I know what you are thinking… how is this possible?!
Ask no more! DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage has partnered up with BookDifferent.com to make this a reality!
BookDifferent.com offers hotels all over the world at the lowest rates while actively making a difference through providing support to NGOs like ourselves as well as measuring the impact that your stay will make on the environment.
How do YOU make an impact?
BookDifferent.com donates 50% of the commission they charge to the hotels to the charity of your choice. That is how you can help DAKTARI by booking your next hotel! It comes at no extra cost to you, but this small gesture makes a huge difference to us!
To plan and book your next holiday, travel green, and ensure a donation to DAKTARI you must visit daktaribushschool.bookdifferent.com!
Check out the video below for a quick view of how it works!
"My stay at DAKTARI has been so rewarding. I particularly loved having the opportunity to teach. Not only do we educate children about the environment, we also show them how they have the ability to make a difference. The kids are wonderful and its been such a fulfilling experience to see how they improve throughout the week.
DAKTARI has such a welcoming atmosphere. It has been so great to meet other volunteers from around the world. My time here was short but full of exciting moments that I'll never forget."
Michelle just completed a degree in English and is moving on Teacher's College in Canada, where she is originally from. Thank you for your kind words Michelle, and hopefully we will see you again at DAKTARI!!
A freshly painted fruit stall building!
If you have been following DAKTARI for a while, you have probably noticed that we carry out various community projects in the local villages as part of our Outreach Programme. For example, we offered career guidance to matric students and business lessons to (potential) entrepreneurs; implemented a My Dog, My Friend campaign to create awareness for dog health care; our HomeStay project in which volunteers can stay the night in local families and currently we are busy with a rubbish management project. Besides this, we also run our Eco Clubs in two high schools as an extension of DAKTARI’s environmental education program.
A few weeks ago, EcoTraining, a local field guide training provider, approached us if we could help them finding ideas for a community project in the villages we work with. Of course we could… and so it happened! Circa twenty dedicated young volunteers transformed the initially rather boring fruit stall building into a stunning shopping place in the colors of the South African flag. Many villagers gathered around the building to see what was going on and a lot of them even helped with the painting works. This shows us again how amazing the community of The Oaks village is: warm, welcoming and really willing to make a change in and for their village.
A huge thank you to all volunteers of EcoTraining that contributed to achieve this beautiful and eye catching result! We bet one can now not resist stopping by in the village to buy some delicious fresh fruits, am I right? Above all, the community is very proud of their upgraded fruit building and cannot wait to welcome visitors to show them around in the market place and the village. That is what counts and where we do it for! Will you be the next visitor?
Our new Animal and Camp Manager!
My name is Marta Miguel and I am the new Animal and Camp Manager at DAKTARI. I am Portuguese and 24 years old.
After working as a research assistant with a couple animal rescue and rehabilitation centres in other African countries, I decided it was time to get my hands dirty - literally!
I arrived at DAKTARI a month ago. Like many others, I started by teaching the kids who come to spend the week at DAKTARI, alongside other volunteers. The experience allowed me to get a better idea of what the project is all about.
After spending my first week with the children, it was time to get down to business! Since then, my days are spent trying to improve our fellow residents' quality of life and making sure they are happy! That being said, two days are never the same, and there's always something to keep busy with :)
It has been such a fantastic experience being able to work with these animals, and I hope you get the chance to live it one day as well!
What has happened?
The solar power system that we have to run our farm in the most ecological way possible has broken down. The solar batteries provide power to the camp for the day-to-day use. As a result of a failing solar system, we are forced to use the generator for longer hours, making it more expensive and more polluting. Also, the power runs out more often and sometimes we have to eat in the dark!
What is the challenge, and why do we need your help?
The solar batteries provide a key service to DAKTARI. It allows us to run a fully functioning office as well as the rest of the camp while reducing overhead costs and making use of a plentisome renewable energy in Southern Africa! It allows us to keep our pollution in the middle of the bush very low, and also keeps the use of other power sources, like the generator, to a minimum. At the moment we cannot afford to fix the broken batteries or face the cost of buying new ones. This project will allow us to replace the batteries and so continue running the project with normality. Running on solar power in an area such as ours makes the initial cost of the solar system pale in comparison to the output one can obtain!
Potential Long Term Impact
The solar power system is a step further to reduce our overhead costs as much as possible looking towards the future. This will allow every donation towards running the project have a deeper impact on both the children and the animals, as more funds will be channeled towards them! Repairing the batteries will allow us to continue in our pursuit of creating a sustainable self-sufficient camp to host the children in!
Please help us by donating on the button below!
DAKTARI Rap - Travis Broadhurst
Last week's end of the week certificate ceremony had a special performance by one of our volunteers! Travis wrote a special 'rap' about the week, including the names of all the children and the entire DAKTARI team! Of course the rap loses some value in writing in comparison to the live performance, but I hope that you guys enjoy it as much as we did! Check out the lyrics below!
