Earn 6 credits from the North West University, South Africa
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 ceertificatee from the North West University, South Africa.
About the Program
The wildlife conservation field study 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. The program includes a Capture and Care course where students participate in actual game capture operations.
This program has been offered for international students since 1999. It is tailor-made and open to students in wildlife management, biological sciences, natural resources or related field currently enrolled at a recognized tertiary educational institution. The program is also open to qualified professionals and other interested persons.
- Wildlife Management Techniques
- Wildlife Rehabilitation
- Capture and Care of wild animals
- Wildlife Veterinary Science
- Wildlife Diseases and Medicine
- Ecosystem 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 your lodge close to the airport.
Day 2: Predator breeding and conservation
We drive to the small town of Parys in the Free State and 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. At the lodge we will go on a short game drive to view the sanctuary and the lion breeding facilities to learn more about the project and general lion behavior.
Day 3: North West University
Today we drive to the North West University in Potchefstroom where we attend a lecture/ workshop on a variety of wildlife conservation subjects. After lunch we drive to Pretoria, where we stay for one night. A lecture on controversies in wildlife conservation in Africa will be presented.
Day 4: Drive to Kruger National Park
After an early breakfast, we start our journey east to the Kruger National Park to arrive in the late afternoon and set up camp. Park facilities include public telephones, a bank, a shop, restaurants and a laundry.
Day 5: Kruger National Park
Kruger Parrk with it’s high biodiversity is the ideal environment for observing and studying most of the wildlife species found in southern Africa. The morning will be spent with a senior ecologist to learn more about the ecology, park management and special wildlife conservation programs.
Day 6: Kruger National Park
Driving northwards through various habitats we camp at one of the central camps. The Elephant Ecology Museum in the camp will be visited.
Day 7: Balule Game Reserve
Exiting at the park and traveling to the Balule Region of the Greater Kruger National Park, we check in to a rustic bush camp and listen to a lecture on the wilderness area and the conservation program for the next 4 days.
Accommodation: Rustic Bush Camp
Days 8 to 11: Field Program
We spend 4 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 include daily bush walks in Greater Kruger National Park focusing on various aspects African Wildlife Conservation.
Accommodation: Rustic Bush Camp
Day 12: Olifants River ecosystem
The day is spent with river ecologists to study the ecology and dynamics of this river which is home to numerous wildlife species such as hippopotamus, crocodiles, and various unique bird species. Biological indicators of water quality will be studied and effects of elephants and other wildlife on riverine vegetation, particularly during drought periods.
Accommodation: Rustic Bush Camp
Days 13 and 14: Wildlife Diseases workshop
A basic awareness of the different diseases that wildlife can contract and how to identify the symptoms by studying the behavior, movement and appearance of animals, is important to the African Wildlife Conservationist. A 2 day workshop is presented by a wildlife disease specialist in the field.
Accommodations: Bush Camp
Day 15: Reptile Park and Blyde Canyon Reserve
We drive to Hoedspruit where we attend a workshop on the handling and care of reptiles, including highly venomous snakes. Our visit will include a snake necropsy. Thereafter we continue to the Swadini Resort in the beautiful Blydepoort Nature Reserve. 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 form an important part of the wildlife veterinarian’s program. The next 5 days are dedicated to observing, 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 where the game capture will take place will be different for each 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 where you will experience the care of a wide range of African wildlife species. In the evening we will enjoy a farewell dinner and take part in the 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 $4,980 (2016 and 2017) No price increase for 2017
- 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
- Air travel to and from South Africa
- Visa costs (not required by US citizens)
- Optional activities
- Alcoholic beverages
Application Process and Payments
- Undergraduate and graduate students in wildlife science, ecology, natural resources, veterinary science, pre-vet and veterinary technology and related fields, as well as persons interested in wildlife are encouraged to apply.
- 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 start of the program.
Why Travel With Eko Tracks
Variety: Our large variety of products, offer great travel opportunities for adventurers and outdoor enthusiasts with a passion for nature.
Expertise: With an intimate scientific knowledge of the African savanna and its wildlife, first-hand personal travel experiences and destination expertise, we offer a wealth of information to our clients.
Network: Having lived in Africa for more than 40 years and drawing on extensive long term business relationships we provide you with specially selected quality products.
Dedication: We are passionate about Africa with its large vistas, a plethora of wildlife unmatched anywhere else, and a diversity of cultures unique to this continent. But above all, we are dedicated to conservation through education.
“I learned so much and the interactive field work and labs were especially beneficial. Amazing! The best choice I’ve ever made with my life. It opened my eyes to everything going on here and was life changing. Samantha, Veterinary Field Study 2018.”
“I learned a lot about conservation that I didn’t before especially about the elephant problem, and the effects of game farming, hunting, poaching in SA. Mary, Veterinary Field Study 2018
“This was an amazing program and I would do it 10,000 times if I could. I learned so much and got to participate and see so much that I never would have in any other program. Amanda, Veterinary Field Study 2018