Waterberg Wildlife & Veterinary Course

Are you looking to gain some hands on Wildlife Veterinary Experience and whilst having the opportunity to spend your days out on a Big 5 Game Reserve. If so, our Waterberg Wildlife & Veterinary Course is the programme for you.

Situated on a 36,000 Hectare, Big 5 Game Reserve, the course allows participants to become part of the conservation team and work alongside researchers, wildlife vets and conservation professionals.

If you are a Veterinary Nurse, Vet Student or in Pre-Vet studies this course will be an ideal work experience programme.

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: 2023 Rates: £1,498 per person

Start Dates: Please enquire for 2024 dates

Accommodation: Research camp located on Game Reserve.

Meals: Three meals per day included, self prepared.

Age Range: 18 Plus.

For veterinary students, Vet Nurses and Pre Veterinary students to gain practical experience and insight  in as many aspects of veterinary wildlife and conservation work as possible.

The aim of the programme is:

  • To allow you to gain invaluable experience through exposure to practical and hands on skills in the wildlife veterinary field
  • Expose participants to behind the scenes veterinary Wildlife Practices and Conservation
  • Working with Endangered species and Wildlife Veterinarians role in Anti Poaching
  • Immobilisation and capture techniques used for various wildlife species
  • Wildlife ranching and conservation  challenges
  • Develop their animal handling skills across a range of African Wildlife Species
  • Develop their understanding and gain further experience of medical treatment of wildlife
  • Appreciate the importance of herd health in intensive wildlife breeding
  • Gain experience of a variety of veterinary wildlife and conservation working environments
  • Vegetation types suitable for wildlife sustainability
  • Tracks and tracking of Big Five on 35 000 hectare reserve
  • Understanding Exotic disease in African Wildlife
  • Elephant Identification and Behavioural Monitoring
  • Rhino Identification and Behavioural Monitoring
  • Monitoring and understanding Predator populations

Possible Veterinary Activities:

  • Preparing and loading darts: correct methods to minimise risks
  • Darting simulation  and practice  shooting exercise for students
  • Wildlife immobilisation on a Game Reserve:  Darting Buffalo or Sable or smaller antelope
  • Immobilisation of White Rhino for Date Tagging, Ear Notching and Samples
  • Helicopter darting of large Wildlife species: White Rhino
  • Immobilisation of Large Predator Species: Managing the Lion population, replacing collars
  • Giraffe capture; specialised procedure when available
  • Net gun capture from  helicopter:  Demonstration for smaller antelope : impala
  • Mass capture of wildlife: Boma capture. Setting up, wind direction, terrain considerations , other planning
  • Logistics of  wildlife transportation: Customised  vehicles, crates and equipment
  • Parasite( internal and external ) monitoring and control  in wildlife
  • State Veterinary disease control in practice. Notifiable disease sampling and  control hands-on : Tuberculosis, Foot and Mouth, Brucellosis, Corridor Disease. Documentation required : Red cross permits
  • Wildlife breeding management (sable antelope, buffalo, rhino, big cats). Visit and exposure to Buffalo breeding projects
  • Calculating doses for darting wildlife
  • Administering medications
  • Darting practice
  • Buffalo routine visit: measurements, health checks, parasite treatment, foot trimming, pregnancy diagnosis
  • Attend emergencies (stitch up’s, wound treatments, escaped animals, dystocia)
  • Translocation of wildlife
  • Mass capture of antelope
  • Post mortem of a wildlife species (where possible)
  • Laboratory work; identifying parasites from samples, microscope worm, blood smears, egg floats
  • Toxic plant identification
  • Emergency cases : dystocia, injuries, lethargy, weight loss : diagnostics, immobilising, treatment

Conservation Activities and Research Projects:

  • Monitoring White Rhino
  • Understand Anti-Poaching and Education
  • Elephant Identification and Behavioural Monitoring
  • Elephant Fertility Study
  • Predator Monitoring and Prey Selection: Lions, Leopard, Cheetah
  • Herbivore Herd Structure
  • Monitoring Herbivore Herd Condition
  • The Art of Tracking
  • Bushman Paintings and History of the Reserve

Theory and Lectures for Chemical and Physical Restraint of Wild Animals:

  • Veterinary aspects of wildlife conservation (general overview of conservation and why we have to manage animals)
  • Immobilisation and capture of wildlife (mass capture/sail system/net gunning/ individual darting)
  • Game farming (value, logistics, trends)
  • Pharmacology used in wildlife (drug classes and names including doses used and applications)
  • Transportation and Tranquillising
  • Equipment needed in wildlife veterinary (plus safety in the field)
  • Capture related problems (Stress, hypothermia, bloat, aspiration, capture myopathy, shock, 11 commandments)
  • Talk from representative from Nature Conservation
  • Species specific anatomy and problems (giraffe, elephant, ruminants, rhino, carnivores)
  • Diseases and parasites of wildlife
  • Toxicosis in wildlife
  • Boma management
  • Ostrich farming


Where You'll Stay


Whilst conducting your Veterinary & Wildlife Project you will be accommodated at the purpose built student centre which is situated on the Main Reserve. The centre boasts twelve purpose built tents that sleep up to  four 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 and entertainment area. The centre also has access to Wi-Fi.

Three meals are provided daily on a semi-participation basis which are prepared communally. 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.

Weekends & Evenings:

Most evenings are spent at leisure at the camp enjoying the sights and sounds of Wild Africa.

Weekends you are free to explore the local attractions which include horse riding, wildlife sanctuaries and Sun City which is a popular tourist destination. You are also welcome to stay on the reserve and work with the research team who work 6 days a week.

Gallery Rates


Rates from: £1,498 per person (2023)


£300 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 Airport to Project.
Accommodation for duration of stay.
All meals (Self Prepared).
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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