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JOIN THE

VETPAW EXPERIENCE

EXPERIENCE FIRST-HAND THE WONDER OF WILDLIFE CONSERVATION

You’ve always wanted to go on a safari, here’s your chance. Our 10-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 sanctuary 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 four 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

100% of profits fund vetpaw

 

100% of all profits from conservation safaris go directly into funding VETPAW’s mission of protecting African wildlife and empowering 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

TASTE OF THE EASTERN CAPE

 

Program Details and faqs

Conservation

Safari

Taste of the Eastern Cape

Accommodations

Costs/Schedules & FAQs

Conservation

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

Determine the animals 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 the animals behavior and interactions to achieve an understanding of the population structure, anti-poaching practices, and management planning through information collected.

Monitor the black rhino and other animal populations through collecting camera trap data.

Note

Our guests need to be mindful that they are in the bush, where all of our work is seasonal and weather dependent. While we have our routine, project life can change regularly under the reserves own routine. So be prepared, you will have a real adventure!

What will I leave with?
  • An understanding of the seasonal movements and to be able to create range maps within rhino, elephant, and cheetah territory
  • An idea of population structures and management mapping necessary in providing sustainable conservation
  • The beautiful diversity of African nature – a variety of animals and vegetation in various regions
  • A first-hand look at anti-poaching practices and military-grade tactics used by VETPAW team members
  • An in-depth engagement with the surrounding communities and culture of the Eastern Cape
Who will be our field guide?

Your field guide will be our ecologist and a mix of our veterans on the ground!

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

Yes. However, it’s essential to come with an open mind, as conservation is more than just keeping an eye on our wildlife. Be prepared to get down and dirty with all aspects of conservation!

What kind of involvement will I have?

Activities centered around our conversation strategy on the reserve:

  • Monitoring, through telemetry. The cheetahs have a telemetry device that puts out a signal which we can track. You’ll learn how to use the telemetry device to signal the location of these animals as you’re in the bush searching for them!
  • Camera traps. We have a multitude of trail cameras on the reserve with the main purpose of them being to monitor our black rhino population. 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.
  • Game capture and game movement of the animals on the reserve (this is dependent on when you visit and whether the reserve has game capture activities planned during your scheduled visit) Under no circumstances will an animal be darted for guest purposes. These activities are only done in conjunction with the ecological needs of the reserve only***

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 it all!

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You’ll experience daily safari rides around the reserve itself escorted by our veterans and ecologist on the ground to see what a day in the life of a VETPAW team member is like!

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You’ll have the opportunity to go for night drives to see if we can find any of our hidden nocturnal friends

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You’ll be able to appreciate the vastness of nature and land this reserve has to offer while learning about the history and tall tales of the area the reserve is situated in

Note – Our guests need to be mindful that they are in the bush, where all of our work is seasonal and weather dependent. While we have our routine, project life can change regularly under 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. 

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.

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 we will always be able to accommodate requests.

Are binoculars provided?

We would recommend bringing a pair of binoculars as sometimes there is a great sighting deeper into the bush, up a tree or across the valley.

Taste of the Eastern Cape

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Thirty minutes away you’ll get to experience some of the largest sand dunes in the world! Once you get over to the other side you’ll find yourself enjoying the South African beaches!
*Beach activities available at an additional cost upon arrival to the beach and or to coordinate through us

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Enjoy a local boat ride up the nearby river! You’ll be able to kick back and take in the vastness of the wildlife that flourishes near this area!

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Just a short drive away you can enjoy the culture, art and The Pig and Whistle (the oldest pub in South Africa), all of which are situated in the heart of the Eastern Cape

Sustainability program visits

A vital pillar of our mission in Africa is the sustainable upliftment of communities surrounding the reserves that VETPAW supports. Our team continues to create sustainability projects for the families living in nearby villages; having implemented successful projects of this nature since 2019, we continue to do so throughout 2021.

These initiatives provide a reliable income for the local communities and adds another layer of protection for the wildlife we protect. In their view, they know that these species are worth far more to them alive.

 

  • You’ll be able to visit the nearby village and visit the women who lead our sustainability initiative for the village
  • You’ll get to see what a day is like for the women and children and hear their stories of the area
  • You’ll also get an exclusive chance to be able to work with and or purchase their crafts they cultivate
  • A visit to one of the nearby traditional Villages will grant you a glimpse into the customs of a fascinating heritage

Note – For more information on how you can contribute to this cause please take a look at our sustainability page!

Enjoy the Wild of the Bush from our lodge!

