Gaborone, Botswana

Summer Wildlife Ecology + Conservation

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This program has been suspended for summer 2021.

Explore our other active study abroad programs for summer 2021, or check out our travel assurances and updated health and safety guidelines.

The CIEE Gaborone Summer Wildlife Ecology & Conservation program offers students the opportunity to study African wildlife in Botswana’s largest extant native habitat alongside the country’s growing human population. Students take biology and environmental science electives in animal behavior, ecology, and conservation. All courses are delivered by CIEE faculty and draw on local experts and stakeholders, including many from the University of Botswana.  In addition, students explore the intersection of conservation with society and culture through CIEE co-curricular activities and extensive field trips to nature reserves, rangelands, rural communities, and the capital city of Gaborone.

Students will:

  1. Observe and study wildlife animal behavior and ecology in large expanses of intact habitat.
  2. Compare how wildlife behavior and ecology change outside of protected areas, particularly those near human populations.
  3. Diagnose complex conservation and other environmental issues using current scientific methods and literature.
  4. Observe firsthand how African ecosystems operate and how it is compromised by humans.
  5. Perform original research on the natural history, behavior, and conservation of African wildlife using contemporary tools and theory of wildlife management.
  6. Critique and construct solutions to conserve African wildlife biodiversity and abundance.
  7. Assess initiatives to build a more sustainable future with lower environmental impact while improving the wellbeing of humans.

    building an imbedded research project involving wildlife behavior, ecology, or conservation.


    traveling to Botswana’s protected wildlife areas such as Central Kalahari Game Reserve or Okavango Delta


    interacting with the local community to learn about human-wildlife conflict and its impact on sustainable wildlife conservation efforts

  • Botswana is known for its vast wildlife and pristine wilderness areas.

  • Botswana has the biggest population of African elephants on the planet.

  • About 40% of Botswana’s land is protected under the wildlife conservation and national park act.


Location & Culture

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gaborone, botswana, building and blue sky
gaborone, botswana, water and grasslands

Run by a multiparty democracy, Botswana is one of Africa’s most stable countries. Most of its people belong to a single ethnic group, the Tswana, and the country is well known for its rich biodiversity and diverse landscapes. The capital Gaborone is one of Africa’s fastest-growing cities, located in the south, close to the South African border. Gaborone hosts the headquarters of the 14-nation Southern African Development Community, which focuses on regional development, economic growth, and poverty relief. Botswana is known for its vast wildlife and pristine wilderness areas. The country is also well known for its robust wildlife management and conservation with 40% of its land set aside as “protected areas” under the Wildlife Conservation and National Park Act. Seventeen percent of that “protected area” is national park and game reserves and the remaining wildlife management areas and forest reserves.

gaborone, botswana, students

Excursions & Activities

  1. Travel to Okavango Delta, Central Kalahari Game reserve and engage in face to face discussion with villagers on issues of human wildlife conflict and conservation.
  2. Discover Botswana’s rich history during excursions to Bahurutshe Cultural Village.
  3. Practice your skills in Setswana as you explore cultural and environmental sites.
  4. Enjoy the famous Chobe National Park which features four major ecosystems and the most abundant wildlife concentration in all of Africa.

Daily Life

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  • gaborone, botswana, housing


    Homestays: Maximize immersion by staying with a carefully-selected host family in greater Gaborone.

    Residence Halls: Students also stay in dorms at the Okavango Research Station, which provides infrastructure and immediate access to Okavango Delta habitats, during coursework and independent research. 

  • gaborone, botswana, food market


    Homestays: Host families provide two meals a day. Students are responsible for lunch.

    Residence Halls:  Students will have three meals prepared by station cooks.


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The program explores Botswana’s amazing wildlife as a compelling example for sustainable wildlife management, species protection, ecology, and behavior. At the same time, students consider human well-being and how wildlife support conflicts with their human neighbors. To do so, students take a suite of coordinated biology, conservation, and environmental studies courses in English with CIEE instructors. The 8-week program is based in Gaborone with extensive travel and field study in Botswana’s multiple ecological habitats, including world-renowned wildlife and game reserves, including the Kalahari and Okavango Delta.



Language Prerequisites

There are no specific language requirements for this program.

Program Requirements

Students are required to take all courses listed.

Program Credit

Total credit:  10 U.S. semester/15 quarter credits

Course Credit

  • Introduction to Wildlife Resources, Ecology, and Conservation (lab course):  4 U.S. semester/6 quarter credits; 60 contact hours
  • Other courses:  3 U.S. semester/4.5 quarter credits; 45 contact hours

Academic Culture

Courses are designed by CIEE and adhere to standards and expectations consistent among U.S. higher education institutions. Regular class attendance and participation is expected and required. Students play an active role in their education; group projects and interaction with fellow students and professors are expected. To avoid falling behind, students should not plan personal travel out of the city when classes are in session.

Class Format

Coursework is conducted in English. Students enroll in three (3) courses: Introduction to Wildlife Resources, Ecology, and Conservation (lab course); Field Techniques for Wildlife Conservation (lab course); and Wildlife and Society, for a total of 10 U.S. semester/15 quarter credits. Courses are exclusive to CIEE students and are mostly scheduled Monday-Friday with possible weekend work and excursions. Some courses include compulsory field trips with special assignments as part of class work. Instruction is supported and augmented online by our learning management system, Canvas. Students are offered basic Setswana and local customs workshops as non-credit activities.


The U.S. grading scale of A-F is used. Students’ grades are based on attendance, class participation, homework, project and research work, presentations, and midterm and final examinations. Learning outcomes assessment is continuous through personal reflections, evaluation feedback, self-assessment, and requirements as set out in course syllabi. Some courses include compulsory field trips with special assignments as part of class work.

Language of Instruction



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Scholarships & Grants

CIEE offers more than $8 million in scholarships and grants annually to help students like you make your study abroad dream a reality.

Students who apply to this program are eligible for the following scholarships and grants:

  • Ping Scholarships for Academic Excellence
  • Global Access Initiative (GAIN) Grants
  • CIEE Gilman Go Global Grant

To be considered, submit the CIEE Scholarships & Grants application within your CIEE program application. Learn more at the Scholarships & Grants section of our website.

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