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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 **

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

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Léa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

During 6 months I was the Office Assistant at DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage.
I am so happy to have chosen DAKTARI, it turned out to be one of the best experience of my life.

I had the chance to work with a young team. They welcomed me warmly, making my experience unforgettable. I had so much fun at work, I learned so many new things. It is a perfect occasion to meet awesome people around the world. I felt living in a huge family.

DAKTARI’s camp feels like a home away from home! I had at my disposal many facilities such as bar, braai are and swimming pool. The food was very good, with chefs adapting to our special dietary requirements (vegetarians).

This is such a special place. Situated right in the middle of the bush, we are living around wild animals. Total escape !

If you love community project, teaching children and take care of animal, this project is for you. I can highly recommend this project. I just want to thank everybody I met during my internship who be able to make this inedible experience. I will always remember it !

What was your funniest moment?
My funniest moment at DAKTARI was the bonfire with the students, volunteers and staff.
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Alexia
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

DAKTARI is a beautiful place with beautiful people.
I spent few days for working with animals, they have different species.
Their project have a real impact with the local community.
People there are passionate and kind. The food is delicious and the acomodation perfect.
A big thank you to everybody there.
and thank you Michele and Ian hope to see you soon

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Girafe around the place and lots of different species, a real beautiful place
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Solene
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My experience in DAKTARI was one of the greatest in my life.
I made true friends and learn so much things about the bush.
All the accomodations were perfect and everybody was really polite and kind.
the food was amazing, and the activities also.
i would 100% recommend the experience because it's a life time experience
you can experience some things you never imagine doing like feeding a cheetas or taking meerkats on a walk or sleep with dassies !!
I would totally recommend this experience !!!!

What was your funniest moment?
i think all our moments were the funniest, i made true friend here so even a look made me laugh.
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Solene
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

DAKTARI is my first volunteering experience, the staff is very welcoming and nice. The co-owners Ian and Michele are very passionate about their work and it has been a real pleasure to meet them. I took care of wild animals I would have probably never see in other circumstances, such as dassies!
It has also been a wonderful experience to teach kids about their environment and to let them know how they can protect it. The organisation has a very positive impact on the community and it has been very nice to be part of it.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Do not have a doubt about this, it is going to be awesome !
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Aisse
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I real enjoy my experience at DAKTARI because I learn a lot about animals , how to take care of them feed them... All the animals care staff was very friendly and share with me their animal knowledge. Become a teacher learn me a lot about the importance of education. Take care of child learn them, play with them was a amazing experience. The general ambiance are just magic everyone share with everyone and real relation appear. That why I sure sooner i will be back at DAKTARI for a another super experience as I had.

What was your funniest moment?
my favorite moment was during the bounce fire. I really like when everyone dance with everyone

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

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

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.

Marie Bauvin

Job Title
Project Manager
Marie is a French 26 years old girl who has always loved to travel! After studying in Hong Kong and Scotland, she moved to Mexico where she stayed and worked for 2 years. She is now in South Africa, fulfilling a lifelong dream to live in the bush, working for a cause that is close to her heart.

What is your favorite travel memory?

It is not easy to choose just one favorite travel memory as I am lucky to have plenty in mind! But if I have to talk about one it would be Christmas Eve in Uyuni, Bolivia, during my first backpacking adventure ever! We were staying in a salt house and I remember sharing this meal with complete strangers, eating cold pasta with salt for Christmas and drinking beer, with 3 blankets wrapped around me, and going to bed at 8pm to wake up early the next day to see the sunrise on a laguna with flamingoes. Definitely one of the most unusual Christmas I had, but also one of the best!

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

Working for DAKTARI has been a great yet challenging experience that made me grow so much on the professional side as well as the personal side. I have had the work with people from all over the world and work under pressure at times. I have definitely improve my conflict resolution and communication skills. I also had to work different positions to cover for leave or in interim and this has allowed me to expand my skillset and knowledge in different areas.
I have also a better understanding of the South African culture and history, and its current challenges. This makes me someone I believe even more open-minded and eager to give back to the communities.

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

We regularly have former students who attended our onsite Environmental Education program or our offsite Eco Club who come back to DAKTARI to visit us. I especially remember Wellington: he first came when he was 12 years old, and kept coming back during his holidays to help with animals. He had always been passionate about animals and wanted to work with them.
Over the years we eventually offered him a volunteer experience as animal manager. We trained him at the wildlife orphanage and arranged for him to attend several courses, one of which was a wildlife rehabilitation course, and another a tracker-training course. Thanks to the support of Kruger2Canyon Biosphere he was enrolled in their Environmental Monitors Program. While he was a full-time paid employee as the DAKTARI’s animal manager he became confident with computer work and was always trying to improve the camps of the animals, coming up with innovative ways to give them enrichment. After two full years of experience with us, he has been recruited by Hoedspruit Endangered Species as a curator. Willington is such an ambassador for DAKTARI!

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

Our programs are divided into three main areas: Onsite Environmental Education program, Wildlife Orphanage, and Outreach, which comprises of bi-weekly Eco Club, campaigning in primary schools, Village Tour and Homestay. Volunteers can experience all of the above if they want. The longer they stay, the more likely they are to be able to do all the activities, and even more! We also offer excursions in the Kruger National Park or the Blyde River Canyon so they can explore the wonders of South Africa. Staying for 3 to 5 weeks is recommended to have a complete experience of DAKTARI!

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

DAKTARI is unique as it offers a combination of teaching children with our Environmental Education program and taking care of animals through our Wildlife orphanage. The volunteers that come to DAKTARI can experience a wide range of activities, both onsite and offsite, as we also make them participate in our Outreach programs. The team is flexible and always making sure we can provide the best experience possible, adjusting schedule to try to meet everyone's needs whilst still achieving our goal that is to educate and inspire local children to value their environment and stimulate community development.

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

I believe that a company can only be successful if it has strong values and ethic and stand by them even in difficult times. The employees must also be aligned to these values and share the vision of the company, working as a team towards the same goal. Successful organisation are driven by passionate and competent leaders who are willing to take feedback to improve so they can keep delivering excellent results.