• 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
148 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 57 - 64 of 68 reviews
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.

38 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
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

42 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
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!

44 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
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!

47 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
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.

47 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
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!

43 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
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.

46 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
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

44 people found this review helpful.

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