Veterinary Field Study

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


Scheduled Dates for 2019

VW01:  26 May – 16 June
VW02: 9 – 30 June
VW03:   23 June – 14 July
VW04:   30 June – 21 July
VW05:   7 – 28 July
VW06:   21 July – 11 August
VW07:   28 July – 18 August
VW08:   1 – 22 December


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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 the crucial balance of people and wildlife in conservation today.
  • 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 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.

Course Content:

  • 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.
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

Day 3: 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 or Johannesburg for a day.  We will spend the nights at a lodge in the area.
Accommodation: Lodge

Day 4: 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.
Accommodation: Camping

Day 5 & 6: 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 the morning visiting with a local ecologist to learn more about ecology, park management and wildlife poaching.
Accommodation: Camping

Days 7 – 10: Wildlife Diseases & Pathology

We travel a short distance to a rustic bush camp close to the Kruger National Park border where we spend four days participating and learning about wildlife diseases, diagnostics, pathology and bush laboratory techniques and post-mortem analysis. We will also participate in any unforeseen call outs. On the fourth day we visit a rural village and provide basic veterinary services to their livestock.
Accommodation: Tented camp

Days 11 – 14: Wildlife Rehabilitation & Breeding

We visit some wildlife rehabilitation and breeding projects within close proximity of the town of Hoedspruit. One of the projects includes a reptile park.
Accommodation: Camping

Days 15 – 20: Hands-on Game Capture

The successful capture, handling and translocation of wildlife all form important parts of the wildlife veterinarian’s program. The next 4 days are dedicated to observing and learning about and participating in actual game capture operations under the guidance of a wildlife veterinarian.
Accommodation: Lodge

Day 21: Graduation

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. 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 evening.


Cost per person sharing:
US $4,980 (2019)      No price increase for 2019

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: 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.