"I decided to come to DAKTARI Bush School with my son, Alexandre,11 years old, to share and experiment with something very different from our everyday life in Europe, through another culture, both with animals care and with children.
My best memory at DAKTARI has been to watch my son interact with animals and becoming independent and taking so much pleasure doing it. Alex’s best experience was the Bonfire night, dancing and singing around the fire with all the other kids, a lot of joy and laughs.
During our stay in DAKTARI, we managed to do a Safari in the Kruger reserve, a wonderful moment which brought us in the magic of Africa, watching the beauty of nature and animals.
Alex enjoyed every moment of his stay at DAKTARI, the contact with children, playing and dancing with them, the kindness of the staff and the other volunteers. He worked hard with everyone and fell proud of what he was achieving.
When I left to go to DAKTARI I didn’t know what to expect, it was a real adventure. I am happy that we did it, I know that we will come back to Europe enriched from this experience, full of unique “souvenirs”. DAKTARI is quite special from other ONG because it offers to families and young adults the possibility to interact and help with animals caring for them, stabling, preparing their food, feed them, clean after. It is also very nice and challenging to teach a group of children from a poor neighborhood on world topics such as the environment, geography, animals in South Africa etc.. as well as discussions on substance abuse, safe sex, respect… and through games, dancing, and singing!
To conclude I would like to say again how rewarding it has been to see my boy of 11 feeling so happy and full of joy during his stay at DAKTARI and to realize at his young age that through help and connecting with other children that are very poor and animal care, that life is much more beautiful and interesting.
Thank you, DAKTARI!"
"Hello everyone, we are Zoe and Aurea, two 19-year-old french girls who decided to come to South Africa to live the DAKTARI adventure.
This place was advised to us by a friend of ours who enjoyed it a lot. We both wanted to volunteer to help people and hearing about this project convinced us. Indeed, having the possibility to teach young students while taking care of animals sounded like an amazing opportunity for us. We both stayed here a month and had the occasion to experiment the two different programs lead by DAKTARI: the Job Hunting Program and the Environmental Education Program.
The first one targeted students from 18 to 25 years old and was supposed to help them get ready to enter the job market. During the two fist weeks, we taught them how to make CVs, cover letters and how to behave in job interviews. It was really rewarding for us because we met great students who improved a lot during their stay. Moreover, we really had the feeling to play a part in their life and that the knowledge we brought them could really make a difference in their future.
The second program was focused on younger children (grade 8) and their relationship with their environment. During the last two weeks, we taught them how to protect their world and the animals that surround them. The role we played was more one of a counselor than a teacher but it was a great experience as well, given that the children were very curious and enthusiastic about their stay at DAKTARI Bush School.
During our volunteer experience, we had the occasion to discover the surroundings thanks to the excursions proposed by DAKTARI. We went to the Blyde River Canyon, on of the most beautiful places we have ever seen. We also did a safari in the Kruger National Park on our own, with two other volunteers we met here and who became our friends. It was unforgettable!
We made a lot of great memories here, thanks to the children and volunteers we met and who all brought something different and personal to our life. Furthermore, being in contact with all these animals (especially the babies antelopes, who were the cutest) was very cool! The best memories we made were at the bonfires when volunteers and children gathered to dance and sing in the bush: the atmosphere was so joyful!
Our stay in DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage was a rewarding and unique experience during which we met extraordinary people. It was an occasion to discover South Africa: a beautiful country which is, unfortunately, still facing some issues that need to be solved. We were gd to contribute, in our scale, to try to solve them."
We are happy to welcome Sacha, our new Office Assistant!
Sacha is 24 years old and is coming from Switzerland where he finished his business Management bachelor. He is staying with us for six months and will help with the Eco Clubs and the Fundraising tasks.
For a long time, Sacha wanted to volunteer and he is still looking for what he wants to do professionally. So, he choose to come at DAKTARI to get a volunteering work experience in an NGO.
We are very excited to have Sacha in the DAKTARI Team and we hope he has a great time here in the coming months!
