Robert Eklund’s Conservation & Volunteering Page

I have become increasingly concerned about the preservation of threatened wildlife, and after having spent a month in South Africa as a volunteer at the Amakhala Game Reserve in November 2008 I have decided to spend as much time and effort as possible to do what I can to help preserving fauna that faces extinction. Pictures from Amakhala Game Reserve, Tenikwa Wildlife Awareness Centre and Daniell Cheetah Breeding are posted with the kind permission of the organisations/people concerned.


Robert and the subadult lioness Kali

1 Volunteering
  1.1  N/a’an ku sê Foundation (2011, 2013)
  1.2  Antelope Park (2010)
  1.3  Dell Cheetah Centre (2009)
  1.4  Amakhala Game Reserve (2008)
2 Animal adoptions
3 Wildlife online courses
4 Volunteer projects
5 Wildlife organisations
6 Big cat links

1. Volunteering

Since 2008 I have spent most of my holidays as a volunteer (or perhaps “echo-tourist” to use an alternative term) at various projects in southern Africa. Although the activities focus on animals, e.g., breeding of endangered wildlife, rehabilitation or maintenance, most such project also cooperate with orphanages which means that as a volunteer you get the chance of helping both animals and humans. Below you find a short description of the projects I have personal experience from.

1.1 – N/a’a ku sê Foundation (2011 and 2013)

In December 2011 me and fellow wildlife devotee Miriam Oldenburg were volunteers at the N/a’an ku sê  Foundation near Windhoek Airport in Namibia. Daily activities included caracal and baboon walks, food preparation, enclosure cleaning, game counts, camera trap data analysis, animal rehabilitation, counting sheep, road repair and much more.

We returned in December 2013 to record cheetahs and African wild dogs, as part of an official research project. Consequently, during this trip our activities mainly consisted of making recordings, although we also spent some time cleaning enclosures.

At the end of both stays we moved into the N/a’an ku sê  Lodge where you could watch rock hyraxes (dassies) across the canyon from the swimming pool (pictures below), and baboons watching the sunset.

Below you find a few pictures from our two visits to Namibia.

Antelope Park diploma

  Volunteer diploma

Naankuse Panorama - The Pan

Sunset over The Pan, just west of the project premises, representing a typical evening view from our chalet (tent).

Naankuse Lodge - Panorama 1

Naankuse Lodge - Panorama 2

Naankuse Lodge - Panorama 3

The N/a’an ku sê Lodge, with the swimming pool and canyon to the right, and the lodges dead center.

Naankuse - Panorama

The N/a’an ku sê  farm area, with workshops and kitchen.

Volunteer work

Below you find pictures covering volunteer life and activities.


Naankuse Foundation - Chalet/Tent 01

Naankuse Foundation - Chalet/Tent 01


Naankuse Foundation - Chalet/Tent 03

Volunteer chalet (tent) accommodation.

Naankuse Foundation - Kitchen Area 1

Naankuse Foundation - Kitchen Area 1

Naankuse Foundation - Kitchen Area 1

Naankuse Foundation - Kitchen Area 1

Volunteer kitchen area, including a fantastic rain-and-sunshine combo.

Naankuse Foundation - Poo Painting 1

Naankuse Foundation - Poo Painting 2

Naankuse Foundation - POo Painting 3

Poo Painting session, i.e. applying a mixture of fermented lion poo on trees and branches to keep leopards and cheetahs away.

Naankuse Foundation - Boundary Patrol 1

Naankuse Foundation - Boundary Patrol 2

Naankuse Foundation - Food Preparation

Boundary Patrol, including fence mending, and food preparation.


Naankuse Foundation - Miriam counting sheep

Naankuse Foundation - Miriam with duijker


Miriam Oldenburg counting sheep and spending time with the duijker Sylvie.


Naankuse Foundation - Miriam Oldenburg with jackal

Naankuse Foundation - Jackal


Miriam Oldenburg with a more or less tame jackal.


Naankuse Foundation - Giraffe calf 1

Naankuse Foundation - Giraffe calf 2


Bumping into a giraffe calf out for a stroll by the cheetah enclosures.


Naankuse Foundation - Moth 1

Naankuse Foundation - Moth 2


Moth on the lodge veranda.


Naankuse Foundation - Caracal


One of the caracals.


Naankuse Foundation - Baboon


A baboon showing impressive teeth.


Naankuse Foundation - Robert Eklund giving talk


Robert Eklund giving talk on felid vocalizations in the lecture hall.


Naankuse Foundation - Meerkat Portrait


Meerkat portrait.