Went to this place, called DAKTARI.
Taught the kids wrong so I said I was sorry.
8 long weeks; the experience was mine
So I made this rap for the second time.
Came in late after Mozambeach.
Trying to adjust was such a reach.
But great kids and some great volunteers
Helped to make it abundantly clear.
That all I needed was a little excitement.
Even if I got in a fight meant
I’d be a bad example, not polite.
So I said my good mornings, and I said my goodnights.
This morning we had Lefa with the mice & rats
Wanted to show him, but he got that!
Light became a movie star.
Started at the bottom; dude she’ll go far!
She may be short, name of Evidence.
Surrounded by her friends, kind of like a fence.
Beginning of the week Chanteley was sick.
But our nurse Marilyn sure did the trick!
Never had a guy quite like Godfrey.
So nice & polite – dude it shocked me!
We’re a charity, never make a dolla
Got so many animals, including Mphala.
Oldest one in the group goes by Elefy.
Chocolate down here doesn’t compare to Nestle.
Rounds out the kids & there were 8
We truly could say that they were great.
Start with our Zulu, the coordinator Ernest
So hot in summer here; feels like a furnace.
We run together: Alex Pichard
May not speak english bit its nice to meet-char
Chris, Bri & Gabi – the american friends.
Anne’s got one week – almost the end.
Animals be important so our girl Marta
Takes care of them, like no tomorrow!
Toine & Manu work with Erica
Who’s so dependable she can getcha
Anything in the office, including the directors
Do something wrong; thank god they correct us!
Had the revolution and never liked Brits
But Samira came down & wasn’t a twit!
Hides in the office but the report that Cyrielle
Is doing will be tres bien materielle!
Our Fundraising Manager, the diligent Natalie
Could sometimes be busy but she’ll get back to me.
Love animals so much that I wrote this rap
With a cute baby bunny sitting on my lap!
Hope you guys liked it! And thank you to Travis for the awesome performance!
We want YOU to participate!
We are launching a photo contest for all volunteers, past and present! Do you have a picture which you particularly cherish from your stay at DAKTARI? Or one which you believe really captures the essence of this place?
Send it to us and we will feature it on our website, social media and on our GlobalGiving Page! We are looking to revamp our image, and what better way than to have you, our volunteers, take an active part!
We are looking for pictures around the themes of:
- Environmental Education
We look forward to getting your entries!
As you know, every Friday one of the children that have been at DAKTARI is chosen by the volunteers who have taught them over the week. The award is given to the child who the volunteers have seen improve the most over the week, not the 'best' one. The award is meant to continue with our mission of inspiring our young students further about what they have learned, but also to encourage those who we have seen flourish over the week to continue doing so.
This week's children left everyone very impressed! Not only the volunteers, who work with the children every day, but also the rest of the members of the DAKTARI team. Their friendliness, as well as their charm and willingness to learn was something which we could all feel. Although one of the girls, Karabo, was declared the winner of the week, we thought it was important to let you know how great the entire group was as a whole.
Karabo was very shy at the beginning of the week, yet as time went on, she got more comfortable and really started coming out of her shell. She participated in all lessons, especially during the Social Talks and during stabling, where she did not hesitate to ask questions and often helped out her classmates with theirs. It was a clear example of the impact we want to make at DAKTARI. Not only did she learn a lot about the environment and animals, but she also became more confident with her knowledge! As you can see below, her promises are also great!
- I promise I will respect everyone.
- I promise to not pollute.
- I promise I will take care of the environment.
- I promise I will save the environment through education.
- I promise I will put rubbish in the dustbin.
- I promise I will take care of the animals.
Working with all the children who come through DAKTARI is challenging and demonstrates the 'need' for a project like ours, the children this week serve as a reminder of just how worthwhile the hard work is. I can safely say that all the volunteers were very proud of this group. It has been a real pleasure having them, and we look forward to hearing of how the children take what they have learned on board for their future! We expect great things!
If you would like to support us to continue making stories like this possible, check us out on GlobalGiving, or donate to our fundraiser for the educational program on the button below!
We have revamped our GlobalGiving Project!
We are happy to share with you that we successfully completed our project on GlobalGiving and raised over $40,000 to provide Environmental Education for the children who come to DAKTARI! As a result we have completely revamped our project on the fundraising platform to accurately reflect the current situation and needs of our project in order to continue making an impact. We have updated the impact which each donation will make in order to give you, our donors and supporters, a more accurate and up-to-date view of how your donations are directly put into the project.
We hope for an equally successful campaign for our project 'Educate African children to save their Environment'! Through your support we will continue to provide an educational program for these children in order to inspire them to not only take care of their environment, but also to pursue careers which will make an impact on conservation.
