Program Reviews

Program Reviews


Liz Brenhouse
Liz Brenhouse
13:34 27 Oct 16
Safari4U was hands down the best experience I've had to date. Not only did I learn a tremendous amount about veterinary medicine and get to further my knowledge and skills by practicing hands-on with animals that range from dogs to pigs to antelopes to giraffes, I met life-long friends and felt part of a family. Dennis, who runs the program, never failed to ensure that volunteers felt at home and were having fun. Chintsa is the perfect location and is home to a beautiful beach as well as some great restaurants/bars. In addition to living in Chintsa, I was fortunate enough to visit Coffee Bay for a few days where I got to help dogs and horses in need of medical attention as well as experience the culture. With the beautiful scenery, the incredible hospitality and food and the local drummers who play by the fire at night, you'll never want to leave. I went on this trip simply expecting to gain some veterinary experience but it was so much more than that and helped me grow as a person. I will definitely be back.
Jamie Purinton
Jamie Purinton
22:25 08 Nov 16
I went to the Safari4u Program this past summer for two weeks. It was a great introductory experience to wildlife in South Africa! We did so many things including darting animals with medication, net capturing antelopes, flea dipping a giraffe, and caring for the local people's dogs (and a lot more!). I loved getting to learn about the culture and seeing the beautiful sights the Eastern Cape has to offer. Would definitely recommend for anyone that wants hands on wildlife experience in South Africa!
Craig Smith
Craig Smith
21:39 08 Nov 16
An extraordinary experience that I had the pleasure of experiencing for a fortnight in September 2016. It is conducted by an excellent group of volunteers who really make it worthwhile. This is a brilliant opportunity to expand your horizons; meet new people; learn about new cultures; create and expand your knowledge of exotic wildlife all within the beauty of South Africa. Would highly recommend to anyone interested in working with wildlife either for veterinary/educational related purposes or as a life experience!
Jaclyn Hoerr
Jaclyn Hoerr
11:46 08 Nov 16
I had an amazing once in a lifetime experience! I was able to learn a lot about the native animals as well as learning about the local culture. Game captures were hard work but very fun and exciting! Learning how to dart animals to dose them with dewormer was great and it was awesome to know that I was helping those animals. My group took a small trip out to Coffee Bay which was beautiful and eye opening. We were able to gain experience working with horses and dogs out in the field with limited resources. As a veterinary student this was a great trip to be able to learn more about African wildlife species but also be able to learn about and work with domestic species. I would recommend this trip to those interested in learning more about African wildlife while gaining a cultural experience! Great trip for those wanting to go to vet school, veterinary students, veterinarians, and those that just enjoy African wildlife!
Trina Bellinger
Trina Bellinger
12:47 07 May 17
Just completed the two week capture program and it lived up to the adventure I was looking for. From the madness of net capture to the precision of dart capture the program surpassed my expectations. Gaining hands on experience with African wildlife and learning many aspects of game capture, reserves and conservation from and insiders view has proven very valuable in giving me a whole new perspective as well helping in my career as a zoo vet tech. I've met students from all over... Canada, Mexico, Denmark, Iceland and of course South Africa and US. We did everything from stargazing on the beach to camping with game drives to night clubs. The staff is outstanding. Special thanks to: Ashely for suggesting this program. Dennis and Janet for checking in repeatedly to make sure we were not only ok but happy 🙂 and arranging every possible wish of activities for the small amount of downtime I had (due to my own travel sched). Nico for getting us started days 1.5 at the capture site and for a perfect weekend of game drives and majestic animal interactions. Alex and Lanielle for escorting us through a majority of our program. Truly an unforgettable experience!
Emma H.
Emma H.
11:06 08 Nov 16
I spent 2 weeks at the Safari4u programme and I couldn't recommend highly enough! It was amazing. We got to help on game captures, helped dart animals (we were taught how to use the dart gun!) and also helped treat the local animals at Coffee Bay, which was an amazing experience. The people were all lovely and welcoming. It was very relaxed and there is also a great number of activities you can do in your spare time 🙂 I did it as part of my Veterinary Medicine course which it was perfect for and I cant wait to go back!
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Though golly I was really sad to leave, the program was so great. I don’t think I knew what to expect when I arrived but certainly the diversity of tasks, the dedicated staff and meeting an assemblage of similar-minded and such cool people wasn’t quite expected.There wasn’t a single humdrum moment since we were always on the move. The instructing vets were wonderful – the practical lessons were quite valuable – and I loved how hands-on the project was.We even got a chance to travel north up the coast to Coffee Bay and sample the villages there for some cultural education and meet children of a preschool; to learn about the difficulties and hardships they endure every day, which broke my heart but broadened my perspective. This rustic kind of camping up in Coffee Bay was probably the highlight of my trip and certainly an unexpected but wonderful surprise. I didn’t think we’d be moving to another region during our stay, let alone such a beautiful one. The fact that we were allowed to indulge in more touristy activities such as swimming in the ocean at ‘Hole in the Wall’ and cliff diving was just a huge bonus.I had an amazing time and no regrets at all.

