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“Pre” Vet Eco Experience

For those students who are sure that veterinary medicine is what they want to study, we offer a unique course at Shamwari Game Reserve. The Pre Vet Eco Experience offers students the opportunity to work alongside Shamwari’s award winning conservation department and pioneering veterinary staff. The program itself is split into both theoretical and practical activities, all based around veterinary science and conservation in relation to African wildlife. Furthermore, students are given advice on how best to strengthen their application to vet school and be successful.

The experiences gained as part of this project will be invaluable to future vets, training to be a vet in this hands on environment, giving students the confidence in their abilities and experience to perform well in the competitive application process. Prove yourself as a wildlife vet and you know you will be able to handle any domestic animal cases back in the UK with a clear head.

Every year we are overjoyed to receive letters and emails from students who have attended one of our pre vet work experience programmes who found their time in Africa to be vitally important to their success at veterinary school.

“If you are looking for the experience of a lifetime – look no further. Shamwari has provided me and my fellow students with memories we shall never forget and experience second to none.” – Katie Jameson

For more testimonials to the benefits of completing our “Pre” Vet Eco Experience programme, take a look at our blog to see what some of our past volunteers have to say.

Full Course Details


Project Type: Wildlife Veterinary Science, Conservation Project, Extra Mural Studies.

Location: Eastern Cape, South Africa.

Pick Up Point: Port Elizabeth Airport.

Duration: 12 Days.

Price: 2018 Course rates TBC

Start Dates: 2018 –  Course 1: 4th June – 16th June 2018

Accommodation: Purpose built volunteer accommodation situated on the Game Reserve.

Meals: Three meals per day included, semi participation.

Age Range: 16 Plus.


The Pre Vet Eco Experience is designed to give future Vet students an introduction to Veterinary Science that is in-depth and thorough. The course itself is centred around the practical and theoretical knowledge required to care for African wildlife, but throughout the experience there are also informative lectures from existing UK Vet students on the application process and the steps you should take to ensure success.

Course Objectives

The course will:
– Prepare you for the Vet School application process.
– Strengthen your CV and Vet School application with relevant work experience.
– Provide insights into veterinary wildlife practices on Game Reserves
– Provide participants with valuable experience by exposing them to practical work and giving them hands on work with wildlife.
– Allow students to see first hand how the award winning wildlife department at Shamwari is managed.
– Educate pre-vets on the principles of wildlife veterinary medicine and the larger conservation ethics which inform these principles.
– Train students in the immobilisation and darting techniques used for various wildlife species.

Veterinary Activities:
As part of the Pre Vet Experience at Shamwari students will be introduced to a number of conservation activities and veterinary procedures. These may include:
– Introduction to Darting Techniques
– Rhino Darting
– Immobilisation of large carnivore
– Translocation of Antelope species
– Passive Game capture
– Post Mortems
– Be the Vet
– Any emergency veterinary procedures
– Conservation Activities May Include:
– Game Monitoring: Rhino, Elephants, Predators
– Telemetry Tracking
– Management of Breeding Centre
– Volunteering at Born Free Foundation
– Volunteering at Animal Rehabilitation Centre

Possible Talks and Presentations
– Process and applying for Vet School.
– Interviews at University.
– Preparing work experience for interviews.
– Making the most of EMS.
– Practical preparation for EMS.
– Introduction to Wildlife Conservation in SA.
– Anatomy.
– Ethical decisions of Wildlife Vets (Euthinasia, Diseases and Game management).
– Basic Veterinary Skills.
– A day in the life of a Wildlife Vet.
– Physiology.
– Animal Husbandry.
– Basic Veterinary Nursing.
– Rehabilitation of wildlife.
– Elephant management.
– Intensive vs Free roaming wildlife.
– Wildlife Monitoring.
– Understanding the principles of Eco Systems.
– Animal Population Dynamics.
– Capture Techniques and relocation of wildlife.
– Use of Boma’s.
– Stress Factors in handling and containment.
– Biomes of the Eastern Cape.
– Wildlife tracks and signs.
– Basic wildlife conservation, ecology and management principles.
– Animal welfare in relation to capture and containment.
– Anti-poaching methods.

Students will have a full 12 day itinerary that covers all of the above areas. However, it is important to understand and appreciate that working with wildlife is unpredictable and circumstances can often change very quickly. Therefore, although the course is based on a structure, these activities may change depending on the needs and requirements of the Shamwari team during your time on the reserve.

For further wildlife conservation courses that are less tailored to preparing volunteers for vet school, head over to our projects page, where you will find South African based programmes where you will be working with the animals of the Hoedspruit Endangered Species Centre (HESC) and the Kariega Game Reserve.

Where You'll Stay


Whilst conducting your Pre Vet Eco Experience you will be accommodated at the purpose built student centre is situated in close proximity to the main reserve on one of the management properties of the conservation department. General game including zebra and kudu can be found along with buffalo on the property.

The centre boasts twin rooms with ensuite shower and toilet facilities with a communal safe and storage in each room. There is also a number of communal facilities including a lecture theatre, swimming pool, canteen, storage fridge, lounge and entertainment area, television and DVD access, computer and internet access.

Three meals are provided on a daily basis. Meals will either be served at the facility itself or taken as a pre-packed serving, depending on planned or as result of unscheduled activities.
Laundry services are provided once a week.


Shamwari Game Reserve is located in the Eastern Cape of South Africa and is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful and interesting regions on planet Earth. The Eastern Cape’s biodiversity is unmatched in Southern-Africa.

For the sunseekers, the Wild Coast and the Sunshine Coast has some of the world’s best beaches. For exquisite beaches try Bushman’s River Mouth or Kenton-on-Sea. The Sunshine Coast is also very well known for its surfing waves.

Jeffreys Bay is an area with some of the country’s wildest coastline, which is backed by some of Africa’s most spectacular sub-tropical rainforest. Famous for its “supertubes”, probably South Africa’s longest and most consistently good wave, This affluent area is charged with a friendly and relaxed surfing vibe.. Near Cape S. Francis is Seal Point and it is, one of the best places to take surfing photos, is near Cape St. Francis.

The area is an ideal base to explore the wonders of South Africa because of an array of attractions and you can choose to do this during or after your experience.

Gallery Rates


12 Days – 2018 Course rates TBC


£200 deposit to secure placement at time of booking, final balance due 8 weeks prior to departure.


– Pre departure support and documentation.
– Programme fee and contribution.
– Return Transfers from Port Elizabeth Airport.
– Accommodation for duration of stay.
– Housekeeping costs.
– All transportation on project.
– 24 hour in country support.
– Laundry service once weekly
– 3 meals per day, any additional snacks are to be provided by the learner.
– Access to tea, coffee and juice.
– Study Manual.
– Training, Theoretical lectures and practical training.


– Flights.
– Travel Insurance.
– Any vaccinations as recommended by your GP.
– Internet access.
– Soft drinks and snacks.
– Any visas required.
– Any additional activities outside of project itinerary.


If you have any questions, or if you’d like to find out more about this incredible adventure and create some unforgettable memories, just fill in the form below and one of our team will be in touch as soon as possible.

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