To continue supporting our cause and our project donate on the button below!
A heartwarming story about the relationship between Anne and her Mongoose!
We often get injured animals coming to DAKTARI. The team of volunteers as a whole coordinates to make sure the animals are looked after and cared for if they are injured or need special assistance.
When Pilou arrived in late February she was taken in by the group of volunteers and nursed into a healthy baby mongoose. We found out that she was partially blind, possibly explaining why her mother left her. Slowly but surely we introduced her into her own enclosure next to Jackson and Leon, our two male, adult mongoose.
As time went on, she grew up and developed her adult fur, giving the general impression that she was growing up healthily. We later introduced her to another young female mongoose, Sonic. Due to her gentle nature and Sonic’s more instinctive and wild character, the relationship was not easy because of the imbalance of strength between the two. We tried to ensure that Pilou still ate, yet it became difficult to monitor as they were living together. In early May, on a cold Wednesday morning, Pilou was found during stabling under a tire in her enclosure, cold and barely breathing.
We quickly reacted, taking her into care and warming her up. Due to her weak state, Michele asked the volunteers if they could stay with her all day to monitor her health. Anne, one of our dutch volunteers, jumped at the opportunity, beginning what has turned out to be beautiful relationship between Pilou and her.
Over the course of the following weeks, the pair have become inseparable. Anne has become Pilou’s surrogate mother, constantly keeping her by her side or even within her sweatshirt’s sleeves! Anne prepares all the food for her every day to ensure that she is eating properly and she is hydrated. She loves to eat scrambled eggs, sausages, cucumber and pawpaw, but Anne says that she is a very messy eater!
The two can often be found sitting together on the couch while Anne is not doing lessons. Their relationship never takes breaks, as they even sleep next to each other! Moreover, because of both of their friendly natures, the children often interact with Pilou, providing a very enriching experience and one very many children enjoy.
Unfortunately, due to her nature, it is unlikely that Pilou will ever go back into the wild, but for the time being, her close relationship with Anne will nurture her to get strong and healthy again. We strongly believe that Anne’s positive energy saved Pilou’s life!
Yesterday we released Piggy Piggy back into the wild.
Needless to say, spirits have been rather low around the camp today. Our baby warthog Piggy was set free into the wild yesterday. We have been on the edge of our seats waiting for her to try and sneak into the office, or jump on the couch to play with Nikita. We then realise that she is not around any more!
After coming to DAKTARI nearly seven months ago in a very frail state of health, Piggy grew up around the camp into a big and healthy warthog. She was sometimes naughty and liked to eat the food of the other animals, as well as occasionally going into volunteer's rooms to roam around for more food. But beyond her sometimes annoying territorial behaviour on the couch, Piggy touched us all both physically and emotionally.
She is now big enough to go back into the bush and fend for herself. Although yesterday was a very sad day because of having to let go of her, Piggy's release is something to celebrate as she is going back to where she should be!
Goodbye Piggy! We hope to see her soon with her new family of warthogs!
To ensure the continuity of our project to take care of wildlife, support us here!
We recently rescued a civet!
As you may know from following us on social media, earlier this week we rescued a civet from a nearby farm. She was badly hurt and malnourished so we quickly took her to the vet, where it was discovered that she had been hit by a car a few weeks ago. This had damaged her front right leg and her hips, leaving her with a severe limp. Later that evening she came to the farm, where she is slowly but surely recovering ever since. Following the suggestions of our friends on social media, and the appearance of the animal, we have decided to name her Zorro!
Our new civet is adapting to her new life at DAKTARI. It is not always something good when a wild animal comes into the camp, but seeing the poor state it was in when it first got here, it was evident that it would not have survived in the wild. She is eating well and is getting more and more comfortable with wondering around at night!
To give a little more background to Zorro, here are a few facts on Civets.
Despite their cat-like appearance and behaviours, the African Civets are not felines at all but are in fact, more closely related to other small carnivores like Mongooses. The facial features of the animal resemble the racoon, with the characteristic black band around the eyes. It is most well known for the musk that it secretes to mark it's territory (called Civetone), which has been used in the manufacturing of perfumes for centuries. Moreover, it is a solitary animal with a nocturnal nature, coming out under the cover of night to hunt.
To support Zorro as well as the rest of the animals at the farm, donate here!
Say Hello to Erica!
Hi Everybody! My name is Erica Spykerman, 22 years old, and I will be the new Office Assistant at DAKTARI! It is such an honor to be working for and with such an amazing organization, who is not only helping underprivileged children but also doing as much as the can to help both the animals and the environment! DAKTARI makes you feel at home and part of the family no matter who you are or where you are from!
Thank you for all your support!
And to everybody out there, come and experience this wonderful opportunity!
So lastly, if your wondering to whom you are sending enquiries to, that would be ME. =)
All the best