Veterinary Field Study

Earn 6 credits from the North West University, South Africa
Short Course in Wildlife Tourism and Conservation Management (H32100)



Scheduled Dates

VW08: 1 – 22 December

VW01:  31 May – 21 June
VW02: 28 June – 19 July
VW03:   5 – 26 July
VW04:   19 July – 9 August
VW05:   26 July – 16 August
VW06:   29 November – 20 December


Click to open gallery

Application Form

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 current wildlife in conservation.
  • Gain hands-on experience by taking part in game capture operations.
  • Earn 6 credits and receive a certificate from the North West University, South Africa.

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 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.

Course Content:

  • Wildlife Veterinary Science
  • Wildlife Diseases and Medicine
  • Capture and Care of Wild Animals
  • Wildlife Conservation
  • Wildlife Population Control


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.
Accommodation: Lodge

Day 2: 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.  We return to the guest lodge in Johannesburg late afternoon.
Accommodation: Lodge

Days 3 & 4: Game Capture Operations

The next two days will be spend with a local wildlife veterinarian on his/her daily duties. These could include the capture, care, treatment and trans-location of wildlife. These activities will take place on different ranches and in different reserves where the animals are located. **See footnote**
Accommodation: Lodge

Days 5 – 7: Bush School

We spend two days in a Big 5 game reserve on game walks and game drives with experienced field guides to learn more about Africa’s wildlife.
Accommodation: Tented Camp

Day 8: Drive to the Kruger National Park

After an early breakfast, we start our journey east to the Kruger National Park where we arrive late afternoon and set up camp. Park facilities include public telephones, a bank, a shop, restaurants and a laundry.
Accommodation: Camping

Day 9 & 10: Kruger National Park

The biodiversity of this world renowed 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 time with a local ecologist to learn more about ecology, park management and wildlife poaching.
Accommodation: Camping

Days 11 – 15: Wildlife Diseases

Leaving the park, we drive to Phalaborwa where we spend four days participating and learning about wildlife diseases and diagnostics, pathology, bush laboratory techniques and total post-mortem analysis. At a  nearby rural village we provide basic veterinary services to their cattle, goats and donkeys, as needed.
Accommodation: Tented Camp

Days 16 – 20: Hands-on Game Capture Course

We spend the next three days observing, assisting and learning about game capture, care and transport of wildlife under the guidance of a wildlife veterinarian or capture care specialist. **See footnote**
Accommodation: Lodge

Day 21: Graduation

We will, subject to the weather, also practice a mock darting exercise from a helicopter in flight. We meet in the evening to enjoy our farewell dinner and take part in the graduation ceremony.
Accommodation: Lodge

Day 22: Departure

We depart for Johannesburg and the group will be dropped off at the OR Tambo International Airport at about 2:00pm. Note: Most flights to the USA, Europe and Australia depart in the early evenin.

**You will meet a number of wildlife veterinarians and specialists who service different areas within South Africa. Each program is different and the wildlife species they work on will differ in every program. Game capture activities are not done as demonstrations, but animals are captured for the purpose of treatment, collaring, health check or relocation. These can also be in the form of an emergency call out due to an animal in distress. Therefore, we cannot always predict ahead of time, which animal(s) will be immobilized or exactly where or how long it will take. Activities can be influenced by weather, topography of the terrain, density of the bush and presence of other species that might be a safety issue. Working with wildlife is always unpredictable. The duration of any of the activities cannot be pre-determined. Usually more time will be allocated to an activity to allow for any delays, which might occur. Should an activity go without hiccup, work could be completed early, which could cause some downtime in the program. This is unavoidable, but we will try to fill days, where too much downtime occurs**

Cost per person sharing:
US $4,980 (2020)                    No price increase for 2020

Price Includes:

  •  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

Price Excludes:

  •  Air travel to and from South Africa
  • Visa costs (not required by US citizens)
  • Vaccinations
  • Optional activities
  • Alcoholic beverages

Application Process and Payments

  • 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: Payments can be made via PayPal or money can be transferred (wired) overseas through a bank.
  • The office of Eko Tracks will send you a field preparation guide 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.