Volunteer with Children and Animals in South Africa

Video and Photos

Cuddling the animals is a great way to spend free time!
The children benefit from 1:1 attention from volunteers.
On weekends, there's the option of doing different excursions.

About

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!

So - what are you waiting for? COME JOIN US & HELP CHANGE OUR WORLD **100% of your payment goes to the charity connected with the school children.**
Highlights
  • 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!

Impact

Our programs have reached more than 4,000 children in 14 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 and community development initiatives.

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!

Questions & Answers

Great question! Once you send a message or press Apply Now, the provider of this program will receive your message or application, and guide you to the next step. All you have to do is fill out a few details! The entire process should only take a few days and every message will appear in your personal inbox.

You will know within the next few days.

Your message will be sent to the provider who runs this program! You will receive a personal email as well as a message in your Go Overseas Inbox (top right of the page, "Inbox") once the provider responds to your question. At any point, you can ask more questions by pressing View within your Go Overseas Inbox.

Wait for the provider of this program to accept you! You will receive an email to your personal inbox as well as your Inbox here on Go Overseas within 48 hours.

Reviews

96%
based on 46 reviews
  • Impact 9.3
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.4
  • Value 9.4
  • Safety 9.6
Showing 1 - 15 of 46
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Rafaela
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing two weeks at Daktari!

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.
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Jo
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

The DAKTARI experience

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

A great experience!

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

A great experience!

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

Great cultural experience

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.
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Stefani
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

volunteer

I really wanted to volunteer with a program that combines and unites children and animals without exploiting either. It was wonderful at Daktari to visit the communities of the children after the program. Many had joined eco-club for after school and committed their own time cleaning their schools, teaching their friends and family about pollution and rubbish. I could tell many became very concerned about poaching and saw sparks in kids wanting to protect nature. Most importantly, i believe i saw kids really have their eyes opened to possible careers within ecology, in reserves, in parks and/or with animals. I don't think many of the kids had thought that before. I definitely don't think most knew or could recognize the difference between hunting or poaching.

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

My experience

Living in Daktari, makes you grow as a human. Being in contact with local kids and wildlife transforms you. It's for sure a fulfilling trip!
It's important for you to know that you don't need to have teaching experience, because they have a really good teaching program. We have board meetings to determine what we will do during the week, so our days will never be the same.
The staff is really welcoming and you meet extraordinary people with similar goals as yours.
I think one of the greatest thing I experienced was the children goodbye. Hearing them saying your name out loud, looking into your eyes, and thanking for everything that happened during their stay is so rewarding! I have never felt something so amazing like this.

Daktari is an amazing project!

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
For sure the animal stabling. I have never been in contact with wild animals!
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Simon
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

2 weeks at DAKTARI

Everything is peaceful here, it's a pleasure to work with children and and animals for such a price. Thank you for this experience
The program is very effective and even if you have never ever taught in your life, you will be able to teach very well.
To anyone who wants to travel, DAKTARI is an awesome way to visit the beauty of South Africa and to have a positive impact at the same time.
I have never seen such an amazing teaching and conservation program in african countries. It's an awesome opportunity to make the other people, and yourself, growing as humans.
I don't really know what else I could add to this review except to say that the variety of the tasks is really nice. Children, animals, teaching, cleaning, playing and visiting. Thank you

What was your funniest moment?
The bonfire is an amazing moment that we share with volunteers and children. Really funny
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Raphaelle
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My week at Daktari

My week at Daktari was AMAZING !!!!
I like it because it`s both with animals (take care of them, cleaning, feeding, observe their behavior...) and with children (teaching about a lot of things really important like the environment, politeness, take care of animals, anti-poaching, swimming...) . It`s really cool to see their progression during the week, they learnt and want to teach the other one on their village.
Other volunteers and staff are really friendly, you can share a lot and learn about so many different things !
It`s also possible to make some excursions, so you have the opportunity to see other interesting things like the big five, boat trip...
I stay only one week but I enjoy it so much that I want to and I hope come back soon.

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Camille
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Welcome in the bush

This experience was my first time for me in South Africa and the first time volonteering. It was a great and amazing experience, I stayed for 6 weeks.

During my time in Daktari, I spent time with children (teaching, playing, socials talks...) and with animals (take care of them, feeding, cleaning, improve the enclosure...). I worked with a wonderful team, since the beginning until the end, all the staff is available if you need anything. You can also leave for excursion during the week-end to discover the country. Accommodations are really comfortables and meals are delicious. You will also live with other volonteers from all over the world. It was for me the best experience I have ever lived.

