Vets Go Wild is a conservation based veterinary module that was established in 2008 and its objective is to conduct theoretical and practical training focused on the role of veterinary science in the context of African wildlife conservation.
The 16-day module provides a field based wildlife veterinary management programme for international veterinary students with an interest and passion for wildlife. The experience is both adventurous and educational with the main emphasis been on academic training and practical experience. *Extra Mural Study (EMS) requirements are met, so the 16-day module counts towards fulfilling these criteria.
Practical elements of the module may include game capture, translocation of game, the reintroduction of species into these reserves, diagnosis and treatment of diseases, animal husbandry at the Born Free Rescue and Education Centre, predator monitoring and much more.
Elements of the theory may include topics such as the history of conservation in Southern Africa, Wildlife habitats, environment & ecology, Wildlife management, Immobilisation anesthetics, Diseases and vectors, Conservation medicine, Anatomy & Capture techniques.
The program also provides the students the opportunity to explore Southern Africa’s culture and to enjoy its magnificent hospitality.
Vets Go Wild
The objective of the Vets Go Wild courses on the programme are to conduct theoretical and practical training focusing on the role of veterinary science in the context of African wildlife conservation & utilisation. This means your animal care training will combine the disciplines of Veterinary Science, Wildlife Management and Conservation Field Training.
Whether you’re a first year student or nearing the end of your studies, this course will provide you with practical experience as you are immersed into real life situations culminating in wildlife procedures/operations where Dr William Fowlds expects you to make the best necessary decisions in each situation.
There are several factors that set our Vets Go Wild courses apart, making this course the best option for veterinary students seeking an EMS placement:
A wildlife vet is with the group for all veterinary activities as the primary facilitator, and they are an absolute inspiration.
The course is longer… 16 Days. This is due to a more thorough introduction to the wildlife species of South Africa that you could potentially work on. Understanding the species and their behavioural traits is naturally critically important during game capture operations.
Dr Fowlds is a co-founder of Amakhala Game Reserve and lives on the reserve. Because of this, there is more flexibility and he allows a greater degree of responsibility and decision-making to be transferred onto the students… providing our students with a more realistic learning environment which will stand you in better stead going forward. (You couldn’t get more hands-on, basically)
The course includes a marine animal care component
Our students visit the Addo Elephant National Park as part of their placement
It is also good to note that the option to apply for a practical volunteer placement with Dr Fowlds is open exclusively to Vets Go Wild participants (This gives Dr Fowlds peace of mind as to the specific training quality and understanding of the prospective students). As Dr Fowlds likes to say to his students, “Your 16 days could be the start of a relationship with my team if working with wildlife is your career priority.”
Vets Go Wild is situated on the Amakhala Game Reserve which consists of 6500 hectares (15,600 acres) of wildlife reserve in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Vet Students will enjoy this scenically beautiful area of green, wide-open plains, lined with acacia-savannah. It is home to wide variety of animals including elephants and giraffes, which you may get to treat as part of your animal care training
Amakhala Game Reserve, located in the malaria free Eastern Cape, will be your home for the duration of your stay. Students will be accommodated on the Game Reserve in one of the Lodges. Amakhala will leave you in awe of life’s abundance, beauty and spectacular scenery. Sunlit grassy savannah plains, a mosaic of Valley Bush veldt plants inclining Aloe from which Amakhala derives its Xhosa name, the gently dappled light of the sand forest, many watering holes and the wide spellbinding Bushman’s River. This is home to a great many African mammals, birds and insects. It will humble and fascinate all the participants
- 15 June – 30 June 2023
- 30 June – 15 July 2023
- 27 July – 11 August 2023
- 11 Aug – 26 August 2023
- 13 June – 28 June 2024
- 29 June – 14 July 2024
- 26 July – 10 August 2024
- 12 Aug – 27 August 2024
Vets Go Wild Students are accommodated at the Leeuwenbosch & Shearer’s Lodges situated in one of the protected areas that make up Amakhala Game Reserve. The camps are traditional lodges, which boasts comfortable rooms, en-suite shower facilities, a private swimming pool, and separate dining and bar areas. The lodges consists of separate units set into the surrounding vegetation: Social area – lounge & bar, balcony looking over the protected area, outdoor barbeque facilities, fireside area. Accommodation units sleeping up to six with en-suite bath or shower, toilet and basin. Dining and kitchen unit. Swimming pool area. Office and lecture facility for the Vets Go Wild animal care training, which backs onto one of the accommodation units.
Three basic meals per day are provided for you. Most meals will be enjoyed at the lodge but packed meals will accompany you when activities take you away from the lodge around meal times. Vegetarian and other dietary requirements are catered for, but must be specifically requested before arrival so that supplies can be arranged. Please make sure the Worldwide team are made aware of any such requirements. The meals will be prepared by the lodge chef. A typical menu includes: Breakfast, assorted cereals, yoghurt, fruit salad and toast. Lunch: Soup, open sandwich/burgers/rolls, salads & bread or a packed lunch if out of camp. Dinner: Example of main course is barbeque or lasagne or casserole served with jacket potatoes, mixed vegetables, salad and dessert. Soft drinks and bottled mineral water are available to purchase through an honesty bar system. Alcoholic beverages are available at the bar during social hours only. Drinking water via a water fountain will be available free of charge throughout the day.
