Pre-vet project

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Our course is designed for individuals looking to explore or enter the professional field of veterinary science, animal welfare and animal management. Categorized into three distinct learning areas, we provide a theoretical and hands on approach to learning as it applies to African Wildlife, agricultural livestock and domestic animals.

Achieving our objectives require you to experience and interact with wildlife in a game reserve context, livestock within the farming context and domestic animals within South Africa’s rural village context, where many animals live in an uncared for manner and animal rights are low on the social agenda.

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The project is divided into three main sections, which you will alternate between throughout your stay:

Veterinary experience with African wildlife
Working with animals located in commercial and non-commercial game reserves such as rhino, giraffe, buffalo, lions, antelope and zebra, amongst others.

Veterinary work with agricultural livestock
Assisting on livestock farms to improve the wellbeing of the animals there such as bulls, cows, goats, sheep and chickens, amongst others.

Animal care work in the domestic setting
Visiting rural villages, township settlements and a veterinary clinic to work with a variety of animals such as dogs and cats.

Project Highlights

  • Make a genuine contribution to African animals whilst improving your own veterinary knowledge
  • Working hands-on with animals in a way unlike anything you can do at home!
  • Explore this stunning area of the country, meeting local people and getting to know a completely different way of life
  • Learn first hand from the vet, who loves to share his knowledge with the group

Volunteer Tasks

This experience is of a real, working, conservation and wildlife management program. It can often be exhilarating when working with game capture and release, elephant and buffalo tracking with telemetry. Then again, some days can be a stretch and even laborious at times when trekking perimeter fences and hunting for traps. However, this work is important! We are not a safari operation and don’t want to romanticize the work we do. There will be periods of high intensity when working directly with the animals and other times of less exciting, but 100% necessary tasks, when working on the ranch management aspect of the project.

Project Details

Project starts: every Monday
Location: Chintsa, East London
Minimum duration: 2 weeks
Transport: You will fly in to East London on a Monday between March and November. You will be met at the airport and transferred up to the volunteer house at Chintsa, 40km north of East London.

Volunteer Requirements

  • CV/Resumé
  • Basic level of competency in English
  • Copy of return flight itinerary
  • Acceptance subject to availability of position

Winter in South Africa

Please note that May through to September are our winter months and it can get quite chilly with an average temperature ranging from 5 degrees Celsius at night to 15 degrees Celsius during the day. So, please make sure to pack enough warm clothes if you plan your trip in that period.

What’s Included

  • All meals
  • Accommodation
  • Airport transfer from East London airport
  • Transport to and from the program
  • 24 hour support and supervisor on project
  • Donation to the NPO to assist its operations
  • Certificate of appreciation


Volunteers are based in the coastal town of Chintsa which is the volunteer hub. Whilst in Chintsa interns will stay in shared accommodation in the “vollie” house, situated just a few minutes’ walk from the beach.

  • Shared accommodation
  • Communal kitchen & living area
  • Electricity
  • Hot & cold running water
  • Bath & shower room facilities
  • All bedding and linen included
  • Washing machine available for volunteer use
  • Wifi at the VA32 office, as well as at the volunteer house (intermittently at the house!)

Due to the nature of the Pre-Vet Experience, volunteers will work between various reserves, farms and rural villages and are mobilized to where the work is. Program accommodation reacts to this need and interns can expect to stay in a variety of accommodation in the wider Chintsa area. This accommodation will always be comfortable and safe and could include work based tented camps, bush cottages, farm houses and occasionally lodges.


Breakfast: Self catering – Fruit, cereal, yoghurt, toast
Lunch: Sandwich of cold meat, salad, fruit
Dinner: A hot meal will be served every night. These range from a traditional BBQ, stews, casseroles, fresh vegetable etc

Please advise us of special dietary requirements.  We will try our best to  cater for you however you may have to buy your own specially items such at gluten free products.

Extras NOT included

Laundry is free you must just buy your own detergent
Any optional activities (surf school, mountain bike tours, horse rides, etc.).  All weekend getaways and meals outside of what we cater for.

Rachel – Great Britain

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.

Stephanie, 19 – USA – June 2014

My best was performing surgery on the dogs and going into the locations.

Savannah, 21 – USA – June 2014

Absolutely loved it! Not only did we work with basically three types of animals; livestock, domestic and wildlife, we were able to do so many things we would never be able to do for years in my home country. Plus helping the community at the same time. The game captures were the most thrilling adrenaline rush and the vets are absolutely amazing! Diverse range of activities and everyone became a family in a short amount of time.

Delphine, 20 – Germany – November 2013

My highlight was the zebra capture at the game reserve and working in the locations. The vets were so friendly and there was a really good atmosphere. Everything was explained really well.

Grace, 18 – USA – November 2013

I loved going into the location to dip the dogs and help the people look after them.

Kyle, 18 – USA – November 2013

My favourite was going into the location and dipping the dogs, as well as giving injections where needed.

Maggie, 19 – USA – August till November 2013

Too many special moments to mention! Going into the location is always awesome, but I love the captures (especially giraffe) and all the farm work. Also the trip into the Transkei was fantastic.

How do I get to the project?
When is the best time of year to volunteer?
I want to make the most of my program, what length of time is best?
How many people sleep in a room?
Is there a danger of snakes or other venomous animals?
When do we start working, for how long, and for how many days a week?
Will there be a possibility to go shopping (for snacks, toiletries, etc) while in the program?
What animals might I see or work with on the project?
What do I need wile working on the project?

The volunteer projects are located in and around Chintsa, a stunning little coastal village on the East Coast of South Africa, halfway between Cape Town and Durban. Chintsa has a gorgeous 32km beach, has no malaria, and has loads of activities nearby – from trips into the Wild Coast, to game drives, surf school or just chilling on the beach. Our weather is temperate with warm, dry Winters (May – Oct) and hot, humid Summers with tropical rainstorms (Nov – April). Chintsa is a safe village for volunteers to live in and enjoy (standard safety considerations apply).

Our volunteer house is located just 3 mintues walk from the main part of town where there is a small choice of local restaurants, a liquor store, our office and internet cafe, a general store with ATM and two restaurants. A short walk across the beach is the fun and funky backpacker hostel Buccaneers Backpackers which offers volunteers a place to relax at the weekend with volleyball games, boogie boards and a divine swiming pool.

Chintsa has a diverse mix of residents from stallwart locals to South African townies moved to the beach for a more relaxed life and returned backpackers and volunteers who have made Chintsa their home. This mix makes Chintsa what is it – a close-knit community which welcomes travellers of all shapes and sizes.

Cultural Tour: We can arrange for you to visit the local areas, explore the different cultures and meet locals. Costs: R325

Mountain Biking: Rent a bicycle and do some local mountain biking, easiest, cheapest way to get around. Costs: R150

Horse Riding: can be arranged at a minimum costs of R325

Game drives: This can be arranged for you upon request, to visit the nearest game lodge and experience the big 5. Minimum costs of R695. Interactions with cheetahs can also be arranged at a minimal costs of R150

Quad biking: love the outdoors and love to do the extreme, then let us organise a quad bike session for you. Costs: R250 for 1 hour and R450 for 2 hours

Due to the high rate of pregnancy and lambing with the animals, the project is closed from the beginning of December until the beginning of March.
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