Travel to South Africa for a unique opportunity on a truly diverse veterinary programme!
Work with African wildlife, domestic animals needing help, and a wide range of large animals.
No previous veterinary experience required.
Looking for an exciting, animal focused adventure?
Join us in the Eastern Cape of South Africa for an unforgettable and life changing experience.
The Wild Inside Adventures Veterinary Programme is open to anyone who loves working with animals, and would like an exciting and educational experience in one of the world's most beautiful countries.
Whether you are wanting more experience before applying to vet school, are already in vet school, are a student or qualified veterinary nurse or vet tech, or you simply just love being around animals, this experience may be for you.
The programme combines a mixture of work with African wildlife on game reserves, working with livestock at farms, charity work with a wide range of domestic species within local townships and rural communities, and experience within a commercial veterinary clinic.
Join a diverse veterinary project for a hands-on, educational and fun experience!
Watch the video below of past student Sibel's experience on the programme....
The veterinary programme is extremely diverse, with a wide range of activities, made up of four main components:
Click the above links for more information on each section.
Participants on the project experience South Africa's vast array of life through both practical and theoretical lessons. The hands-on approach of the programme offers participants the invaluable opportunity to gain experience within the veterinary medicine field, work with a wide range of species, and help communities with no access to veterinary care.
Participants experience the 'real' South Africa: discovering new cultures, travelling around the Eastern Cape, and working within townships, rural communities, game reserves and farms in the area.
Who Should Apply?
Animal Lovers - These participants do not have to have a lot of experience in veterinary work and may or may not be interested in veterinary medicine. The focus is more on the exciting and unique opportunity to work with exotic wildlife, experience new things and on helping diseased and malnourished animals in local communities.
Pre-Vets - These participants may be students in high school, students on a gap year or those in college or university wanting to go on and study veterinary medicine. The programme allows these participants to gain experience that will help them decide if veterinary medicine is for them, will provide a unique experience that will stand out on applications for vet school, and will provide an opportunity for practical experience that may not otherwise be available.
Vet Students, Student Nurses
+ Veterinary Nurses - These participants will have a more intensive programme. The programme allows these participants the chance to practice skills they have already learnt, whilst developing new ones. They may take part in the programme as part of their course and learning, or simply for a new experience in the case of qualified veterinary nurses.
This part of the programme includes game captures, an experience unique to Southern Africa! Work as part of a game capture team alongside a vet as wildlife is located, immobilised, transported, relocated and released, or as they receive veterinary treatment.
There is no better adrenaline rush than running through the bush on a game capture, racing against time to keep the animal safe and comfortable!
Most of our wildlife work involves antelope species, with blesbok, nyala and impala being common in the area. Species participants may also work with are zebra, wildebeest, giraffe and other species of antelope such as eland, springbok and hartebeest.
Some of our lucky students this year were also involved with buffalo, lion and rhino!
Participants staying for longer periods are more likely to encounter a wider range of species during the wildlife aspect of the project.
Learn about wildlife pharmacology.
Practice monitoring immobilised wildlife and checking vitals.
Administer medications to wildlife.
Take part in game counts and species identification.
Learn about and assist with parasite control.
Practice safe handling and transportation of a range of wildlife species.
This section of the programme gives participants the chance to work with a range of livestock species at local commercial farms, including pigs, sheep and cattle.
This experience can be invaluable to those wanting to work with animals in the future, with lots of practice handling and treating large farm animals.
Activities May Include...
Injecting, dipping and providing other preventative healthcare to a range of livestock species.
Artificial insemination of cattle and pigs.
Learning about common diseases in livestock, and learning about illnesses and diseases specific to South Africa.
Treating and preventing endo + ecto-parasites in livestock.
Hoof trimming - sheep and goats.
Safe handling and husbandry of large animals.
Lectured tours around dairy and pig farms.
Assisting and learning about herd health.
Pregnancy testing cattle and sheep via manual palpation and ultrasound scans.
Lambing at local sheep farms.
Treating minor injuries.
This part of the programme really allows participants to make a difference in South Africa, as well as getting an amazing insight into the culture of the local Xhosa people.
Participants will visit townships in the area, treating and helping domestic animals that would otherwise receive no veterinary treatment. Visits to rural communities involve treating livestock in a similar situation.
Participants will learn how to handle domestic animals safely, how to treat and prevent both ecto-parasites and endo-parasites, practice treating wounds, and will also play a role in educating the community.
A range of species is covered, from dipping dogs to treating cattle, goats and sheep.
Spay drives are also included in this section of the programme when available.
