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The Wildest Trail

Wildlife Veterinarian Trainee

Modimolle, South Africa

The Savannah and all its iconic creatures are waiting! Will you be their vet? Join one of the best wildlife veterinary programs out there!

There are many wildlife projects and veterinary trainings out there, but djee wizz which one should I choose...? We know how hard it is!! This program was founded by an international traveller and experienced volunteer in cooperation with the veterinarians of Kranskop Animal Clinic and Wildlife Services. Having volunteered a lot, we know exactly what you are looking for! 

The project is all about letting YOU be the African vet! It will offer you a complete veterinary experience with exposure to wildlife as well as production and companion animals, coated in a roaring and unforgettable African adventure. Here's how!

  1. Wildlife hotspot! You will be centered in the Waterberg district. It’s an area with a LOT of private game reserves and game farms. It's one of the most highly densed wildlife areas in South Africa, so you can expect a huge veterinary caseload! Buffalo, impala, kudu, lions, nyala and so many other species are hugely represented in this area and can become YOUR next patient.

  2. Hands-on(!) veterinary training! You’ll be with Dr Barnard, or his colleagues, 5 days a week, flying the helicopter, actively participating in medical work on sick and injured wildlife. Check out the typical day section for a full daily lay-out.

  3. Monkey for a day! Once every two weeks you’ll have the opportunity to join the badasses of PRIME crew. PRIME Crew is a monkey rehabilitation centre with a strict capture and release policy, and no touristic affiliation. Here you can spend the day with a boatload of baboons and vervet monkeys. Some of them were injured, others abandonned by their mommies. At PRIME Crew they nurse them back to health. Win their trust, and brace yourself for the monkey hugs!

  4. Sleep in the bush! When you’re not out hustling buffalo or chasing impalas in the veld, it’s probably time to relax. In SA they know how to do it best! After work you’ll be staying at Likhama Lodge, www.likhama.com, a real authentic SA game farm. It’s a cool place where you’ll have breakfast in the morning with the casual giraffe walking by checking on your early appetite. In the evening you can have a sundowner overlooking the iconic African sunset! Hakuna matata...?

  5. Boosting your career! Upon completion of the project, Dr Barnard will write you a personalized letter of recommendation which you can attach to your resume for later employers. This is a BIG plus! Having worked with buffalo, giraffe and other iconic African animals of the savanna will certainly make you stand out of the crowd! You will also get a certificate of excellence, which you can hang over your bed for showing off when you’re having your annual pyjama parties!

  6. High-intensive Helicopter darting courseDr Barnard will personally teach you everything about flying and darting from the helicopter in this course. After some theory and do's and dont's on sweet mother earth, it's game time! You will get 30mins flying time by yourself, while darting plains game with anthelmintics with your own happy index finger. It’s FREE for groups of 3!

  7. Giving back to nature! The Wildest Trail, aswell as Dr Barnard, are huge on supporting this beautiful planet. That’s why a portion of the program price will be deposited integrally into the funds of an NGO, such as WWF or Virunga National Park.
YOUR ROLE?

It is our intention to let YOU be the African vet. No more watching, listening, no it's all about DOING! Of course, since you'll be working with live animals, the better your practical veterinary skills, the more invasive your handling will be.  

WHO IS THIS Dr BARNARD?

There are two vets in the practice so participants will always have a choice of doing companion animal, production, equine, exotic or wildlife work as they wish. Dr Barnard is an awesome guy, and great veterinarian doing almost exclusively wildlife, you will join him as much as you want!

WILDLIFE OVERDOSE (if possible...)?

No problem if you are OD'ed by giraffes, flying in the helicopter or drinking sundowners on top of the mighty Waterberg. You can always spay some cats and dogs at the clinic or join/perform some more complicated surgeries with companion and production animals as you wish. 

WHERE?

The program is situated in the small town of Modimolle in South Africa’s Limpopo province, two hours’ drive north of Johannesburg.

EXPECTATIONS?

Since you'll be working with, sometimes dangerous, wild animals, we expect you to reflect this in your actions in the veld. Wildlife work is highly intense, so we also require a thorough understanding of the English language, being able to follow strict instructions at a heartbeat. So start binge watching Game of Thrones and some other great series with advanced English before your departure ;)

Typical day

You’ll be with Dr Barnard, or his colleague, 5 days a week, and here’s what you CAN expect:

  • Day in – day out work in the bush.
  • Actively participate in medical work on sick and injured wildlife.
  • Assist in game capture and immobilisation.
  • Fly in, and dart from, the helicopter yourself!
  • Help with medical work on domesticated animals and livestock in rural South African veterinary clinics.
  • Wildlife population management.
  • Meet local people and get to know a completely different way of life, dare I say hakuna matata…?
  • Daily dose of dopeness.
Beware, it will be very intensive days!

