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EXPERIENCE FIRST-HAND THE WONDER OF WILDLIFE RESCUE

AMAZING ADVENTURES THAT MAKE A DIFFERENCE!

You’ve always wanted to go on a safari, here’s your chance. Our 9-day conservation experience is the perfect way to combine your dream holiday with making a difference for the endangered wildlife you love and your favorite charity helping to protect them. A true adventure of a lifetime awaits in South Africa—make your reservation today!

LEARN THE INS AND OUTS OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION

 

VETPAW’s goal is to help end the African poaching crisis and conserve endangered species. We invite you to join our conservation efforts on our beautiful reserve in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. Experience an incredible vacation, while getting hands-on conservation experience with some of the most critically endangered species in the world.

Your immersive safari will leave you with a true appreciation for the magnificent beauty of African wildlife, and the realizations of the imminent threats to their survival. Most importantly, you will head back home with a sense of confidence in these animals’ continued safety and a sense of achievement for taking part in such a crucial task.

I love it so much that I’ve participated 4 times!

Nothing compares to the feeling you get when you help an animal. Learning about,  and contributing to the survival of these precious creatures moves you in ways you cannot imagine.

— Suzanne Weerts

50% of proceeds fund vetpaw

 

50% of all proceeds from conservation safaris go directly into funding VETPAW’s mission of protecting African wildlife and employing US Veterans.

Your donation dollars are more important today than ever as we continue to expand our areas of protection, hire more veterans, train local park rangers and combat the ever-increasing pressure from poachers.

What you’ll be doing

     Conservation

  Safari Experience

  aCCOMMODATIONS

Program Details and faqs

Conservation

You will be part of a day/night monitoring and tracking team dedicated to finding and documenting our black and white rhino populations within the reserve where information is collected and made available to the reserve managers.

Determine rhino territory and home range activity using territorial midden sites and GPS technology in an effort to improve protection procedures and ensure the future success of the reserves priority population.

Monitoring rhino behaviour and interactions to achieve an understanding of the population structure, anti-poaching practices, and management planning through information collected.
You will assist and be part of the reserves routine and any science/monitoring programs that BRCC is involved with. The Mutogomeli project is not on an ecotourism reserve so students will be given a completely personal and unique African experience while living remotely at our bush camp.

Note – Our guests need to be mindful that they are in the bush, all our work is seasonal, weather dependant and while we have our routine, project life can change regularly in accordance with the reserves own routine. So be prepared, you will have a real adventure!

What will I leave with?

  • Understand seasonal movements and create range maps within rhino territory
  • Understand population structures and management mapping necessary in providing sustainable conservation
  • The beautiful diversity of African nature – a variety of animals and plants in various regions
  • First-hand look at anti-poaching practices and military grade tactics
  • Engagement in the community and culture of Eastern Cape

Who will be our field guide?

“You will be joining our professional team of wildlife managers and game reserve operators, as well as getting to know our amazing group of veterans on the ground!

I’ve never done any conservation work before. Will I be able to participate?

Yes. However it is important to come with an open mind, as conservation is more than just keeping an eye on our wild African friends. The VETPAW experience is located on an active game reserve, which means you will see conservation from all perspectives. Remember that a mind is like a parachute, it works best when open.

What kind of involvement will I have?

Your activities will be centered around the conversation strategy on the reserve:

  • Rhino monitoring through telemetry. Each rhino has a telemetry device that puts out a signal which we can track. We need to know where each rhino is by 12 noon
  • Camera traps. We have a multitude of trail cameras on the reserve. They provide vital research data which is incredibly important for the various conservation strategies on the reserve. You will be part of this program where you will be capturing the research data and then resetting the cameras
  • Working with our conservation professors Dr Jo Balmer
  • Assisting with the owl conservation project
  • Game drives daily
  • Going with our veterans on day and fence patrols
  • Game capture and game movement (this is not guaranteed as it depends what time of the year you visit and whether the reserves have game capture activities planned
  • You will have day at the beautiful beaches in Port Alfred

Safari

In addition to assisting us in our amazing day to day conservation work, you’ll get to go on daily game drives around the reserve where you can just sit back and enjoy the extreme beauty of African wildlife and our amazing landscapes.

Our reserve is teeming with wildlife and you’ll have the opportunity to see the Big 4 and much much more!

Determine rhino territory and home range activity using territorial midden sites and GPS technology in an effort to improve protection procedures and ensure the future success of the reserves priority population.

Monitoring rhino behaviour and interactions to achieve an understanding of the population structure, anti-poaching practices, and management planning through information collected.
You will assist and be part of the reserves routine and any science/monitoring programs that BRCC is involved with. The Mutogomeli project is not on an ecotourism reserve so students will be given a completely personal and unique African experience while living remotely at our bush camp.

Note – Our guests need to be mindful that they are in the bush, all our work is seasonal, weather dependant and while we have our routine, project life can change regularly in accordance with the reserves own routine. So be prepared, you will have a real adventure!