Usually followed by a group of inquisitive local Xhosa children, participants will be thrown right into the centre of Xhosa communities, and make a massive impact on the health of the canine population, as well as other animals.
Activities May Include ......
'Dipping' dogs to prevent and treat mange. Volunteers learn about the parasites that cause mange, how to recognise it, and practice handling nervous dogs unused to much human contact.
Administering preventative healthcare such as de-worming, and giving basic veterinary treatment to dogs, cows, horses, sheep and goats in local poor communities where these animals would usually have usually have no access to veterinary care.
Learning and practicing how to administer various forms of parasite control to a range of species.
Providing basic wound care and first aid.
Experience traditional life in both rural communities and townships.
Volunteer at sterilisation drives with dogs and horses, assisting the vets with peri-operative care before, during and after surgery.
Hoof trimming goats and sheep.
This part of the project takes place at a local mixed practice clinic.
The clinic was converted from an old dairy shed by past volunteers, and was then taken over by a team of two local vets and opened as a private practice; 'Wild Coast Vet'.
Participants shadow the team of two experienced vets through a typical working day at the clinic in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.
There is never a dull day at the clinic and participants have the chance to assist with and observe anything from routine sterilisations, to snake bites, leg amputations, caeserean-sections and fractured legs!
Participants develop many skills at the clinic and there is always something new to learn. On quiet days students are also involved with collecting dogs from local townships to be sterilized, as part of community outreach work.
Activities May Include ...
Assisting with anaesthetic monitoring.
Learning about common diseases and illnesses in a range of different species.
Clinical examinations on patients, including temperature, pulse and respiration.
Peri-opertive care of patients, including recovery after surgery.
Assisting and observing during consultations.
Lab work - including looking at blood smears and performing faecal analysis.
Lectures form vets or nurses on a range of clinical subjects.
Other activities are included on the programme. As our work is largely dependant on the weather regular activities may occasionally be cancelled and we have a few other activities to keep participants busy on rainy days.
Providing enrichment and improving welfare of the animals at East London Zoo.
Visiting the local reptile park to learn about different species of reptiles, husbandry and care of these animals and to practice handling.
Dart Gun Practice:
Practice safely using a dart gun and test your aim using targets!
Lectures may be theory or practical based and cover a wide rage of subjects; including capture pharmacology, endo + ecto-parasites, bandaging practice, common diseases, case studies, poaching, stitching practicals and welfare.
Accommodation is based in the stunning village of Chintsa East, near East London, in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. The Wild Coast is aptly named for it's beautiful, untouched coastline.
While staying is this idyllic beach village, volunteers live in one of the programme houses. The accommodation is comfortable and clean. Each house includes bathroom facilities, comfortable lounges/communal areas and fully stocked and functional kitchens. Participants do not have to give up any of their home comforts during their stay!
Wi-fi is provided, as well as a washing machine for laundry.
Participants can expect to share a room with 2-8 other people.
For some aspects of the programme there are overnight stays in other areas, including working farms, game reserves and with local families.
Chintsa is a safe area and so participants are free to come and go as they please, and take part in local life. There are a few bars, restaurants, and a stunning beach all within walk-able distance.
Participants often fall in love with the village and quickly become part of the small community.
All food is provided as part of the programme fees. This includes three meals a day.
Dinner consists of homemade, wholesome food, prepared by the team of kitchen staff. Participants have free access to the kitchen in order to make their own breakfast and lunch, with lunch normally being a packed lunch as volunteers take part in their activities for the day.
Snacks are also included if volunteers get peckish between meals, however participants are expected to purchase their own personal snacks such as chocolate and sweets.
Vegetarians, vegan and other dietary requirements can be catered for.
Weekends are time off to do as you please. There is plenty to do in the area and many activities that participants can take part in.
Weekend activities are at extra cost and are not included in the programme fee.
Programme staff are happy to help you arrange weekend activities and transportation to activities is available for an extra fee.
Weekend Activities Include:
Areena Riverside Lodge - Kayaking, zip-lining, quad biking and of course meeting Abby, the friendly giraffe!
Inkwenkwezi - Game drives, elephant interactions and their famous Sunday buffet lunch. Volunteers can also stay at Inkwenkwezi for the weekend at a reduced rate to other guests.
Chintsa Horses - Horse-riding along Chintsa beach.
Other Activites include surf lessons, tours of the local Emerald Vale brewery and stand-up paddle boarding. Boat rides on a rubber dingy to find whales and dolphins, and jumping the waves in the process is also popular!