Travel & conservation company, since 1991
See how we earn 5 starsTrustpilot - 5 stars
Africa Geographic Travel

Meet Barkie, an aardvark baby brought to the N/a’an ku sê Wildlife Sanctuary in late February 2014. Barkie found protection and love in the doting hands of the N/a’an ku sê team.

© Andrew Bowden

The tiny aardvark, estimated to be no older than three months, arrived on our bushveldt doorstep after his mother had been shot by a farmer. Tragically this is a common occurrence in Namibia, where farmers and landowners heavily depend on their livestock to eke a living out of this desert land. The natural burrowing and digging behaviour of aardvark, inadvertently causes holes in fences that allow the livestock to escape, making them vulnerable to free-roaming carnivores.

Sadly, aardvarks have gained an increasingly negative reputation – a reputation wholly misunderstood. Barkie’s mother herself suffered this fate, with her helpless baby thankfully being taken pity on and laid in the protecting hands of N/a’an ku sê.

© Jack Somerville
Africa Geographic Travel
© Jack Somerville

Barkie became an overnight sensation, his small pink body, devoid of hair, clothed lovingly in pyjamas for the icy winter nights. Feeding pre-dominantly on termites and ground dwelling insects, Barkie is joined by a group of volunteers on his daily bush walks. This gives him the chance to fully embrace his natural aardvark instincts, as at N/a’an ku sê we carefully consider the natural needs of every orphan, tending away from the feeling of “captivity”. Instead we create an environment where their instinctive behaviours are nurtured and encouraged.

© Andrew Bowden
© Andrew Bowden
© Jack Somerville

And Barkie has given us insight into the aardvark world – a world that we have barely scratched the surface of. The behaviour of these elusive creatures has remained largely undiscovered – but with Barkie’s help we hope to erase the misunderstood reputation of these magnificent mammals.

More about aardvarks here: 9 Amazing facts about aardvarks

© Jack Somerville
© Jack Somerville

To comment on this story: Download our app here - it's a troll-free safe place 🙂.


  • Travel with us. Travel in Africa is about knowing when and where to go, and with whom. A few weeks too early / late and a few kilometres off course and you could miss the greatest show on Earth. And wouldn’t that be a pity? Browse our famous packages for experience-based safaris, search for our current special offers and check out our camps & lodges for the best prices.

    Enquire now

  • Subscribe to our FREE newsletter / download our FREE app to enjoy the following benefits.

AG Logo

The award-winning N/a’an ku sê Foundation was started in 2006 to protect and improve the lives of the people and wildlife of Namibia. The mission of the N/a’an ku sê Foundation is to conserve the land, cultures and wildlife of Namibia and rescue species threatened by an ever-shrinking habitat. N/a’an ku sê means “God will protect us” in the beautiful clicking language of the San - a language which Marlice van Vuuren, the founder of the N/a’an ku sê Wildlife Sanctuary, speaks fluently, having spent her life deeply involved with the San culture.

Africa Geographic Travel
[wpforms id="152903"]
<div class="wpforms-container wpforms-container-full" id="wpforms-152903"><form id="wpforms-form-152903" class="wpforms-validate wpforms-form wpforms-ajax-form" data-formid="152903" method="post" enctype="multipart/form-data" action="/stories/meet-barkie-the-baby-aardvark/" data-token="7698968fd0e9633da1a9ed09e1fb6017"><noscript class="wpforms-error-noscript">Please enable JavaScript in your browser to complete this form.</noscript><div class="wpforms-field-container"><div id="wpforms-152903-field_1-container" class="wpforms-field wpforms-field-email" data-field-id="1"><label class="wpforms-field-label wpforms-label-hide" for="wpforms-152903-field_1">Email Address <span class="wpforms-required-label">*</span></label><input type="email" id="wpforms-152903-field_1" class="wpforms-field-medium wpforms-field-required" name="wpforms[fields][1]" placeholder="Email " required></div></div><div class="wpforms-submit-container"><input type="hidden" name="wpforms[id]" value="152903"><input type="hidden" name="wpforms[author]" value="248"><input type="hidden" name="wpforms[post_id]" value="31664"><button type="submit" name="wpforms[submit]" id="wpforms-submit-152903" class="wpforms-submit" data-alt-text="Sending..." data-submit-text="Subscribe" aria-live="assertive" value="wpforms-submit">Subscribe</button><img src="" class="wpforms-submit-spinner" style="display: none;" width="26" height="26" alt="Loading"></div></form></div> <!-- .wpforms-container -->