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Whether it be for pleasure or as a student of wildlife, EcoLife offers an exciting, hands-on, in-depth and educational experience. During the expeditions you interact with rangers, veterinarians and researchers who are actively involved in projects, giving you insight into life, successes and problems associated with conservation in Africa today.

Equipment We supply all camping equipment including comfortable 2-man tents and foam mattresses. Please bring your own sleeping bag.

Accommodation We make use of a variety of campsites, ranging from sites with full amenities, to rustic campsites in more remote areas. In some reserves accommodation will be in huts, chalets or safari-style tents.

Vets-in-the-Wild Expeditions Participation
Guests on our Wildlife Management, Vets-in-the-Wild and Vet-Nurses-in-the-Wild expeditions participate in camping activities, such as pitching tents, and assistance with meals while on the expedition. No experience is necessary, as guests will only assist with basic activities, and will be under the guidance of our skilled team at all times.

Group size Our groups usually number between 6 and 18 persons. Traveling in relatively small groups provide a more personal experience and allows for more freedom in field activities. There is no age limit on our expeditions.

Vets-in-the-Wild Expeditions[]

Set departure date for 2011: 16 January to 06 February 2011: Group code – VW06

Join us for the experience of a lifetime, a field study program in South Africa for students in veterinary fields and wildlife conservation

  • Experience the world of wildlife conservation in Southern Africa, hands-on.
  • 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 university credits for these programs.

About Our International Universities Programs

EcoLife Expeditions is an extension program of the Centre for Wildlife Management, University of Pretoria and has been conducting short-term field study programs for international students since 1999. Two study programs are currently presented, the Vets-in-the-Wild program and the Wildlife Management program.

Aimed at students of veterinary science and wildlife management, these study programs offer 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 revised program is open to veterinary and pre-veterinary students, currently enrolled at a recognized tertiary educational institution, as well as to qualified professionals and also to interested persons.

Course Content:[]

v Wildlife Veterinary Science

v Wildlife Diseases and Medicine

v Capture and Care of Wild Animals

v Breeding of Rare Species

v Wildlife Rehabilitation

v Ecosystems and Biodiversity Conservation


Day 1: Arrival Students arrive and are welcomed at OR Tambo International Airport, Johannesburg, by EcoLife Staff Members. You are transferred to your guesthouse, close to the University of Pretoria, and relax before the evening welcoming dinner.

Accommodation: Pretoria Guest house

Day 2: Orientation, Pretoria and Lion Park

Our expedition starts by attending a morning workshop at the Center for Wildlife Management of the University of Pretoria. We meet with staff members who have been involved in the pioneering of wildlife management in Southern Africa, and learn about the latest developments in wilderness management. After lunch we visit a lion park to view lions up-close and even catch sight of a white lion. This is also your chance to get your hands on a lion cub!

Accommodation: Pretoria Guest house

Days 3 and 4: Community Veterinary Services

After breakfast we drive towards Soweto, the sprawling black city adjacent to Johannesburg where we join CLAW, (Community Led Animal Welfare), a world renowned group of dedicated animal lovers and veterinarians who volunteer their professional time and services to Black African townships to assist in the care of these people’s domestic animals.

Accommodation: Pretoria Guest house

Days 5 - 8: Vet School and Wilderness Training

We visit the famous School of Veterinary Science of the University of Pretoria for an introduction to its renowned facilities. Then we turn east to a private camp in the Bushveld on the banks of the Loskop Reservoir. The wilderness reserve surrounding this lake is a pristine area in which to learn practical bush skills, track wildlife on foot and study wildlife behavior, and is perfect for learning how animals and man utilize plants. Weather permitting we will also do some abseiling.

Accommodation: Tented camp

Days 9 - 12: Kruger National Park

We depart after an early breakfast en route to the Lowveld and the Kruger National Park. The biodiversity of this jewel of wilderness areas, almost the size of Belgium, is spectacular. It is the ideal area for observing and studying most of the wildlife species Southern Africa has to offer. The greatest attraction of this magnificent Park is the opportunity to experience African game viewing at its best and to spot the Big Five. We enjoy a sunset game drive to observe the Park’s inhabitant’s behavior at night, drive along the Park’s pristine rivers and perhaps go on an optional nature walk in the bush with experienced Park rangers to guide us. Park facilities include public telephones, a bank, a shop, restaurants and a laundry.