Details on Arrival

You can enroll in the project all year long, except for July, August and September. This is when many European Universities send their students over.

Ok but I hear you thinking… but when is THE BEST time to come over to South Africa? 

Well it entirely depends on what you want, but here’s a rule of thumb:

  • November – Febuary: best in terms of exposure to disease conditions and parasites in animals.
  • April – September: is peak time for the game capture season.
In other words, want to see more spectacular stuff (November - Febuary). Want to see even more wildlife than usual (April - September).

Free-time activities

You are looking for a unique African experience, we know that better than anyone! When you have some time off from the, very intense, program, you can do a whole lot of cool stuff in the area, like:

  • Horse riding safari in the bush (recommended).
  • Go on a big 5 safari (notify us before your stay).
  • Go to a game auction.
  • Go sky diving.
  • Hike and enjoy the solitude of the bush.
  • Participate in many sports, like rugby, crossfit, swimming and rock climbing.
  • Visit an authentic SA church service.
  • Chill the hell out.
  • Play tetris.

Swimming
Climbing
Safari/Zoo
Hiking
Sports
Riding
Yoga/Meditation

Program Requirements

In order to join the program you need to be at least 20 years old on the program start date. There might be exemptions if you can provide the permission of your legal guardian(s).
Language Skills
You need to speak English (intermediate level)
Health Declaration
required
Education Requirements
Veterinary Medicine, Veterinary Technician at University level
Required Documents
CV and proof of education
Nationality Restrictions
No restrictions. Helping hands from all over the world are welcome.
Other Skills
Exceptions can be made in rare occassions, concerning education level.

Time Commitment
Your helping hand will be required on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 07:00 - 17:00

Suitable for

Singles
Couples
Groups

Any questions? Just ask. We at The Wildest Trail are happy to help you.

Contact Project Coordinator
Contact & Reservation
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Included Services

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Services by The Wildest Trail

Included!

  • Accommodation.
  • Food and drinks.
  • Airport pick-up and drop-off.
  • Barbecuing in the wild.
  • Wifi for normal communication with the homefront is provided.

Bring some extra cash for:

  • Drinks at restaurants/bars when you go out.
  • Transport when you want to do some extracurricular activities.
  • Extracurricular activities.
  • Mobile data if you like a South African sim card for your smartphone.
  • Extra wifi.
If you like a more detailed explanation on what to bring or how much, feel free to ask!

Airport Pickup at O.R. Tambo International Airport

A private shuttle will pick you up from OR Tambo International Air Port in Johannesburg. Just relax and sit back after a long flight, and check out your first steps in an entire new world, the African continent! Baie mooi!

Accommodation

After work you’ll be staying at Likhama Lodge, a real authentic SA game farm. It’s a cool place where you’ll have breakfast in the morning with the casual giraffe walking by checking on your early appetite. In the evening you can have a sundowner overlooking the iconic African sunset! Life here is good.

Bungalow
Food & Beverages

All foods and drinks, i.e. breakfast, lunch and dinner will be specially cooked by one of the great chefs at the Likhama Lodge. Vegetarian, and/or allergen free meals can be ordered in advance. All foods and drinks are included in the program price. Bring some extra cash though when you go out for drinks to town in the weekend!

Internet Access
Limited access at the project site
What's NOT included?
Visa, flights, travel insurance or vaccinations are NOT included in the program fees.
Flight Tickets
The nearest airport is O.R. Tambo International Airport (JNB) in Johannesburg. We assist you to find cheap flights to South Africa.
Travel Insurance
Going abroad is an adventure and it is always best to be prepared. Sudden illness or injury, cancellation or theft - a travel insurance for South Africa provides security and is a plus to have.
Vaccines
If you are intending to volunteer in South Africa you should seek medical advice before starting your social journey. Check your required vaccinations for South Africa.
Costs (Prices in USD)
2 weeks (min. stay)
$2,318.00
3 weeks
$3,245.00
4 weeks (max. stay)
$4,288.00
Average fees
$1,116.00/week

You can volunteer at the project site in Modimolle/South Africa between 2 weeks and 4 weeks. Please note that the above shown program fees are estimated and subject to exchange rate fluctuations. The Wildest Trail will let you know about the final price during your application process.
Crowdfunding Service
Generally, volunteering abroad involves certain costs. In case you need financial support, we will assist you to fundraise your volunteer program in South Africa.
Deposit (15%)
The deposit is simply to reserve your volunteer placement. Payments are handled by PayPal, our trusted global payment provider. If you don't have a PayPal account, you can also pay using a credit card.
Final Payment (85%)
Your final payment will be agreed with The Wildest Trail during the application process. Common solutions are either via bank transfer or a cash payment at the project site.
Africa Southern Africa South Africa Modimolle, Thabo Mbeki Drive
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