On arrival at Johannesburg O.R Tambo Airport or Cape Town International Airport (these are your first points of entry into South Africa) you will have to clear immigrations and collect your baggage, once you have cleared customs formalities proceed to the domestic terminal for your onward domestic flight, the domestic terminal is clearly marked and within walking distance. We recommend a minimum of 90 minutes connecting time from your international flight. On arrival at Port Elizabeth Airport, having collected your baggage please proceed to the information desk in arrivals, a Vet Go Wild Representative will be awaiting your arrival and they will then transfer you to Amakhala Game Reserve – your new home over the coming 16 days.
An internet link is available at the lodge for the purposes of e-mailing only (WIFI is available at the hotspot). The use of this service is free and time slots can be arranged during the course. Connections speeds are currently GPRS governed. The lodge and surrounding area has good mobile network coverage.(Vodacom, MTN & Cell-C)
The South African weather varies from one area to another. The Eastern Cape province has winter and summer rainfall, with evenings being cooler than daytime throughout the year.
Summer months in South Africa: November – April
Winter months: May – October (morning and evenings are cold).
This is a 16 day intensive programme and therefore you do not have any days off, however, the reserve is near many attractions that can be visited after the programme.
Transfers from Port Elizabeth Airport to Amakhala Game Reserve
All fieldwork, lectures and visits to surrounding areas
*Please note: Participation in Africa veterinary wildlife call-outs to take place at random times during the course and no activities can be guaranteed.
Day 1 Arrivals and transfers to Amakhala Game Reserve
Orientation of Camp & its facilities
Africa Vet Course overview
Guided game drive
Day 2 – Amakhala Morning game walk
Lectures: Basic wildlife conservation principles for Africa Vets
Introduction to practical conservation management
Re-introductions and sustainable utilisation
Afternoon game drive
Day 3 – Amakhala Sunrise solitaire
Lectures: Relationships between animals & habitat management
An overview of the Africa Vet role in conservation
Equipment & drugs relevant to veterinary wildlife
Practical on darting and darting practise
Evening into night drive
Day 4 – Amakhala & Surrounding Reserves
Practical demonstration from an African vet of capture techniques used in antelope
Overview of reserve management structures and principles in other conservation areas
Day 5 – Amakhala & Surrounding Reserves
Visit to the born free centre
Talk on role of the foundation in the rescue and care of African wildlife
Tour around the Vets Go Wild centre and facilities
Discussion on health & welfare issues associated with captive conditions.
Game Drive focused on predator management in the wild
Day 6 – Amakhala & Surrounding Reserves
Game drive on Amakhala
Focus on specific species & management issues
Mega herbivore and predator issues in management
Day 7 – Amakhala Game drive & practical darting procedure
Lectures: Africa veterinary pharmacology and case study examples
Basic capture techniques and Immobilisation practical
Technology in conservation
Practical diurnal telemetry tracking on Amakhala
Day 8 – Addo National Elephant Park
Transfer to Addo and overview of park management and policies
Different approaches of national parks compared to private game reserves.
Visit to animal holding bomas and discussion
Day 9 – Amakhala
Lectures: Diseases relevant to African wildlife and the role of parasites & disease in nature.
The monitoring and control of disease
Vaccination procedures for Africa vets or disease testing practical
Day 10 – Amakhala
Lectures: Protected area systems & economics
Alternative ways to utilize wildlife.
Biodiversity issues and extinction processes.
Night drive: telemetry on nocturnal species
Day 11 – Marine & coastal management
Transfer to Port Elizabeth
Visit to Port Elizabeth Oceanarium
Marine excursion into Algoa Bay and Addo marine reserve.
Day 12 – Surrounding reserves
A comparative look at different conservation models and ecosystems.
Exercise in adaptive management plans for predators.
Practical excursion involving procedures on challenging wildlife species
Day 13 – Amakhala Relocation and holding of animals
Stress factors in handling and containment
Drugs and facilities Africa vets use to reduce stress
Pathology of stress related mortalities
Day 14 – Amakhala & surrounds
Socio-economic issues to consider in conservation of African ecosystems.
Day 15 – Amakhala
Summary and key issue analysis
Game drive on AGR for field discussion
Appropriate capture techniques Drug combinations and dosages
Sundowners on Amakhala and Vets Go Wild Course farewell dinner.
Day 16 – Breakfast
Departures & transfers to Port Elizabeth
For those who want to travel with their own group rather than joining a mixed course, we do accept exclusive groups from universities or specific regions.
*Subject to a minimum of 12 participants in a group.
Comprehensive Information Pack
Country & Area : South Africa, Eastern Cape Area
Nearest Airport : Port Elizabeth Airport (PLZ)
Transfer Time : ± 60 minutes
Duration : 16 Days
Minimum Age : 18