Safari4u Vet Experience Internship
Vet Experience volunteers help small animals in disadvantaged communities, large animals in production and community outreach settings, and wildlife through game capture, reptile handling, and zoo projects. Volunteers can expect to explore different aspects of veterinary medicine, add a unique experience to their resume, help animals in need, and have a once-in-a-lifetime adventure in South Africa! Check out the “Activities” tab for more information on day-to-day activities and the “Schedule” tab for a sample schedule.
***New in 2023: A 1-week Game Capture Certificate Course, Introduction to Chemical Immobilization of African Mammals, is now available to add-on to any Safari4u Vet Experience or Game Capture session. In this 1-week course, students will be involved in every aspect of the capture from planning to immobilization, then transport and releases . Training includes lectures on the history of game capture, related pharmacology, standard operating procedures, dart gun safety and practice, obtaining and processing lab samples, and more.Limited to 7 students per session.***
This program is now accepting applications for 2023
3-week session: $3,200 USD
Additional weeks: $800 USD/week
Game Capture Certification Course Add-on (1 week): $1400 USD
2-week Vet Experience Session + 1-week Game Capture Certification Course: $3700 USD
Departure2023: Every Monday, January 16-December 18 | Game Capture Certification Add-on: contact us for dates.
Departure TimeSmall Animal | Large Animal | Wildlife
Return TimeAnimal Lovers | Pre-Vet Students | Vet Students | Vet Techs & Nurses | Vets
Dress CodeThis program runs on a 3-week cycle, so a minimum duration of 3 weeks is recommended. Interns receive a welcome packet on arrival with a full program itinerary, guide to local culture and t-shirt. Training is provided for all activities. The program fee supports our non-profit clinic as well as volunteer activities, transportation and accommodation.
IncludedAccommodationAirport TransfersLaundry FacilitiesMealsOn-Site SupportPre-Departure SupportWi-fi
Not IncludedFlightsFree-time ActivitiesTravel InsuranceVisa Fees (if applicable)
Week 1 - Monday:
Week 1 - Tuesday:
- Pig artificial insemination & iron injections (Large Animal)
- Reptile handling (Wildlife)
Week 1 - Wednesday:
- Non-Profit Small Animal Clinic (Small Animal)
Week 1 - Thursday:
- Dart Gun Introduction & Training
- Game Capture (Wildlife)
Week 1 - Friday:
- Cattle Pregnancy Testing (Large Animal)
- Vitamin Injections (Large Animal)
Week 1 - Saturday & Sunday:
- Free time with optional Weekend Activities
Week 2 - Monday:
- Non-profit Small Animal Clinic (Small Animal)
Week 2 - Tuesday:
Week 2 - Wednesday:
Week 2 - Thursday:
Week 2 - Friday:
- Game Capture (Wildlife)
Week 2 - Saturday & Sunday:
- Free time with optional Weekend Activities
Week 3 - Monday:
- Equine lameness exams, wound treatment, vaccine and antibiotic administration (Large Animal)
Week 3 - Tuesday:
- Non-Profit Small Animal Clinic (Small Animal)
- Zoo enrichment (Wildlife)
Week 3 - Wednesday:
- Game Capture (Wildlife)
Week 3 - Thursdsay:
- Sheep clinical exams, wound care, lambing, vaccine and antibiotic administration (Large Animal)
Week 3 - Friday:
- Game Capture (Wildlife)
Week 3 - Saturday-Sunday:
- Free time with optional Weekend Activities
Week 4 - Monday:
Game Capture Certification Course (1-week add-on)
Chintsa is the “home base” of the program. Vet Student and Vet Experience interns stay in dorm-style rooms at a beautiful property adjacent to Chintsa Beach. Amenities include a pool, volleyball court, ping-pong table, yoga room, canoes, boogie boards, indoor and outdoor lounging spaces and dining areas, pool table, and communal kitchens all with beautiful views and a short walk to the beach.
Chintsa is a beach town near many villages, farms and game reserves, which provide access to a wide range of animals and activities. Interns often spend 1-2 nights per session at one of our Community Project sites. Bedding is provided (sheets, pillows, blankets) and we guarantee safe and comfortable accommodation at all sites. Meals are simple and nutritious. Breakfast consists of cereal, fruit, eggs, toast, tea, and coffee. Interns pack a sandwich lunch at the beginning of each day- options include meat & cheese, peanut butter & jelly, or tuna mayo, along with fruit and juice. Dinner includes a protein, a starch, and at least 1 vegetable. We try to accommodate all dietary preferences- our vegetarian menu has gotten rave reviews!
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Vet/Animal Activities:Learn about all the animals you'll be working with here.
- Animal Experience: 20-30
- Vet Experience: 20-40
- Clinical Experience: 20-30
- Surgical Experience: 0
Weekend Activities and Trips include:Stay Local: Our motto is “work hard, play hard!" Weekends and evenings are free time for volunteers on all programs to unwind from the excitement of the week. Some students head to the beach or hang out at the local cafe for a laid-back atmosphere, but those looking for more excitement can certainly find it in and around Chintsa. All bookings can be made on arrival.
- Horse Riding - Take a leisurely ride from the bush to the beach and support our local equine rescue and rehabilitation center (3 Hours).
- Surf Lessons - Learn to ride the waves on the beautiful Chintsa Beach with a qualified instructor (3 hours).
