Volunteer with Children and Animals in South Africa

South Africa
Hostel Rondavel
18 - 75 years
90 travelers are looking at this program

About This Program

This exceptional experience provides volunteers with the unique opportunity of not only caring for some of South Africa’s most iconic species, but also of using these animals as a tool to inspire a generation of underprivileged school children to become passionate about wildlife conservation. Work with children and wildlife in the heart of the Limpopo Province of South Africa with DAKTARI, a non-profit organization.

Be it doing bush walks, learning about the negative aspects of poaching, or discussing the importance of respect, you will always be busy! Members of the project’s team will guide you and help you whenever needed, so you will never be alone!

DAKTARI volunteers pay a fee in order to cover the cost of their stay and to contribute to DAKTARI's programs. Your fee will feed a cheetah, get someone a job, and educate an underprivileged child. It helps us make an impact in the community and provides you with an amazing South African experience!


  • Take an active part in educating underprivileged children about the environment to make a real impact in their community! You, alongside the other volunteers, will be in charge of leading the lessons as well as the activities.
  • Help care for injured and orphaned animals as part of the educational program.
  • Meet the community through our outreach program in the local schools and creche, and help further our impact in the village!
  • Experience Africa by immersing yourself in the community, or visiting some of the iconic sights and areas surrounding the project’s location!!
  • You can also sign up for a home stay in which you and up to one other person can spend the night with one of our local families to see what it's like to live in an African village. Be prepared to get up early to help out!


You meet at 7:00 in the morning for tea/coffee. From 7:10 you do a quick bush walk with the children and the dogs and at 7:30 you have breakfast. Afterwards you feed the animals and clean their camps. Lessons start from 9.00 till 12.30. Then you have lunch and everyone is off till 14:00, when the lessons start again and will go on until 16.30. You will feed the animals again between 16:30 and 17:00 then afterwards you will be discussing social issues with the children. Dinner is served at 18:30 and is followed by an educational game before the children go to bed at 20:30.


You will have a group meeting every evening to discuss the tasks of everyone and the progress of the children.

As a volunteer, you will be working 5 days a week from 7am in the morning until dinnertime or till the children go to bed. In your spare time, there are a number of activities such as the swimming pool, walks, games, reading or just relaxing within the stunning surroundings. You will have time off on Friday afternoon, Saturday and Sunday and will be able to take this opportunity to visit the surroundings. A trip to town is organised every Saturday and you will enjoy meeting up with the local community.

It is tiring but very rewarding to volunteer at DAKTARI. Although the days are long, it is great to be able to have such an impact on less privileged children and to make their week as enjoyable as possible. From shy, quiet children on day one, the kids leave feeling confident and ready to get home and tell their family and friends about the amazing time they had at DAKTARI.


On Saturdays you can take a trip into Hoedspruit. This gives you the opportunity to do any shopping you might need and a chance to get out of the camp for a while. There are plenty of great restaurants in town to have lunch at too! Sundays are your day off. You can plan a day excursion if you like or just relax at the camp. We are happy to help you plan a trip or put you in touch with a local guide. If you are interested in taking a longer break over the weekend (Friday to Sunday), you are welcome to arrange that with our staff.

Here are just some of the things you can do around DAKTARI:

• Visit Kruger National Park for a safari
• Go to Moholoholo Wildlife Rehabilitation Centre
• Do the Tshukudu Game Lodge Cheetah walk
• Visit the Kinyonga Reptile Centre
• Hiking in the Blyde River Canyon
• Boat trips on the Blyde River
• Horseback Riding safaris
• Visit African elephants

What's Included
Airport Transfers
What's Not Included
Domestic Airfare
SIM cards
Some Activities
Travel Insurance
More info on what's not included:

Personal toiletries such as shampoo, sunblock, mosquito cream


DAKTARI is located in the bush, on a private reserve of 1600 acres and you will have the opportunity to observe animals such as buffalo, giraffes, kudus, warthogs, zebras, impalas, beautiful birds, etc. You will participate mainly in the educational program for the children. You will also take care of the animals, such as: cleaning the camps, feeding them and you can help with renovations if necessary. You can also visit the local villages as part of our community program. Remember, you will be signing up for a "bush-life" & teaching experience!

