Veterinary Service: South Africa

Video and Photos

Cheetah
Cheetah
Galaxy
Galaxy
Elephant
Elephant
Baby Galaxy
Baby Galaxy
White Rhinos in Kruger National Park
White Rhinos in Kruger National Park
Sunrise at Kruger National park
Sunrise at Kruger National park
Giraffes on the plain at Feracare
Giraffes on the plain at Feracare
Nova, the ambassador cheetah
Nova, the ambassador cheetah

About

This two-week program takes place at a cheetah breeding and care facility and wildlife sanctuary outside of Johannesburg, South Africa. Your small group will be led by a veterinarian and your programs veterinarians will teach your course in "ABCs of African Big Cats: Anatomy, Behavior, and Conservation." You will be able to volunteer up-close and hands-on with cheetahs, porcupines, zebras, ostriches, and other animals on the property, and will also be able to observe animals living in the area in the wild including giraffes, wildebeests, and impala. Course labs will include necropsies, blowdart labs, enrichment projects, suture practice, and microscope use.

In the middle of the program, we have a three-day trip to Kruger National Park to go on safari and see all kinds of African animals in the wild, including elephants, lions, rhinos, and leopards.

Highlights
  • Safari at Kruger National Park, working with cheetahs, learning zoo medicine from vets, veterinary skills, African animals

Impact

You'll get to volunteer at a cheetah breeding and conservation facility where you can learn about the important work conservation and zoo vets do. Throughout the program, you'll have the chance to feed and help provide medical care to cheetahs, maintain and care for cheetah facility and enclosures, and learn about all aspects of care and management of captive wildlife.

Related Programs

Questions & Answers

It depends on the program you choose. For most 2 week programs it come out to ~$5000 once you add in air fare. They do have payment plans, financial aid and usually know about scholarships you can apply for as well.

Reviews

96%
based on 18 reviews
  • Impact 9.7
  • Support 9.9
  • Fun 9.6
  • Value 9.2
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 1 - 15 of 18
Default avatar
Haley
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

One of the Best Experiences I've Ever Had

Spending 2 weeks in South Africa this summer has been an incredible experience I'll never forget. The staff and veterinarians at Feracare were extremely welcoming and supportive. The passion they have for what they do is so incredible. They all care so much about conservation and the well-being of cheetahs (as well as other animals they have on their property). We also got to spend the weekend at Kruger National Park and the only bad thing I can say about that is that I wish we got to spend more time there. It was so beautiful and absolutely amazing to see these animals in their own habitat. The only complaint that I have is that the food at Feracare wasn't the best but there were circumstances out of their control that changed last minute. Overall, this trip has been so eye-opening and has changed my life. It has solidified the idea that I'd love to be a wildlife veterinarian in the future.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Getting to do an injection during the DNA sampling on Kara, the cheetah my group worked with. While I was nervous about it, Dr. Peter and his tech helped the whole time and made me feel confident in what I was doing.
Default avatar
Sylvia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life Changing

I was terrified to go on this trip. I had never been on an airplane much less another continent. The staff were upfront with us and told us what to expect when we arrived. We were given a play by play of how our days were going to go and a schedule of the next days activities. That calmed me down, knowing what was going to happen. Everyday was an AMAZING day. I have never woken up each day and been so excited that I couldn't stop myself from smiling. Every morning we got to eat breakfast surround by the cheetahs in their camps. At one point, we literally got to play with young cheetahs to help with their ambassador training. The lectures caught your attention and I never got bored or drifted during any of them. I honestly can't tell you how amazing my time was. The fact that we were able to feed the cheetahs, touch them, hear their stories and help make their lives better by doing chores around the property. It was a trip of a lifetime and I am so grateful that I was able to go. I was able to see the beauty of Africa and I will always be grateful for Loop Abroad. I bonded with every student and staff there and one of the hardest things I have had to do is say goodbye to them at the end. We became a family and one that I will never forget.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
Not knowing a single person going into the trip. I pushed myself to start talking to people and I soon realized that most of the students felt the same way. I think I bonded with the staff of Loop Abroad more than I did with the students. There is such an evident care that the staff had for each and every one of the students. They want to know how you are doing and if you need anything. The staff at Loop are what made my experience so magical. I am still in contact with the staff today and I hope that we never loose contact.
Default avatar
Morgan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Transformative to say the least

This two-week program was the highlight of my summer and will be a commemorative experience for the rest of my life. Working with cheetah's in South Africa attracted me to the program but the memories I made with the people and animals is what has stuck with me most. I have a renewed sense of appreciation for the wildlife field and the people who work in it and for it. Plus I have so many answers to questions I never thought I would be asked nor that I thought I would be asked. I was nearly excited to return home because of all my new information and stories I was ready to share. South Africa is a beautiful place and so is FeraCare, from the horizons and sunsets to the animals roaming the property to the people who made my experience what it was. I would return in a heartbeat.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be ready for physical labor! Visiting FeraCare with Loop Abroad is not just time spent with really amazing animals, but also creating a safe space with those animasl
Default avatar
Macy
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

