Pre-Vet Programme

For those students who are sure that veterinary medicine is what they want to study, we offer a unique course at Welgevonden Game Reserve. The Pre-Vet Programme offers students the opportunity to work alongside Welgevonden’s pioneering veterinary staff. The programme 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 and 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.

Full Course Details


Project Type: Wildlife Veterinary Science, Pre Vet Studies, Conservation Project, Extra Mural Studies

Location: Waterberg, South Africa

Pick Up Point: Johannesburg International Airport

Duration: 12 Days.

Price: 2020 Rates; £1399 per person

Start Dates: 6th July – 18th July | 20th July – 1st August 2020

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

Meals: Three meals per day included (Self Preparation).

Age Range: 18 Plus.


The Pre Vet Programme 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 the opportunity for hands on work with wildlife
– Allow students to see first hand how the wildlife at Welgevonden 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 Welgevonden 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
– Postmortems
– Be the Vet
– Any emergency veterinary procedures

Conservation Activities May Include:
– Game Monitoring: Rhino, Elephants, Predators
– Telemetry Tracking
– Management of Breeding 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 (euthanasia, 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 bomas.
– Stress factors in handling and containment.
– 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 Welgevonden 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 other South African based programmes.

Where You'll Stay


Whilst conducting your Conservation Project you will be accommodated at the purpose built student centre which is situated on the Main Reserve. The centre boasts ten purpose built tents that sleep two people per tent in single beds, each tent also has lighting and electricity supply. Shared ablutions of toilets and showers are available with running hot and cold water. There is also a number of communal facilities including a lecture room, canteen, storage fridge, lounge entertainment area. The centre also has access to Wi-Fi. Three meals are provided daily on a semi-participation basis and students are expected to assist in preparation of meals etc. 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.


Welgevonden Game Reserve, (Dutch for “well found”), is a 34,8500ha game reserve in the Waterberg District, of the Limpopo Province of South Africa.​

A pleasant 2.5-hour drive or an easy 45-minute flight from Johannesburg into one of the airstrips, makes Welgevonden one of the most accessible malaria free wilderness reserves in the country. It forms part of the Waterberg Biosphere Reserve which was officially declared by UNESCO in 2001 and currently covers an area in excess of 4000 km². ​

The reserve comprises of mountainous terrain that is dissected by deep valleys and kloofs while flat plateaus characterise most hilltops. Altitude varies from 1080 m in the north to ±1800 m in the southern section of the reserve.​

The diversity of habitat leads to a wide range of wildlife with grassy plains abounding with antelope from the largest eland to the diminutive duiker; cheetah, lion and leopard are regularly seen close by. There are also numerous rare and unusual species such as brown hyena, aardwolf, pangolin and aardvark – all best seen at night. Over 300 bird species can be seen on the reserve, including rare blue cranes which breed in the southern section early in the year.​


Gallery Rates


2020 Rates: £1399 per person

12 Days – 6th July – 18th July | 20th July – 1st August 2020


£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 Johannesburg International Airport.
– Accommodation for duration of stay.
– All transportation on project.
– 24 hour in country support.
– 3 meals per day (Self Prepared).
– 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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