Expedition & Base Camp Officer

at Oana Namibia (view profile)
Location Namibian Deep South, Namibia
Date Posted 2nd December 2019
Category In the field
Job Type Contract/short-term
Remote working


Job Description: Expedition & Base Camp Officer (ECO) for Oana Namibia



Oana Namibia, Oana Nature Reserve, Namibia, Africa: Privately owned 110,000 acre reserve, 50km of Orange River

Location: latitude -28.812458 longitude 18.955156

Closest Airport: Upington (SA)

Closest Border crossing: Onseepkans

Start Date: March 5th 2020

Duration: Temporary - 5 months.

Salary: £850 per month. Costs of living incurred during job will be minimal to nothing.

Benefits: Return flight to Cape Town, Johannesburg or Windhoek, food & accommodation provided at Oana base camp (food only provided during expeditions), officer will have private safari large canvas tent with own bathroom. Officer will be under staff SATIB emergency case-evac insurance but will need to get his/her own travel insurance for total LOS.


Reports To

The Expedition & Base Camp Officer (ECO) will report to Ed Barthorp – Chief Operations Officer (COO).

Job Overview

Oana Reserve is a private reserve of 110,000 acres of stunning semi-desert wilderness that includes both igneous and metamorphic mountain ranges, sandy and gravel plains and 50km of Orange River frontage. This job will provide the opportunity for the ECO to explore the reserve, on foot or vehicle, and given the remoteness find themselves in places quite likely no human has been before. There will be opportunity to observe and track wildlife, aid in researching the fauna and flora and to significantly contribute to re-wildling the reserve. As the manager of the expeditions there will be plenty of river rafting expeditions (3rd party), hiking and mountain biking.


Oana Namibia hosts, develops and facilitates 1-4 week adventure conservation expeditions. Clients range from UK School residential trips, mid-life short expeditions, gap year 4 week expeditions (any age welcome), corporate 10 day leadership and skills based volunteering and yoga retreats. Expeditions are exclusive we run 1 trip at a time, all groups are hosted at our tented base camp which includes all the amenities and staff required for comfort and efficiency (power, comms, water etc).


The overall role of the Expedition & Base Camp Officer (ECO) is to manage the day-to-day operations of the expeditions and base camp. This includes driving the group to each project/activity and managing the group and the project/activity itself for everyday of the expedition. The ECO must ensure the pre-departure admin for each expedition are in place to ensure the expeditions function smoothly, maximizing customer experience whilst ensuring safety. The ECO will be in charge of Risk Management and the ECO must ensure the safety of the clients above all other matters. The ECO will be in charge of prepping in advance each conservation project and adventure activity in the agreed expedition itinerary designed by Ed. The ECO will work closely with Ed on expedition itineraries and take care of all pre-expedition planning and preparation admin. The ECO will be expected to ensure the team are engaged and enjoying the projects and activities and is expected to socially engage and develop a close personal relationship with the team. The ECO is required to be highly organised, structured and adaptable with excellent communication, initiative and problem solving skills.


The ECO will oversee the management of base camp and the staff (chef(s) & housekeeper(s) at base camp, the ECO will not necessarily be directly responsible for each functioning part (ie water pumps, solar panels, food served on time etc) of base camp but must ensure each part is functioning.


