- Gain a firsthand understanding of natural history of the bushveld (sub-tropical woodland ecoregion) of eastern Botswana.
- Explore conservation issues and conservation management challenges, including ecotourism, biodiversity, fragmented ecosystems, and human impacts.
- Engage in small research projects and help collect data for future projects.
- Camp in the Mashatu Game Reserve along the Motloutse River, among a host of large Apple-Leaf and Large Fever Berry trees.
- Learn field guiding skills such as bush navigation and orientation, radio procedures, anticipating animal behavior and animal tracking, plant, bird, and invertebrate identification, setting up a bush camp, photography and binoculars, and much more.
- Delve into a wide range of subjects including ecology, geology, astronomy, weather, and sustainable development.
Course of Study
The purpose of the course, Conservation in Southern Africa, is to provide a firsthand understanding of natural history of the bushveld of southern Africa, but more specifically eastern Botswana. It exposes students to the conservation issues relevant to the region and associated conservation management challenges. Small research projects are usually integrated into the trip with students getting a hands-on approach to different and very exciting conservation work conducted in the area. Various students also complete research projects on components of data collected during the course trip as part of their undergraduate or graduate degree requirements.
This course, held in the Mashatu Game Reserve in Botswana, offers many opportunities and challenges. Like much of the African continent, this part of eastern Botswana encompasses a large number of challenges and opportunities for modern conservation efforts including ecotourism, biodiversity, fragmented ecosystems, and human impacts. This is not one of the few large expanses of intact biodiversity now found in just a few places on the continent, but a place where humans and wildlife are in close proximity and often in conflict.
- Understand the natural history of eastern Botswana
- Understand and compare Nebraska ecosystems to Botswana ecosystems
- Understand resource management approaches used in Africa
- Understand challenges of integrating biodiversity and modern African conditions
- Understand the role of private land ownership in conservation
- Understand basics of scientific research
Students will earn 6 credits for NRES 492.
This program is open to undergraduate and graduate UNL students in good academic standing. While applications from non-UNL students may be considered, preference will be given to UNL students. Non-UNL participants must first be admitted to UNL as a visiting student.
Dr. John Carroll is director of the School of Natural Resources and has been undertaking research and educational programs in various parts of Africa since the early 1990s. Since 2001 he has offered this course through the University of Georgia and successfully completed the course 14 times. In 2013 he won the University of Georgia outstanding education program award. He has collaborated with our partners in southern Africa, EcoTraining, Inc. since 2001. He is a wildlife ecologist by training and has extensive experience successfully bringing American students to the African bush.
The course is based at the Ecotraining, Inc. field camp along the Motloutse River just north of its confluence with the Limpopo in eastern Botswana. It is located on private property for which Ecotraining has a concession to run the camp. The property is part of a consortium of land holdings in the region dating back to when the land was deeded to Cecil Rhodes. Most of the property in the consortium operates on a pact emphasizing ecotourism and wildlife conservation as a basis of management. It is also part of the Northern Tuli Game Reserve. Normal function of the Ecotraining camp is to provide field training as part of their education program for field guides throughout southern Africa.
Accommodations and Other Arrangements
INTERNATIONAL AIRFARE: Program participants will book their own airfare to and from South Africa. The group will stay in a hotel in Johannesburg as a meeting place for the participants before heading to bush.
LODGING in COUNTRY: For the majority of the program, housing is primarily camping at a permanent site. EcoTraining will provide onsite housing, subsistence, and local guides.
MEALS in COUNTRY: The camp is set along the Motloutse River, among a host of large Apple-Leaf and Large Fever Berry trees. EcoTraining staff will provide meals for participants.
TRANSPORTATION in COUNTRY: The majority of local transportation will be via large vans.
ACCESS to LAUNDRY FACILITIES: Students can pay a small fee for EcoTraining staff to do their laundry at the camp-site.
COMMUNICATION & CONNECTIVITY: Students will not be allowed to use mobile phones once at the camp. The faculty leaders will have emergency phones.
DOCUMENTATION REQUIRED for TRAVEL: All U.S. citizens will need a valid passport to participate on the program. Non-U.S. citizens need to research entry requirements specific to the country of destination at the time of applying to the program. Deadline to upload passport to MyWorld: March 15, 2017. No visas are required for U.S. citizens to enter Botswana.
HEALTH AND MOBILITY: Students are expected to walk in the bush through sometimes rugged and uneven terrain (up to 6 miles) while carrying backpack and water. All roads at Mashatu are gravel, there are no paved roads or sidewalks. The terrain ranges from relatively flat to extremely steep hills. Temperatures can vary while outdoors from 30s to 80s F. At night temperatures can get down to almost freezing. Early morning activities require a coat and often students need gloves and a knit hat. During the afternoon it can be very warm but with intense sun so students need sun screen and always plenty of water.
See the budget sheet and the Fund your Experience page on the Education Abroad website.
Upon confirmation of participation, program participants will pay a $1000 deposit (including a non-refundable $150 Education Abroad Fee). The $1000 deposit will be applied to the final program cost balance. If a participant withdraws from a program, the participant will be responsible for any irrecoverable costs associated with the program at the time of withdrawal.
Financial Aid & Scholarships
Please see the Education Abroad website for detailed information about financial aid and scholarships.
Below you will find links to resources for travel, health, and safety:
Embassy of Botswana
US Department of State
Center for Disease Control
*UNL Education Abroad does not officially endorse, administer, or monitor the content of these links.