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: To protect you against trolls & misinformation, we only permit comments in our app. See how to DOWNLOAD OUR APP below.


  • Download our APP (mobile phone & desktop) to receive travel discounts, comment on our stories, make safe donations and network with others like you Find out more here.
  • Subscribe to our newsletter to receive our best stories in your inbox weekly and for travel discounts. Subscribe here.
  • 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? Search for your ideal safari here, or contact an Africa Geographic safari consultant to plan your dream vacation.

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