We are located in the middle of the bush and so the camp is rustic, although we do our very best to make sure everyone is kept clean, comfortable, and well fed. You will enjoy hot showers, running water, and solar-powered lights in your traditional chalets.

You will share a cottage called a "rondavel" or Chalet/hut with others. Each room can take between 3 to 5 volunteers, boys and girls are accommodated separately. We can accommodate families and couples in their own rooms IF we have the space for it. Each room is equipped with one bathroom including a toilet, a sink and a shower with hot and cold water except for chalet 2 & the cabins. You will be provided with a towel, bedsheets and a blanket so no need to bring some with you. Your room will be cleaned everyday and laundry will be done on a daily basis. Your bedsheets will be washed and changed once a week. We do provide mosquito nets but sometime they get damaged, so please be aware that (you are welcome to bring your own).

There are no plugs in the chalets but we have an allocated charging station in the bar where you can charge all of your electronic devices. The only items we do not allow are hair dryers and straighteners.


At DAKTARI, everyone is served three meals a day by our experienced kitchen staff.

Our meals consist out of normal dishes:

• Breakfast: yoghurts + fruits + cereals + toast and different spreads
• Lunch: could consist of - different starches (potatoes/rice/pastas etc.) + some vegetables + meat (beef/chicken/pork), etc.
• Dinner: could consist of - salads (green/pasta/rice/carrot/cabbage, etc.) + pies or sandwiches or burger & chips or pizza, etc.

Our programs have reached more than 4,000 children in 13 years, cared for hundreds of animals, and helped employ dozens of youth.

Teaching Program: We teach children about the environment and conservation. We supplement their schooling with math games and social talks about respect, substance abuse, and safe sex.

Wildlife Orphanage: The animals here have been found abandoned or injured. These animals can not be rehabilitated into the wild because they are too dependent. Our goal is to give them a second chance, while educating underprivileged children to care, love and protect them.

Outreach Program: Our work doesn't stop at our gates. We also have eco clubs, career guidance, and community development initiatives.



1 Week
$647 USD
2 Weeks
$1043 USD
3 Weeks
$1572 USD
4 Weeks
$1763 USD
5 Weeks
$1993 USD
Show More
6 Weeks
$2496 USD
7 Weeks
$2762 USD
8 Weeks
$3157 USD
9 Weeks
$3359 USD
10 Weeks
$3732 USD
11 Weeks
$4106 USD
12 Weeks
$4478 USD


South African Rand
81 F / 57 F
68 F / 46 F
66 F / 45 F
77 F / 52 F
Cape Town International Airport
( CPT )

Hoedspruit is in the Limpopo province in Big 5 country, which refers to the Game Lodges and Private Nature Reserves. This town is agriculturally oriented and the majority of activities involve wildlife, environment, and people.

Hosted by DAKTARI Bush School and Wildlife Orphanage

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...
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based on 15 reviews
  • Impact 9.7
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9
  • Value 9.7
  • Safety 9.5
Showing 1 - 15 of 15
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Yes, I recommend this program

Great opportunity to try things out of your comfort zone!

Hi all,
I came to work as a volunteer at DAKTARI for 2 weeks and it was an amazing an experience!!
In this time I had the chance to work in different activities such as giving classes to children and young students to learn about the environment, politeness and animals but also to take care of animals (like feeding and cleaning them) that I had never saw before. As I never teach before and neither took care of animals before all activities were a new learning and I had a great time with that. Volunteers helped each other and if you feel quickly part of a community.

Also, interacting with the staff working in DAKTARI was a fun way to learn more about South African culture. People are extremely nice and happy and fun to be around (music and dancing all the time!). I had the opportunity to also go in an excursion to the National Kruger park and see a bit more of South African landscape and animals diversity. It is amazing and worth going for sure!

This experience was a great way for me to "disconnect" from my usual day to day life and be part of something completely different. I learn so much new things and also had time to reflect about myself. I hope I help to made a difference in the kids and students I taught and as well the animals I took care. I am bringing back to me a lot of souvenirs, good memories and contact of friends made in DAKTARI. I encourage you to try out also :)

What would you improve about this program?
The program is great but there are some improvements that could help:
- some of the structure (amenities could be better)
- the onboarding of the volunteers could be done in more details and more clear so new volunteers could start more active in the beginning. Maybe could be also preparation before coming
- organisation of the activities could be better coordinate
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Exciting and meaningful experience at Daktari

I stayed at Daktari during 3 weeks from end October to mid November 2016. This was not my first holiday volunteering but Daktari provided me with a unique opportunity to both bring some of my experience to children and to be surrounded by nature and animals.