 

  • Experience your first African sundowner in the bush as the setting sun lights up the beautiful landscapes the reserve has to offer
  • You’ll get to enjoy dinner’s and braai’s surrounding your campfire under the star-lit skies.
  • Find comfort in our home through the little things from reading to gardening- all while enjoying the company of new friends

Accommodation

Amenities 

  • Wi-Fi
  • Bar
  • Laundry Service
  • Personal Guides/Driver
  • Pool
  • 2x Indoor Fire place and Outdoor Fire Pit
  • Smart Tv’s (With online streaming services available)
  • Communal garden for harvest (when the season is appropriate)
  • On-site safe to store all of your valuables
  • All Bathroom essentials
  • Tea and coffee facility
  • Fully equipped kitchen
ATM-s?

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

How are rooms assigned?

You will be staying in one of our two bunkbed rooms- where you will be assigned with 1-3 other guests. However, guests who book together with friends/family/groups will be grouped in the same rooms.
**If for any reason there is an issue with room assignments, then accommodations will be made for our guest comfort

Who else will be in my experience group?

Our program does appeal to a wide range of travelers, most of whom share an adventurous spirit and a desire to experience these destinations at a grass-roots level! So get ready to have a great time with people who share the same interests as you most likely do!

About tipping staff

Our rates do not include gratuities. Any gratuities left for the staff will be GREATLY appreciated. 

Schedules

* The schedule can be flexible within the parameters of whether or not the overall goal of the day was completed.

Day 1: Arrival Day

  • Participants picked up from airport
  • Participants arrive at VETPAW Volunteer Home
  • Safety Briefing/Introduction to Key Volunteer Project Members (Volunteer Experience Guide/Team Leader) and Schedule Briefing.

Day 2:

  • Black Rhino Monitoring/Game Drive
  • White Rhino Monitoring/Game Drive

Day 3:

  • Village Visit
  • White Rhino Monitoring
  • Game Drive

Day 4:

  • Camera Trap Data Recover (part 1)
  • Game Drive
  • Option to book additional activites*

Day 5:

  • Camera Trap Data Recovery (part 2)
  • Game Drive

Day 6:

  • Indian Ocean beach/sand dune trip
  • Coastal town visit for food and shopping

Day 7:

  • Morning Game Drive
  • Leisure time* option to book additional activities
  • Night Game Drive

Day 8:

  • Cheetah Tracking/Game Drive
  • Evening Game Drive

Day 9:

  • Elephant tracking
  • Leisure time *option to do more activites at your disposal
  • Elephant tracking

Day 10:

  • Final Day Farewell
  • Breakfast and briefing
  • Depart to Airport

Costs


Groups of 6+ planning to participate in the experience program can contact experiences@vetpaw.org for scheduling, discounted rates, and any immediate questions regarding dates if accommodations are needed.

7 days at $3,500, 10 days at $4,000.

To save your spot for the chosen dates- a deposit of 20% will be garnered and, any remaining program fee is due 30 days in advance of the program’s scheduled date.

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

What does the program fee cover?

Your fee of USD3,000 covers your transportation upon your arrival/departure at the airport and excursions throughout your stay with VETPAW (airfare is not included). Three meals a day; Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner with drinks and snacks. Along with accommodations and all activities mentioned in the trip itinerary laid out on our Costs/ Schedules & FAQs page.

What vaccinations are recommended for this adventure?

The only one qualified to provide you with this advice is your family physician or a specialist from a Travel Health clinic.

Can someone help me book my flights?

Yes! We have a great travel agent who is happy to assist anyone planning their flights to and from South Africa.

Traveler’s Insurance

We require every participant to purchase travelers insurance before coming out to our Experience program. You may provide proof of travelers insurance if your job covers it.
*You must be sure that your travelers insurance covers Covid-19. The agency we recommend to go through for travelers insurance does cover for Covid-19.

What to Bring
How many people can go on a trip?

We keep our group sizes low, so you have the freedom to move around and get involved with your surroundings, as well as more personal attention from our local guides. This intimate size ensures that your group will not crowd your experience. You can expect up to 8-10 MAX participants on a trip but, the average is 8.

Can you help arrange my travel visa?

Requirements for travel visas vary widely depending on your nationality and your destination. If you do require a Visa, you will have to arrange for it yourself or use the services of a travel agent or visa processing company.

Age restrictions

To travel independently, you must be at least 18 years of age. Also, travelers with pre-existing medical conditions are required to complete a medical questionnaire.

Are airfare fees included in the price?

No, the program’s fee only includes your stay and accommodations for the ten days.

Do I need to rent a car?

You will not need a rental vehicle during your stay with VETPAW. We will arrange for your pick-up/drop-off at the nearby airport along with all excursions during your stay with us.