Naankuse Foundation - Meerkats 1

Naankuse Foundation - Meerkats 2

Naankuse Foundation - Meerkats 3

Naankuse Foundation - Meerkats 4


A couple of the pictures of the really perky and ubiquitous meerkats.


Naankuse Foundation - Red-Winged Dropwing 1

Naankuse Foundation - Red-Winged Dropwing 2

Naankuse Foundation - Red-Winged Dropwing 3

Naankuse Foundation - Red-Winged Dropwing 4


A frequent companion by the volunteer swimming pool: the beautiful red-winged drooping.

Naankuse Foundation - Rock Hyrax 1

Naankuse Foundation - Rock Hyrax 2

Naankuse Foundation - Rock Hyrax 3

Naankuse Foundation - Rock Hyrax 4

Rock hyraxes as seen from the lodge.

Naankuse Foundation - Rock Agama 1

Naankuse Foundation - Rock Agama 2

Naankuse Foundation - Rock Agama 3

Rock agamas by the lodge.

Naankuse Foundation - African Wild Cat 1

Naankuse Foundation - African Wild Cat 2

Naankuse Foundation - African Wild Cat 3

An African Wild Cat on the prowl.

San People

During our 2013 stay we made a couple of visits to a San village, and enjoyed both instructions as to how to make traps and stories and singing/dancing by the fire. Unforgettable!


Naankuse Foundation - San People Group Photo

Naankuse Foundation - San People Bushwalk


Robert Eklund, Miriam Oldenburg and San People.

Naankuse Foundation - San Village 1

Naankuse Foundation - San Village 2

Naankuse Foundation - San Village 3

Naankuse Foundation - San Village 4

Dusk in San village. Stories, singing and dancing.

Desert Express

We took one weekend off to take a fantastic trip from Windhoek to Swakopmund with the “cruise train” Desert Express. The train includes fantastic food, several stops for walks in the sand dunes, game drives, wonderful sun rises and beautiful cabins. Highly recommended! A few pictures are shown below, from the train, the morning walk through the sand dunes south of Swakopmund, and from a sundowner near Stinkbank.

Desert Express Restaurant 1

Desert Express Restaurant 2

Desert Express Restaurant

Desert Express Bar and Restaurant. From both one enjoys the wonderful Namibian landscape, replete with wildlife.

Naankuse Foundation - Sand Dunes 1

Naankuse Foundation - Sand Dunes 2

Naankuse Foundation - Sand Dunes 3

Sand dunes morning walk, just south of Swakopmund, as part of the Desert Express experience.


Sand Dunes - Robert Eklund

Sand Dunes - Miriam Oldenburg


Robert Eklund and Miriam Oldenburg enjoying Namibian sand dunes.

Sand Dunes South of Swakopmund

Sand dunes south of Swakopmund.


Sand Dunes - Miriam Oldenburg enjoying sunrise from cabin

Sand Dunes - Miriam Oldenburg boarding train at Stinkbank


Miriam Oldenburg enjoying sunrise from train cabin and boarding train at Stinkbank.

Sunset at Stinkbank

Sunset at Stinkbank, between Swakopmund and Windhoek.

1.2 – Antelope Park (2010)

During November and December 2010 me and Miriam Oldenburg were volunteers at the Antelope Park near Gweru, in Zimbabwe. Daily activities included daily lion walks, both morning and evening, when you exercised the lions (up to 18 months old) and also trained them to hunt – a mind-boggling experience!

Other activities were enclosure painting, elephant training and herding, cleaning the elephant bomas (enclosures), horse-related activities, including riding, which takes you very close to the wildlife, enclosure painting and mending, boundary patrols, meat preparation and feeding, and... lion cub feeding! Below you find pictures from most of these activities.

Antelope Park diploma

  Volunteer diploma

At the end of our stay, we upgraded to one of the upscale lodges, and a couple of pictures of these are found below, with lions in the foreground.

Antelope Park Panorama 01

View from Island Lodge bridge towards main area, with reception and restaurant.

Antelope Park Panorama 02

View from reserve, heading home from evening lion walk.

Antelope Park Panorama 03

View of Breeding Program enclosures.

Volunteer work

Below you find pictures covering volunteer life and activities.


Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Volunteers House 01

Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Volunteers House 02

Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Volunteers House 03


Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Volunteers Accommodation 01

Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Volunteers Accommodation 01


Volunteers House and accommodation, with ablutions.


Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Lodges 01

Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Lioness

Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Lodges 02


Island lodges (see the first panorama picture above) and the lioness Mika watching the sunset.


Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Lion Walk 01

Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Lion Walk 02

Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Lion Walk 01


Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Lion Walk 06

Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Lion Walk 07

Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Lion Walk 08


Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Lion Walk 04

Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Lion Cub Feedings

Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Lion Walk 05


Pictures from the daily lion walks (morning and evening) with one picture of lion cub feeding (bottom row).
Observe that there were snakes galore on the savannah, as the two lions Boma and Bakari noticed.


Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Elephant Bomas 01

Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Elephant Bomas 02

Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Elephant Bomas 03


Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Elephant Training

Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Elephant Herding


Top row: Cleaning the elephant bomas. Bottom row: Elephant training and herding.


Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Drumming

Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Research

Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Painting


Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Feeding

Antelope Park, Stables


Top row: Drumming prior to dinner, lion pride research and enclosure painting.
Bottom row: Feeding (after preparing the meat) and stables/horses activities.


Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Bushwalk

Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Horse Ride 01

Antelope Park, Zimbabwe, Horse Ride 02


Bushwalk with Evans Mabiza and horse rides.


Takudzwo and Robert Eklund at Gweru Orphanage

Takudzwo with a black ukulele

Takudzwo with his own, white, ukulele

Evans Mabiza and Takudzwo, at Gweru Orphanage


Volunteer work often includes community activities, e.g. at orphanages. While visiting the Gweru Orphanage, I brought a ukulele, and it was instantly obvious that there was a natural-born talent there, by name of Takudzwo. A few months later I managed to have a ukulele transported there (with the help of African Impact and a volunteer), so now Takudzwo has an instrument of his own, and the very kind and helpful Evans Mabiza is providing instruction.

1.3 – Dell Cheetah Centre

During November and December 2009 me and Miriam Oldenburg were volunteers at the Dell Cheetah Centre in South Africa, south of about Johannesburg. The work focussed on cheetah breeding, and included feeding and exercising the cheetahs, but also included activities such as enclosure maintenance, slaughter and food preparation, game counting and game reserve border patrolling.

During the stay I shot more than nine hours of high-definition film, and also collaborated with cheetah breeder Elizabeth D. Duthie to obtain high-quality recordings of cheetah purring which served as the basis for a scientific paper presented at the Swedish Phonetics conference at Lund University, Lund, Sweden.

Dell Cheetah Centre diploma

Volunteer diploma 

Dell Cheetah Centre Vista Point Panorama

Vista view of Dell Cheetah Centre, with cheetah enclosures in the centre, and volunteer house to the left. In the background flows Vaal River.

Volunteer work

Below are some pictures depicting some volunteer activities,
including feeding, meat preparations, run training and so on.

Dell Cheetah Centre Cheetah Walk 01

Dell Cheetah Centre Cheetah Walk 02

Dell Cheetah Centre Runway 02

Dell Cheetah Centre Runway 01

Dell Cheetah Centre Runway 03

Dell Cheetah Centre Quality Time 01

Dell Cheetah Centre Quality Time 02

Dell Cheetah Centre Quality Time 03

Dell Cheetah Centre Quality Time 04

Dell Cheetah Centre Quality Time 05

Dell Cheetah Centre Quality Time 06

Dell Cheetah Centre Quality Time 07

Dell Cheetah Centre Feeding 01

Dell Cheetah Centre Feeding 02

Dell Cheetah Centre Feeding 03

Dell Cheetah Centre Feeding 04

Dell Cheetah Caracal Pablo 01

Dell Cheetah Centre Cheetah Caine

Dell Cheetah Centre Caracal Pablo 02

Our stay at Dell Cheetah Centre was arranged by African Impact and the specific project we volunteered at is the Cheetah Reintroduction Project at Parys, south of Johannesburg.

1.4 – Amakhala Game Reserve (2008)

During November 2008 me and Miriam Oldenburg worked as a volunteers, at the Amakhala Game Reserve in South Africa, located about 70 kilometers north of Port Elizabeth, and next to the well-known Shamwari Reserve. The work focussed on lion tracking and monitoring, general game reserve maintenance, game counting, antipoaching patrolling, and also work at the Paterson orphanage.

During the stay I took more than two thousand pictures and more than six hours of high-definition film so there is no possibility to publish more than a very small sample on this page, alas. Below you will find pictures from several different places we visited, with a focus on the Amakhala Game Reserve, but also from other places.

Amakhala Game Reserve diploma

Volunteer diploma 

Paterson Student House 1


Paterson Student House 2

Volunteer, guide and ranger “base”: Paterson Student House, a.k.a. Sandflats Old Railway Station

Volunteer work

Here are a few pictures of the ranger/reserve work we performed, including weeding, slashing,
game counts, lion monitoring (with telemetry), inspecting the electric fence, road maintenance etc.

