• South Africa
    • Hoedspruit
1 to 8 weeks

Program Details

Age Min.
Age Max
Year Round
Small Group (1-15) Medium Group (16-30) Large Group (31+)
Travel Type
Budget Family Older Travelers Solo Women


Starting Price
Price Details
*Rates on site
1 week $670
2 weeks $1 190
3 weeks $1 750
4 weeks $1 960
5 weeks $2 310
6 weeks $2 640
7 weeks $2 980
8 weeks $3 330
Your fees include:
- Transfers on Saturdays for arrival/departure
- Three meals per day, tea, coffee, juice
- Accommodation including bedding and towels
- Laundry
- One trip to town per week
- Working in the community
- Wifi
Your fees exclude:
- Flights, internal/international
- Travel Insurance
- Personal toiletries such as shampoo, sunblock, mosquito cream
- Sodas, cokes, alcohol
What's Included
Accommodation Activities Airport Transfers Meals Transportation Wifi
What's Not Included
Some Activities Airfare Domestic Airfare Equipment SIM cards Travel Insurance Visa
Jul 24, 2022
Feb 23, 2023
151 travelers are looking at this program

About Program

DAKTARI Environment & Wildlife Education Centre is set in a beautiful nature reserve close to the Kruger National Park. The comfortable camp is located in the heart of the reserve where you will work with the children and the animals of the sanctuary.

You will teach the local children about the importance of protecting the environment and blossom their passion for animals through the care of the animals in our sanctuary.

Please note that all animals kept in captivity in our sanctuary are not able to go back to the wild. We do not encourage animal petting.

DAKTARI also runs an outreach program for a greater impact on the communities. The weekly ECO CLUB and Wildlife Crime campaigns give the children the opportunity to ignite positive attitudes towards their valuable environmental heritage.

The volunteers are vital to the success of our programs and really make an impact on the communities, the future of our environment and our wildlife.

Video and Photos

Program Highlights

  • Educate underprivileged children about the environment, anti-poaching and important life skills.
  • Care for injured and/or orphaned wildlife and help us give them the second chance they deserve.
  • Get involved with local communities and learn about South African culture.
  • Go on trips and excursions and discover the beauty of South African beyond the gates of our camp.
  • Become a part of the DAKTARI Family, make friends for life and memories you'll never forget!

Program Impact

Our programs have reached more than 4,500 children in 16 years, cared for hundreds of animals, and helped employ dozens of youth.

What makes our Teaching Program different?
The children get to spend a full week at our camp with our volunteers and get to have fun, as well as learn a lot! Because we only take eight children each week, they benefit from one-on-one attention and participate in every lesson. Each day has a mix of lessons, activities, and animal interactions.

The teaching program is very hands-on. The children get to see the animals up close at our wildlife orphanage and interact with the animals every day. The lessons are interactive and practical and the children leave here with a passion for learning.

The program is completely taught by volunteers with the help of a local volunteer coordinator. They get a detailed teaching program before they arrive so that they can learn the material. The lessons include outdoor activities,

To get an impression of what the life of a volunteer at DAKTARI is, check out the video below!
https://youtu.be/PrVswQF57rU Life of a Volunteer

Related Programs

Program Reviews

4.93 Rating
based on 68 reviews
  • 5 rating 92.65%
  • 4 rating 7.35%
  • 3 rating 0%
  • 2 rating 0%
  • 1 rating 0%
  • Impact 4.85
  • Support 4.95
  • Fun 4.9
  • Value 4.85
  • Safety 4.95
Showing 49 - 56 of 68 reviews
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

A very good experience

Everything is planned very well and the people who work here is so nice. There is a few miscommunications between the people who work here and the volunteers. Its nice to be able to interact with both animals and children, thats why i chose this programme.
The thing that I could recommend is to organise some activities the night with all the volunteers, sometimes it's a little bit quiet.
It can also be great if there is more communication between the short term and the people in the office.
Otherwise, it's a nice place where the teaching program is interesting because the children can have an education through our animal orphanage. I learnt how to take care of wild animals and I enjoyed my time with the others volunteers. It was a good time.

What would you improve about this program?
The communication between volunteers and those whom work here
42 people found this review helpful.
Brittany Correll
Yes, I recommend this program

Volunteering in the Bush

This was my first volunteer trip and I can't believe it has taken me so long to take the leap. When I was preparing to leave for Hoedspruit, I was nervous about so many things: the organization, the food, my safety, and how I would fit in.

