VW10: 24 Nov. – 15 Dec.
VW11: 01 – 22 Dec.
VW01: 29 May to 19 June
VW02: 5 to 26 June
VW03: 19 June to 10 July
VW04: 26 June to 17 July
VW05: 3 to 24 July
VW06: 10 to 31 July
VW07: 17 July to 7 August
VW08: 24 July to 14 August
VW09: 31 July to 21 August
VW10: 27 November to 18 December
VW11: 30 November to 21 December
Join us for an experience of a lifetime on this field study program in South Africa:
- Experience hands-on wildlife veterinary and conservation.
- Meet and interact with conservationists and wildlife veterinarians in the field.
- Learn about the crucial balance of people and wildlife in conservation today.
- Gain hands-on experience by taking part in game capture operations.
About the Program
The veterinary program offers an exciting, hands-on, in-depth and educational experience, taking students behind-the-scenes in the wildlife field in Southern Africa. The expeditions are in the form of a camping safari and lodging, and the duration is around 3 weeks. Students interact with rangers, veterinarians and researchers working in the field, giving them an insight into life, successes and problems associated with conservation in Africa today. Participants also meet and learn from pioneers in game capture and those actively involved in the field of wildlife veterinary science on a day-to-day basis. It includes a Capture and Care course where students participate in actual game capture operations.
This program has been offered for international students since 1999 and is aimed at students in pre-vet, vet tech, veterinary science, biology, wildlife conservation as well as students interested in wildlife in general.
Earn 6 credits from the North West University in South Africa and receive a certificate at the end of the program.
- Wildlife Veterinary Science
- Wildlife Diseases and Medicine
- Capture and Care of Wild Animals
- Wildlife Rehabilitation
- Ecosystems and Biodiversity Conservation
Day 1: Arrival
Students arrive and are welcomed at OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, by EcoLife guides and representatives. You are transferred to your guesthouse in Pretoria.
Accommodation: Pretoria Guest house
Day 2: Parys
We drive out to the small Free State town of Parys. We arrive and check in to a lodge for the night.
Day 3: Cheetah project and Lion Project
We start our day with a visit to a cheetah breeding project followed by a game drive and a visit to a lion breeding project. Both projects breed these African cats to reintroduce them to areas in Africa where they have been eradicated.
Day 4: North West University
We drive out to the campus of the North West University in the town of Potchefstroom. Here we attend a lecture workshop on a variety of wildlife conservation subjects. After lunch we return to Pretoria and check in to a guest house.
Accommodation: Guest House
Day 5: Lecture workshop
We spend the day at the guest house partaking in a lecture workshop with Professor Wouter van Hoven. His lecture topics include wildlife ranching, population control and general issues within the wildlife management and conservation areas in Africa today.
Accommodation: Guest House
Day 5: Blyde Canyon Reserve
After breakfast we check out of the guest house and leave the city behind. We drive to Swadini Resort and establish our base at the beautiful Blydepoort Nature Reserve at the foot of the majestic northern Drakensberg Mountains (Mountains of the Dragon). The Resort facilities include public telephones, a shop, heated swimming pool, restaurants and a laundry.
Day 6: Reptile Centre and Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre
We attend a workshop presented on the handling and care of reptiles, including highly venomous snakes, and we also visit a world renowned wildlife rehabilitation center. The care of a wide range of wildlife species will be experienced and demonstrated first hand.
Day 7: Day at leisure
We have a day set aside to attend to laundry, explore the reserve surrounding the Swadini Resort and to take part in additional activities available at and from the resort. Activities include abseiling, kloofing, river rafting, boat rides and a number of easy hikes. (All additional activities for personal accounts)
Days 8 to 10: Kruger National Park
We depart for the Kruger National Park, arrive early afternoon and set up camp. The biodiversity of this jewel of wilderness area is spectacular. It is the ideal area for observing and studying most of the wildlife species Southern Africa has to offer. We will spend a morning visiting with a local ecologist to learn more about ecology, park management and wildlife poaching. Park facilities include public telephones, a bank, a shop, restaurants and a laundry.
Day 11: Drive to Cullinan
We take the long journey from the Lowveld to the small diamond mining town of Cullinan. We arrive late afternoon and check in at a lodge in the area.
Day 12: Community and Veterinary Volunteer Work
We spend the day volunteering with a group of passionate veterinarian and community care staff. We get to spend time at some rural community projects and lend a hand where needed.
Accommodation: Cullinan Game Lodge
Day 13: Drive to Thaba Monate Game Reserve and Elephant Project
We travel to Thaba Monate Game Reserve. En-route we stop at a private game reserve in the area. Here we meet up with a herd of elephants, their handlers and the management team. We have the chance to see a demonstration on the intelligence, memory and keen sense of smell of the elephants. We arrive late afternoon at Thaba Monate game reserve and set up camp. Reserve facilities include a shop and swimming pool.
Day 12: Thaba Monate Game Reserve
Our day starts with a morning game drive with a ranger from the reserve, followed by a visit to their lion enclosure and the feeding of the lions. Not to worry, they will bring meat to feed the lions.
Day 14: Game Capture Lodge
After breakfast we strike camp and depart for our game capture destination. We arrive early afternoon and meet with the wildlife veterinarian who will be facilitating the game capture operations.
Days 15 – 21: Hands-on Game Capture Course
The successful capture, handling and translocation of wildlife all form important parts of the wildlife veterinarian’s program. The next 6 days are dedicated to observing and learning about and participating in actual game capture operations under the guidance of a veterinarian. We will, subject to the weather, also personally experience a mock darting exercise from a helicopter in flight. (The area in which the game capture will take place will differ from group to group. We end our expedition on the last night with a farewell dinner and graduation ceremony.
Day 22: Departure
We depart for Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport, in time for your flight home. The group will be dropped off at the airport in the early afternoon. Note: Most flights to the USA, Europe and Australia depart in the early evening.
Cost per person sharing:
US $4,715 (2015)
US $4,980 (2016)
- Airport transfers as stated
- Accommodation for the duration of the program
- Transportation for the duration of the program
- Short helicopter ride (weather permitting)
- Elephant ride
- Permits and entry fees
- All meals and group activities
- Air travel to and from South Africa
- Visa costs (not required by US citizens)
- Optional activities
- Alcoholic beverages
- Students with any combination of courses taken, grade level or academic year, are encouraged to apply.
- Eko Tracks does not offer scholarships or financial aid for these programs. Students should contact their study abroad office or financial aid office for assistance or advise about funding.
- There is no specific application date. However, the earlier you apply the better your chance of booking a trip that suits your time schedule.
- Trip dates are fixed. The trip of your first choice and an alternative date, a trip of your second choice must be indicated on the application form.
- To apply, complete the application form online, or fax or mail it to the office of Eko Tracks.
- Once we have received your application form, you will be pre-booked and be sent a registration form and the payment policy.
- The registration form and a 25% deposit must be sent directly to the office in South Africa to secure your booking. Note: Money can be transferred (wired) overseas through a bank.
- The office of Eko Tracks will send you a tour dossier with information about the passport, flight schedules, vaccinations, packing list and safety tips to assist you in preparing for the trip.
- Your pre-departure form and the outstanding amount must be sent to the office in Pretoria at the latest 2 months prior to the commencement of the program.