project review

Travelling with Frontier Namibia – from a mother’s point of view …

Review submitted by Dorothy Howes
Review date 13 Aug 2018


When asked by Neil to write this report, I wasn’t sure where to start – what appears below are some of the main areas which directly affected me from sending dive kit and sorting out money problems to really wanting this to be a happy and successful adventure for my daughter who had worked very hard to earn enough money to pay for the trip.

Advance preparations –

Carly first contacted Frontier about 18 months before she was due to travel when she went to one of the Open Evenings with her Dad who seemed reassured that it was a respectable organisation and that the volunteers’ welfare and safety would be of prime importance.

She later made contact by telephone with her wish list for multiple projects and the dates she anticipated travelling – very quickly her dreams became plans! She had booked to go on four projects all linked to animal conservation in China, Fiji, Namibia and South Africa.

DON’T BE AFRAID TO ASK QUESTIONS!!  As Carly was travelling solo for the first time and only 18 when she set off I was determined to help her make her adventure as problem-free as possible and despite asking a vast number of questions, which were patiently answered by Neil and his colleagues at Frontier, we discovered in retrospect that there were others we should have asked - particularly before booking flights. If your son/daughter is flying to a project starting on the same day as his/her arrival, check the flexibility of the meeting times – some are very flexible but as we discovered in South Africa, the meeting time at Johannesburg airport was 12.00 and Carly’s flight from Namibia was due to land at 16.00!! (This applies to end of project dates/times too.)

Namibia – Wildlife Conservation and Sanctuary

Carly arrived in Namibia penniless as her credit and debit cards ceased to work as soon as she tried to use them in Africa (despite giving her bank all the details of her travels)!  Needless to say, it was up to Mum to try and improve the situation …. approaching the bank was useless…. so I phoned Neil at Frontier to ask him for his ideas. We worked through different possibilities of money transfers but that wasn’t really an option due to Carly’s location – very few companies have links with Namibia and it would have involved her returning to Windhoek (42kms) during office hours, so Neil made contact with the Head of Finance and very quickly money became available for Carly via my credit card! Dara couldn’t have been more helpful as she was happy to repeat this process to ensure that Carly had cash for the final leg of her travels in South Africa.

Communication with Carly was frequent and easy by text/ phone – there were areas around the sanctuary which received better signal than others so she usually phoned home and I would call her back. My highlight of Carly’s visit was hearing the very loud purr of a cheetah down the phone! I’m not surprised Carly loved the experience as it was 100% hands on with the orphaned animals and practical jobs such as food preparation and fence patrols.

Thank you to the staff at the Conservation Centre for collecting Carly from and returning her to the airport at unorthodox times!

Read more about the Namibia Wildlife Conservation & Sanctuary project