Scheduled Dates for 2017
VW01: 28 May to 18 June
VW02: 4 to 25 June
VW03: 11 June to 2 July
VW04: 25 June to 16 July
VW05: 2 to 23 July
VW06: 9 to 30 July
VW07: 16 July to 6 August
VW08: 23 July to 13 August
VW09: 30 July to 20 August
VW10: 26 November to 17 December
VW11: 29 November to 20 December
Scheduled Dates for 2018
VW01: 17 January – 7 February
VW02: 28 May – 18 June
VW03: 6 – 27 June
VW04: 13 June – 4 July
VW05: 25 June – 16 July
VW06: 9 – 30 July
VW07: 11 July – 1 August
VW08: 18 July – 8 August
VW09: 25 July – 15 August
VW10: 26 November – 17 December
Join us for an experience of a lifetime on this field study program in 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 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.
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: 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 drive to the Free State town of Parys, where we check in to a lodge for the night.
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 & 5: Veterinary Volunteering
We meet up with a group of veterinary volunteering staff from two different veterinary outreach clinics. We have the chance to offer our assistance with the care and treatment of domestic animals within rural areas of Pretoria for two days. We will spend the nights at a lodge in the area.
Day 6: 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 7 & 8: 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 9 – 11: Wilderness Ecological program
We strike 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 12 – 15: Wildlife Veterinary Program
We travel a short distance to a rustic bush camp within the Balule region of Greater Kruger National Park where 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 16: Blyde Canyon Nature 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 17 – 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: 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.
Application Process and Payments