Dates for Spring 2013: January 25 – May 3
Dates for Fall 2013: August 24 – November 30
OTS Undergraduate Brochure ( 2.17 mb )
OTS South Africa Student Testimonials ( 92 kb )
South Africa’s rich biological and cultural diversity makes it an exceptional location in which to examine issues related to ecology and conservation. Based in Kruger National Park, field study and research exercises will expose you to different types of savanna as you view the park’s abundant wildlife.
You will take four core courses: South African Ecosystems and Diversity, Field Research in Savanna Ecology, Conservation and Management of Protected Areas in South Africa, and History and Culture of South Africa. Science courses will be taught by Duke and OTS faculty and distinguished visiting scientists. Prominent South African historians, artists, and cultural theorists will lead the course on History and Culture of South Africa. The program is physically and intellectually demanding, stressing full immersion in hands-on scientific and cultural studies.
South Africa is a progressive, dynamic nation that continues to redefine itself in the post-apartheid era. It features a fascinating blend of Western amenities and traditional African cultures, and a strong tradition of environmental protection, which has resulted in the creation of numerous preserves that offer excellent research opportunities. Kruger National Park’s facilities are among the best in the world, and you will visit several camps within the park during your stay. Kruger is home to over 150 species of mammals, including black and white rhino, lion, elephant, giraffe, cheetah, leopard, wild dog, zebra, buffalo, hippo, and zebra. There are nearly 2000 plant species (including 300 different types of trees), 49 species of fish, 34 types of amphibian, 166 different reptilian species, 505 species of birds, and countless less obvious insects.
You will also be exposed to the country's vast cultural and ecological diversity as you travel to other parts of South Africa. A short river-rafting trip and a longer excursion to Cape Town will take you through the famed Drakensberg Mountains, the agriculturally rich highveld, and the biodiversity hotspots of the fynbos and karoo. Steeped in a rich history, Cape Town is a cultural melting pot with a diverse and vibrant character derived from Khoisan and other African groups from the North, as well as Indonesian, French, Dutch, British, and German settlers. From Cape Town you will make an excursion to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 18 years. Visits to Zulu, Ndebele, Venda, and Sotho/Tsonga communities will provide you with cultural exchanges with local people, as well as music, dance, and craft workshops.
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In addition to Kruger National Park, you visit numerous sites in South Africa. Among these are Cape Town, Nylsvley Reserve, and Wits Rual Facility.
With the slopes of Table Mountain plunging into both the Indian and Atlantic Oceans, Cape Town deserves its ranking as one of the most beautiful cities in the world. You travel to Cape Town mid-semester, where you spend several days engaged in various cultural activities, such as visiting local markets and museums. A trip to Robben Island allows you to visit the prison where Nelson Mandela was held for 18 years.
The Cape Town area also provides you with an opportunity to explore two diversity "hotspots" - the fynbos (the world's smallest but most diverse floral kingdom) and the karoo (a winter rainfall semi desert with the richest succulent flora in the world). You may also wish to relax on Boulder Beach, where a colony of African penguins make there home.
You spend the first week of the program (orientation) at Nylsvley Nature Reserve, located northwest of Johannesburg in South Africa's largest inland highveld floodplain. The area is comprised of reed banks, grassveld, woodland, and bushveld. Nylsvley is one of the top birding sites in South Africa, with approximately 370 species of birds, over 100 of which are water birds. Large mammals, such as roan antelope, tsessebe, and black-backed jackals also make there home in the reserve.
Wits Rural Facility
From Nylsvley, you travel through the Drakensberg Escarpment to Wits Rural Facility (WRF) - the University of Witwatersrand's base for rural-focused research. WRF is located in the Bushbuckridge region of the northern province, not far from Kruger's Orpen Gate. Here you spend time in Welverdiend village experiencing rural life as you examine issues such as water access, education, and health.
Tuition and Program Fees
The 2013-2014 tuition for OTS semester programs is $22,010. In addition, there is an OTS Program Fee of $1,850 per semester. The Program Fee covers room and board. For students from Consortium schools (see the OTS home page for a link to the list of member institutions) OTS will cover this fee through a special scholarship. International travel, independent travel, incidentals, and personal spending are not covered. Non-Duke students will also be charged a $40 lifetime transcript fee. Rates for Fall 2014 will be announced by late May 2014.
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We would like to hear from you! If you have questions about this program or other opportunities with OTS, please contact an Admissions Counselor or the Director of Enrollment Management at OTS.
Organization for Tropical Studies
Durham, NC 27708-0633
Tel. (919) 684-5155
Fax (919) 684-5661
E-mail: otsadmissions @ duke.edu
All applications will be considered without regard to race, color, national and ethnic origin, disability, sexual orientation or preference, gender, or age. Duke University reserves the right to cancel this program. Should it do so, refunds will be made in accordance with the Duke University Office of Study Abroad policy.Go to top