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Things you should know.

As you prepare for your exciting journey to South Africa, we've put together essential travel information and resources to ensure you are well-equipped for your adventure. This guide includes key details and links to valuable websites that you might find helpful for planning your trip. We aim to provide comprehensive information to assist you in every step of your preparations. However, should you have any further inquiries or need additional clarity about the program or your travel arrangements, please feel free to reach out to us. Our team is always ready to assist you in making your experience as smooth and enriching as possible.

Group Picture Vetstudents august 23

1.    LOCATION 

Our programme unfolds in the stunning expanse of the South African bushveld, a region renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty and diverse wildlife. Spanning across multiple provinces, our activities provide a deep dive into the heart of South Africa’s rich and varied landscapes. You'll be engaging in high-level, hands-on veterinary work, an experience that is as rewarding as it is challenging.

Our journey will take us through a variety of settings, including game reserves, rescue centers, sanctuaries, and national parks, all within the borders of South Africa. Each location offers a unique glimpse into the country's wildlife and conservation efforts, providing an incomparable learning and working environment. Prepare to immerse yourself in the natural wonders of South Africa, where each day brings new adventures and invaluable experiences in wildlife care and conservation.
 

2.       INSURANCE

Participating in our wildlife program involves inherent risks, and it's crucial to understand these as you undertake this responsibility. To ensure your safety and well-being, securing Private Travel and Medical Insurance is a mandatory requirement for all attendees. We strongly advise you not to travel without comprehensive medical and travel insurance, as healthcare in South Africa can be costly, and public hospitals may not meet the standards you're accustomed to. This insurance is essential for your protection throughout the program.

3.    VISITING SOUTH AFRICA

Passport Requirements
When traveling to South Africa, it's crucial to understand that entry into the country is at the discretion of its immigration authorities. Your passport is the primary document for international travel, and you should ensure it's valid for the duration of your stay in South Africa (+6 months). Additionally, your passport must have at least two blank-facing pages.

Visa Information
A visa permits you to travel to a South African port of entry, where immigration officials will verify your eligibility to enter the country. The requirement for a visa depends on your nationality, the purpose of your visit, and its duration. Some travelers may not need a visa for South Africa; please refer to the Department of Home Affairs website for more information. 

Other Entry Requirements
Apart from a valid passport (and a visa, if required), you should also have:

•    Sufficient funds for your stay.
•    A return or onward ticket.
 

4.       HEALTH INFORMATION

Malaria-Free Zones
Our program operates in malaria-free areas. You can expect clean and hygienic accommodations and dining facilities. However, we recommend consulting with your medical practitioner for any specific health precautions you might consider necessary. Further information is available on the Ministry of Health’s website.

Vaccinations
Consultation with your doctor or medical practitioner is advised to determine if any vaccinations are needed for your trip. Should you have any health-related questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out to us.

Water Safety
While South Africa's water quality generally aligns with World Health Organization standards, not all tap water is safe for consumption. We advise taking necessary precautions and using bottled water, which is readily available at most shops and roadside restaurants we will visit. We also provide bottled water for your convenience and safety.
 

5.    TRANSPORT

International Airfare
Please note that international or national airfares are not included in the Programme fee. Wait for confirmation of your place in the programme before booking your plane tickets. Once you've booked your international flights, kindly email us the details.

Upon arrival at O.R. Tambo Airport in Johannesburg, Gauteng, the Rhino Connect team will be there to welcome you and gather all participating students. If you're not part of a group booking, please send us your international flight details for coordination.

National Airfares


Our primary mode of travel will be by minibus on the road. In the event that national flights are necessary for specific programme activities, we will notify you in advance about the costs. Such flights may be required for travel between provinces.

Transport During the Programme


Group travel will be conducted in a minibus, driven by a licensed and experienced driver. We view these road trips as an integral part of the overall experience.

Special Transport Requirements


Should you have special or additional transport needs, these will be at your own expense. However, our team is available to assist in making the necessary arrangements.
 

6.    WHAT IS INCLUDED

  • Meals: All meals during the programme.

  • Beverages: Water, coffee, tea, and juice.

  • Accommodation: Provided for the duration of the programme.

  • Transportation: Includes transport for programme activities and airport transfers.

  • Entry Fees and Permits: For all programme-related activities.

  • Programme Materials: Including lectures, materials, and camping equipment.

  • Apparel and Extras: Work shirts, water bottles, and other goodies.

  • Group Activities: Organized as part of the programme.


What's Not Included

  • Air Travel: Airfare to and from South Africa is not included, except for specific group bookings.

  • Optional Activities: Any activities outside the set programme.

  • Additional Purchases: Extra clothing and goodies beyond what is provided.
     

7.    SLEEPING ACCOMMODATION

Participants will be housed in shared sleeping accommodations, segregated by gender for privacy and comfort. All required linen is provided, ensuring that bringing a sleeping bag is optional. We maintain high standards of cleanliness and safety for both the sleeping quarters and bathroom facilities, ensuring a secure and comfortable shared environment throughout your stay.

