• 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 $1 120
3 weeks $1 660
4 weeks $1 920
5 weeks $2 280
6 weeks $2 560
7 weeks $2 940
8 weeks $3 280
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
- Internet and telephone charges
Your fees exclude:
- Flights, internal/international
- Travel insurance
- Personal toiletries such as shampoo, sun block, 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
Jan 18, 2021
Apr 01, 2022
125 travelers are looking at this program

About 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!

Video and Photos

So - what are you waiting for?

**100% of your payment goes to the charity connected with the school children.**

Program 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!

Program 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.

Related Programs

Program Reviews

9.64 Rating
based on 64 reviews
  • 9-10 rating 93.75%
  • 7-8 rating 6.25%
  • 5-6 rating 0%
  • 3-4 rating 0%
  • 1-2 rating 0%
  • Impact 9.4
  • Support 9.7
  • Fun 9.5
  • Value 9.5
  • Safety 9.7
Showing 57 - 64 of 64 reviews
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.

12 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!

10 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.

10 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

10 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
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.

11 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
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.


11 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
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.
11 people found this review helpful.
Default avatar
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.
11 people found this review helpful.

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