A safari with a difference
3 October 2009
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to get really close up and personal with the wildlife of the African bush? Did you avidly follow the adventures of Emma in Vet Safari on the BBC, and wish you could trade places with her for a day? Well, now you can!
Travel Butlers are proud to be able to offer their customers a rare, once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, in conjunction with African Vet Safaris, to follow trained vets and wildlife researchers as they go out on their daily duties in the private reserves in the Eastern Cape area.
On many of the private game reserves, it is vital to regularly monitor and check the health of the wildlife, especially the larger animals such as lion, elephant, rhino and leopard. And there are other checks that need to be routinely carried out too - female lions may, for example, need to be given a form of contraception to control the population, or for research purposes leopards and cheetahs may need to be fitted with transmitter implants or radio collars so that their whereabouts can be tracked and followed.
In order for these procedures to be safely carried out (and this is in terms of both the welfare of the animal and the person carrying out the procedure!), the animals will need to be sedated first - after all, would you want to try to fit a male leopard with a tracking device while he is wide awake and fully alert?! This is termed as 'immobilising' the animal, and it is not harmful at all. The animal is simply darted with a tranquiliser, which will temporarily knock them out while the safari vets then do whatever needs to be done.
Once the animal is tranquilised, participating guests are invited to move as close as they would like to watch what the safari vet in action - and depending on the animal and the actual procedure being carried out, guests may even be offered the opportunity to assist - under strict supervision, of course! Either way, it is a truly unique way to get unbelievably close to the magnificent creatures of the African bush - and the experience is not one that many people can say they have had.
Guests may also, on request, fly in the helicopter with the safari vet if a helicopter is required to dart the animals.
Guests will be able to join the safari vets over a consecutive 4 day period, which also gives ample time to enjoy the general game viewing in the reserve. In general, the number of guests is limited to a maximum of 7, but if you have a larger or smaller group, or you particularly want to focus your experience on a particular animal, trips can be tailormade on request.
The cost of this 4 day unforgettable experience, including your accommodation and most meals, starts from R30,000 per person, and part of this cost goes not only towards the cost of the procedure, but also to the wildlife / conservation body, so guests are directly contributing towards the conservation and successful management of the wildlife.
If you have longer to spare, there is also the opportunity to go 'behind the scenes' with a team of wildlife field researchers and scientists to study a particular animal. This gives guests on this trip an amazing opportunity to gain an incredibly rare insight into the behaviour patterns of animals in their natural environment.
These trips are generally about 8 to 9 days in duration, as they consist of a whole series of activities, including visiting rehabilitation centres and animal sanctuaries, learning about wildlife management, tracking wildlife through the bush and monitoring their activities, watching (and participating in too) various routine vetinerary procedures - and maybe even tracking collared animals from the air. The research may also not be limited to just one reserve, again giving a really varied experience - not to mention some great all-round game viewing too!
All activites are option, and guests can choose to be as hands on or hands off as they prefer.
The cost of this research experience starts from R29,500 per person, and again, includes accommodation and most meals. Part of this cost also goes towards the conservation bodies, so the money is directly contributing to the wildlife conservation efforts.
For more information, visit travelbutlers.com.