We have a farm in the Kalahari Desert in Botswana. It is situated 40km from Letlhakeng village, and is a 23 hectare 'Marama' bean and goat farm. We are looking for anyone interested in fencing, helping us to build, to cook or entertain, to keep things interesting.
Our neighbours are Bakgalagadi, and they have a very rich culture, and volunteers can learn about many aspects of their culture including medicinal and nutritional indigenous plants of the area. Our goats are very friendly too, and we have a few other wild creatures that live on the farm, such as mongeese, ground squirrels, monitor lizards, hares, and other small mammals. There are no other pets on the farm (besides the goats) - for those who have allergies to cats or dogs. The highlight of living in the desert are the stars at night, the incredible sunsets and the amazing wildlife and plants.
Life is very simple, we collect water from a nearby borehole with a donkey cart, we braai or barbecue or use gas for cooking. There is a generator for emergencies, but mostly we use solar. Accommodation is in tents for the moment until we build more permanent structures. The nearest village to buy most supplies is 40km away, however a tinier village with limited supplies is 10km away. Most use donkey carts, or ride horses to get around from farm to farm, or public transport for travel to Letlhakeng or Gaborone. It is very easy to access public transport from the farm, as we are a couple of hundred metres off the main road, and public buses and combis pass daily. We will pick you up from Gaborone, and if you need to rest for a couple of days before leaving for the farm, we have a small house not too far from the city.
Volunteers are only expected to work four-five hour days, with the weekends free to adventure about, and we are also flexible if short vacations want to be taken in between too, as we are close to the Central Kalahari Game Reserve which has incredible wildlife and is an amazing experience not to be missed.
Weather can be very extreme in the desert, in Summer it is blazing, sometimes up to and over 40 degrees, whereas in Winter it can be freezing. The best time to visit in our opinion is April May, but every month is different.
We are very nature-oriented - living in our wilderness means treating all creatures kindly, including the plants. As the conditions are quite remote and rustic this would only suit those able to entertain themselves, and those not scared of a few wild animals.
Cooking / shopping
The farm is located in a Bakgalagadi region, this is one of the oldest groups living in Botswana. Volunteers will have the opportunity to meet many local residents, learn a bit of their language, and might get the chance to experience how these people live, learn about their culture of food, music and art. Traditional mud huts are plentiful in this area, so sustainable building techniques can be learnt. Volunteers can also learn about the amazing Indigenous food plants and medicinal plants that grow in this area.
Fencing - We are looking to finish fencing our farm. So far we have only done 400m, we still need to do over 2000m, anyone willing to give it a try or who have experience would be more than welcome.
Building - Builders and general maintenance, as we would like to get a permanent bedroom and lounge area set up, using very basic material - gumpoles, and zinc roofing.
Farm work - Harvesting beans and fruits when in season
Artists, musicians, Yoga teachers or anyone who doesn't mind helping with building or fencing work and can bring the interest and fun to life on the farm.
English, French, Spanish and a bit of German and Portuguese. Plus African languages Shona, Setswana and Ndebele
Currently in tents. Volunteers can have their own tent, or share if they choose. Tents come with either a camp bed, or a blow-up mattress. Cooking is done either on a Braai (barbecue), or over a fire, or on a gas cooker. We harvest local fruits, nuts and vegetables, or buy in most groceries. It would be easiest for a vegetarian, as there is currently no freezer for meat storage, just a small camping fridge.
There are a few spectacular wildlife game reserves nearby - Khutse Game Reserve; Central Kalahari Game Reserve - here you can see Lion, Leopard, occasionally Elephants, lots of different antelope, and incredible scenery, The stars at night are absolutely incredible. Learning to drive a donkey cart, or ride horses, or visit Jwaneng 'Diamond capital' of Botswana, visit Gaborone the Capital city which is only a 2.5hr drive from the farm. Laze about in hammocks and read books.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
More than two
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week