– Rachel (UK, July 2016)


I’ve bettered my knowledge on so many aspects and got a very hands on experience. The staff there make the experience! Always so happy to help and let you get involved. It’s all hands on and everyone there genuinely wants to help you. Remember to go open minded, no ones experience is all the same but each to there own. Be ready to work no matter what time the day and this will gain rewards. Nothing compares to doing what you love in a different county. Thanks for everything!

– Harmony (UK, July 2016)


Do this if you want to have an experience of a lifetime and help improve the lives and safety of the wildlife that lives at the reserve. Keep an open mind and just enjoy yourself, try everything and don’t be afraid to ask questions. The people there are welcoming and friendly.

– Elyse (UK, March – April 2016)


The best 3 weeks of my life!! I formed incredibly strong bonds with people in such a short amount of time while gaining experience in the veterinary field. From performing pregnancy tests on cows through rectal palpation to cuddling with a lion cub to watching the sunrise on the beach, those 3 weeks in the green house were unforgettable!! The memories made, experience gained, and friendships formed will last a lifetime. So thankful for this program and all the people that were a part of it!!

– Anonymous (LSU, USA, May 2016)



This was truly one of the best experiences I have ever had. Every single day, I learned something new or performed a task that I had never done before. The people that I met through this program are amazing, and we all plan on continuing to have a relationship with one another, even though we all live far away from each other. I would absolutely recommend this program to anyone who has a passion for not only helping animals, but for anyone interested in other cultures and other ways of living than his or her own.

– Anonymous (LSU, USA, May 2016)


Life changing experience with exposure to incredible animals- Safari4u offers the opportunity to work with an amazing team of vets and coordinators to better the lives of animals in South Africa. My time at Safari4u emphasized to me the reasons I want to become a veterinarian and helped me strive towards my goals.

– Anonymous (Massey University, New Zealand, June-July 2015)


Awesome experience! I didn’t know what to expect before the programme started but it certainly hit pretty high standards. Would definitely recommend it to anyone who is either thinking about joining the veterinary profession or is a current vet student. The volume of information I learned and applied was phenomenal for the time frame I was on the programme. Safari4u certainly provided so many experiences that I wouldn’t have a chance of getting at university!

– Lucy Webster (22, Massey University, New Zealand, June-July 2015)


Right from the beginning of the program I hit the ground running, literally! Capturing a giraffe showed just how demanding a career as a wildlife vet is both physically and mentally. The experience gained here with the wildlife is something that I never would have imagined, and it would have taken years of grunt work at home to get involved with these animals as much as we did. Working and learning with the other students and vets developed some unforgettable friendships, too. You are always learning something new with this program no matter what your animal background is! I hope one day I can return to see how much the program has grown as well as contribute in any way possible, whether it’s as a veterinarian or other animal specialist!

– Brad Hogshead (22, Ohio State University, USA, June-July 2015)


This program will prepare you for vet school whether pre-vet or already in vet school. The places you go change every day so you will most likely not see the same thing twice within your time here. Overall it is a great experience!

– Brice (17, USA, June-July 2015)


This was an incredible experience that was at more educational than I imagined, whilst still fulfilling an amazing tourist-like experience for those whom are not training to be vets. We were catered to very promptly and accommodation was fantastic!

– Jevan Eady (20, Massey University, New Zealand, June-July 2015)


One of the best things I have done! Not only solidified my knowledge that vet school has given me but has taught me so much about conservation and wildlife, as well as new insight into farming and small animal work overseas. We had a blast hanging out with other volunteers in our free time and I would be back in a heartbeat!

