Are you studying veterinary medicine, nursing or technology and would like to take part in a Veterinary Medicine project? We have two projects rolled in one that are especially for those qualified or studying these related sciences. Gain extra practical experience while giving back to animals from disadvantaged communities helping a very busy qualified veterinary doctor working with low income pet owners and rescued animals at an animal welfare. Alternatively join a team of qualified professionals working with all sorts of diverse animals and wildlife in South Africa to gain some hands-on experience. It is also possible to combine the two to get an even broader practical knowledge which will add a wealth of knowledge to your studies as South Africa has a wide range of diseases and illnesses that are found and especially with the welfare cases, the work load for sterilizations is very high!

Starting daysStarting days are Monday to Friday all year around
Minimum Requirements2 weeks and longer subject to visa requirements. A minimum age of 20 years old and studying veterinary medicine
Cost£1100 for 2 weeks and £350 for each additional week
What is includedFood allowance, accommodation, meeting you at the airport, airport collection and drop-off, welcome braai (BBQ), Saturday tour, a welfare animal sterilized on behalf of the volunteer, pre-departure support, t-shirt, in-country staff, 24- emergency help and more
What is not includedFlights, visas, travel insurance, spending money
Best forVeterinary medicine students, veterinary nursing students, vet techs, qualified veterinary medicine doctors, qualified veterinary medicine nurse, those planning to study veterinary medicine

Project Description

We have two different veterinary practices that we place our veterinary medicine students, interns, nurses, technicians and qualified veterinary participants in Knysna. Both have very dedicated qualified staff and both are very different in work routine, treatments and patients. Participants are placed according to availability and their personal needs and goals and the needs at the time.

Animal Welfare

This animal welfare project is a privately funded, non-profit association solely working for the benefit of animals found mostly in underprivileged areas.  Acting and speaking for those who have no voice, the society engages in rescue, rehabilitation and re-homing where possible, education programs and daily clinics, as well as operating a sterilization program which operates on an often daily basis, servicing the greater Knysna area. Besides responding to distressed call-outs from the public, the animal welfare is often also driven to engage in the welfare of larger animals, that although not falling within their jurisdiction, cannot likewise be ignored. The emphasis is on sterilization to prevent unwanted litters of kittens and puppies

Education is power, and to the best of their abilities, the staff of the society distributes visual pamphlets on both the care of animals, feeding requirements, and disease protection and control.  Many of the pet owners have wonderfully cared for and loved animals, but sadly these cases are in the minority, leaving the heavily financially burdened society and limited staff with an awesome, and for the most part, heartbreaking task. The welfare also treats those with lower incomes with low cost veterinary treatment which there is a huge need for.

The case load is very high with many cases too of mange, abuse, malnutrition, fighting, car accidents and injuries, Parvovirus, Distemper, Babesia and other parasites and infections both internally and externally

Private Veterinary Clinic

This private veterinary practice has been established for many decades and is the largest in the area and much loved by the residents and their furry family. They have numerous veterinary doctors, nurses and staff has an excellent reputation for their veterinary treatment with modern equipment. Aside from domestic animals in the greater Knysna area that they treat they also treat livestock and horses in the neighbouring farming areas and wildlife from rehabilitation centers in the area. They hold a mobile veterinary clinic in the poorer areas of the Knysna townships on the first Wednesday morning of the month for vaccinations, flea and mange treatment and to veterinary care. They also treat rescued injured and sick wildlife- both birds and animals- brought in by the local public, for free

There also have satellite veterinary clinics in the nearby towns of Sedgefield and Wilderness so you may join one of the veterinary doctors when they treat patients there.

  • veterinary medicine


The volunteer accommodation is shared and self-catering in the town of Knysna close to shopping malls, restaurants, take-aways, gyms, nightlife, entertainment areas and essential services. There is security and the area is safe to walk around. Bedrooms are either shared with another volunteer or single depending on volunteer numbers, a satellite TV, a shared bathroom with a shower, basin and toilet and a washing machine. There is a braai facility and kitchen for meals. There is also WIFI. Couples, friends, and families can be accommodated.


You will also receive a food allowance for your basic food essentials for your breakfast, lunch and dinner. You will be taken for a grocery shop as part of your induction on your arrival. This means that you can choose the specific food if you have set dietary requirements. There is a kitchen for cooking


You will need to fly into George Airport for your airport collection where you will be met by your Volunteer International Adventures representative and driven to your volunteer accommodation in Knysna.

Knysna is one of South Africa’s favourite towns based around the beautiful Knysna estuary with views of the iconic headlands. It is not known as the jewel of the Garden Route for nothing and is surrounded by magical forests, farmlands and a breath-taking coastline dotted with blue flag beaches which are great for swimming, barbequing or just simply watching dolphins surfing in the waves. It is also home to the famous elusive Knysna elephant which are the most southern free roaming elephants in the world and there are still hot debates about the numbers with some saying there is only one left and others a small herd of about four.

The area that Knysna is situated is the Garden Route of the province of the Western Cape and it is a dream for animal lovers and extreme sports enthusiasts as there are numerous private wildlife reserves, national parks, whale watching, predator sanctuaries, primate sanctuaries, elephant sanctuaries, wolf sanctuaries, skydiving, paragliding, sandboarding, numerous interesting markets and so much more so boredom is not an option.

Our projects take place mainly in the local townships in the poorer areas where we do our best to try and lighten the load for the teachers, schools and NPOs assisting in the area with hands on help and financial support

For more information or to book, either fill in the contact form or please email

“I cannot begin to express how incredible this opportunity was from arrival to departure. Sharon answered any and all questions I had prior to pursuing this trip and was at the airport waiting for me on arrival with warm welcoming open arms and made me feel at home. The experience I gained from this trip was invaluable. Working with an animal welfare in this community introduced me to the cultural differences of animal care and veterinary medicine. It exposed me to the importance of proper client education and animal care in an underserved community. This experience allowed me to gain a perspective of the veterinary field I would not have had a chance to in the US and emphasized the importance of an open-minded, resilient, and flexible mind set within the veterinary profession. The staff at at the project were genuine and allowed me to have as much hands on experience as possible, from examinations to diagnostics to surgical procedures. During my stay, there was a major fire and Sharon provided me with a place to stay and made me as comfortable as I possibly could have been. I truly cannot recommend this experience enough! Everything about it was more than I expected it to be!”

-Alanna Wildman, USA

If you are studying veterinary medicine or qualified, you might be interested in this project too with veterinary medicine and animal care on the island of Zanzibar…. Animal Welfare and Veterinary Medicine Skills