Prospective Students


VIEW OUR UPDATED 2016 PROGRAM MANUAL: SepelaManual_2016

Program FAQ

  • What do the course costs include?
    • The posted course costs include all in-country course travel, lodging, entrance fees to reserves and parks, instructor fees, and meals. Students are responsible for any extra meals and/or snacks they choose to purchase while traveling, as well as alcoholic beverages and souvenirs. Airfare and travel from your home to the country where your course is based is NOT included. Students must arrange their air travel on their own, but will be collected from the airport on the start date of the course in which they are enrolled. If students plan to arrive earlier than the start date of their course, they are responsible for lodging arrangements and other logistics. If your course is scheduled to include Wilderness First Aid Training & certification, your course fees include all costs for certification.
  • Does financial aid apply?
    • Possibly. If students arrange to receive university credit for the course, they may also arrange to apply financial aid to the field course. If you are interested in this, first arrange to receive course credit through your school (see below). Then contact your financial aid office and ask to speak to a financial aid advisor who specializes in study abroad.
  • How does payment for a course work?
    • We require a course application fee of US $50 that is applied to your course fees upon acceptance. The application fee may be paid via Google Wallet (sepelafieldprograms@gmail.com), Square Cash (https://cash.me/$Sepela), check, or bank transfer.
    • After your acceptance to a course, you will receive an email with a password to the Enrolled Students section of the Sepela Field Programs website. Instructions for making payments can be found at this link. Payments are currently accepted via Google Wallet, Square Cash, check, or bank transfer.
    • To reserve a spot in a course, we require a nonrefundable $300 deposit. 
    • After your deposit payment clears, you will be contacted regarding your payment plan.
    • 2016 PAYMENT DEADLINES: Remaining balances for course fees are generally due ~60 days prior to the start of the course. Specific payment deadlines for 2016 courses are:

      • Advanced Methods in Field Ecology: Friday 1 April 2016
      • Field Primatology: Friday 22 April 2016
      • Field Photography: Friday 27 May 2016
      • Primate Veterinary Care: Friday 20 May 2016
  • Can I get university or college credit for Sepela courses?
    • Possibly. Students may arrange to obtain credit from their home school through either Independent Study or Research hours that are supervised by a professor at their home school. Sepela Field Programs staff are happy to work with students, instructors, and schools to arrange course credit for our field courses. Students who do not arrange for course credit will receive a certificate of completion from Sepela Field Programs for successful completion of a course.
  • I am not a student. Am I eligible to take the course?
    • Yes! Sepela Field Programs welcomes anybody over the age of 18 and physically fit enough to participate in our courses. Our courses are useful for teachers and other professionals as well as students.
  • Will I need to get a visa to attend a course?
    • If you are a United States citizen, you will likely not need to arrange a visa prior to travel. Our courses are held in countries that provide U.S. citizens with free, 90-day visitor visas upon arrival, and none of our courses are longer than 90 days. If you are not a U.S. citizen, you may need to obtain a visa prior to arrival and are responsible for arranging this. If you plan to take more than one Sepela course, or plan to stay in South Africa for anything else for more than 90 days, you are responsible for obtaining all necessary visas and/or permits.
    • All students of Sepela courses are responsible for checking and meeting visa and passport requirements for their travel for a course.
  • Does Sepela Field Programs arrange my flight?
    • No. Students are responsible for arranging and purchasing air travel on their own. After booking a flight, students should forward their arrival details to Sepela to arrange a transfer from the airport.
  • Are there any prerequisites for the courses?
    • There are usually no official prerequisites for our courses. Students need a desire to learn, motivation to work in the field in sometimes uncomfortable conditions, and the ability to hike in rough terrain. Some courses require special equipment. This will always be noted on the syllabus.
  • How many people are on a trip?
    • Generally, each course hosts 10-15 students, one instructor, one course coordinator, one or two field guides, and a driver.
  • Do I need any vaccinations or medications to go?
    • We recommend that all students visit a medical doctor who specializes in travel medicine well in advance of the trip. There are no vaccinations that are required to enter most countries we travel to, but some students choose to take anti-malarial medication. Sepela will notify students of what sites are in malarial areas. You can also find information on travel to host countries on each of the course pages for enrolled students.
  • Do I need health insurance?
    • We highly recommend that you have medical insurance. Please check with your insurance provider regarding the process for claims. Generally, you will need to pay for medical care upfront when in a foreign country, and your insurance provider will reimburse you for any coverage. We strongly encourage you to bring emergency money in case of an injury or illness.
  • What kind of lodging will we have?
    • Lodging during Sepela courses varies greatly from site to site, but almost all lodging requires shared rooms. It should be noted that most of the sites Sepela visits are NOT fenced. Wild animals can and do wander into these camps. Students are given camp rules and safety guidelines, and are responsible for following these to ensure their own safety. Here is a brief description of lodging in the most popular sites we visit:
      • Lesedi Cultural Village: Most courses spend the first night at Lesedi Cultural Village, where students receive an introduction to some of the cultures of southern Africa. While there, students will experience traditional foods from South Africa, an educational program about five South African cultures, and stay overnight in traditional style accommodations like huts that are equipped with modern amenities and en suite bathrooms.
      • Loskop Dam Nature Reserve: At Loskop, students will stay at the research camp run by UNISA’s Applied Behavioural Ecology and Ecosystem Research Unit. Lodging is in small wood huts on stilts with electricity and beds or cots. The camp is equipped with a fully modern kitchen and bathrooms, as well as laundry facilities.
      • Leshiba Wilderness Reserve: Leshiba is situated in the Soutpansberg mountain range. Students will stay in the Indigenous Knowledge Centre at Leshiba. It consists of very comfortable rondavels with beds. Bathrooms are fully modern communal ablutions, and there is a very nice communal kitchen.
      • Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve: When staying at the Blyde River Canyon, Sepela students overnight at the Blyde River Forever Resorts Youth Hostel. The hostel has dormitory style accommodation and bathrooms. The resort has laundry facilities, a shop, and many activities.
      • EcoTraining‘s Makuleke, Mashatu, Selati, & Karongwe camps: Sepela is fortunate to have a partnership with one of the oldest and best nature training companies in southern Africa. EcoTraining’s Makuleke camp is situated in the remote wilderness of the northern tip of Kruger National Park, an area few people visit. The Mashatu camp is located in the open wilderness of Mashatu Reserve in Botswana’s Tuli Block. The Selati & Karongwe camps are situated in private reserves adjacent to the western border of Kruger National Park. All camps are tented camps with limited electricity. All camps have communal ablutions with the exception of Makuleke, which has en suite bathrooms in furnished tents on decks.
  • What are meals like?
    • Meals vary depending on our lodging. At some sites, meals are catered. At some sites, students will take turns preparing meals in small groups. Sepela will accommodate students with special dietary requirements to every extent possible, but students should note that food options may be limited in some areas. There are generally no problems accommodating vegetarian and vegan diets. Gluten-free diets are possible, but students requesting this should confirm this request with Sepela as early as possible. Students should also be aware that any meals provided while visiting the Vervet Monkey Foundation are vegan, and no meat or animal food products are allowed on the grounds.
  • What kind of transport will we use?
    • Students will generally be transported between sites in a Sprinter or Quantum van/minibus by professional transport companies. We currently work with Roos Transfers & Safaris for transport. While at field sites, we will use open game drive vehicles and closed 4WD vehicles driven by guides, instructors, and/or course coordinators. There will always be vehicles available in case of an emergency.
  • What will I need to pack?
    • Each course may have its own special equipment, and that will be indicated on the syllabus. The following is a general list of items that we suggest for all students for all courses:
      • Sleeping bag
      • Headlamp/flashlight/torch/lantern
      • Binoculars
      • Electric adaptors and/or converters as needed
      • Photocopies of your passport & plane tickets
      • Small backpack/daypack
      • Toiletries, towel, & washcloth
      • Insect repellant
      • Water bottle(s) and/or water bladder
      • Extra batteries
      • Notebook(s) & pencils/pens
      • Small stash of laundry detergent for hand washing items
    •  Clothing:
      • Students will have opportunities to do laundry during courses
      • Make sure to pack appropriately for the weather. This means packing some cold weather clothing for courses in Africa.
      • Bring neutral and dull colored clothing for fieldwork and game viewing (greens, browns, tans, and grays).
      • Hiking boots/tennis shoes
      • Shower shoes
      • Swimwear
      • Sunglasses and/or hat
  • How much luggage can I bring?
    • Please check with your airline regarding baggage requirements. We generally recommend bringing one large backpack/duffel bag, a daypack/small backpack, and an extra bag for souvenirs.

 

+1 317.759.4840     info@sepela.org