We recently said goodbye to our Meerkat family. Twelve of our meerkats left DAKTARI to be rehabilitated. Only Gasper and Tikki stayed behind because they are quite old and have lost some of their teeth.
Gasper was the first to arrive at DAKTARI in 2010, follow by Tikki (2011) and Madonna (2014). The family then grew with Madonna's three babies in November 2014: Porthos, Athas and Aramis. In 2017, Colo, Tschumi and Jess joined the meerkat family followed by Jess' three babies.
Eeyore the donkey is going to miss his butt scratching buddies and our staff will miss running after them when they escape! Although we were very sad to see them go; we are delighted to know that they will be back in their natural habitat soon enough.
We also said goodbye to Chimoya, the baby buffalo. She arrived in March and has grown up with Tango and Tony, the baby sable antelope. She returned to the neighbouring farm where she is from to join her buffalo family and live in the wild.
In my perspective, Daktari’s project represents the future for the next generations of Africa.
Before I had even heard about Daktari -along with their project, I already had similar ideas I could see myself building in the future. Reconnecting humans - and especially the children, with their inner instincts, respect, love and bond with nature and with the animals, with earth, and therefore their land and their culture…
I have always believed the importance of future generations to re-immerse the feeling and deep understanding of being part of everything and everything being part of them, of us, comprehending we are ONE.
Seeing the children open their minds and put their trust in us made me feel blessed and fortunate. I feel I taught them as much as they taught me, and also much about myself…
This has led to a loss of animal habitat, wrong interspecies communication and a damaged relationship between human and animal. Humankind have a way of making you feel and be in the present moment...
Humankind and animals belong together, as equals, side by side. No other way.
Our vision of the world and being has the possibility to extend through contact with other individuals, different locations, diverse cultures and different mindsets. Exchanges as such, not only intercultural but emotional and personal experiences are the most powerful tool towards an open-minded education and therefore a change in our current society. And this is what Daktari’s mission is about.
What particularly counts for me is to transmit; not to persuade but to give the foundations to be further interpreted freely.
We recently received generous donations from South African corporates.
L'OREAL donated some beauty and body care products. They will be given to the children who come to DAKTARI as a reward after their accomplishment of the week. It is a wonderful way to encourage them and to learn about hygiene.
The leader of the Pet Industry, Marltons, donated some products such as water bottles, dishes and games. This will contribute to the good care and enrichment of our animals.
The Rotary Club of Middleburg donated stationary and school furnitures for DAKTARI and schools we are working with. All have been received with a lot of gratitude.
A leading food producer, RCL FOOD, donated Maize meal, flour and peanut butter which are all part of the children's meals.
We are very grateful for all these amazing donations! Donations like these are fundamental to the organisation in order to keep their program running!
DAKTARI recently welcomed Beth, our new animal assistant! Beth is joining us from the UK where she previously studied zoology. She is staying with us for six months and will help our Animal Manager Johnson with the care and welfare of DAKTARI's animals. Her main goal is to update the animal enclosure with enrichment.
Beth has many experiences with wild animals. She volunteered twice in a rescue and rehabilitation in Malawi. She helped to raise and care for monkey mainly, but also lion, serval or leopard! Then she worked as conservation intern for two months in Kwazulu Natal in South Africa.
We are very excited to have Beth in the DAKTARI Team and we hope she has a great time here in the coming months!
My name is Karin and I’m from the Netherlands. I’m at Daktari with my husband Gerwin and my two sons Nils (14) and Bjorn (10). When we’re planning this holiday we really like to combine working as a volunteer and meeting other cultures and experience the nature. Daktari offers that. Especially the education program for the local students and working with the animals is why we choose Daktari.
We came at DAKTARI on Saturday 28th of April 2018 for a week. We flew to Johannesburg where we rent a car. We drove to DAKTARI ourselves. It was a beautiful trip and, in the end, we even saw buffalo!
