Exotic veterinary work in South Africa

What exotic animals might participants see or work with?

Previous participants have handled elephants, rhinos, lions, cheetahs, giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, buffalo, hyenas, and many other species. Types of capture include helicopter capture, net capture, and capture from an open safari vehicle. Wildlife days are often planned less than a week ahead of time so we cannot guarantee which species or activities will be scheduled for a given week.

What is required to apply for this program?

No prior experience is required to participate in this program, however most of our participants are interested in veterinary medicine, conservation biology, animal behavior, or zoology. Since this program is often included on applications for vet schools, jobs, and other internships, most of our participants are students with a pre-vet or biological sciences focus.

What length of time is recommended?

Many students choose a 2-week program due to schedule or budget limitations, however we recommend a minimum of 4 weeks based on feedback from previous participants. All program components (small animal, large animal, and wildlife) are covered within a 2-week period, and each participant gains approximately 50 hours of veterinary experience per week.

What are the group sizes?

Groups usually stay between 6-8 during daily activities.

How much spending money should each participant bring?

Weekend expenses vary by participant. Local activities range from $10-30 while weekend trips can range from $50-100 (See Life in Chintsa). All activities can be booked on arrival.


What form of payment should I use to pay for souvenirs and activities?

We recommend exchanging at least $50 to South Africa Rands before departing, as a general rule of international travel. Both Visa and Mastercard are widely accepted in our area, including most local activities and weekend destinations. Some activities are cash only, but ATMs are regularly accessible. We recommend calling your bank to find out about international ATM withdrawal, debit card, and credit card fees. Most banks have a withdrawal fee plus a conversion fee for ATM withdrawals but only a conversion fee for debit card purchases. Some credit cards even offer no international fees- these are usually “travel rewards” credit cards. If you decide to use a credit card for most purchases, you should also have access to an ATM card (this is easier than exchanging money and safer than travelling with a lot of cash).

Can participants request a recommendation letter?

Many students use this program to add a unique experience to applications for vet schools, jobs, and other internships. Participants work under our Program Vet throughout the week and recommendation letters with the following details may be requested: amount of hours worked (approximately 50 per week), number and species of animals handled, and practical skills learned (game capture, cattle pregnancy testing, administering vaccines, etc.)

What is the process for booking flights?

Once your booking is confirmed with Safari4u, you will receive information regarding flights and airport pick-up. Students are responsible for booking flights to and from the East London Airport with the help of our Program Director. Airport transfers are included in the Program Fee and arranged by Safari4u on Mondays (transfers may be arranged on other days of the week for an additional fee).

Weekend activity - dolphins on Chintsa beach, South Africa

What is the airport pickup procedure?

A Safari4uVet staff member collects all incoming participants in the Arrivals area near baggage collection. On the way to the Volunteer House, participants have an opportunity to buy snacks, drinks, adapters, and any items they might have forgotten to pack.

Weekend activities - sandbarding

Do participants have access to the internet?

Wifi is available in both Volunteer Houses. We recommend bringing smartphones and tablets to connect, rather than a laptop.

What is the weather like?

The climate of the Eastern Cape varies by season. The warmest month is March, while the coolest month is July. October and November are the wettest months, and June is the driest month.

Do participants need a visa to enter the country?

Citizens of the USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, and many other countries can obtain a 90-day visitor permit for free upon arrival in South Africa.

Participants are responsible for checking their visa requirements before departure; Please visit this page to find out if you need to apply for a visa prior to entry: www.dha.gov.za/index.php/immigration-services/exempt-countries.

Exotic veterinary work in South Africa

Should participants take a cellphone?

Students have an opportunity to register for a South African SIM Card upon arrival. This card can be used in a smartphone or in a disposable cellphone for local or international calls. An international payphone is also available in the Chintsa Shop near the Main House.

Are there any required vaccinations?

The typhoid vaccine is highly recommended for all developing countries. The Eastern Cape is a malaria-free and yellow fever-free area, however, there may be flight stopovers that require special vaccinations (e.g. West Africa). We recommend visiting your physician at least one week before departure to check your overall health, and to verify that the following immunizations are up-to-date: tetanus, hepatitis A and hepatitis B. Although not a requirement, the rabies vaccine is recommended for anyone who works with animals regularly.


Google Map

Safari4u Veterinary Program

106 Barracuda Street, Chintsa East, South Africa 5275

PO Box 422 Kwelera, Eastern Cape, South Africa 5259

+27 (0)81 814 9917