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Hoedspruit Cheetah Breeding Centre


Adventure Programme

About the programme

The HESC offers persons in the age range 18-35 years ** , the opportunity to experience, first hand, the work of the Centre, during an intensive, 21-day programme.

The programme is divided into three main sections:

Participation, Conservation and Sight Seeing

The focus of the programme is on the cheetah and during the course participants are involved with the everyday care of the cheetahs. This includes, cleaning, feeding, and where required, assisting with or observing any veterinary activities that may occur during their stay. The same activities apply to other species being cared for at the centre. The knowledge gained about the animals and work of the HESC through this kind of participation is both specific and personal.

The Conservation section of the programme involves daily lectures on all major aspects of conservation and includes specialist input on all animals, grasses, trees and basic biodiversity.

The Sight Seeing section of the programme is where participants get to put theory into practice either through directed observation in the wild or at other centres that specialise in other areas of research or conservation.

The programme is largely based on the interactive involvement of participants, who in the process gain valuable knowledge of and experience in nature conservation.

Students will also have the opportunity to visit numerous places of interest and attractions in the area, including the renowned Kruger National Park. Included in the programme is the unique and memorable experience of an elephant-back safari with the resident herd of Camp Jabulani ( – the herd’s namesake also arrived at the Centre at the age of four months in a terrible state of dehydration and shock (he had been abandoned by his herd after getting stuck in a silt dam). It took a year to nurse him back to health under 24 hour dedicated care.

Duration of programme:

3 weeks - A basic conservation course, consisting of a theoretical component, followed by active participation in practical exercises.

Aim of the programme:

To equip students with the aptitude to actively participate in conserving the wildlife of Southern Africa; to build awareness of conservation in a broader global scale; and to experience the beauty and rich diversity of South Africa.

Programme Facilitators:

All have a contagious passion for conservation, and are dedicated to sharing their knowledge and expertise about the African Bush ”Veld” and its inhabitants.

Participants will be work side by side with full time personnel of the Centre (assisting with feeding and animal care).

Participant Requirements:

  • Must be eager to learn and to participate.
  • Must be prepared to have some fun.
  • Must have a desire to make a difference while gaining invaluable experience and knowledge.

Accommodation & Facilities:

Students are accommodated in thatched huts (each can sleep 2 people) in Nungu Camp - situated within the boundaries of Kapama Private Game Reserve (Big 5). Separate facilities are available for male and female participants.

Three meals per day are prepared in the camp – a valuable team building experience. There is a kitchen with fridges in the camp, as well as barbeque facilities.

The closest town is Hoedspruit, which is approximately 25km from the reserve. Regular town trips can be organized for supplies, banking or internet facilities. Telephone facilities are available (at participants' own expense). Laudry facilities are available at the camp.

Sunday’s are “off” days, and are spent at leisure.

Adventurous activities are available in the area. Should volunteers decide to participate in such activities (such as hot air ballooning; paint ball war-games; river rafting in the Blyde River Canyon; horse rides) they can be arranged with the project leader at participants’ own expense.

Programme Deliverables:

Hands on experience :

  • Working with cheetah, wild dog, small spotted cats, African wildcats and more.
  • Preparation of animal food and feeding the animals.
  • Possibility of working with the wildlife vet (darting, capturing and operating on animals).
  • Possibility of assisting in the hand-rearing of animals.
  • Local community involvement (e.g. visiting schools in rural areas).

Informal lectures on a variety of topics, such as :

  • Conservation
  • Animal identification
  • Plants and ecology
  • Astronomy
  • Survival
  • Fire arm handling and safety
  • Tracks and signs
  • Reptiles
  • Birds
  • South African history and cultural diversity.
  • Anti-Poaching

The lectures will be followed by practical exercises - for example:

  • Trip to reptile park
  • Identification of plants on walking excursions
  • Tracking in the bush
  • Trip to local tribal village
  • A trip to Kruger National Park
  • Stargazing
  • Natural and traditional food preparation.
  • Game drives

Other highlights may include :

  • Big 5 walk
  • Bush sleep-out
  • Elephant back safari

Some of the operators who facilitate bookings of this programme (click on their name to go through to the respective websites):

For the period January - May 2010, and from July 2010 - December 2010, participants older than 35 are welcome to join the Student's Programme.

Sign Up

Should you be interested in participating in this programme, or should you need further information from our team, please contact us on:

Telephone: + 27 15 793 1633
Fax: +27 15 793 1646

What to pack:

  • Sun block
  • Hat
  • Insect Repellent
  • Malaria tablets – consult your medical practitioner
  • Torch
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Walking boots
  • Visit the Students' Programme Face Book Page - simply click here.
  • View footage from the Students' Programme on YOU TUBE. TOP