– Anonymous (Massey University, New Zealand, June-July 2015)


Safari4u was an amazing experience. I got to get hands on experience with lots of African wildlife, such as lions, giraffes, and rhino. However, the wildlife work was only part of the Safari4u programme- the domestic and farm animal work added to the South African experience and gave me a taste of what it is like to be a vet in South Africa. I have no regrets about participating in this programme and would recommend it to anyone!

– Kyle Jones (20, Massey University, New Zealand, June-July 2015)


Overall was a great experience and something that would look good on my application to veterinary school. I had an absolute blast! In my 4 months there, I truly felt at home in Chintsa East. I loved the variety of animals I was able to work with from the township dogs to wild animals. Everyone, staff, and locals, is extremely friendly. I would highly recommend this program, and would come back again next opportunity I get!

– Tatiana Alvarez (21, Northeastern University, USA, March-June 2015)


The Safari4uVet program is not only about learning how to give injections, being around wild animals and livestock or how to treat sick animals- it’s also about learning how to work together with people you have just met, in a country different from your own. It’s about stepping out of your comfort zone, and about embracing the opportunity to make new friends from all over the world. I know I did!

– Amanda Falck‎ (21, Denmark, March-April 2015)


It took no time at all to realize that I absolutely needed to extend my time in this program. This trip was a powerful confirmation for my desire to work with animals and medicine, particularly in areas of true need. There was so much to take away from the work we did and every moment made me want to learn more and more about it. Simply can’t get an experience like this from a clinic at home! Not to mention so many unforgettable memories of working hard and playing harder with some amazing new friends!

– Lindsay Topmiller (23, University of New Mexico, USA, July-August 2014)


After two incredible weeks in Chintsa with some of the most amazing people that I have ever met, I have learned so much, made so many amazing memories and built some lifelong friendships. This trip was one of the best experiences of my life and I thank everyone who was a part of making it so special!

– Tyler Baum (20, UC Davis, USA, July-August 2014)


I learned more about veterinary medicine in 3 weeks here than I have in 3 years working at an animal clinic. I didn’t think it was possible to love animals any more than I already did, but this program proved me wrong. I had the time of my life with the most amazing people. My only regret is not staying longer because 3 weeks is not nearly enough to experience all that South Africa has to offer!

– Jessica Hayes (19, Kansas State University, USA, July 2014)


The Safari4u veterinary program is by far the best summer program I’ve been to. I learned so much and got to experience everything from pregnancy testing cows to capturing wild impalas and giraffes. If I ever had any doubts that I wanted to be a veterinarian they are long gone. I met the most amazing friends and made memories to last a lifetime. Everyone who even remotely has an interest in animals should definitely come to this program!

– Elizabeth Brooks (17, USA, July 2014)


The Safari4uVet Program has been an amazing experience and was no doubt the highlight of my summer. Although I could only stay for two weeks, the programme definitely helped me discover my love for veterinary medicine. I have to say, the hands-on approach to learning is this programme’s forte. The things I’ve learned in those short 14 days, from dipping dogs to artificial pig insemination to game capture were experiences that cannot be gained back home, at least not in Hong Kong. I have also met an incredible group of people during my stay. Can’t wait for our “family” to reunite in Cinsta again and hopefully I’ll be able to stay for more than 2 weeks this time!

– Francesca Fung (19, Northeastern University, Hong Kong, June-July 2014)


Had the time of my life at this program, it has honestly been the best experience of my life. Never thought I would find my passion in South Africa, but I have been proven wrong. Thanks to this incredible program I have now discovered my passion and have a stronger sense of direction towards what I want to do with my life. Working with animals has always and will always be my passion. Thank you to all the amazing people who helped me along the way, I promise I will be back!

– Stephanie Wigney (19, Canada, June-July 2014)


This program offers a valuable experience like nothing else. From dogs to wild animals and everything in between, I have taken so much home with me. While being a part of this program I had the opportunity to try out the career of a veterinarian. I had unforgettable hands-on experience that is otherwise very hard to obtain when you haven’t completed schooling. Being that I am still in school, I had a lot of questions and little experience. This was no problem at all and they did a great job educating me every step of the way; I was an equal member of the team. Besides the knowledge I gained, the feeling that I was part of such a great cause was beyond rewarding. Every volunteer helps fund this cause and while you are there you get to see exactly where your money is going. People in Chintsa are able to receive free medical attention for their animals and their gratitude is priceless. Alex, Dennis and Ashely are doing wonderful things over there and making a profound difference, one small step at a time. I recommend this program to anyone who wants to make a difference in animals lives, whether you have veterinary interest or not. I can’t talk enough about how great my experience was and I hope to return someday- Chintsa forever holds a place in my heart!