Amakhala Robert Eklund Entering Lion Reserve

Amakhala Robert Eklund Using Telemetry Set

Amakhala Robert Eklund Taking Down Foreign Flora

Amakhala Robert Eklund Sharpening Slasher 1

Amakhala Robert Eklund Slashing

Amakhala Robert Eklund Sharpening Slasher 2

Our stay at Amakhala was arranged by Worldwide Experience and we were asked to write up a report on something we had experienced during the time at Amakhala. One of the stronger moments during our entire stay was when we came across the lion family feeding at night, so here you can download the Amakhala experience report (in pdf format).

2. Animal adoptions

Many felines are facing extinction in the wild. I have adopted the tiger Roque and the three leopard triplets Sami, Alam and Nimira through the Born Free Foundation. Please help them out by doing the same. Here are three pictures of Roque. After having been taken from his mother when he was only a few days old, Roque has now found a new home in the Bannerghatta Sanctuary in South India. (Picture courtesy of the Born Free Foundation.)


Roque (tiger), courtesy of the Born Free Foundation

Roque (tiger), courtesy of the Born Free Foundation

Roque (tiger), courtesy of the Born Free Foundation

Roque (tiger), courtesy of the Born Free Foundation


Since the three leopard triplets Nimira, Alam and Sami reside at the Born Free reserve at Shamwari, next to the Amakhala Game Reserve where I and Miriam Oldenburg worked as a volunteers, we the opportunity to actually meet with them and in person and partake of a feeding session. Here are a few pictures.




Leopard 2


Nimira, Sami & Alam, courtesy of Born Free Foundation

Nimira, Sami & Alam, courtesy of Born Free Foundation


I have also adopted two snow leopards through Care For The Wild. Here is a picture of Alcu and Bagira, the two snow leopards I am currently sponsoring (again, with the help of others). They currently reside at the Issyk-Kul Biosphere Reserve in Kyrgustan.


Alcu and Bagira, snow leopards


Finally (so far), I have also sponsoring a wild cheetah through the Cheetah Conservation Fund, an organisation that takes care both of orphaned or injured cheetahs, as well as wild ones.

3. Wildlife online courses

For those interested in in leaning more, several courses are offered online at Wildlife Campus.

4. Volunteer projects

There are several travel arrangers to be found. I can highly recommend Worldwide Experience who offer a wide variety of different alternatives, ranging from photo/film to ranger courses in several different countries.

Another alternative is African Impact who offer several volunteer projects in Africa, covering everything from community work, photo/film and animal rehabilitation.

Over 30 volunteer projects at Amanzi Travel.

A dozen volunteer projects at Enkosini Eco Experience.

A huge amount of volunteer opportunities, including more than 30 wildlife projects, are available at i to i.

“Over 17,000 opportunities” are available through Volunteer Abroad.

A very good web portal for volunteer projects is Charity Guide. Chose between animal welfare, children’s issues, community development, environmental protection or health & safety/poverty.

Green Volunteers offer more than 140 projects in more than 40 countries.

Conservation Africa offer volunteer projects in Southern Africa.

Frontier offers a wide variety of volunteer projects.

5. Wildlife organisations

Born Free “is an international wildlife charity working throughout the world to stop individual wild animal suffering and protect threatened species in the wild.”

Care for the Wild International “is an animal welfare and conservation charity that funds practical projects around the world. We make areas safe from poachers, rehabilitate sick or injured animals and provide sanctuary for those who can not return to the wild. We also act as a global voice for wildlife through research, education and advocacy and expose animal cruelty and wildlife crime.”

WWF offer a large number of different projects all over the world. Also see

Another organisation is found here: Endangered Wildlife Trust.

A very informative site/organization is the International Society for Endangered Cats (ISEC) Canada.

last, but definitely not leas International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), which anyone with an interest in wildlife should join and support. There are also a number of “specialist groups” which anyone with a special interest can join,e.g. the IUCN Cat Specialist group.

6. Big cats links

Given that I am basically a cat person, I will here list a few links to organisations devoted to big cat protection and/or information. If you are into other animals, e.g. pandas, it is easy to find similar sites/projects through a simple web search, or through some of the links listed above.

Saving Namibia’s large carnivores: Africat.

The Cat Conservation Trust “is a non-profit trust that aims to create public awareness of the plight of the small cats through research and education.”

Text Big Cats, a site “designed to be a tribute to the big cat family. Here you can find facts, photos, news, and other items related to the big cats and the small wild cats.”

Cheetah Conservation Fund provides information about cheetahs, and also possibilities to adopt and/or sponsor wild and captive cheetahs.

The Institute of Greatly Endangered and Rare Species: T.I.G.E.R.S..

Robert Eklund’s Homepage