South Africa Field Course

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Mankwe Wildlife Reserve, South Africa

Students and staff from the School of Life Sciences have the opportunity to visit the Mankwe Wildlife reserve in South Africa as part of the final year Overseas Field Course module. 

Students live in the wild at Mankwe wildlife reserve and explore the stunning South African landscape whilst carrying out scientific research on the health, behaviour, welfare, conservation and ecology of the wildlife in this biodiversity hotspot.

Course Leader: Dr Colin Butter

Mankwe is a 4750 hectare reserve in the North West Province of South Africa, approximately 5km east of Pilanesberg National Park. The accommodation is a selection of safari tents, wooden cabins and a clinker brick chalet at the Waterbuck camp, where students have the opportunity to experience a true bush adventure. There are no fences so students live among the wildlife.

Find out more:

Student Projects

Assessment includes a group research project and species identification.

Project areas:

  • Bat activity - using bat detectors to detect the presence of bats by converting their echolocation ultrasound signals to audible frequencies
  • Mammalian activity - using camera traps to investigate utilisation of water pans
  • Antlions - studies of abundance and distribution of antlion pits
  • The impact of grassland management on large mammal populations
  • Burn management effects on tick abundance
  • Parasitology studies – comparison of parasite burden in browsers and grazers, ruminant (foregut fermenter) and monogastric (hindgut fermenter) animals, carnivores and herbivores
  • Bird diversity and nest location
  • Vigilance of individuals in group populations
  • Diversity of bacteria in water sources
  • Microbial ecology - antimicrobial strategies of plants


Pilanesberg National Park and Mankwe Wildlife reserve

(all photos credit: Karen Staines)