Courses » Introduction to Conservation

What is it about? In a tranquil environment, this condensed course teaches the essential practical and theoretical aspects of wildlife management and conservation.

Mostly on the property Craig Doone, with visits to neighboring private reserves and the Addo Elephant National Park.

How long?
Twenty-eight days. It starts on a Monday morning and ends on a Friday afternoon.

And the cost? South African citizens pay R3500 per week. International visitors pay R3500 per week. The fee includes all meals, reserve entrance fees, transport, tuition, and course materials. However, it excludes weekend activities and transport.

Who should attend? You need to be aged 18 years and above. (If you are younger than 18, a parent or guardian must also attend).

What should I bring? See also the kit list we give here.

What will the course cover?

  • African cultures and the conservation history of South Africa
  • Identification, evolution, and ecology of plants, mammals, birds, insects, reptiles, and amphibians
  • Mammal behaviour and social organization
  • The art of wildlife tracking, dung and sign identification and interpretation
  • Wildlife research, data collection, and scientific methodology
  • Basic ecology: interactions and interrelationships in nature using local field examples
  • Basic astronomy
  • Bush survival skills, basic mapping and orientation, medicinal plants, safety and health in the bush
  • Game reserve establishment and maintenance (economics, fencing and patrols, wildlife diseases, fire fighting, etc)
  • Ecotourism and lodge management on private game reserves
  • Wildlife census, stocking rates, and determining grazing capacity
  • Game capture (mostly during the winter months, subject to availability)
  • Vegetation surveys to monitor the impact of grazing
  • Alien plant control and management, soil erosion control and management
  • Forest threats and conservation
  • The Cape floral kingdom and biomes of South Africa, including plant biogeography, diversity, and endemism
  • Fire ecology in rangelands and practical application (possibly with practical experience during the fire season)
  • Camping and wilderness trails
  • Go fishing to learn about fish morphology, ecology (aquatic food chains), and fisheries management
  • Tools of the trade: vehicle care and maintenance, 4x4 driving, and firearm demonstration and care
  • A nocturnal wildlife drive or walk
  • A guided tour of a taxidermy industry
  • A coastal excursion to study marine and inter-tidal ecology (this will be an extra activity, time permitting in a busy schedule!)
  • Nature drives to a National Park and various private ‘big five’ game reserves
  • A visit to the Born Free Big Cat Sanctuary in Shamwari Game Reserve


Dr. W.T. Vos
Mobile: +27 (0)84 313 3817  E-mail: