Wildlife Veterinary Program in South Africa

Treat and Protect Wildlife as a Wildlife Vet Assistant

Get hands-on, incomparable experience in all facets of wildlife capture and wildlife veterinary procedures in beautiful South Africa. If you wish to learn more about being a wildlife veterinarian while making a positive impact on wildlife conservation, this is definitely the place for you! 

This program is designed for people either already qualified as vets, someone that is in the process of becoming a vet (preferably minimum third-year student), or veterinary nurses who are looking to gain hands-on experience in all facets of wildlife capture and veterinary procedures. However, with the right experience, others may be considered.

Read more about Wildlife Veterinary volunteering Assistance in Africa.

Project Highlights

  • Work alongside wildlife veterinary professionals of South Africa, receiving theoretical and practical knowledge on all aspects of wildlife capture and wildlife medicine
  • Learn to treat and move wildlife with the least stress and resulting side effects
  • Be part of wildlife conservation efforts that are saving animals from extinction through population management, breeding and genetic diversity
  • Gain the necessary knowledge and confidence to then treat and capture animals in zoo’s and reserves all over the world
  • Live on a private game reserve and share your thoughts, passion and experience with other international veterinary students
  • Take advantage of optional trips to explore the world-renowned Garden Route and stunning city of Cape Town
veterinary assistance wildlife conservation volunteer

Quick Facts

Garden Route, South Africa

Cape Town International Airport

Specific Start Dates

3 weeks

Impact: Animal Care

From R21500 per week

Destination

volunteers in south africa out in the african bush

This project is set against the majestic Langeberg Mountain Range, on the world-famous Garden Route in South Africa. This route is renowned for its spectacular scenery, mild climate, pristine coastline, winding rivers, sky-scraping indigenous forests, and amazing wildlife.

You will be staying in a very comfortable house on Goedemoed Farm, opposite the Hartenbos Private Game Reserve. The house has 3 big bedrooms with 2 sets of bunk beds per room (4 beds). These rooms share full 5 bathrooms and 6 showers all with hot water. From the garden, you can see sable antelope, giraffe, wildebeest, and other antelope species, and the sound of Zebra is carried by the wind!

You will share the property and rooms with other participants and will be accompanied by our fully supportive staff and wildlife experts! There is a nice shared kitchen area where you usually have breakfast, as well as a beautiful communal braai area outside.

There is a cozy kitchen where breakfast is served in a help-yourself style. Lunch is usually served outside in the communal braai area or packed to have in the reserve. Dinner is either in the warm kitchen or outside at the fire. There’s even a small snack shop at the house where you can buy some extra treats!

South Africa has a few different cellular network providers, for which sim cards can be purchased from most shops. Various package options allow for phone calls and/or data usage.


Limited internet (WiFi) access is available at the project location.

The Garden Route has a Mediterranean climate, which is pleasant to visit all year round. It gets rainfall throughout the year, mostly at night (you can imagine why it’s called the Garden Route!) Temperatures in winter range between 0-25 degrees Celsius (make sure you dress for the wind chill factor as you will be in open vehicles), and summer temperatures range between 17-35 degrees Celsius. Temperatures can get as high as 40 degrees Celsius in summer.

Project Impact Areas

Theoretical Learnings

During the course, you will go through theoretical and practical information including: • Legal and ethical considerations when doing wildlife work in South Africa • Basic physiology • Basic and applied pharmacology • Stress and capture-related animal death • Safety and first aid in the field • Principles of chemical and physical restraint of wild animals • Helicopter use in wildlife work • Chemical immobilization and drug–injecting equipment • Ballistics and projectile darting systems • Dart projectors and other restraint tools • Ancillary treatment in wildlife capture and care • Capture and transport of wildlife animals • Post-capture boma management
wildlife-veterinary-assistance-volunteer-south-africa
wildlife-veterinary-assistance-volunteer-south-africa

Practical Exercises

You will also be involved in practical exercises such as:
• Rifle safety and basic operation
• Dart-gun target practice and virtual darting simulations
• Radio communication and telemetry training to track collared animals
• Roping of animals like giraffe and rhino
• Injections SQ/IM/IV
• Pre-capture planning exercises
• Loading and unloading of animals
• Record keeping exercises for DNA, tags, horn measurements, etc.
• Helicopter orientation and darting a moving target from the helicopter

Other Activities

Recent Volunteer Reviews

PROJECT APPLICATION

SUBMIT YOUR APPLICATION

After completing the below application form, one of our Destination Specialists will get in touch to discuss your volunteer experience and any questions you may have. When you are ready to book, we will send you a booking form after which a deposit will be required to secure your position.

STEP 1

Personal Information

STEP 2

When do you want to Volunteer or Intern?

(Optional)

Give us an idea of your travel plans, you can also say ‘I’m not sure yet.’ 
We’ll take it from there.

STEP 3

How long do you want to Volunteer or Intern for?

(Optional)

Select your preferred duration(s). The African Impact team recommend at least 4 weeks for a truly memorable experience!

PRICE

From R21500 per week. Your weekly cost will reduce if you stay for longer than 2 weeks.

PROJECT FEE INCLUDES

  • Cottage style accommodation
  • Breakfast, lunch and dinner (Mon – Sun)
  • Laundry service
  • Airport transfers on arrival and departure
  • All project transport, equipment and resources
  • Support from experienced local and international staff
  • Full orientation for responsible project contribution
 

PROJECT FEE EXCLUDES

  • Price excludes flights, visas, insurance, weekend tours and personal expenses

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Frequently Asked Questions

Currently, wildlife across Africa is facing severe threat. As development expands, many African animals are being forced out of their native habitats and into unprotected areas where they often run into conflict with humans. No matter the animal’s size, wildlife nearly always lose in these interactions and are left isolated, injured, and in desperate need of assistance. Wildlife veterinary professionals and volunteers play a critical role in rescuing and rehabilitating injured animals, ensuring their safe recovery and release back into the wild.

As a wildlife veterinary volunteer with African Impact, you’ll gain valuable work experience in the field of wildlife medicine and make incredible impacts in wildlife rescue. Exploring the Garden Route of South Africa, your volunteer work will focus on caring for injured, lost or vulnerable wildlife by applying various professional wildlife rescue and capture techniques. If you’re eager to advance your career in wilderness veterinary medicine, this is an incredible way to make an impact while doing so.

Africa is home to many vulnerable, endangered, and critically endangered animals who are in desperate need of protection. These include; Black rhino – critically endangered, Mountain gorilla – endangered, African wild dog – endangered, African lion – vulnerable, Cheetah – vulnerable.

As endangered animals across Africa face increasingly intense threats to their survival, we must do everything we can to protect, conserve, and care for them. Joining one of our animal care or wildlife conservation projects is an incredible opportunity to get your hands dirty in wildlife conservation efforts and make an impact.

Due to the hands-on practice that we facilitate on this project, we do require some experience in veterinary medicine for volunteers to be eligible for joining us. We have hosted professional veterinarians, veterinary nurses, and 3rd year or later veterinary students in the past. However, we are certainly open to welcoming other applicants with the proper education and experience. Please get in touch to learn more if you qualify for this project.

If you’re looking to gain professional veterinary experience, explore Africa’s wild side, and make a real impact on the lives of local wildlife, then this is the perfect project for you.

A large version of the African Impact logo.