DAKARI logo

DAKTARI Bush School and Wildlife Orphanage

About

The mission of DAKTARI is to educate and inspire local children to value their environment and stimulate community development

Every Monday, eight new students come to DAKTARI’s camp to spend the week building their knowledge of the environment and wildlife. They attend lessons, do activities, and interact with the animals in the wildlife orphanage. DAKTARI also works at the secondary schools to further this education and undertake community development projects.

Our goal is to enable today’s local underprivileged children to eventually be able to secure good employment in nature reserves, thereby improving their future quality of life.

** 100% OF YOUR PAYMENT GOES TO THIS CHARITY **

Founded
2002
Headquarters

Bona Ingwe Farm, Harmony 81
Hoedspruit
1380
South Africa

20% discount between March 14th and April 11th!

We are offering a 20% discount to anyone booking for the period of 14th March 2020 to 11th April 2020!

Reviews

Default avatar
Rafaela
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I came here to learn how to take care of animals and how to interact more with kids, and I'm leaving with my goal achieved! It was amazing to see how much impact we can make in someone's life with just a little of attention. I went to Eco Club at Oaks High School and it was so different than what I was expecting. It was a experience that I'm going to take for life!
I loved it and I would definitely love to come back. Thank you to all the incredible staff and to all the amazing people that I got to know in Daktari.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would try to be less shy at the beginning and be more prepare for the classes.
Default avatar
Jo
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

As an older volunteer, I was a little apprehensive about being at DAKTARI. Never having done a 'gap' year or travelled alone, however, my experience was something I certainly will never forget. My fellow volunteers were all in their late teens or 20s but we bonded so well. The shared experiences of stabling and teaching, not to mention the excursions and chats around the dinner table gave me so many incredible memories that I will treasure forever. Initially, I was skeptical about the impact we would have with the children after only one week, but when we heard their presentations and promises at the end, it demonstrated how successful the programme is. The long term volunteers and the staff at DAKTARI made me feel so welcome and their passion and commitment was clear to see. I expected to have an interesting time, but not to make the connections with so many individuals.
Highly recommend this organisation if you want to connect with nature, children and find out about yourself.

What would you improve about this program?
The teaching day is quite long and I think some of the lessons could be restructured to be more fun.
Default avatar
Hlulani
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering at daktari was amazing, i loved working with the staff, the volunteers and the people from the nearby village. i got to do a lot of fun things like stabling, helping to feed the animals, and teaching the people from the nearby village skills they would need to find jobs and how to be in the work place. i got to go to the leopard rock which was really fun because we got to see a lot of animals ,traversed the bush and got to see a very beautiful sunset. the atmosphere was nice and warm the people at daktari are friendly and very caring. i would recommend volunteering here to anyone who would like to get back in touch with nature while helping other humans to succed in life. The food at daktari too good not to put in this review loved it

What was your funniest moment?
when the Australian monkey jumped on sam and he started laughing
Default avatar
Morgane
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Really great experience ! The experience of charing with kids is really interesting and the visit of the children of the village allowed a very interesting cultural exchange. we can see that all the children are really interested and this week has a good impact on them. The staff are always available if you need some help or answer your question. the accommodations are really good and the food is amazing.
Daktari propose a varied programme (theory lesson, practice lesson, animal care, stabling, swimming pool) for always keeping kids interested.
It was a special weeks with 26 children from Johannesburg and the kids really enjoy their week specially the dance lesson and, Halloween enrichment for the animal and the bonfire.

I recommend this experience.

What was your funniest moment?
the moment that i preferred was the Diphuti School Visit to camp for cultural dance lesson. the kids are very involved for the victory of the best dancer
Default avatar
Jennyfer
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I would recommend this program to everyone who wants to work with kids and make a difference in their life. You have a great opportunity to learn more about the culture and the traditions of the local communities. These kids are very underprivileged, and therefore, your lessons will have a great impact in their life. You will also take care of injured and/or hand raised animals that cannot be released into the wild. The staff also helps you organise trips during the weekends to explore the area (National Kruger Park, swing jump, Blyde River Canyon, etc.), to visit other game reserves or to go downtown and buy some gifts and souvenirs for you relatives. Nice to know: most volunteers are between 18 and 30 years old, but it would be suitable for any age group.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
I was pleasantly surprised to see that we could book (with the help of the staff) activities during the weekends. With their recommendations, I did a swing jump in the nearby area with other volunteers. It was just awesome.

