Vet Shadow Wildlife Experience

Do you want to get hands on Wildlife Veterinary Experience? If so it does not get more real than this!

Our Vet Shadow Wildlife Experience is a unique opportunity to shadow highly knowledgeable wildlife vets on their day to day work out in the wilds of Africa. The experience is incredibly personal with just two places available on each placement; this is your chance to live, breathe and act as wildlife vet in Africa!

The programme is split between hands on conservation activities as well as a minimum of 5 days working and living with one of our wildlife vets where you will assist with their day to day duties and procedures on a number of neighbouring game reserves and national parks. Your comfort zones will be pushed; as budding vet students you will be faced with unpredictable and unusual practices than those normally faced in domestic environments.

Full Course Details


Project Type: Vet Shadow Experience

Location: Eastern Cape – South Africa

Pick up Point: Port Elizabeth – South Africa

End City: Port Elizabeth – South Africa

Duration: 14 Days

Price: from £1,599

Accommodation: Purpose built accommodation and residential stay when on vet visits

Meals: Three meals a day included plus unlimited tea and coffee

Age Range: 18+


The Wildlife Vet Shadow has been formulated to provide you with a hands on, work based learning experience into Wildlife Veterinary practices in South Africa. The project covers mostly practical based learning as you will be living and working with our vets. The programme will expose you to conservation activities as well as hands on veterinary procedures and techniques. The objectives of the course are:

– Expose participants to behind the scenes veterinary wildlife practices at Shamwari Game Reserve and other game parks and farms
– To gain invaluable experience through exposure to practical and hands on skills in the wildlife veterinary field
– Experience firsthand Shamwari’s award winning wildlife department which encompasses conservation, ecology and wildlife management
– To educate the principles of wildlife veterinary decisions compared to domestic circumstances and the larger conservation ethics that govern these procedures
– Introduce pharmacology with the emphasis on wildlife drugs
– Provide an understanding of the drugs and techniques required to incorporate veterinary procedures into wildlife management
– Introduce disease producing agents and the affects on wildlife species
– Immobilisation and darting techniques used for various wildlife species

As part of the Wildlife Vet Shadow you will be introduced to a number of conservation activities and veterinary interactions and procedures. It is important to understand that the type of veterinary interactions you will have whilst on your vet shadow cannot be guaranteed however some of the typical procedures you can expect to assist with include:

Animal Translocation
The main work that you would be involved with are translocations. These translocations could include rhino, giraffe, carnivores or any antelope depending on what is required. Most of these take place with the help of a helicopter.

Introduction to Darting Techniques
The various darting techniques used for game capture and immobilisation, learning to handle the various darting systems and target practice.

Management of Species
The management and control of rare and valuable game in semi intensive camps.

Conduct postmortems with veterinary staff for research and assessment.

Any Emergency Veterinary Procedures
As required by the veterinary team on the reserve.

Treatment of Sick or Injured Wildlife
You will assist with any treatments of wildlife as and when required.

As part of your Vet Shadow Experience at least 5 days will be spent working alongside the conservation team at Shamwari Game Reserve. Activities may include:

Game Monitoring: Rhino, Elephants, Predators
With regular monitoring it is possible to identify individuals, compile information about the family structure and determine feeding and special ecology. Data collected is used to assist in the managing decisions for the reserve.

Telemetry Tracking
Monitoring of some high profile animals like cheetah and leopard are required using telemetry tracking equipment due to the neighbouring properties carrying livestock and the elusive nature of some of the species.

Management of Breeding Centre
Management of breeding centre can include anything from veld (open country or grassland) conditions assessment, mapping of breeding area, mapping of alien vegetation, monitoring animal numbers and managing water points.

Volunteering at Born Free Foundation
It is the mission of both the Born Free Foundation and Shamwari Game Reserve to promote the conservation of species and the protection of habitat while maintaining a humane and compassionate approach to the welfare of animals and therefore it is their goal to create an awareness of the horrific way in which wildlife is exploited in captivity around the world. An opportunity will be given on a weekly basis for individuals to volunteer at the Born Free Big Cat Sanctuary.

Volunteering at Animal Rehabilitation Centre
Shamwari Animal Rehabilitation Centre was set up to aid in rehabilitating injured animals found on the reserve and surrounding community. The aim is to give the animal short term care and release it back into the environment. The centre boasts avian, small and large stock boma (enclosure) areas which house the various species which may find their way to Shamwari.

Where You'll Stay


Whilst conducting your Wildlife Vet Shadow you will be accommodated at the purpose built student centre which 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 are also a number of communal facilities including a lecture theatre, swimming pool, canteen, storage fridge, lounge and entertainment area, television and DVD’s, computer and internet access.

You will also be accommodated with our vet Murray at his house in Alicedale. You will have all the comforts of a normal home but may be required to stay on or near some of the places where he works.

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.


Our Vet Shadow Wildlife Experience 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 sun seekers, 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 St. Francis is Seal Point and it is one of the best places to take surfing photos

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


From £1,599 per person sharing


£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 Port Elizabeth Airport
– Accommodation for duration of stay
– Housekeeping costs
– All meals
– Reserve activities
– All transportation on project
– 24 hour in country support


– 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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“Georgina had a great time and as the weeks go on we are hearing more tales of her adventure, although the animals and the bungee jump will be a lot to live up to in her future adventures!

There are so many companies etc on the Internet that one can become a bit bemused by everything and your company has certainly proved to be a good one for her – so much better for her future career than simply just following a conservation project.

Thank you for your support and care for her welfare and enjoyment of the whole experience, I will certainly be recommending your company to others”

– Liz Cave – Mother of Georgina Cave

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