Each Monday 8 children aged 12-13 year old came from local villages to spend the week with us. Our days were organised around giving lessons to the children (mostly linked to the environment) and taking care of the animals (meerkats, mongoose, eagles, wild dogs etc.). The programme of lessons is very well prepared and detailed but Daktari is always keen for volunteers to bring their own experience and personality, and improve it if necessary. Depending on the number of volunteers present, we usually led with another volunteer a couple of lessons a day (which we chose the day before) and attended the other lessons in order to bring one on one support to the children. We also had more relaxed talks with the children on topics such as respect, substance abuse and safe sex and played board games. Overall the days were quite busy but you have some breaks to relax. There was no obligation to attend all the activities but most volunteers wanted to help and spend as much time as possible with the children. A volunteer coordinator attended most of the lessons and helped with the organisation and translation in case the children struggle to understand in English.

Daktari is situated in the middle of a game reserve which makes it a unique location too. You are surrounded by the bush and the sound of animals. This is a place where you feel very quickly at home and relaxed. The accommodation (chalets) was comfortable and to my surprise, we had hot water everyday! The food was very good too (and I'm French) and you don't have to drop bad habits like smoking (there is a nice quiet area for smokers) and drinking (for a cheap price too). There was a really nice atmosphere among the volunteers who came from everywhere.

Every Saturday we had the opportunity to go to the nearest town for shopping. I also spent an amazing week end in the Kruger Park with Greg, our guide, and 3 other volunteers. Visiting the park in a small group and accompanied by somebody like Greg who has a great deal of knowledge and passion about the animals is something you'll experience nowhere else. Greg also offers other types of day or week end excursions for Daktari.

In short, I had an unique and amazing experience at Daktari and guess what... I'm already planning to go back there for a longer period...

Yes, I recommend this program

Such a fantastic experience!

A few friends had travelled abroad and it looked like a lot of fun, and I was always incredibly jealous seeing their pictures when they got back! As it was my first time travelling solo, I decided that a volunteering project would be the best way to get out there, whilst not being completely alone. I think the thing that makes Daktari unique is the combination of working with children and animals. I was drawn to this project as very few others give this opportunity. As a volunteer, you have a real impact on the children by teaching them about job opportunities, tourism, their environment, how to look after the animals and social issues such as substance abuse. After a long week of teaching, you then have the chance to cuddle up to the meerkats at the camp, go on a Big 5 safari in the nearby Kruger park or go bungee jumping off of Blyde river canyon. It was just such a fantastic project!
At the start of both weeks, the children were so shy and quiet, but it was fantastic to see them growing in confidence and knowledge as the week progressed. By the time Thursday rolled around, we were all toasting marshmallows on the bonfire, with the children teaching us different songs, chants and dances.
The teaching programme at Daktari covered so many areas in such a short space of time, but it managed to do it in a way that kept the children engaged and motivated. As volunteers, we were encouraged to improve the lessons, so we worked on the existing knowledge hunt lesson to create a challenging scavenger hunt. The children got incredibly competitive running around the camp looking for the clues, and it was great to see them helping the other children in their team.
I was also given the opportunity to visit a local crèche as part of Daktari’s outreach programme and teach a lesson to the 3-4 year olds. It was a real eye opener, and such a contrast from my school back in England.
All in all, I have had such a fantastic experience at Daktari, and my only regret was that it didn’t last longer! It’s incredible what Ian and Michele have achieved at Daktari in 10 years, and it’s clear the impact it has on the children, animals, local communities, and the volunteers who visit. I cannot recommend it enough, and I hope very much to visit again in the not too distant future!

