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Shimongwe Wildlife Veterinary Experience

Live the life of an African wildlife vet.

In one of the most prolific wildlife areas of southern Africa, our Shimongwe Wildlife Veterinary Experience gives you the chance to join the day-to-day activities of experienced wildlife vets.

You’ll find yourself working up close with a range of Africa’s wildlife species – often in situations that are unpredictable and require you to think on your feet. This could involve learning how the vet darts animals, helping to capture and relocate wild animals, or assist with disease prevention and pregnancy testing in the field.

Depending on your goals and interests, we’ll pair you with an individual or team of vets to give you the best possible exposure to the skills and experiences you’d like to gain.

Rhino Rating

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3 out of 5 rhino rating
Category

Wildlife Veterinary

Species

Buffalo, giraffe, rhino, sable, roan antelope and many others

Impact

Wildlife veterinary work
Wildlife management

Country

  South Africa

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  • Highlights
  • Do
  • Learn
  • News
  • Costs

Highlights

A personalised veterinary experience

Our vet groups range in size from two to ten people, which means you’ll have a personalised experience assisting some of Africa’s most respected wildlife vets in their day-to-day work.

Get involved with animal darting

You’ll be a key member of the vet’s team when they dart wild buffalo, giraffe, rhino and other species. While the animal is immobilised you’ll be responsible for important tasks like monitoring its heart and breathing rates.

Learn new skills

You’ll be fully involved with the treatment and handling of wildlife, including responding to emergency call outs and learning how to immobilise wildlife and test for diseases.

Explore rural Africa

Working in the field, you’ll travel to many different wildlife reserves and explore Africa’s diverse ecosystems. You’ll also gain an insight into the culture of local towns and communities.

Support African wildlife conservation

As a veterinary volunteer, you’ll play an important role in treating and managing South Africa’s famous wildlife.

DO

As a volunteer at Shimongwe, your role will be very hands-on. Depending on the animals being treated, the vet you’re partnered with, and your areas of interest, you’ll get involved in the following activities:

Darting, capturing and collaring

Animals need to be darted for treatment, relocation and monitoring purposes. Species you might get the chance to help dart include antelope, buffalo, giraffe, zebra and sometimes rhino.

  • Wildlife darting and game capture
  • Chemical immobilisation and sedation
  • Tagging, ear notching or fitting tracking collars to darted animals

Real field work

Your time will mostly be spent in the field and, depending on the vet you work with, you may also get to experience life inside a busy veterinary clinic too.

  • Treatment of injuries, wounds, health conditions and diseases
  • Disease testing and prevention
  • Pregnancy testing
  • Parasite control
  • Contraceptive work to control breeding in rehabilitation centres or manage populations of wildlife reserves

Conservation

  • Humane rhino de-horning – learn about the pros and cons of this controversial topic from the people who actually carry out the procedure
  • Wildlife relocation to help manage populations across different regions

LEARN

As well as gaining hands-on experience (which you can read about under the ‘do’ tab), you’ll also receive on-the-job training and get the chance to take part in lectures lead by experienced vets. Together, these will give you a unique understanding of the biology, behaviour and conservation of Africa’s wildlife.

Conservation

  • Wildlife management’s role in conservation
  • The importance of genetic diversity in wildlife populations
  • Human-wildlife conflict in South Africa resulting from the spread of towns and cities
  • Rhino poaching, anti-poaching methods in the field and relocation programmes
  • African wildlife’s relationship to employment and tourism

Biology

  • The physiology and anatomy of various African wildlife species
  • The natural diet of these wildlife species

Behaviour

  • Animal behaviour both in the wild and in captivity

Lectures in the field

  • African wildlife diseases
  • Wildlife management
  • Darting, game capture and relocation
  • Veterinary drugs used in South Africa
  • Challenges of treating wild animals
  • Poaching
  • Breeding programmes
  • The role of hunting in conservation
COSTS

Our costs include:

Accommodation

Airport Meet & Greet

Transfers

24/7 Support

Personal Guidance

Meals

Cost Calculator

TOTAL COST: £0000

Looking for something bespoke?

You can volunteer at more than one project during your time in Africa. Please contact us for a bespoke quote including travel arrangements between locations.

Payment

Costs are subject to change but will be confirmed in writing at the time of booking.

When I found ACE they were extremely supportive. They gave me a lot of information on the projects so I could choose a project that fit my own interests.

ACE guided me every step of the way. It’s not common for an organisation that arranges international experiences to be so involved with the person.

Every step of the way ACE was there for me, from the first phone call to arriving back in the UK after I finished my experience.

I spent 2.5 months across 4 different projects, each of which were so incredible and different from one another. It is insurmountable how much I had learnt about the culture, language, politics, myself and of course, wildlife.

This experience has made me realise I really want to get more into conservation work... I didn’t fully understand and realise there were so many more opportunities out there.

ACE made traveling during the covid pandemic completely stress-free and puts the volunteers above anything else.

I would say it was a once in a lifetime adventure but that wouldn't be true, I am returning next summer to do it all again!

I highly recommend this to anyone and everyone interested in animals, not just veterinary medicine!

If there’s one thing that I hope someone gets out of this, is that if you are considering going, but you are nervous, DO IT ANYWAY! This was the best experience of my life and so eye opening! I would go again in a heartbeat. 

What Makes Us Different?

Southern Africa's original conservation travel company

We are qualified zoologists and conservationists

Personal guidance before you book

Join real wildlife conservation projects

Enjoy total peace of mind, with 24/7 in-country support

Empower vital conservation initiatives

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