I really advise you to come to discover this magical place.

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Bethany
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Home away from home!

Everyone at Daktari were so friendly and made me feel welcome and helped me adjust to my stay there. I had an amazing experience which I will never forget, or the friends I made while I was there. Daktari makes a big impact on the children that go there and seeing that impact made the experience so much better! I had so much fun as everyday was a different experience, creating a wonderful atmosphere for learning and growth in skills and mindset. The food and accommodation was amazing as the staff are lovely and well skilled. Living in the bush meant I saw amazing sunsets, sunrises, animals and plantation, showing the beauty of Africa. Trips into the community were amazing as it gave a wonderful insight to the culture and the lives of the children that visit Daktari.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
2-3 weeks stay is not enough for a proper experience in my opinion, a longer stay enables a better relationship with other volunteers/ staff and allows for more excursions and to properly see the African bush.
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Chloe
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing time at Daktari

I had an amazing time at Daktari! It gave me the opportunity to work with kids who need education and animals who need care. Daktari has a community minded vision and will do whatever possible to accomplish small and big goals.
A day at Daktari looks like this; you wake up and at 7:30 we go on a dog-walk outside the camp. After de dog-walk we to stabling; cleaning the enclosures of the animals and the feedings. When the animals are happy we have breakfast; the food here is amazing! after breakfast we start the morning-lessons. We have lunch at 12:30 and some free time for some swimming, reading, sleep, ... At 14:00 [or 15:00 at Wednesday] we start afternoon classes until 16:30 when we do stabling. Before dinner the kids have a class we call social talk. These classes are about politeness, respect and the sex talk. After dinner there are fun activities with the kid and volunteers. And every Thursday there is this fun bonfire, be prepared to dance, sing and laugh all the time! At weekends you can do many fun excursions or hang out at the camp.
Daktari gave me the best experience i could have asked for here in the bush. I will never forget my time here.

What was the most surprising thing you saw or did?
Do not be surprised to see any animal walk by out of nowhere ... In the bush anything can happen!
Default avatar
Loni
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

DAKTARI is amazing!!!

DAKTARI is an incredible volunteering programme. It includes education of the children from the village and the caring of animals who live in their orphanage. The people here are amazing! Big hearts and big souls. I had a lot of fun, improved my english, learned with the kids and was able to experience amazing moments with the animals. The staff members are great! Each week we received 8 kids from the Oaks Village and thought them about the environment in South Africa and around the world. Also, we encouraged them to appreciate the bush and the wild life present in their country. The rooms were great and always clean. Laundry was amazing and fast. Food incredible! I really don't have any bad observation to make! I had such a great time :)
I recommend this to anyone who wants to enjoy a great time with animals, local children and international volunteers.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would definitely have arranged more time to stay there. I stayed at DAKTARI for two weeks and leaved wanting to stay more. One of the best experiences of my life
Default avatar
Marjo
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteer experience

Great volunteer experience. The combination of taking care of animals - teaching children is amazing. I loved the bushlive and the interaction with the community. I have experienced impressive moments. It's a challenge to teach the children, it get's better when you did it a few times. I think the program really has an impact on the children. I would advise everybody to go to Daktari. At least for 4 weeks. The interaction with people from all over the world is also very nice. The atmosfere at Daktari is very welcoming and the staff members are amazing. They are always there to help you out. Lots of of fun, lots of animals, lots of impressive moments. There are a lot of young people but it's also very nice for older people. You can make beautiful excursions

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Go for at least 4 weeks! 1 or 2 weeks is to short, the teaching needs some practice.
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Zaida
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Be a part of the Daktari Family

You want to make a difference in children‘s life? You want to be with and care for animals? You want to be a part of a team which combines working for the important things in life and having fun? You want to grow yourself and be a part of other people‘s growing? Then you are definitely right at DAKTARI. It is an amazing place to be, where you are a member of the „Daktari-family“ and just support the right things which count in life. Enjoy the bush feeling, see animals in their natural habitat, learn about the South African culture, dance with the kids at the bon fire, sing the African songs, see the sunrise at the dassie rock and the sunset at the leopard rock and just enjoy being a part of an amazing experience. If you haven’t been there, then you are definitely missing something out!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take all the courage you have in your heart and enjoy every activity and chance you get there! It is definitely worth it!