What would you improve about this program?
The programme from a volunteer's perspective is absolutely fantastic, and I can't think of any improvements I would make (only put a big banner on your website telling volunteers to make sure they stay for at least three weeks, two was not enough!)
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

DAKTARI Summer Experience

My summer at DAKTARI primarily consisted of teaching local children and working with orphaned African wildlife. Working with local children proved to be the largest interaction while working at DAKTARI as students would come for five days a week and we would work with them from 7 A.M. to 8 P.M. each day. We would teach the students different subjects related to the environment and eco-tourism with some lessons touching on making South Africa a better place, safe sex, respect, and substance abuse. The schedule for working with the children was very similar to that of an educational summer camp, and also involved the children and volunteers with the care taking of animals kept within enclosures around DAKTARI's camp. Taking care of the animals consisted of cleaning their enclosures and feeding and watering them every day. At times, volunteers created projects to enhance the animal enclosures and would work on those projects when students were not at DAKTARI. There were also opportunities for volunteers to go on excursions during the weekends, where every Saturday volunteers could go into town or go on other excursions such as hot air balloon tours, trips to Kruger National Park and to different wildlife centers around Hoedspruit. I had a wonderful time and would recommend looking into DAKTARI as a possible volunteering opportunity. Be prepared to work, as it can be a demanding and tiring job at times. While I worked at DAKTARI some issues arose between volunteers and managerial staff where views did not align at times, and jokes could be off-color, but the long term volunteers were great to discuss these issues with. DAKTARI gave me a wonderful, life changing experience and really opened my eyes to the world outside of the United States. I could have never predicted what the experience was like and the African bush was truly breath-taking. I greatly enjoyed working with the local children, they were very fun to teach and to play games around the camp with. I enjoyed working with all of the other volunteers and I am so glad that I met all of the long term volunteers, all of which are wonderful people and great company around a dinner table. I hope DAKTARI continues to touch the lives of the locals and to make a difference in how the environment is perceived in Africa.

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Yes, I recommend this program

Unforgettable time in Daktari

Staying at Daktari was such a great experience for me. I was impressed of the amazing people who made me feel welcome. I didn’t need previous knowlege to teach the chiledren and to take care about the animals I could easily handle it, because of the good introduction of the Daktari team.

Ian and Michelle are just like caring parents for the children, animals, the staff and volunteers.
I had the feeling to really make something useful for the the children and the animals.
I enjoed showing them the real world and the real south africa.

Reflecting the time in africa I really miss the beatiful landscape of Daktari, the morning Dogwalk, the colourful sunset, the run to „Leopard Rock“, singing and sitting around the ,,Bonfire’’ and last but not least the people from Daktari.

A big thank you to all the people who made my visit at Daktari unforgettable.

Best wishes

Sabrina from Germany

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Yes, I recommend this program

My Daktari Experience

My four weeks I spent at Daktari is, and will always be one of the best experiences I have ever had! If you love animals and kids this is the perfect volunteer programme for you! From the moment I arrived at Daktari and met everyone I was made to feel so welcome within their family atmosphere and the location of the camp is beautiful, the fact you can be sitting chatting and a Bushbuck can come wandering up to talk to you is just an incredible. The accommodation was ideal and I was surprised at how comfortable it was despite the fact you are out in the middle of the bush. My first day of teaching the children I was so nervous but the kids are so great and enthusiastic that they make it easy and it was actually really fun. We had such a great time with them, especially on Thursday evening's when we had our bonfire where we sang and danced around the fire, everyone is in such great spirits! Each group of children we had at Daktari were great, along with those we got to meet in the local schools, we all had so many great laughs together. For me that loves animals, being surrounded by some of the most beautiful creatures, as well as looking after them, was literally a dream come true. I also had the opportunity to do a home stay at the local village with a great family where I was made so welcome, and to experience their culture and their daily lives is fantastic, I would highly recommend it! I have so many brilliant memories from my time in South Africa, and I met some of the most amazing people! I couldn't recommend Daktari enough it is one of the greatest places I have been lucky enough to have been to, which I would go back to in a heartbeat!

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Yes, I recommend this program

An incredible and unforgettable experience @ Daktari!

A couple of years ago, I watched a documentary on the French television about Daktari.
I had been thinking for a while to do something different during my holidays, and this year was the year!

I have had the chance to spend 3 weeks at Daktari and take part in the Alternative Teaching Program, as we welcomed older students from the nearby community.
Very fast I was asked to lead a class and, although I did not have a teaching experience, the fact that I am in my mid-forties (with a bit more work and life experience than the other volunteers) was an advantage as I could share my own experiences.

