Location
  • South Africa
    • Hoedspruit
Length
1 to 8 weeks

Program Details

Language
English
Age Min.
18
Age Max
75
Timeframe
Year Round
Housing
Rondavel
Groups
Small Group (1-15) Medium Group (16-30) Large Group (31+)
Travel Type
Budget Family Older Travelers Solo Women

Pricing

Starting Price
670
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
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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
Jul 21, 2022
133 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

4.94 Rating
based on 65 reviews
  • 5 rating 93.85%
  • 4 rating 6.15%
  • 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 65 reviews
Default avatar
Brigitte
5/5
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!

18 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Mara
5/5
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.

20 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Marloes
5/5
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!

17 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Babette
5/5
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.

18 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Andreas
5/5
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

18 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Laura
5/5
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.

18 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Camille
5/5
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.

Camille

17 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
Monica
5/5
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.
19 people found this review helpful.

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