– Lana Victoria Dionne (24, USA, June 2014)


I am a 3rd-year vet student in Canada and I spent 2 weeks in Chintsa and the East London area with the Safari4uVet program. This program is truly an AMAZING experience for any animal lover!! There are a lot of programs out there and from the feedback I have heard from others and my personal experience this one is the best! You get the kind of hands-on experience you cannot get in clinics or zoos in Canada or USA. I have made friends for life and I will never forget how I got to treat a wound on a zebra, or how to pull a male nyala out of a river down a hill in the bush… But in all seriousness, this a life changing opportunity and I highly recommend it!

– Emily Munčs (23, University of Montreal, Canada, June 2014)


The Safari4u veterinary program was an incredibly enriching experience. I strongly recommend it to anybody, vet student or other, wishing to discover the amazing South African culture and wildlife!

– Christina Hazzi (23, University of Montreal, Canada, June 2014)


One of my favorite parts of the program was when we transported a 6-month old giraffe. Everyone got a job, from putting the head cover over its eyes, to spraying for ticks, and even carrying the giraffe (which is a lot heavier than you’d think) onto the trailer. I got to inject the giraffe with antibiotics- the whole operation was amazing! I also loved working with the dogs in the village and teaching the children how to properly handle the animals. Eventually, we got a pretty good gathering of little helpers that followed us everywhere.

I stayed on the program for fifteen weeks. Since I stayed longer than most volunteers, I was able to learn, practice, and feel more comfortable with the different activities. This program wasn’t just amazing for the veterinary experiences, but also for the friends I made there- everyone on the program was from a different state, country, or background. I’m privileged to say that I now have incredible friends from all over the world! It’s completely worth it and I can’t wait to go back!

– Maggie Smyth (21, Ohio State University, USA, August-November 2013)


I never knew that a volunteer program in South Africa would help to solidify my dream of becoming a veterinarian. My animal experiences before the program included observing at small animal clinics and researching birds; none of which allowed me the hands-on experience I craved. The Safari4u Veterinary Program did not just let me interact with animals (something you can get at a petting zoo)- I actually got to treat wildlife in their natural habitats and learn about them in an informal setting with veterinarians and specialists from around the world.

This program is truly the most amazing experience of my life. I volunteered with Safari4u in August 2013 for a total of two weeks, but I would have loved to stay for longer and I definitely recommend staying for as long as you can! My favorite part about the program was the diversity it offered in terms of veterinary medicine. It uniquely combines wildlife medicine and management, along with agricultural and domestic animal medicine together for an internship that is unlike any other. I strongly recommend this internship to anyone who is interested in gaining a deeper understanding of wildlife medicine and animal health in general. Not only is the program itself amazing, but the staff is awesome as well- it’s as though they became a part of my family!

– Kira Hydock (20, University of Pennsylvania, USA, August 2013)


This was my first time traveling alone and I do not regret it for one second. During the program I handled dogs in the village for various treatments, I watched the dart capture and transport of several game animals, I volunteered t the East London SPCA and injected vaccines, I handled and dosed sheep for worms and parasites and assisted in numerous other veterinary related activities. One of my favorite activities was observing surgeries in the SPCA, and I also really loved helping the dogs in the village. I recommend staying for longer than two weeks, because different things happen every day and you WILL want to stay longer than you plan!

I picked this program because I’m going to study vet medicine and I wanted to see what it was like to work with wild animals in Africa. After this program, I found out that a wildlife vet’s job is very exciting, and I saw just how tough you have to be to work with wild animals. I would really like to go back as a vet and work with wild and domestic animals in South Africa. I loved that as a part of the capture I had the opportunity to help the vet and get a real hands on experience.

Not only did this trip give me an amazing experience that made me sure that I wanted to be a vet, but it also helped me get into vet school. Besides the experience itself, I also got a letter of recommendation from the program, which I know helped me with my acceptance into the Faculty of Veterinary Science at Szent István University, one of the oldest veterinary schools in the world. I would absolutely love to return to this program, maybe even as a qualified vet after I graduate!

– Kristine Kjeldsberg (19, Norway, July-August 2013)


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