Throughout the week, we helped the students writing a CV, creating a cover letter, practicing job interviews. We talked about the job opportunities in the tourism industry as, surprisingly, they actually don’t know much about them, as most of the students are not in contact with the tourists visiting South Africa. The visit to the nearby Big Five reserve was one of the highlights of my stay. Not only did we have the chance to see a leopard on our way, the students had the opportunity to talk to some of the managers of the reserve who explained their daily tasks and how they got there. It was very motivating! We visited the workshop, the kitchen, housekeeping and talked to the camp manager.

Back at Daktari, we also worked with the students on their presentation and debating skills. We had a lot of fun during the debate on ‘Girls are better students than boys’, where the boys had to defend the statement and the girls had to disagree! The other debate we had fun with was on ‘Marriage to more than one person should be legal’. During the exercise, the students came with strong opinions to express their agreement or disagreement.

The rest of the week, we stuck to the normal teaching program. We talked about Plastic and the environment, and I even learned a few things! This is why I love being part of a community with volunteers coming from all horizons, having different backgrounds and coming from all over the world. You learn so much!

We tried to illustrate as much as possible the class, using for example the video of the Harley Davidson that was washed away by the tsunami in Japan and found more than a year later on a beach in Canada, to explain how far plastic or rubbish can travel in the ocean.
Also we made drawings to explain the different cycles (breathing, water, life) and the consequences if something went wrong. If the local community doesn’t take care of the animals and the environment, tourists will no longer go to South Africa, reducing job opportunities in their area but it might also impact my job in Belgium as I work in the airline industry. We live in a world where everything is connected.

I must confess, it has not always been easy. First, at the beginning of the week, the students were shy but after playing a game at the end of the first evening or playing football in the early morning, they opened up. Also taking care of the animals brought us together.
Secondly, some of the problems the community is facing are tough. During the social talks, we talked about difficult topics related to respect, culture and traditions (like forced marriage, rape and poaching). The students were asking for some advice and it is so difficult when you don’t have an answer to give them and when you have to tell them that sometimes they will have to choose between bad or worse, to be silent or to stand up and in this case to be ready to cut ties with some people (as they might not believe or understand you or minimize the problem). Reporting a crime is not that easy, especially if it concerns somebody you are close to or if you expect retaliation…
I thought it was important to show the video of Lady Gaga ‘Til it happens to you’.
This song is directed to victims of rape - but when you hear the lyrics, it can be addressed to anybody who has been emotionally or physically abused or has suffered any kind of pain whether it is harassment, bullying, depression, drugs, alcohol, losing someone, failing at something, being humiliated, being betrayed...
We debated amongst the volunteers about whether we should show or not the video as the content is pretty violent and we decided to show it. To be honest, I was actually unsettled (and not the only one) by the reaction of some of the students who thought the video was ‘cool’. It was not the reaction we had expected on such a difficult topic. Obviously the message ‘Til it happens to you, you don’t know how it feels’ didn’t get through. Rape is a scourge that is minimised and victims are not recognised as such. There is still a lot to do in this area to make them realize how much damage such an event can have in someone’s life.

Anyway, at the end of a very busy week, it was heart-breaking to see the students go. They had become our friends and I want to know what they will become in the future. Hopefully we will stay in touch.

I only made a small contribution but I hope that for some of the students I made the difference. One of them told me I was ‘inspiring’, another one said I was ‘motivating’. I wanted them to become ambassadors, to teach their community what they have learned at Daktari because I believe in education.
I also found out, through the comments of the other volunteers that I was good at teaching and they were impressed about all the stuff I knew. I like to keep myself informed because knowledge, just like education, is power.

To finish, I was really happy when Daktari gave Patience and Thato a job. They were both very shy at the beginning of the week but they have really grown during the week and increased their self-confidence.

The students just need a little push and that is what Daktari and the volunteers are striving. We want to educate and make sure the students act responsible and think long term and create awareness of animal welfare. Their future is now in their hands!

It was definitely an incredible and unforgettable experience!
Keep on the good work!

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Yes, I recommend this program

An awesome and unforgettable experience!!

I could only spend a few weeks at Daktari because I had to go back to school, but I really enjoyed the time there. It's no problem if you don't have any experience teaching or taking care of animals. You'll get used to everything very quickly! You'll never get bored, there is always work to do! The lessons are interesting as they aren't just the usual subjects you normally have at school. You teach the kids about things that are more important for life than math or history. The accommodation was good and the pancakes on sundays were awesome! I especially loved the animals! The marmosets and squirels jumping around everywhere, the porcupines that visit the Lapa every evening and all the other animals that walk around freely, but also the meerkats, the mongooses and all the others that are in the enclosures.