Jobs

Programs

Displaying 1 - 1 of 1

Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Bente Schalkx

Bente is a student living in Utrecht, The Netherlands. She graduated from high school in 2018 and has taken a gap year to do travelling. After working two jobs simultaneously for half a year to save up money, she chose to go volunteer in South Africa.

Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program because it offered me the amazing opportunity to combine teaching and volunteering with animals. The programs social media and online reviews gave a realistic idea of what to expect. In addition, unlike a lot of other programs, they stated clearly what my money contribution would be used for. It just felt like the right program for me.

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

I applied through Daktari Bush School and Wildlife Orphanage’s online site myself without the assistance of any travel agency. This meant I had to organise my own flights. To apply to the program, I had to provide Daktari with my international travel or medical insurance details. In addition to that, I got vaccinated to prevent diseases.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

First of all... JUST DO IT! You have nothing to lose. It will be one of the best adventures of your life with memories that will stick with you forever.

Secondly, don’t go for just one week. By staying longer, you will be able to improve your teaching skills and you will have time in the weekend to do awesome excursions.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

Monday through Friday you will be teaching a group of eight kids, aged 12-16, about their own environment and important life skills. These lessons include helping the children with chores that need to be done to keep the animals at Daktari happy and healthy. Volunteers also have the opportunity to get involved with the local community by teaching at Eco-Club. A voluntary after school club at two schools in the neighbourhood.

In the weekends, you have time off to go to Hoedspruit or go on an excursion.

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

My biggest fear was not feeling at home and not being able to connect with other volunteers. I overcame these fears quickly. During my layover at Johannesburg airport, a man approached. Awkwardly, he asked me “Are you going to Daktari?”. Friendships are so easily made. With so many different people there’s never a dull moment.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Camilla Brotons

Job Title
Outreach Assistant
Camilla, the current Outreach Assistant at DAKTARI Bush School and Wildlife Orphanage for the next 9 months. She is French and has grown up in Morocco; she is now out to explore new territories!

What is your favorite travel memory?

I have grown up traveling so I have numerous great memories! However, one of my favorites was the first time I set foot in Sub-Saharan Africa.

I was 15 years old when we decided with my parents to plan a trip between Botswana, Zimbabwe and South Africa. My father told me that it was my responsibility to plan the itinerary of the trip as I was the one who chose the destination! It was a wonderful trip full of amazing discoveries and quality time with my family and I will always cherish it!

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

I have grown a lot since I first came to DAKTARI 5 months ago. I have learned so much about South Africa and its culture but also about myself! Indeed, being in charge of the outreach program has taught me a lot about the daily life of the kids in the Limpopo region and also gives me a whole new perspective on the issues that the country is currently facing.

I came here with a will to help educate children about their environment but they are definitely the ones teaching me. The more time I spend with my students the more they teach me about respect and being happy with what you have, I learn from them every day!

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

At DAKTARI, we have plenty of amazing success stories about the work we do here. For me, one of the most amazing stories was how much my Eco Club students wanted to get back to our DAKTARI camp to see all of our animals!

The Eco Club is taught weekly; every Tuesday and Thursday and all of our kids decide to take part in it, which makes it a very special place! After the 6 weeks cycle where we are supposed to move on to a new group, all of the students insisted on coming to see us at our camp! It did happen in the end and it was amazing, a day to remember! The kids were so thrilled to be at camp, they helped out with all the chores and I even got to see how they remembered what they were taught in the lessons!

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

I would stay in the outreach program! It is so impactful and full of surprises. You get to interact with local kids and teach them about the environment, it is really amazing!

I am in constant contact with the local communities and we try to find efficient ways to solve issues that they are facing. Furthermore, you get to go out and spend time in the village, which is also a great highlight!

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

DAKTARI is unique that's for sure! It is a place where people are united by the same purpose of doing good for others and the planet.

I am highly inspired by the people that work here but mainly by Michele, the co-founder. She is doing an incredible job of keeping the organisation going and still has a passion for what she does. You feel part of the family here and this is something that is so special with this place, this is what I am particularly proud of.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I believe that passion and enthusiasm are what make a company successful.

Passionate people make great work as they will want to push the company as far as possible! And here at DAKTARI, we have a lot of passionate people that want to do good! We are all working towards the same united goal, which is I think key to our success!