- Quad Bike Safari Tour - Ride through the game reserve on your own ATV and see wildlife from a whole new perspective (1 or 2 hours)
- Zipline Tours - Fly through the game reserve over 10 zip lines up to 153m long and 70m high (2 hours)
- Kayaking/Canoeing - Take a leisurely paddle through the game reserve and enjoy the scenery (half day)
- Abseiling - Repel down the cliffs of the Areena game reserve to really get your adrenaline pumping (1 hour)
- Spa Treatments - Think you deserve some pampering after running around in the bush all week? Head to Crawford’s Spa to release that tension and start the next week rested and refreshed.
- Brewery Tour - Visit our local brewery, learn about the brewing process and even stay for lunch.
- Volleyball - Join the locals in a friendly game or grab some friends and start your own match.
Want to see more of South Africa? Use the weekend to explore the Eastern Cape, Wild Coast, or even Cape Town by rental car or Baz Bus. All bookings can be made on arrival.
- Addo Elephant National Park - Visit the third largest National Park in South Africa and see some of the country’s most amazing creatures in their natural habitat.
- Hogsback Mountain Village - J. R. R. Tolkien’s inspiration for The Lord of the Rings’ fantasy world “Middle-earth”.
- Inkwenkwezi - Spend a night or two at a local game reserve with game drives, quad biking, canoeing, and great food!
- Shark Cage Diving - Get up close and personal with some great white sharks for a once-in-a-lifetime experience that’s sure to get your blood pumping.
- Bungee Jumping - If you’re an adrenaline junky, head to the Bloukrans Bridge for the tallest commercial bridge bungee jump in the world.
- Sky Diving - There’s no better place to jump out of a plane than over the beautiful Garden Route.
- Cango Caves - Walk and climb through this natural landmark to experience one of South Africa’s most popular tourist destinations.
- Sandboarding - When in Africa… ride the dune!
- Cape Town - Climb Table Mountain (or take the cable car) | See Nelson Mandela’s prison cell on Robben Island | Take a wine-tasting tour | Experience night life on Long Street | Waddle down to the penguin colony | Have breakfast and shop at the V&A Waterfront | And a lot more!
Please submit an application for this program below. Our team will contact you with more information within 72 hours- if you don’t hear from us, please check your spam folder!
This experience went above and beyond my expectations. I got plenty of experience with small animals, large animals, and wildlife. The staff was extremely friendly, and I made some amazing relationships with students, staff, and veterinarians!
It was an amazing experience with Global Vet Experience! Worked with amazing animals, met amazing people and got to experience South Africa at its best and natural self😍
You will learn a lot not just about veterinary but also about yourself in this experience.
(Safari4u Vet Experience &. Vet Student Internships)
Overall the internship experience was awesome. I enjoyed everything of South Africa. The program accommodations are good and the views from the rooms are amazing. About the program staff they are very nice and they’re always willing to teach you. Also, they’re very friendly. Definitely this program met my expectations. We worked with wild, domestic and farm animals and reptiles. The booking process is pretty easy and the personal always responded my questions. I definitely would recommend this internship to other people that are interested in work with animals.
This is an amazing program for people of all skill levels. Through this program’s spectrum of activities it helped give me brief idea of what I’d more so like to put my focus on when becoming a vet and working in the field. Also, as somebody who had never traveled too far from home before (internationally), this program was great, the staff and other students were all kind and welcoming. Great people, great work days, and lots of opportunities. By my last week I was wanting to stay longer and do more!
The Safari4U Vet Experience Internship changed my life. This program reminded me of my passion to pursue a career in Vet Med, and created a new-found love for South Africa in my heart. I highly recommend this program for any student who wants to pursue some form of animal science occupation in the future. This program improved my skills and confidence in handling and treating a multitude of species. I will be returning next summer to re live my amazing experience over again- I 10/10 recommend this program!!
I did the program in 2015, 2016, and 2017. It has been wonderful to see everything evolve over the years… The program also offers an extensive livestock program (pig ai, lamb docking, ultrasound testing, cow pregnancy testing, equine care etc). Obviously, the game capture portion is a once in a lifetime experience… But my favorite part was the community outreach… You truly get to see the beauty of South Africa and it’s people… Cintsa is truly a place that can heal your soul.
I am entering my first year of veterinary school, and I absolutely loved it. The […] program covered a broad spectrum of species and provided an array of new experiences. During the 4 weeks I was there we worked with livestock, small animals, and wildlife both in and outside of a clinic. All of the staff are very friendly and eager to help you learn… I would recommend all of these programs to those who are interested in a career in veterinary medicine or other animal related industries.
[This program] is amazing. I learned so much during this program, although, I didn’t have much animal experience before hand. You get a lot of hands on work with animals but they definitely don’t push you if you don’t want to do something. The weekends you can do whatever you want, they also have activities that you can schedule! All and all, I would definitely come back— I had an amazing time and this internship opened me up to a world of different opportunities in vet medicine.
Traveling to Chintsa, South Africa to stay with the […] program was one of the best decisions and most amazing experiences of my life. I bonded with so many vet/pre-vet students who share my passion for veterinary medicine from all over the world. I had the opportunity to work with not only African wildlife, such as lions, zebras, giraffes, impalas, and much more, but also with large animal/farm livestock, such as cows, goats, sheep, horses, and chickens. In addition, I also worked with small animals in the local clinic, Wild Coast Vets. I had the opportunity to observe my first spay and a neuter of two stray dogs. There are so many more amazing details I could share! I would recommend this program right away to any pre-vet students.
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.
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.
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!!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!
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!