You meet a lot of people from all over the world a
nd even though I was sad when they left you always meet new volunteers with whom you have fun and it's like one big family.

The work with the kids was inspiring. It was great to see how some of them changed in only five days. At first they were shy and with some of them it wasn't easy in the first few days, but when they opened up, talked to you and asked you for help instead of hiding and refusing to communicate in any way it's very rewarding.

You are also very close to Kruger Park and spend your weekend there on safari. We even managed to see the Big Five and a baby hyena!
It's a unique experience and you learn a lot. I wish I could have stayed longer! I miss living in the bush surrounded by all kinds of animals, playing cards in the evening, riding in the back of the Bakkie to Leopard Rock and spending time there at sunset. The dog walks just aren't the same in Switzerland. You'll never see any giraffes here and you don't expect to see any leopards. I'll never forget it! The weeks I spent at Daktari were probably the best of my life.

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Yes, I recommend this program

A life changing experience!

Daktari is a place filled with love. Love for the animals, love for nature, love for the children... It's impossible to describe what the people and the place can do with you, everyone makes you feel more than welcome! It feels surreal to be surrounded by the beautiful African nature and the extraordinary sounds that come with it (have you ever heard the sound of hyena?!)

Teaching the children is an experience that also teaches you; the African way of life is quite different from what we're used to. The children from the little towns in the neighbourhood will show you what their customs are, most of the time amongst a little naughtiness like you see more often with kids their age. The result is a very interesting interaction in which you'll have to try your very best to convince the children that some of the things you're saying can actually help them in their further life!
The fact that you get to work with not only children, but the animals as well makes a perfect combination for a life changing experience. It's so cool to be close to and take care of those beautiful African creatures!

I was at Daktari for just two weeks (warning: this is too short!) and I still feel the impact that the experience has on my everyday life. Daktari; the place but also the volunteers from all over the world, the children and animals help you to see and appreciate the beauty that surrounds you everyday.

Go for it!

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Yes, I recommend this program

Daktari's impact will last a lifetime

I've been to Daktari in June, 2014. It was one of the happiest times of my life. I can't even write about it without smiling.

When I arrived at Daktari I immediatly felt home. The staff is super friendly and the other volunteers became friends. I really look up to Ian and Michelle, you absolutely will love them. Ian is like a living jokemachine, give him a word, he'll give you a joke. I've never slept so well in my life. You fall asleep, listening to the wonderful sounds of the wild.

As a volunteer your job is to take care of the animals and teach the children. By volunteering you can really make a difference in the life of the kids. Don't be nervous about the teaching part or your english, it will be fine, I promise!

I'll never forget our trip to Makalali Private Game Lodge. We go there to teach the children about job opportunities. As we were driving through the reserve, the children were excited to spot wild animals. They mostly never get to see that side of beautiful South Africa, their heritage. Happiness was written al over their faces when they saw a zebra or a giraffe or...
Another moment I really loved was going to Leopard Rock. We went there with the volunteers to spot the first star. The view on top of the rock is amazing.

If you love animals and want to make a change in the children's life, and the life of your own, don't doubt and just go!
The memories will last a lifetime. I now I have to go back someday.

Hope to see you there,

Babette Verheecke,
Belgian volunteer.

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Yes, I recommend this program

HIGHLY recommended

I was at DAKTARI twice over the last few years and can only recommend it!
The staff is always friendly, the kids are eager to learn and there's just no other place you can interact with some of the rarest animals of South Africa! I absolutely loved it all the way thru!
My first stay I was a long-term volunteer, and I've never felt so at home! You truly become a part of a big, very big, family and have the chance to raise amazing animals!
As a regular volunteer (my second stay) you'll be teaching children for the most part of you time. This includes, teaching about conservation, HIV, drugs, job opportunities... everything these kids DESPERATELY need. As well as working with the children to care for the orphaned/injured animals and seeing there faces light up when they first see a caracal/meerkat/......

I still miss this place every single day, go for it, you won't regret it!!!

All the best from Belgium,
Andreas Boussery

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Yes, I recommend this program

A unique experience!