8.       WHAT SHOULD I BRING?

For our outdoor-focused activities in sanctuaries and game reserves, comfort and practicality are key. Limit your luggage to one main bag (up to 20kg) and a smaller backpack or overnight bag for short trips.

  • Clothing: Sturdy work clothes suitable for outdoor activities. Include walking shoes (or mountain boots), winter hat, cap, swimwear, waterproof coat, jersey, T-shirts, jeans or safari trousers, scarf, gloves, and warm socks.

  • For Cold Mornings/Evenings: A very warm jacket is essential, as it can get quite cold.

  • Personal Items: Complete bath bag, sunblock, anti-mosquito spray, and stethoscope.

  • Photography Gear: Digital camera/GoPro for capturing memories. 


What to Wear

As part of the Rhino Connect team, we expect practical field and appropriate attire. Earth tones, black, or blue are preferred – avoid bright colors.

  • Summer Months: Short-sleeved shirts, T-shirts, and a couple of sweaters or hoodies for cooler times.

  • Winter Months: Warm clothes are essential. Layering is advisable: T-shirt, jeans/comfortable trousers, jersey, and a waterproof warm coat.

  • Cold Mornings/Evenings: Warm hat, gloves, waterproof jacket, and scarf.

  • Smart fieldware: We provide work shirts, but please ensure you have a comfortable, professional outfit for fieldwork.


Cellphone Reception

  • Phone Compatibility: Bring a phone that accepts any SIM card. Prepaid SIM cards are available at O.R. Tambo Airport.

  • Connectivity: Wi-Fi isn't always available, and remote areas may lack phone/internet signals, though these instances are typically brief.

9.       VALUABLES AND SAFETY

Your safety and the security of your belongings are of utmost importance to us. While we take every measure to ensure a secure environment for our participants, we also encourage you to be mindful of your items. Practicing standard safety precautions, as you would in any travel setting, is a good habit. We're committed to providing a safe experience and are always available to offer guidance and assistance in keeping yourself and your valuables secure throughout the program.

10.    CURRENCY AND SPENDING MONEY

The currency used in South Africa is the Rand (sign: R; code: ZAR). For your convenience and security, we suggest exchanging a limited amount of cash for personal expenses and using a credit card for the majority of your transactions. Keep in mind that the value of the Rand fluctuates regularly. 

Additional Expenses You Might Incur:

  • Snacks: Available for purchase at roadside restaurants or local padstals.

  • Extra Activities: For any activities outside the programmed itinerary.

  • Beverages: Soft drinks and alcoholic beverages.

  • Souvenirs: To take a piece of South Africa home with you.
     

13.    INDEMNITY 

TO PARTICIPATE IN OUR PROGRAM, ALL STUDENTS AND PARTICIPANTS ARE REQUIRED TO COMPLETE AND SIGN OUR INDEMNITY FORM BEFORE THE START OF OF THE PROGRAMME. ADDITIONALLY, VARIOUS GAME RESERVES AND EXTRA ACTIVITIES MAY HAVE THEIR INDEMNITY FORMS THAT ALSO NEED TO BE SIGNED. PLEASE BE AWARE THAT SIGNING THESE FORMS IS MANDATORY, AND WITHOUT A SIGNED INDEMNITY FORM, PARTICIPATION IN THE PROGRAMME IS NOT POSSIBLE.

14.    Considerations

  • Variable Experiences: Be aware that due to the unpredictable nature of wildlife and conservation work, the range of activities and experiences may vary.

  • Safety Protocols: Strict safety protocols must be followed at all times. The work involves interactions with wild animals, which can be unpredictable and potentially dangerous.

  • Physical Demands: Participants should be prepared for physically demanding work, often in challenging outdoor conditions.

  • Health Considerations: Ensure you are in good physical health and have received necessary vaccinations for travel to South Africa.

  • Cultural Sensitivity: Be respectful of local customs, traditions, and conservation practices. Understanding and respecting the local community is an essential part of conservation work.

  • Adaptability Required: Flexibility and adaptability are crucial. Plans may change rapidly due to weather, animal behavior, or other unforeseen circumstances.

  • Limited Resources: Be prepared to work in environments with limited resources. Conservation often takes place in remote areas with minimal facilities.

  • Emotional Challenges: Acknowledge the potential emotional challenges. Working with injured wildlife can be emotionally taxing.

  • Legal Compliance: All activities will be conducted in compliance with local and international wildlife laws and regulations.

  • Insurance Requirements: Participants are required to have appropriate travel and health insurance for the duration of the program.

  • Communication Limitations: In remote areas, there may be limited access to communication, including internet and mobile phone services.

  • Conservation Ethics: Adhere to ethical practices in wildlife conservation and veterinary care as guided by the program.

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