What time do we get up in the morning?

  • It depends on the time of year but between 5 and 6 am. We wake our guests so they do not need an alarm clock.

Do we do drives in the rain?

  • Of course, as this is one of the best times in the bush as all the animals are smiling.

Do we go off road?

  • Absolutely! Since we are in sole charge of the property we can do whatever we want (within the reasons of safety, of course!)

We’re going on safari into the bush, can I get hold of personal items, drinks etc. while on safari?

  • Yes, our reserve is well-located to outposts and stores where we can pick things up for you if you need them. We recommend trying to bring everything that you think you may need but in an emergency we will be able to accommodate most requests.

Are binoculars provided?

  • No, we would recommend bringing a pair of binoculars as sometimes there is a great sighting deeper into the bush or up a tree. Sometimes the animals are close to or on the road but it is never a guarantee.

Will I see the big 5 (lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, rhino)? Everyone talks of Africa’s Big 5, what is this exactly?

  • The Big 5 is actually a hunting term, used to describe Africa’s 5 most dangerous animals to hunt on foot in the bush. These animals are lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and rhino. Photographic safari companies have adopted the phrase to include in their marketing strategies, as it is a huge draw card for visitors visiting our country and its national parks.
  • African wildlife are unpredictable, however on our reserve there is a very high chance you will see the Big 4 (we do not have Lions on the reserve) – however, spotting all of the Big 4 in the same day very possible but cannot be guaranteed. Due to the vastness of our reserve, it is impossible to predict in advance what animals you will find on your safari. This is part of the excitement and adventure of looking for wildlife in their natural environment. Also, in your quest to view the Big 4, be sure not to miss out on the many other interesting animals, birds, plants, insects and reptiles to be found.

Accommodation

You will be situated within the reserve at The VETPAW Home. This house was one of the original buildings on the reserve that has had a makeover. The accommodation works on a shared basis; in other words there will be two persons per room.

Do we have internet or WiFi?

  • Yes we do! However, wilderness areas are becoming one of the rare places on earth where one can escape the world of technology and constant communication. Out of respect for those guests who have chosen to visit us for that reason, we ask that you keep your use of technology to a minimum. There is cellphone signal and most people can receive emails.

Can we bring our own alcoholic beverages?

  • No; we have a liquor licence. We have a cash bar at the camps that offer beers, wine, spirits, ciders, soft drinks and bottled water.

Can we do laundry?

  • Yes, you can at a fee.

Do we have air conditioning in the lodge?

  • Yes, the air conditioning can be set on cold or warm.

What is supplied in the lodge?

  • All linen, towels, hair dryer, tea and coffee facility, insect repellent, soaps, shower cap, tissues, shampoo and shower gel.

Do we have electrical outlets in the lodge?

  • Yes, there is electricity in the tents. We use type M 3 pin round plugs, 220V, 15amp. Please consult your local travel shop for advice on travel adaptors.

Can we get to the camp in a small car?

  • Yes, both camps are accessible with a smaller car.

Is there place to store our valuables?

  • Yes, we can lock them up in our safe.

What can we do between game drives and conservation activities?

  • We don’t have much down time, but of course we invite you to relax as much as you can while you are with us!
  • There is an abundance of non safari activities, both on the reserve and off site to enjoy and make your visit is a memorable experience.
  • Cultural villages
    • A visit to one of the nearby traditional Xhosa villages will grant you a glimpse into the customs of a fascinating heritage.
  • San rock paintings
    • Beautifully preserved san rock paintings, many over a thousand years old, speak of an ancient way of life. Horse riding: Enjoy a scenic, leisurely ride through our picturesque countryside or along the pristine beach.
  • Shopping
    • Visit the nearby villages for crafts and souvenirs.
  • Fishing
    • Rock, surf and deep sea fishing is offered a mere 60 minute drive to the coast. Alternatively bass fishing is available on the reserve.

Do the camps have an area where you can sit and relax?

  • Yes, our lodge has an open lapa area where we have books and games available for guests.

What kind of food do we serve?

  • We can accommodate most dietary requirements. We offer good home style cooking and dinners are around the fire at night in the boma area (weather permitting). We have real home-style favorites: potjie, bobotie, braais, plenty of vegetables and salads and traditional South African desserts.

What special dietary requirements don’t we cater for?

  • Kosher and vegan (We do cater for vegetarians). We can cater for gluten free and lactose intolerant in a minimal context.

Can we take credit card payments at the camp?

  • Yes, Master and Visa card payments can be done at Safari Camp. Bush Camp guests can pay at Safari Camp on the way out.

ATM-s?

  • There are ATM-s where you can draw South African Rands available at our stops en route to the camp.

Do we take foreign currency?

  • Yes, we do take American Dollars or Euro as well as South African Rands. 

About tipping staff

  • Our rates do not include gratuities. Any gratuities you wish to leave for the staff will be GREATLY appreciated. These can be paid in CASH directly to the member of staff at your discretion, or by CREDIT CARD along with your beverages account on the morning of your departure.