I have spent 5 weeks in Daktari Bush School and Wildlife Orphanage, an amazing program that allows volunteers to work with local children as much as with wild animals. Yhe perfect mix! Not only you teach the children about saving environment, animals and other matters, but you also learn about them and their way of life which is quite different from ours. It's very enriching and I would say that you learn from them as much as they learn from you. You also work and live among the animals, and the arrival of a new one is always very exciting!
Volunteers also have the possibility to meet local people from the near village, by spending a night within a family. A unique experience I highly recommend...
Daktari is a family size program, on the day you arrive you immediately meet all the people that work here, including the foundators, and you quickly feel like at home. The relationship with other volunteers is great because everybody is very willing, and you can meet people of every ages and from every places of the world.
Finally, when volunteering at Daktari, I would say that you feel very useful and it is an experience you will never forget.

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Yes, I recommend this program

An amazing experience

If you want to live and amazing, adventurous, exciting and moving experience you can find all of this in Daktari.

My month there was unforgettable ; I learnt how to take care and love animals (and it was not that evident for me when I came), how to build an eagle cage or create a nice plant tube ! But most of all, I met wonderful, open-minded and kind people : children, staff and volunteers.

I have so many great moments in mind that it's difficult to choose one to tell you... But one of the best was seeing the kids getting really interested while we were giving lessons or having fun with the games.

I promise, you will love it, at least as much as me.


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Yes, I recommend this program

A Very Special Volunteer Experience

Daktari was a great experience - from getting to know the animals to learning to cook pap and helping out in the eco club at Maahlamele school. But while caring for ailing animals is good and coming up with enrichment ideas is fun, it was the educational aspect that attracted me and that left the most lasting impression.

I've done a number of volunteer placements focused on wildlife research, protection and rehabilitation, but this one was special because you could see the visible difference in the kids even after just a few days of getting attention with their maths and English, being engaged in conversations and being challenged to think through their role in the social and natural environment. It's not always easy and there are hiccups, but it's such an amazing experience to see them get up on the rock by the pool to get their completion certificate - sometimes maybe the first time their efforts have been acknowledged formally.

It's astonishing that they live an hour from Kruger Park but have never been and most don't really appreciate the diversity of flora and fauna at their doorstep or why it's important to protect it.

It's amazing what Michelle and Ian have accomplished and that Daktari keeps moving forward so there are new graduates of the eco clubs and the one week program that are moving forward in life along the path Daktari showed them. It's an inspiring blueprint for bringing together education, wildlife conservation and giving a helping hand to under-privileged children.

What would you improve about this program?
Make the minimum period 2 weeks - a few days or a week is too short for volunteers to contribute and is more of a distraction. Ideally, it should be 3 weeks but that would not fit typical holiday length, so probably not practical.
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Yes, I recommend this program

The BEST Experience EVER

I first went to Daktari for four months in 2010. The main reason for going was to satisfy my ambition for a placement working with animals, both to care for the sick and orphaned that are looked after there and also to learn more about the wild animals that surround the project, in the beautiful and unique bush environment that borders the Kruger Park.

Other than the animals, the main aim of the project is to educate the under-privileged local children that live in the nearby villages who have not had the chance to learn about their natural heritage and the respect that the environment they live in deserves. I was amazed how much helping these children had an impact on me, having never been drawn to teaching beforehand. In turn it was incredible to see the impact we had on them, after a five day program where they had the pleasure of spending time in the bush and the opportunity of working alongside international volunteers and the wonderful staff at Daktari. The smiles on their faces as they said goodbye and the hope that they held in their hearts after what they had gained from the experience, whether it be a minor thing or something more substantial, makes Daktari truly unique in its priceless quest.

Michele and Ian, who established the foundation, are absolute diamonds and are two of the most amazing, caring and hardworking committed people I have ever met, and who I can, I hope, now call friends.

I have since been back in 2011 and 2012 (and will continue to do so when finances allow), where I was pleased to see how any donations needed and gratefully received have led to many improvements, and likewise thrilled to get the same sense of soul and aspiration that I received from the project during my first experience. I am absolutely certain that Daktari will have a special place in my heart forever.

Tim Marriott

What would you improve about this program?
This program can (and will) only improve with constant and ongoing support. Volunteers are a necessity and there will be no regrets in donating to this project.


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