Here are some more details about the Lajuma, South Africa trip/course, planned for summer 2012.

Trip date:  Saturday July 28 –Sunday  August 19

Course: Wildlife Ecology of South Africa (ABEC404; 3 credits; register in fall ’12)

Destination:  Lajuma Research Centre, Makhado, South Africa







Planned Activities:  Wildlife Ecology of South Africa will offer you a travel and learning opportunity in the Soutpansberg Mountains of South Africa. Lajuma Research Centre is a privately-owned reserve, designated as a Natural Heritage Site due to its unique ecology. We will spend a little over 2 weeks living, learning, and doing field work at Lajuma. We will stay at Wilderness Camp, in cabins (each houses 4-6 people). Cabins have beds, showers, hot and cold running water (as long as we get a fire started), and toilets. Electricity is provided for several hours every evening via generator. Most days will start early (6 or 6:30 am) and will involve hiking the Lajuma trails in search of the native wildlife. In particular, there are 5 species of primate at Lajuma, and two of these species (Sykes’ monkeys and chacma baboons) have habituated groups. Daily activities will vary but will include such things as all-day follows of the primate groups learning field observation and data collection techniques, use of camera traps to study the more elusive species at Lajuma (leopard, civet, genet, and several others); use of GPS to track movements of the various primate groups, and other topics to be developed. Lectures will take place either mid-day or early evening, depending on the days’ activities. During the second half of our stay at Lajuma, students will develop short-term independent research projects. We will likely have an opportunity to work with students from the University of Venda, one of the South African Homeland Universities. This will provide a unique opportunity for collaboration and cultural exchange. Numerous undergraduate and graduate students from Europe and North America will also be at Lajuma, and you will have the opportunity to meet them and learn more about the projects they are working on.  During the final 5 days of the trip, we will visit Kruger National Park and Mohololo Rehabilitation Centre, a private facility known for its work rehabilitating and releasing vultures.  During the first half of the fall semester, we will meet as a group weekly to complete the research projects that were started at Lajuma. This will include data analysis, write-up and presentation. Ongoing collaboration with Venda students will be done via email and/or skype.

 Wilderness Camp: Wilderness Camp is situated with a spectacular view of the Soutpansberg. We are near the edge of cliff, so sleepwalkers beware. The kitchen has gas-powered refrigerators and burners, and we will plan our meals and cook together. You can sample some South African specialties, such as pap and biltong. Computers, cameras, and cell phones can be charged when the generator is on, however note that cell phone reception is spotty at best. Fire-starting skills are highly prized: if we want hot water, we need to get a fire going (and we will want hot water).

 Town: Once a week, Lajuma staff will drive us into the town of Makhado for the day. We will visit the internet café, and do our grocery shopping (and any other shopping) for the week. The Makhado supermarkets are like any supermarkets anywhere—there is little that you will not be able to find. Food during the stay at Lajuma will run about $50/week, and is covered in the cost of the trip. The water at Lajuma is excellent, but do bring 1 or 2 canteens or refillable bottles. You will need these for long hiking days.

 Wildlife: In addition to the five species of primates (Sykes’ monkeys, chacma baboons, vervet monkeys, greater and lesser galagos), you can expect to see bushbuck, duiker, mongoose, and perhaps African crested porcupines and rock hyrax   (“dassies”). Numerous rodent species live in the woodlands and rocky areas of Lajuma, and you will almost certainly see some of these critters in the kitchen, in your cabins, and possibly in your bed! Lajuma is home to several species of venomous snakes. While these are rarely seen, care should be taken when hiking through dense vegetation. A walking stick may come in very handy. A number of large spider species are resident at Lajuma; most are harmless, but best to let them be.  Some of them have the annoying habit of building webs at eye-level, too! Lajuma is known for it’s leopards, but these are rarely seen.


 Equipment: Plan on bringing a sleeping bag that is appropriate for freezing or sub-freezing weather; cabins are not heated. Sturdy hiking books and warm clothing are essential. You will be in long pants and long sleeves, with multiple layers of clothing, most of the time. A headlamp and a flashlight are essential. Once the generator is turned off, it will be pitch-dark. A hot water bottle is strongly advisable (temperatures will approach freezing at night). Binoculars are essential. If you plan on using any electronics, or even charging batteries, you will need an adapter appropriate to South Africa. These can be found on –line, or at an electronics store, and generally run under $10.

 Kruger: During our travel to Kruger, we will continue to do some communal cooking (most of the accommodations have kitchens) but will also be dining at lodge restaurants, so expect to spend up to $25 per day during this portion of the tip.


 Travel Documents:  You will need a valid passport. You will receive your visa when you arrive in South Africa; it is valid for 90 days and can be renewed once.  

 Immunizations:  No special immunizations are required for travel to South Africa, however typhoid and hepatitis A are recommended. Lajuma is not in a malaria zone (too high), however malaria prophylaxis is recommended for travel to Kruger National Park. Consult with your physician and/or travel clinic.

How will this fit into my curriculum? 

For ABEC majors, this course will count as a capstone course in the major.  For all other majors, this course will count as a Capstone course

 Estimated cost per person:  $3900 (does not include immunizations) 

 Sign up: Sign up for this trip will proceed in two stages:

1.  Soon, there will be an application form with Tiffany. Please submit this by December 1, 2011.

2.  Formal commitment/enrollment will take place on December 16, 2011, when the first deposits are due. 

 Payment schedule: 

  •  $500 deposit due Friday, December 16, 2011 .  Checks should be made payable to “Canisius College”.  Deliver checks to Tiffany in HSC 303A. 

  • $1500 due Monday, January 31, 2012. Checks should be made payable to “Canisius College”.  Deliver checks to Tiffany in HSC 303A.

  • Balance due Friday, April 1, 2012.  These checks should also be delivered to Tiffany in HSC 303A and made payable to “Canisius College”. 


  • If the trip is cancelled by Dr Margulis (or by any other agent of Canisius College), your payments will be entirely refunded. 

  • The price per person does include travel insurance.  If the trip is cancelled by the airline (due to weather or any other covered contingency), the insurance MAY provide partial reimbursement (or other benefits) as the policy specifies. 

  • However, if your participation is cancelled by you, NONE of the payments will be refunded.  This is because the money will be used to purchase non refundable air and ground accommodations. 

 Signup:  This trip will be limited to 8 participants.  Interested parties should reserve a place by signing up in the ABEC Office.  See Tiffany in HSC303A. 










Contact Info: Susan Margulis, PhD, Canisius College , 2001 Main St., Buffalo, NY 14208