Accommodation: Camping

Day 13: Blyde Canyon Reserve: Swadini Resort

After a final game drive, exiting the Park, we arrive and establish our base at the beautiful Blydepoort Nature Reserve at the foot of the majestic northern Drakensberg Mountains (Mountains of the Dragon). The pristine Swadini Resort’s facilities include public telephones, a shop, heated and ambient swimming pools, restaurants and a laundry.

Accommodation: Camping (Swadini)

Day 14: Reptile Centre and Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre

We attend a workshop presented on the handling and care of reptiles, including highly venomous snakes, and we also visit a world renowned wildlife rehabilitation centre. The care of a wide range of wildlife species will be experienced and demonstrated first hand.

Accommodation: Camping (Swadini)

Day 15: Drive to Brits

We depart early and take a scenic drive to Brits which is known for the numerous private game reserves and farms found in the area. Here we set up camp settle in for the night.

Accommodation: Camping

Days 16 - 19: 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 four days are dedicated to observing and learning about and participating in actual game capture operations under the guidance of a veterinarian. We will, subject to the weather, also personally experience a mock darting exercise from a helicopter in flight. (The area in which the game capture will take place will differ from group to group)

Accommodation: Camping

Day 20: Sondela Nature Reserve

After an early rise to strike camp we commence our long drive through rural villages and pretty towns to arrive at Sondela to set up camp.

Accommodation: Camping

Day 21: Sondela Nature Reserve

After breakfast we visit a wildlife rehabilitation center, where we get the chance to interact with the sick, injured and orphaned animals. After lunch we will have enough time to write our exam. Our farewell dinner, followed by our graduation ceremony, is enjoyed under the stars around our last campfire.

Accommodation: Camping

Day 22: Departure

We depart for Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport, in time for our flights home.

Cost per person sharing: []


(once off special rate to Australian and New Zealand students for this one trip only


Accommodation for the duration of the program

Transportation for the duration of the program

Airport transfers as stated

Camping equipment

Permits and entry fees

All meals and group activities


Air travel to and from South Africa

Visa costs

Optional activities

Alcoholic beverages

South Africa

Wildlife management course (22 days)[]

Extensive wildlife management course incorporating interaction with wildlife
conservationists Combine an adventure-filled expedition with a learning experience Program endorsed by the Centre for Wildlife Management, University of Pretoria (South Africa) and the International Council for Game and Wildlife Conservation(Wildlife Management Education Program)

Main focus[]

Wildlife Management Techniques

Sustainable Resource Utilization

Ecosystem and Biodiversity Conservation

Reserve and Resort Management

Capture and Care of wild animals

Credit courses available from the University of Pretoria:[]

Ecosystems and Wildlife Management NLB311(4 Credits)[]

Topics covered includes:

Animal behaviour

Water utilisation

Game condition




eed selection

Game capture and relocation

Participatory Nature Conservation NLB312(4 Credits)

Topics covered includes:

Grazing and browse capacity

General concepts of carrying capacity in a multi-species park

Maximisation of tourist experience and minimizing environmental impact

Road layout and fire as a management tool

Historical and cultural sites

Local community participation


You must be at least 16 years of age to participate in these courses. There is no upper age limit on our courses, although you should be fit enough to be able to enjoy a camping experience.

*Accommodation for the duration of the program

  • Transportation for the duration of the program
  • Airport transfers as stated
  • Lectures, course material and registration with the University of Pretoria
  • Camping equipment
  • Permits and entry fees
  • All meals
  • Group activities
  • Air travel to and from South Africa
  • Optional activities as mentioned

Scheduled departures for 2010

WM01 16 May - 06 June US$4 285 Completed
WM02 20 June - 11 July US$4 285 Completed
WM03 28 December-18 January 2011 US$4 285 5

Scheduled departures for 2011

WM01 15 May - 05 June US$4 285 10
WM02 03 July - 24 July US$4 285 12
WM03 28 December-18 January 2011 US$4 285 15

Contact us[]

Contact us now, for the best experience that will add valuable knowledge to your studies. Who else can say they had the African bush as their classroom?

For more information, contact

EcoLife Expeditions E-mail :

PO Box 26907 Website :

Monument Park Tel : +2712-347-2624

0105 Fax : +2712-347-6369

South Africa