After the long flight to Hoedspruit, I arrived at the most quaint airport and was greeted by Etienne, their driver. From the beginning, Daktari was supportive and welcoming. Daktari is about an hour drive from the airport and will give you your first glimpses at wildlife in Limpopo -- we passed giraffes, impalas, and kudu. Once I arrived to Daktari, I was greeted by Pretty & Michele who walked me around to play with all of the animals and get acquainted with the camp. They have a few different types of rooms, single & multiple. For the first few nights, I was in a single room with a little patio. For the second half of my stay, I was in a more hostel-style room and it was great too, just a different experience.

Everyday was set up similarly with a dog walk, breakfast, stabling, lessons, lunch, swimming, more lessons, afternoon stabling, showers, social talk, dinner, games, and bed time. I loved the way the days were set up and it had a great mix of time for the kids to be moving around (typically playing soccer) and learning. The best part about this structure is that you get to have a lot of one on one time with the kids and down time. In between lessons I always played soccer with the kids and after lunch I was in the pool playing games with them. It's easy to go back to your room during down time but I recommend spending that time getting to know the kids and volunteers. Soak up every moment because I guarantee you will wish you had more time with them, regardless of if you stay a week or a year (although, I recommend a year).

I'm so thankful to work for an incredible company that has provided the opportunity for me to volunteer at Daktari. Whether you have volunteered before or this is your first time, I think that Daktari is the perfect organization for you. They have a great mix of structure and freedom. My only regret is not staying there longer.

What was your funniest moment?
One of the funniest moments from my time here has to be when a Dassie ate my hair. The Dassies here like to get on your shoulders and I thought it would make for a cute picture; so, I let one hop on. It started gnawing on my hair and I thought that it wouldn't be able to actually bite through it. I was wrong. It took a semi large chunk out of my hair but I did get a great picture with it, at least.
46 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Marvellous Volunteer Experience

Spending three weeks at Daktari was a marvellous volunteer experience. The people here (most) are so friendly and kind. I love the staff members, they all have great hearts. It's very interesting because you learn about so many different animals that live in Africa. Caring for the animals is a nice experience as well. Although cleaning the poop out of the cages might turn off some, I really didn't mind it. The stabling was quite easy, and when the kids are here, its really just teaching and watching them do it. The children also make it really interesting. A new group of 8 children come every week, and it's amazing getting to know every single one of them. Teaching them, you understand why they're at Daktari. The education system in SA is very broken, and the kids are fairly uneducated on basic topics. It made me feel amazing, teaching them this important information that will help them so much throughout their life. I would definitely recommend this experience to anyone who loves kids, animals and nice weather!

What would you improve about this program?
There are a couple things...
1.) Stop serving so much meat. You're an organisation teaching about the environment. It's important to practice what you preach. As animal agriculture takes a huge role in climate change, I would recommend teaching the kids about this and teaching the kitchen staff as well.
2.) Invest in some board games and other activities that can keep the volunteers entertained on Sundays and in their free time. I felt quite bored sometimes.
44 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

Incredible experience

Being volunteer at DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage was an incredible human experience. For me, it is another way to travel and if you like sharing things, transmit values and give your time and your energy, it is for you!
During my two weeks, we taught to the children, by a specific teaching program, the importance of the environment, how to protect it, the anti-poaching, the animals but also how to act in society with the politeness or the respect lessons. We also talking about several topics with them during our social talk, organised every night after the class. We talk together about the drugs or alcohol addiction and the safe sex.
We can feel the children interested and happy to learn with us moreover the staff is nice and completely implicated into the project. I recommend it !

46 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Yes, I recommend this program

An amazing experience!!

It was the first time for me, as a volunteer for a humanitarian organisation and I don't have any regrets. Even if my level in English is bad, I managed to get by during my 15 days. It's also a good way to improve the language because we are with others volunteers from all around the world. Moreover, the staff are very patient and know that we can have some problems speaking English. They are always there to help us and they are all nice.

Michèle and Ian, the two co-founders have created DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage since many years and this project is beautiful. It's a peaceful place where benevolence reigns for kids and animals.

The teaching program is interesting and well developed, every topics covered are current and important. The animals are also very well here.

About the accommodation, everything is fine here and it feels like living in the middle of the bush.

To conclude, do not hesitate, you will not be disappointed. South Africa is a wonderful country!!

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
To not hesitate to go and enjoy every moment here because it goes so fast.
45 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
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
47 people found this review helpful.
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...

47 people found this review helpful.
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!)
45 people found this review helpful.
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