Veterinary Service: South Africa

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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

9.61 Rating
based on 18 reviews
  • Impact 9.7
  • Support 9.9
  • Fun 9.6
  • Value 9.2
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 1 - 8 of 18
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.