South Africa Veterinary Service

This program was a great way to learn more about wildlife conservation, and potential veterinary careers within this field of medicine. Feracare was a fantastic wildlife centre that taught us so much about cheetah behavior, care, and conservation. The staff of both Feracare and Loop Abroad were extremely helpful and supportive, and would be more than willing to offer assistance or answer any questions that we had. Furthermore, the vets who taught us came from various backgrounds (from small animal ER to zoo medicine), which was beneficial to talk with them about their experiences and tips to help us succeed in our future endeavors. This was my first time out of the country and I feel that this program was perfect on making sure I felt safe as well as get experience in veterinary medicine.

What was the most nerve-racking moment and how did you overcome it?
The most nerve racking moment was when I needed to find my group at the airport. This was the first time I was flying alone and out of the country so I was nervous that I would not find them. However, our group chat helped figure out where everyone was in the airport, and where we were all gathering to ensure that all of us made it to board our international flight.
Default avatar
Caroline
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life-changing experience!

I have already been admitted into veterinary school, but I wanted to spend some time abroad to see what different fields of veterinary medicine were like. Spending time with Loop Abroad in South Africa allowed me to learn about conservation medicine, cheetah-specific medicine, OneHealth, and other general veterinary topics! It truly opened my eyes about the importance that conservation holds, and I am now seriously considering a future in conservation medicine. The individuals on the trip are supportive throughout all activities, and spending time at Kruger National Park was amazing. Plus, we got to spend almost every day working directly with the cheetahs, whether that was through feeding them or training them. This trip truly is a unique experience that you won't get anywhere else!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Be open to asking questions to any of the workers around you! Everyone is there to help you, whether veterinarians or cheetah caregivers.
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Mackenzie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible Opportunity!

The South Africa Veterinary Service Trip was such an amazing experience that I will remember for the rest of my life! Having the ability to work hands on with cheetahs during feeding and ambassador training allowed me to expand my knowledge all while receiving a unique experience I would get no where else. Feracare was an amazing place to spend two weeks, and our trip to Kruger afforded us the ability to explore the African wildlife and immerse ourself into it for the day. The program was well run with everyday planned out for us, and we also had 4 vets who taught our lessons and ran our labs. The program leaders were always happy to help and wanted to ensure that all students were happy at all times. I highly recommend to all prevet students who want to travel and learn at the same time!

What would you improve about this program?
Maybe one more day in Kruger. Otherwise everything was great!
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Allison
8/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Veterinary Service: South Africa

The majority of my trip included staying at FeraCare Wildlife Centre and then a weekend spent at National Kruger Park. The traveling was long, but totally worth it. All the experiences were amazing and you meet a lot of new people from all over. The days were structured and you had a plan for the whole trip, which was really nice. We didn't get to do much outside of FeraCare, but FeraCare staff is extremely hospitable. There were about 30 people in my group. We were split into two group for the living arrangements due to the size of the houses. The living situation was nicer than I expected it to be. The only thing hard about being on the farm the whole time was the access to water. We were fed breakfast, lunch, and dinner. The food was decent, but there is also the opportunity to go shopping at a grocery store on the first day and half way through to get food that you may prefer better.

What would you improve about this program?
The information you get prior to the trip is not that informative, but everything worked out well. We did not get as much hands on animal experience as I thought we would, but we still got to be around animals frequently.
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Ellie
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Best Post Grad Trip

FeraCare is an absolutely incredible organization that is doing tangible things to protect and conserve wildlife. Loop abroad did an impeccable job of showcasing Feracare’s impact, history and environment in an engaging way. Loop abroad staff was incredibly accommodating when it came to ensuring I was getting proper meals (I’m vegan), and they were emotionally supportive during all of the trials that come with being away from friends and family for so long. This was a trip of a lifetime and I would recommend it to anyone who’s looking for an authentic and worthwhile way to explore wildlife conservation. I made some lifelong friends that I’ve already reconnected with back home. I also learned to pay attention to the things that I thought I couldn’t live without, that I ended up living without. It made me reevaluate what I deem necessary in my life.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Pay attention to the things you take for granted back in your hometown.
Default avatar
Lauren
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

South Africa Vet Program

I had the most amazing time at Feracare Wildlife Center. Being able to interact with the animals and learn more about conservation in a hands on way was incredible. I had never been up close and personal with cheetahs before, and the staff made sure that we felt very safe and comfortable working with them and all of the other species. The staff was very welcoming and by the end of the two weeks we had all become like a close knit family. We also got to go on a Safari of Kruger National Park and visit a traditional African village. A trip like this is sure to stand out of any vet school application. The trip also offers up to 3 credits through your school or Loop’s partner school Iowa Wesleyan University. This was definitely an educational experience I’ll never forget!