How much cash should we bring?

  • Very little cash is needed for your stay at The VETPAW Home. You can bring a small amount of South African Rands for small purchases e.g. curios, lunch on route to and from the camp.

Do we need to take Malaria Medication?

  • The Eastern Cape is designated as a Malaria Free zone so you shouldn’t have any issues! Additional preventive measures such as covering your arms, feet and legs during the early mornings and evenings by wearing long sleeve clothing, apply a good quality mosquito repellent and sleep under a mosquito net. Lodges are equipped with mosquito and insect repellent as well as mosquito nets around the beds and on the windows and doors. Do not let the risk of malaria stop you from enjoying your safari! Over a million people visit the nearby Kruger National Park every year, and very few cases of malaria are reported!

Passport, itinerary, travel insurance docs and eTickets

It seems obvious, but we would be remiss if we didn’t put this at the top of the list of what you must pack for your trip!

Prescription meds

Remember to put your prescription medications in your hand luggage (in case your check-in bag goes astray… it happens!)…and make sure you have enough of each type to last your entire safari.

Prescription glasses (sunglasses, hat, sunblock et al)

If you wear prescription glasses, be sure to pack more than one set (in case you lose one or they get broken). You will be outdoors for much of the time, so be prepared. Pack a hat, sunblock, long sleeves, and lip balm.

Camera, video and binoculars

While most people will remember to take their camera and/or video (or will use their mobile phone), not everyone thinks they need to take binoculars!

Binoculars are ESSENTIAL for optimum wildlife viewing on safari (and a GOOD pair of binoculars will make a BIG difference to your safari). We strongly recommend a pair of binoculars on safari. 

Africa is a photographer’s dream. Not only does the boundless wildlife come in all shapes and sizes, but the continent is also blessed with stunning landscapes, colorful people and fabulous light! Don’t miss out. Buy a camera, if you don’t already have one.

Clothes and toiletries

Of course you’re not going to forget clothes! But are you taking the right clothes…

Casual, comfortable clothing is suitable throughout the year when on safari. While you may elect to start a completely new safari ‘wardrobe’ it is really not necessary to look like an extra on the set of Out of Africa! Apart from selecting reasonably neutral or ‘non-bright’ colored clothing, safari-wear is generally casual and practical. Be sure you take clothes that you feel comfortable in – especially when it comes to your walking/hiking boots. The newer quick-drying fabrics, shirts with ventilation and trousers that convert into shorts are all worth considering.

Layering is key

Wearing clothes in layers is the most practical way to cope with fluctuating day/night temperatures and cool evenings while on safari. As the day warms up you can peel off another layer. Then as it begins to cool toward evening, you can put them back on. Here’s the “must-haves” to pack for your safari:

  • T-shirt, shirt or blouse – long sleeves and collars help to protect from the sun and mosquitoes
  • Fleece or warm jacket
  • A pair of safari trousers – those that zip off at the knees are very handy, too
  • Comfortable walking shoes (or boots) and socks
  • Hat
  • Bandanna or cotton scarf and a sarong (kanga, pareo, kikoi)
  • Maybe a pair of open sports sandals for general daytime use in warmer months
  • Swimsuit –  a number of lodges and camps have swimming pools
  • A light, compact raincoat
  • And, of course, your undergarments

Dull and/or neutral colors are more suitable for safari, white and/or bright colors are not practical as they tend to stand out – definitely not advisable on a walking safari. Cotton clothing is recommended although the newer synthetic safari clothing lines are quick drying and extremely comfortable.

Phone, music, tablet or laptop

What you must pack for your safari are your phone, music, tablet or laptop – and their respective chargers, country-specific adapter plugs.

Preventative pharmaceuticals

This is just a fancy way of saying ‘meds’ – stuff you need, just in case the worst happens: diarrhea, headaches, heartburn, insect repellent, hand sanitizer, bites (antihistamine), indigestion, sore throat (lozenges), and eye drops.

Odds & ends

A good (flashlight) is a must. It can be pitch black in the bush or in your tent in the middle of the night. A rechargeable torch is ideal but a small battery-powered torch is sufficient. The new LED miner’s lights that fit on your head (and leave your hands free) are also a good option. A smaller (pencil) torch for emergencies or looking at star maps is also worth considering. Most camps will provide a torch, or will walk you back to your tent as required, but being self-sufficient is always a good idea.

A good book. It never hurts to have an interesting book when travelling. You never know when you are going to be delayed at the airport or fall victim to Africa time!

A travel diary or journal is something we recommend. You will see and experience so much in such a short period of time on safari, that the only way to maintain a good record of it will be to write it down. It does require discipline, but will serve as an invaluable record of your safari adventure.

Cost & Schedules

Our 9-Day Conservation Safari experience will from the 15th to the 24th of every month from January through November. We do not offer any experiences during the month of Decemeber.

The total 9-Day Cost is $3,000 (USD).