Veterinary Field Study

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Scheduled Dates                                      


VW01:    11 Jan. – 01 Feb.
VW02:    31 May – 21 June   (Engl./French bilingual expedition)
VW03:    07 – 28 June
VW04:    21 June – 12 July
VW05:    28 June – 19 July
VW06:    05 – 26 July
VW07:    19 July – 09 Aug.
VW08:    26 July – 16 Aug.
VW09:    02 – 23 Aug.
VW10:    24 Nov. – 15 Dec.
VW11:    01 – 22 Dec.

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.

Course Content:

  • 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 an EcoLife guide and representative.  You are transferred to your guesthouse in Pretoria.
Accommodation: Pretoria Guest house

Day 2: Orientation, Pretoria and Lion Park

Our expedition starts by attending a morning workshop on wildlife management in Southern Africa, and learn about the latest developments in wilderness management and conservation. After lunch we visit a lion park to view a variety of African cats up-close and even catch sight of a white lion.  This is also your chance to get your hands on a lion cub!
Accommodation: Pretoria Guest house

Days 3 – 4: Community Veterinary Services

After breakfast we drive to the city of Johannesburg.  Here we meet up with a team of volunteers and dedicated veterinarians and veterinary staff who volunteer their professional time and services to assist with the care and treatment of domestic animals in and around the city of Johannesburg.  You will also go out with the mobile clinic to work in the rural townships.  There is a great need for veterinary care and treatment of animals in these poor communities.
Accommodation: Tented camp

Days 5 – 8: Wilderness Training

We leave Johannesburg behind and travel eastwards to a private camp in the Bushveld on the banks of the Loskop Reservoir. This wilderness reserve surrounding the reservoir is a pristine area in which to learn practical bush skills, track wildlife on foot and study wildlife behavior, and is perfect for learning how animals and man utilize plants.
Accommodation: Tented Camp

Day 9: Blyde Canyon Reserve

After breakfast we strike camp and depart with the bus.  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.
Accommodation: Camping

Day 10: 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.
Accommodation: Camping

Day 11: 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)
Accommodation: Camping

Days 12 – 13: 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. Park facilities include public telephones, a bank, a shop, restaurants and a laundry.
Accommodation: Camping

Days 14 – 15: Mjejane Nature Reserve

We strike camp and drive from the Kruger Park, to Mjejane Game Reserve at the Southern border of the Kruger Park.  This private nature reserve is also a Big 5 reserve and we have the opportunity to experience the bush at its best, by sleeping in a rustic unfenced bush camp. The experienced and armed Mjejane guides will take us on game walks and drives so we can see more of this beautiful reserve.
Accommodation: Camping

Day 16: Drive to Bela-Bela

After an early rise to strike camp we commence our long drive through rural villages and pretty towns to arrive at a private game reserve close to the town of Bela-Bela.
Accommodation: Dormitory

Day 17: Elephant Project

We drive out early morning to another private game reserve in the area.  Here we meet up with a herd of elephants, their handlers and the management team.  They will show us how to interact with elephants, how they are fed and cared for and how intelligent they are.  We end our visit with a ride on the back of one of the elephants. Afterwards we travel onwards to a private game reserve where we will have our game capture experience.
Accommodation: Lodge

Days 18 – 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 3 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.
Accommodation: Lodge

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 and Europe depart in the early evening.

Cost per person sharing:      US $4,715     No price increase for 2015

 Application Form

Price Includes:

  •  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

Price Excludes:

  •  Air travel to and from South Africa
  • Visa costs (not required by US citizens)
  • Vaccinations
  • 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.