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South Africa - Pre-Vet Wildlife Internship

Volunteers considering a career in veterinary science will have an ideal experience at this hands-on internship working with and learning about wildlife, livestock, and domestic animals.



Fast Facts

Location of ProjectChintsa, Eastern Cape, South Africa
Project LengthMin 2 weeks - Max 12 weeks
Arrival AirportEast London Airport
Volunteer WorkWildlife care, animal management and animal welfare
Number of ParticipantsUp to 8 international volunteers
Age18 - 50

What's Included

AccommodationBush cottage, farmhouse, or lodge
FoodThree meals a day
SupportLocal in-country team and 24hr emergency support
Airport TransfersIncluded on arrival and departure
Orientation All necessary training and introductions provided upon arrival
Pre-Departure Kit Full project details will be sent following registration
Insurance Comprehensive travel health insurance with volunteer abroad coverage

What's Not Included

Flights, personal expenses, and visa (if required)


Chintsa is a small town on the outskirts of the Wild Coast region of the Eastern Cape province of South Africa. The Wild Coast is a fascinating part of South Africa, boasting some of the most beautiful scenery and wildlife. In addition, Chintsa's rich culture that stems from its roots as the traditional home to the Xhosa people, give this region a depth and intrigue that most visitors can’t get enough of.  


About the Project

This project is designed to give participants professional experience in the fields of animal welfare, animal management, and veterinary science.  Volunteers will be exposed to the theoretical side of this field, as well as the experiential side as they gain valuable hands-on experience. The internship offers the chance to work with African wildlife in a variety of environments, including game reserves, local farms and rural villages. 


Volunteer Work and Contribution

This internship is designed for volunteers to receive maximum exposure working with African wildlife, agricultural livestock, and domesticated animals; however, the amount of time devoted to each is dependent on demand. You will perform daily tasks together with the general staff, and most often in the presence of a qualified veterinary nurse. The project also works with a qualified vet for certain special procedures, such as game captures and medical emergencies.
African Wildlife: At commercial and private game reserves, you will have the opportunity to participate in both lecture-based learning and practical interactions.  Activities/lectures may focus on:
  • Animal health and nutrition
  • Animal management
  • Current threats to wildlife, ecosystems, and biodiversity
  • Toxic and venomous animals
  • Immobilization and tranquilization of animals
  • Health and safety
  • Game capture (this is usually a seasonal activity)
  • Wildlife rehabilitation 
  • Bush presence during rutting and lambing seasons 
Agricultural Livestock: Volunteers will visit a number of local farms, which typically house animals such as chickens, cattle, goats and pigs. This segment of the internship will focus on the following topics: 
  • Health and safety
  • Animal management
  • Animal health, nutrition and behavior patterns
  • Immobilization, tranquilization and inoculations of animals
  • Ecosystem support and biodiversity preservation
Domestic Animals: In many rural communities and townships throughout South Africa, animal rights are not a high priority and many domestic animals live in very poor conditions and are often abused.  You will be able to make a significant impact by learning about and contributing to:
  • Basic animal health and behaviors
  • Immobilization, tranquilization and inoculations of animals
  • Health and safety 
  • Community support services and animal management 
  • Challenges faced by animal welfare agencies

Living Arrangements

Accommodations: During your internship, you will stay at the volunteer house in Chintsa located just a few minutes from the beach. Each room houses 2-3 volunteers. Depending on what segment of the internship you are on, your accommodations may vary and can include bush cottages, farmhouses, tented camps and lodges. All accommodations, regardless of the location, will always be safe.

Food: You will have three simple and nutritious meals per day.  Breakfast will consist of cereals and fruit, sandwiches will be prepared for lunch and dinners will be hot, home cooked meals.

Internet: Internet access at the office on weekends only. 

Laundry:  You can do your own laundry at the volunteer house but must supply your own detergent.


Travel Highlights

Chintsa Beach is a beautiful area with plenty of activities for volunteers to engage in.  Relaxing on the beach after a challenging week is a great option and just steps away from the volunteer house.  Often from the shores dolphins and whales can be spotted.  For volunteers interested in water activities, the area offers surfing, kite surfing and canoeing.  If you prefer to stick to the land, join a safari trip, hike through the indigenous forests or go bird watching. 


Minimum Requirements

  • Minimum age 18
  • Basic English
  • Motivation to work with animals
  • Interest in veterinary science or animal management and welfare
  • Copy of your CV/resume

Here's an excerpt of Ashley's experience:


"During my time in South Africa I gained such a wide array of experience that would have never been possible at home. I participated in several game counts, tested cows and sheep for fertility, treated horses and mules in the area of Coffee Bay, and experienced both a net and helicopter capture."

Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!

Here's an excerpt of Ashley's experience:


"After being at the project for 3 weeks and being able to visit the same townships, during dog dipping, you could see the impact you were making on the animals which is honestly the best feeling in the world. You would notice the decrease in mange, ticks, fleas, and worms that dogs had."

Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!

Here's an excerpt of Floortji's experience:


"We did some game captures too, so I got to give some injections to wildebeests, impala’s and blesbucks. From wildlife we went to a farm and I witnessed the birth of a calf, and I got to do some pregnancy testing myself. Of course volunteering is hard work, but we had some time off too."

Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!

Here's an excerpt of Ciera's experience:


"I’ve travelled to farms to work with livestock, injecting, de-horning, pregnancy testing and artificially inseminating. I spent a lot of time in the townships, getting to know the locals – dogs and children! It was refreshing to be in community that valued love and kindness over materialistic items. We dipped the dogs (and many puppies!) for fleas, ticks and mange, de-wormed, vaccinated, and injected antibiotics to treat illnesses and injuries."

Read the rest of her story on the GoEco blog!


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