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, animal science, wildlife conservation as well as students interested in wildlife veterinary 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
- In-field Pathology lessons
- 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 a lodge close to the airport for the night.
Day 2: Veterinary volunteering & Parys
We check out of the lodge and drive to Krugersdorp, a suburb of Johannesburg. Here we meet up with a group of veterinary volunteering staff. We have the chance to join their mobile clinic to offer our assistance with the care and treatment of domestic animals within rural areas of Johannesburg. Afterwards, we drive out to the small Free State town of Parys. We arrive and check into a lodge.
Day 3: Cheetah and Lion Project
We start our day with a visit to a cheetah breeding project. This project breeds Cheetahs to reintroduce them to areas in Africa where they have become locally extinct. We return to our lodge where the owner/manager will take us on a short game drive to view the sanctuary and then to the lion breeding facilities to learn more about the project and general lion behavior.
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: Drive to the Kruger National Park
After an early breakfast, we check out of the lodge and start our journey east to the Kruger National Park. We arrive late afternoon and set up camp within one of the Southern rest camps of the Park. Park facilities include public telephones, a bank, a shop, restaurants and a laundry.
Day 6: Kruger National Park
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 the morning visiting with a local ecologist to learn more about ecology, park management and wildlife poaching.
Days 7 and 10: Wilderness Ecological program
We set up camp and drive through the Kruger National Park to exit at Orpen Gate and travel to the Balule Game Reserve. Here we check in to a rustic bush camp. We spend three days with a team of professionals who will teach us the basic skills of tracking on foot, wildlife behavior and ecology, and plant, bird and animal identification. Activities will include daily hikes in Greater Kruger National Park.
Accommodation: Bush camp
Days 11 to 14: Wildlife Veterinary Program
We check out and travel a short distance to a rustic bush camp within the Balule region of Greater Kruger National Park. We spend four days participating and learning about Wildlife Diseases and the diagnostics, the pathology and bush laboratory techniques and total post-mortem analysis. We will also participate in any unforeseen call outs. On the fourth day we go to a rural village and provide basic veterinary services to their cattle, goats and donkeys.
Accommodation: Bush Camp
Day 15: Reptile Park and Blyde Canyon Reserve
We drive to the town of Hoedspruit where we attend a workshop presented on the handling and care of reptiles, including highly venomous snakes. Our visit will include a snake necropsy. Afterwards we continue our travels to the Swadini Resort and establish our camp in 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, cool and heated swimming pools, restaurants and a laundry.
Days 16 – 20: 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 5 days are dedicated to observing and learning about and participating in actual game capture operations under the guidance of a wildlife veterinarian. We will, subject to the weather, also personally experience a mock darting exercise from a helicopter in flight. (The region in which the game capture will take place will differ from group to group.)
Accommodation: Lodge or camping depending on the region
Day 21: Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre and Graduation
Our day starts with a visit to a local wildlife rehabilitation center. The care of a wide range of wildlife species will be experienced and demonstrated first hand. This is your chance to see a large variety of African wildlife species. We gather early evening to enjoy a farewell dinner and take part in our 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
- All meals and group activities as per itinerary
- Transportation for the duration of the program
- Short helicopter ride (weather permitting)
- Permits and entry fees
- 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.