Responsibilities and Duties

  • Update and organize Oana’s current Risk Management documentation, ensure all risk assessments are up to date, carry out due-diligence on all third party providers, constantly update all SOP’s.
  • Constantly update and, when required, put Risk Management documentation in place – i.e. log books for hikes and mountain biking.
  • Whilst on Expedition with clients, ensure the safety of clients at all times by maintaining control of the group and constantly carrying out dynamic risk assessments. The ECO is directly responsible for the safety of clients.
  • Ensure and monitor the mental health/happiness of the group.
  • You will be required to give the health & safety briefing to clients on Day 1 of their expedition. Develop presentations and hand out we can send to clients pre-departure.
  • Adequately administer first aid when required.
  • Learn risk management protocols for both in-camp and out in the field.
  • Constantly update and improve the systems for each type of Expedition to help Oana staff get organized and prepared (develop checklists, oversea booking forms, check clients have correct insurance, indemnity forms, camping equipment, project materials, group briefings, refueling, driving routes, safety requirements etc.)
  • The ECO must ALWAYS know where there are on the reserve, thus requiring a primary, intensive orientation period so as never to be lost with a group.
  • Plan all conservation projects and adventure activities with Ed.
  • Lead all conservation projects and adventure activities in the field including driving the teams to each project/activity.
  • Assist or lead on construction projects either in camp (i.e. kitchen construction) or in the field (i.e. dam construction). Ed will usually be present for these projects.
  • Engage socially with the clients and develop a close relationship with them. We expect everyone (leaders and clients) to develop close bonds and we condone the “us (leaders) and them (clients)” style of management.
  • The ECO must be prepared to work long, and sometimes random, hours. This is not a 9-5 job. The ECO must be ready for duty 24 hours a day.
  • To be skilled in navigation, intensively familiarize yourself with the land and car tracks.
  • To be experienced, skilled and comfortable in mountainous 4x4 off-road driving and be able to look after our vehicles. An ECO that regularly damages vehicles without good reason will be let go.
  • Its is the ECO’s direct responsibility to endeavor that, at all times, the vehicles are driven carefully, responsibly and safely and that they are kept clean and in good condition. And ensure basic maintenance (oil, water, break/clutch fluid, damage checks etc) are carried out on the vehicles everyday.
  • Ensure Base Camp functions smoothly and efficiently, manage base camp staff and ensure staff are doing their jobs correctly.
  • Ensure rubbish at base camp is adequately stored and disposed of (it can get very windy).
  • Collect and drop off local staff when required.
  • Assist with driving Oana chef to Karasburg (2hours from base camp) to do the weekly supplies run.
  • Assist, where required, Ed with the accounts.
  • Oversee and, when required, delegate all base camp stock-taking (food, camping equipment, tools etc).
  • Ensure all equipment, materials and tools at base camp and for all projects/activities are kept in good condition and maintained.
  • Keep a constant line of communication open with Ed.
  • The ECO must be able to take the initiative and solve problems for themselves.
  • The ECO must have a highly organised management style for the expeditions.
  • There will be a Namibian manager as well. The ECO will work with their Namibian counterpart in the management of Expeditions and Base Camp. Each manager will have differing roles and responsibilities that will be clearly defined by Ed.
  • The Officer must quickly look to learn:
    • The reserve itself, its terrain and topography and the locations of all relevant POI’s.
    • The map of Oana and all its tracks.
    • Risk Management protocols.
    • The locations of activities/projects.
    • What each activities/project entails.
    • Equipment required for each activity/project.
    • Where everything is stored at base camp.
    • Understand the ecology of the reserve.
    • Oana Nature Reserve’s conservation ethics, principals, aims and objectives.
  • Manage and/or delegate the following aspects of base camp:
    • Staff (chef’s and housekeeper’s)
    • Pump water.
    • Chop firewood.
    • Keeping storeroom and work shed clean and tidy.
    • Fix minor breakages if possible (plumping, loos, showers, tents, equipment etc.)
    • Construction (securing equipment, tents, building benches/tables etc.)
    • Permaculture maintenance (drip feed irrigation, veggie garden etc.)
    • Ensure all the moving parts of base camp are running smoothly.

Qualifications and Requirements

  • At least 3 years job experience in a related field and able to provide references.
  • Experience in leading expeditions or being part of a leadership team.
  • Experience in being part of an expedition in remote territory.
  • Extensive skills in organisation.
  • Extensive skills in communication.
  • Training, qualifications and experience in first aid in remote areas and ability to administer first aid and manage a casualty situation.
  • Qualifications in mountain leadership.
  • Training and experience in risk management and an ability to carry out dynamic risk assessments and a keen awareness for potential hazards/danger.
  • Experience and skills in off-road 4x4 vehicles.
  • Experience and skills in orientation through map reading and use of GPS and an ability to read terrain.
  • High level of physical fitness required.
  • Qualifications in team leading, team building, risk management or first aid is a bonus.
  • Experience in vehicle mechanics is a bonus.
  • Able to operate themselves and a team in extreme weather conditions (very cold, very hot, very windy)
  • Happy to live for long periods in a remote part of Namibia in a safari tent with slow Wi-Fi.

It is not a strict prerequisite to have all the qualifications listed above, if you feel you have the capacity to carry out the role please do make contact with us.

To apply for this position please send a cover letter with direct references to the roles and responsibilities and a CV to Ed [email protected]

See website for more information www.oananamibia.org

Deadline for application - 01st February

We are particularly keen to hear from members of the Explorers Connect community so please mention Explorers Connect in your application.