What would you improve about this program?
I wish that there was more animal interaction on the trip. While we did have quite a few opportunities to see the cheetahs through feeding, the ambassador program, and the cheetah run, I would have liked to have been able to do more veterinary work.
Default avatar
Julia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

An unforgettable experience

I have missed South Africa every day since I got home - this trip truly changed my life forever. Volunteering at FeraCare Wildlife Centre was one of the greatest experiences of my life. The work they do is so important and being able to be a part of it was truly incredible. We were able to feed cheetahs, pet them, watch them run, interact with them very closely, even listen to their heartbeat! I'm not a pre-vet student, but I do want to work with wild animals, and I loved every minute of this trip. The course lectures were very interesting. We stayed in a house on the FeraCare property and it was great - I enjoyed all the food, and the people, including the staff and other students, were all amazing. I would highly recommend this program - it was the best two weeks of my life!

What would you improve about this program?
Not at all
Default avatar
Allison
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Life Changing experience!

I traveled with loop abroad 3 separate times, I went with them to Africa the summer of 2017. It was by far my favorite trip with them! Absolutely life changing being out there in the wild. Every morning we wake up and walk to breakfast, I would pass the lions enclosure and the cheetahs, which is a pretty awesome way to start your day. I also gained so much knowledge on wildlife veterinary medicine and conservation just from this program alone that I wouldn’t learn anywhere else. Everything about this trip was amazing!

What would you improve about this program?
It couldn’t, this trip was perfect!
Default avatar
Darcy
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Veterinary Service South Africa

This trip was amazing! I attended this trip the summer of 2017 and it was my first time leaving the country! Loop made the experience so easy! The program was so much fun! We learned so much about the conservation of cheetahs while also getting valuable practice in veterinary related fields including suturing, necropsys, and lab procedures! The weekend trip to Kruger was also amazing. When getting up to at 5am to go on a safari looking for wild animals the cold doesn’t seem so bad anymore! Overall, this trip was amazing and I’m so glad I did it!

Default avatar
Monica
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Loop Abroad South Africa Veterinary Service

This was without a doubt the BEST experience I have ever endured! I am so passionate about Big cats and conservation, so this was an amazing way to learn more on this while making an impact at Feracare Wildlife Center! The vets we worked with are amazing and so talented. I have gained new skills from making blood smear slides to suturing! Seeing Feracare's vet doing what he does best was so inspiring to watch! We also had the amazing opportunity to go to Kruger National Park on a safari, which was AMAZING! This was also just such an amazing way to meet new people that are passionate about animals they way you are. We were all constantly laughing and having a great time together! I am so blessed to have been able to have had this opportunity. Feracare is a wonderful place filled with wonderful people who love what they do and make a difference every day in these deserving animals' lives. I would fly back right now if I could!

Default avatar
Joshua
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

College Veterinary Service: South Africa

I can honestly say that this was one of the best experiences I have ever had! I never even imagined how much I would be able to learn in a matter of just two weeks! The staff was super cool and made it so much fun, from the veterinarians, to the cooking staff, to the staff at Feracare. Feracare (where we stay), was one of the most amazing places. It had amazing views and there were animals everywhere. They always made sure that everyone was taken care of and any problems if any were taken care of (had a few people get sick). The lectures were really informative and the activities whether it be Camp cleaning, Thatching, or Feeding were always a lot of fun! The veterinarians were so great, I don't think I could say enough about them; I know that if I ever needed anything to help me in my future endeavors, they would in a heartbeat! On top of that, I left the two weeks with so many great friends, something I wasn't expecting to happen! The weekend spent on Safari in Kruger was amazing, we saw so much, like: Zebra, Giraffes, Spotted Hyenas, Hippos, etc. In addition, having dietary restrictions I wasn't sure if I felt comfortable enough to even want to go abroad. Loop Abroad was super accommodating and made sure that I was taken care of everywhere we went! I would 100% recommend going on a trip with Loop if given the chance! I know that I plan on taking another in the upcoming summer!

Default avatar
Harunya
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My Experience

I had such an amazing experience in South Africa. I thought that I wouldn’t really make close friends while I was there, but I fortunately did and that made my experience better than expected! I also learned so much being a biology major and this being my first time hearing veterinarian lectures. I know that going to South Africa, you would it expect it to be warm, but it was pretty chilly throughout the day and it is really cold at night. I know that when applying for Vet school that they like when you have experience and I personally think that this is a great experience to have in your application. My favorite memory is when I got to go inside an enclosure with a cheetah named Laura and feed her. She looked right into my eyes and in that moment, I felt such a loving connection with Laura even though I was just feeding her. It made me feel so incredibly happy and I knew Laura would be someone special to me during the rest of my trip.

About Loop Abroad

Loop Abroad has been offering exciting animal and teaching programs abroad since 2009. We offer summer and semester programs for people who love animals, travel, adventure, and authentic experiences. With programs in Asia, Africa, Australia and...