Veterinary internship in South Africa
Live the life of a mobile vet on this veterinary internship in South Africa. On the move between game reserves, farms and veterinary clinics you will gain a valuable insight into veterinary work abroad in a developing country.
Become a veterinary intern protecting and caring for animals across the Eastern Cape of South Africa. This volunteer vet work involves caring for a wide range of animals living in the area, from wild animals to farm animals to pets.
The internship offers a hands-on approach with background instruction to veterinary work, and is highly practical. It is a fantastic way to gain veterinary experience abroad and put your knowledge into practice within a conservation and protection sphere. Some prior experience is certainly beneficial, and most interns will at least be working towards their university studies or in their first year of veterinary studies.
A separate course is run for students who are already, or who will be, in their second and third year of veterinary studies at the time of departure. This course covers the same tasks, but allows those with more experience to get more involved. See here for information.
Where will I be working?
The project is divided into four main sections, which you will alternate between throughout your stay:
- Veterinary experience with African wildlife: working in game reserves with animals such as rhino, buffalo, lions, antelope and zebra, amongst others.
- Veterinary work with agricultural livestock: assisting on livestock farms to improve the well-being of animals in commercial farming such as beef and dairy cattle, sheep and goats, pigs and chickens.
- Animal care work in the domestic setting: visiting rural villages, township settlements and a veterinary clinic to work with local dogs and cats.
- Helping out at the new veterinary clinic: observing the work of the resident vet and assisting as required.
Excitingly, the roaming nature of this project means that no day is the same – the practical work is demand driven. Sometimes unpredictable tasks will come up depending on the animals requiring care at any one time. Not only does that mean you will see lots of different places, but also lots of different types of care, exposing you to the huge array of tasks that a mobile vet undertakes on a day to day basis. It is important to note that you will be working with a range of wildlife specialists on this project, and not necessarily vets.
What will I be doing?
Tasks throughout your veterinary internship are varied, but can cover activities such as:
- Anti-parasite treatment (dipping and dosing)
- Wound care
- Community education on handling and treatment of pets and animals
- Treating animals within the community
- Shadowing a vet in the local vet clinic
- Pregnancy testing
- Artificial insemination in livestock
- Disease control
- Game counts
- Health and safety
- Immobilisation and tranquilisation
- Game capture, sedation and transportation
Many of the tasks that you will be getting involved in are aimed to improve the welfare of animals across the farms, reserves and clinics. You should expect to see some animals in distress or that have been poorly cared for. Without this project, these animals would not be on the route to recovery, and you can make a genuine difference here. Through this task you will be exposed to South Africa’s animal welfare agencies and you will visit and learn about the challenges faced by organisations such as the SPCA.
Accommodation and Food
The majority of your time will be in the coastal town of Chintsa, about 40km north of East London. You will be living with other volunteers in a shared house just a few minutes walk from the beach. Due to the mobile nature of this project however, you may be moving around the local area between reserves, farms and rural villages. Accommodation reacts to this need and at times you will be living on-site on these projects in camps, cottages and farm houses.
You will receive three simple and nutritious meals per day. Breakfasts are composed of cereals and fruit and lunches are sandwiches. At dinner time you will enjoy a hot home-cooked meal.
When should I book?
Whilst late-availability is possible, we would advise booking as soon as you can to guarantee your ideal dates. Our projects are very popular and spaces can fill up several months in advance, especially for the months of June to September.
- Experience life as a mobile vet as you work alongside the experts on game reserves, farms and veterinary clinics.
- Gain hands-on experience caring for a wide variety of animals, from wild animals, to farm animals to pets.
- Become a valuable part of a genuine conservation and wildlife protection project.
- Learn first hand about the working of veterinary practice in another country.
- Explore this stunning area of the country as you travel to a range of contrasting places across the Eastern Cape, meeting local people and experiencing a completely different way of life.
Whyshould I do this?
Veterinary medicine is a highly competitive field, and as such many students are searching for work experience to boost their knowledge and employability. This veterinary internship goes above simply providing you with a good and varied experience – it allows you to get involved in making a genuine contribution to animal welfare and protection in South Africa. Not only will you improve your veterinary skills, you will be doing something incredibly worthwhile.
Because of the variety of this project, it is great for pre-vet experience and for those looking for relevant work with animals abroad. The main programme is available to people who are going on to study veterinary, who are in their first year of studies or who have completed their first year of studies.
Students who are or will be in their second and third year of veterinary studies have the opportunity to join a very similar programme, but which allows more practical experience aimed towards your level of experience. See here for more information.
You will fly in to East London (ELS) 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.
What is provided
What is provided
- Dedicated period of time on the phone or in person to discuss the project, answer any questions that you might have and find out more about you
- Access to your personal ‘My Oyster’ account – our online portal where you can find out much more about the programme and manage your booking.
- Pre-departure briefing
- Advice on visa requirements
- Help and advice from our UK office before departure and whilst away
- Pre-arranged veterinary internship in the Chintsa area with accommodation.
- Meet and greeted warmly at East London airport
- Transfer from the airport to the accommodation
- Accommodation in a shared volunteer house with bath and shower rooms, hot and cold water, and a washing machine
- Three meals per day
- Meal and drink vouchers for local restaurants and bars
- Free wi-fi
- Linen and bedding
- Oyster will prepare you thoroughly before you leave and support you while you are out there.
- ATOL financial protection (if Oyster books your flight)
- All project transport costs
- Return transfer to East London airport at the end of your stay
On your return:
- Welcome home pack
- Certificate of Recognition (on request)
- References (on request)
What do I need
- Flights to East London, arriving on a Monday. Oyster can book your flights
- A passport valid for a minimum of 30 days after your return date
- Insurance covering your project time and any planned independent travel, we can introduce you to a policy
- Cost of changing your return flight date if you need to
- Independent travel costs
- Any additional costs such as trips, snacks, entertainment (allow approximately £50 per week depending on lifestyle)
- All home country travel costs (to airport and interview if face-to-face)
- No visa is necessary for under 90 days from UK and most western European countries