South Africa – Pre-Vet Internship

Gain hands-on animal care experience unlike anywhere else in the world. Whether you are going on a game capture or taking a lecture on animal health and nutrition, you will be exposed to the immense variety of animals and knowledge that is available in the African environment. Perfect for pre-vet students!


Program Highlights:

  • Provide meaningful aid to African animals while learning more about veterinary medicine.
  • Work hands-on with animals, something you can’t do at home!
  • Experience this incredible area of the country, meeting local people and immersing yourself in a totally different lifestyle.
  • Learn from the knowledgeable local team and spend time with a vet for specialist work


Your Schedule at a Glance (Minimum Two-Week Commitment):

Arrival Day, Monday: Arrive at East London Airport (ESL). You will be picked up at the airport and transferred to the volunteer house in Chintsa. Introduction will take place on the day of arrival and training will be provided throughout the program.

Sample week – (scheduled on a rotational and demand basis).

Day 1, Tuesday: take part in tasks such as artificial insemination and iron supplement injections, for pigs or horses (large animal practice)
Day 2, Wednesday: Capture, immobilize and transport wildlife, work with reptiles (exotic animal practice and handling) or horses, pigs, goats, sheep, dogs and cows (large and small animal practice)
Day 3, Thursday: Do pregnancy testing and vitamin supplement injections for beef cattle (large animal practice) or for horses, pigs, goats, sheep, dogs and cows (large and small animal practice)
Day 4, Friday: take part in lambing and inoculations for sheep (large animal practice) or work in wild animal management—dectamaxing weaker animals for endo and ecto-parasites with a dart gun.
Day 5-6, Saturday-Sunday: Your weekends can be as relaxing or as action packed as you want! If you’re looking for some adventure, you can try your hand at quad biking and horse riding, go bungee jumping or visit the local elephant reserve.
Day 7, Monday: Community work at Chintsa East Village (small animal practice)
Remaining Weeks: The remaining weeks will follow a similar schedule of volunteering Monday-Friday and having Saturday-Sunday free. Spend your days off soaking in the sun at the Chintsa beach, take a trip to Cape Town or go on an overnight stay at a rural village, to expand on your cultural immersion. Departures are on a Monday.


Location icon Location of the Project: Chintsa, Eastern Cape, South Africa

Project length Project length: Min 2 weeks – Max 12 weeks

Arrival Airport Arrival Airport: East London Airport

Volunteer Work Volunteer Work: animal care, welfare and management

Age Age:  18-50

Number of Volunteers Number of Volunteers: Up to 8 international volunteers

Important Note Important Note: This project is closed from December to March each year.


What’s Included

Accommodations Accommodations: Bush cottage, farmhouse or lodge

Food Food: Three meals per day; two per day are self-catered

Airport Transfers Airport Transfers: Included on arrival and departure

Orientation Orientation: All necessary training and introductions provided upon arrival.

Support Support: Comprehensive and professional pre-departure travel guidance, 24/7 GoEco emergency hotline, experienced local field team.


What’s not Included

Flights, visas (if required), travel health insurance, personal expenses

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.


This internship is designed for volunteers to receive maximum exposure working with agricultural livestock, domesticated animals, and African wildlife. However, the time devoted to each depends on demand. You will perform daily tasks together with the general staff, and sometimes in the presence of a qualified veterinary nurse. The project also works with a qualified veterinarian for certain special procedures, such as game captures and medical emergencies.


Agricultural Livestock: Volunteers will visit several 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 inoculation of animals
  • Ecosystem support and biodiversity preservation


Domestic Animals: In many rural communities and townships throughout South Africa, animal rights are not a top priority and many domestic animals live in very poor conditions and are often abused. You will make a significant impact by learning about and contributing to:

  • Basic animal health and behaviors
  • Immobilization, tranquilization and inoculation of animals
  • Health and safety
  • Community support services and animal management
  • Challenges faced by animal welfare agencies


African Wildlife: At commercial and private game reserves, you will take part 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
  • Exotic pet & health care


*Wildlife activities in the area can be unpredictable, and our volunteers will adjust as necessary. We strive to offer our volunteers two animal captures each season, but this activity depends on demand and other seasonal elements. Therefore, we cannot guarantee that it will be successful or that volunteers will get the chance to work with wildlife each week. For this reason, we recommend interns join the project for a minimum of four weeks to increase their chances of working with the wildlife.

*Please note that veterinarians are not on site at all times. They are called in when needed and for medical procedures.

Internet icon Internet: There is Wi-Fi available for use at the volunteer house.

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

Accommodations icon 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 icon Food: You will have three simple and nutritious meals per day. Breakfast and lunch are self-catered and dinners will be hot, home-cooked meals.


Please note this project’s minimum requirements:

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

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.

Volunteer Experiences

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