore one such adventure – and the experience of one Fab after Fifty volunteer.
Elephant Human Relations Aid (EHRA) is based in Namibia, Southern Africa. It has been in operation for the past 10 years, and aims to help local people live safely, without fear and conflict with local herds of desert adapted elephants. Run by a British woman, Rachel, EHRA has a fantastic volunteer project where people from all walks of live come and assist them in their conservation work. The project is really suited to women especially, and the project attracts a large number of over 50 year olds looking for a unique experience.
Volunteers stay with EHRA for between 2 -12 weeks. The projects are split into ‘build’ and ‘elephant patrol’ week. During the build week the team build protection walls around community water points, to prevent elephants from damaging the infrastructure and leaving people and livestock with out water. The team live at the village and set up a comfortable but basic remote camp. During the patrol week time is spent tracking the resident herds and bulls, taking ID photos and monitoring movements. During this week camps are wild, sleeping under the stars and in areas where no other tourists roam! All cooking is done over the open fire, with volunteers responsible for cooking dishes such as Lamb Tagine, Spaghetti Carbonara, Roast Lamb and even Apple Crumble!
This is what the latest fab over fifty had to say:
Wendy French 7 March 2014
“I came upon the EHRA website while surfing to find an experience to extend a two-week holiday my husband, a friend, and I had planned in Namibia. We had chosen to visit the country because we had always had a fascination with the desert-adapted elephants, so working with EHRA was the perfect choice. All of us are 70, so were reassured to see that volunteers are often older. Now that we are back home and reflecting on our time there, it is clearer and clearer how special and meaningful the work and mission are. Build week was gratifying – how many people can say they have actually done something to help conservation of such a unique animal? Patrol week was fascinating: there are no airplanes to spot, no other safari vehicles to call for locations – EHRA staff locates the herds truly through tracking, climbing to the tops of kopjies, spotting broken branches – in the end, providing up close and personal sightings. Chris was collecting scat to analyze the DNA and identify paternity of the calves.
In addition to the experience itself, we will remember the dedicated and personable staff who live close to the earth and focus their lives on keeping it as pristine and natural as possible. They were good natured, incredibly well informed, tolerant of our limitations, and fun loving. It is good to share the planet with people like these.”
Voluntourism is becoming increasingly popular.. but plan research and plan for your adventure with care.