At Daktari, every volunteer works with the animals and give some lessons to the students. Every evening there is a meeting where the work and the lessons for the next day are planned. You do stabling, feeding the animals and cleaning up. The animals vary from smaller ones like mongoose, meerkat, owls, eagles, bush baby and dassies to bigger ones like ostrich, caracal, cheetah and wild dog. The subjects of the lessons are about the environment, renewable energy, knowledge of the animals but also about politeness, respect and job opportunities at a game reserve.
My sons helped with cleaning the enclosure of the cheetah "Martin". That was exciting! First, we had to lure the cheetah with a chicken to got him locked. It took a couple of minutes but eventually, it worked. And Then they could start cleaning the water and fill it up with fresh water agin.
The Tuesday we went to another school in the village where DAKTARI offers a special education program called "Eco-Club". The children coming there on voluntary. It is very special to see how eager the students are to learn. It was a lesson which took 2 hours without a break. And they were still focussing! In the Netherlands that age (15-17) not even have the focus for 1hour! I was impressed.
When we where at DAKTARI they had a baby buffalo and two baby sable antelope. Six times a day they get a bottle of warm milk. At 6 pm it was my turn and it was really dark. With my headlight, I got into the fence and the buffalo came immediately to me. He was pushing me forward to get along so he gets his milk. It was really funny! When he was drinking I had to say to myself: I am here in South Africa feeding a baby buffalo! It was great!
DAKTARI was a family experience we will never forget!
Thank you so much!
Every time a year, when the children are writing exams, DAKTARI manage a Job Hunting Program week. Usually, DAKTARI welcomes 8 students in the camp from Monday to Friday. But last week the Job Hunting Program was organized in the neighbouring village. Our outreach manager and her team welcomed four local youths looking for a job: Nico, Lucy, Dalene, and Ingrid.
This program focuses on giving these youth the skills they need to find a job. They had lessons on CV writing, cover letter writing, job interview skills, and using email to reach out to potential employers and following up on applications. Then, once a month, a workshop is organized in the village to follow up the students if they need more help.
For a week the students worked hard and have left the Job Hunting Program with a renewed hope of finding a job. We are confident that these hardworking individuals will soon be employed.
DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage provides supplementary environmental and life skills education to Grade 8 learners in the nearby underprivileged communities. But DAKTARI is also a wildlife Orphanage for the animals that have no possibility of being released into the wild.
The wildlife orphanage started with a blind donkey and a bushbuck. Today, more than 80 animals call DAKTARI home, including that same blind donkey and bushbuck. DAKTARI takes in animals that have no possibility of being released into the wild.
Regularly, DAKTARI welcome baby animals: meerkat, mongoose, squirrels, Sable Antelope or bush-baby. Like all DAKTARI’s animals, they play a large role in the children’s education about the environment.
The children interact daily with the animals at DAKTARI’s wildlife orphanage. The animals live in enclosures throughout the camp or live free in the bush surrounding camp. Twice per day, the children assist our volunteers and staff with animal feeding and care. Sometimes the children and volunteers can help raise small animals until they can be released back into the bush.
The DAKTARI Wildlife Orphanage offer the opportunity for the students to see a cheetah, jackal, or even a meerkat in person. Unfortunately, many of children have never seen the local wildlife even if they live near the Kruger National Park. The cost of entering these game reserves, both national and private, is too high for their families to afford. Their faces light up when they arrive and see a cheetah have a meal or have a squirrel jump on their shoulder. This experience inspires the children to want to protect these animals them!
"I came to DAKTARI on April 1st 2018. I was looking online for places to volunteer abroad and out of around 20 organizations DAKTARI was the one that seemed to offer the most opportunities and experiences. After I found DAKTARI I spent no time hesitating to prepare for the trip. I bought my plane tickets just a few days after I emailed them saying that I wanted to volunteer and would be arriving in 2 weeks.
My experience here overall has been wonderful. I was nervous because I have had no previous experience on teaching children or taking care of wildlife but every new thing I am doing here has been with a supportive team of amazing volunteers and staff. I learned that teaching children about the environment is fun and rewarding. However, kids are still kids and they can get into quite a lot of trouble-making which means that we the volunteers spend much time watching over them. Trying to juggle the classroom lessons while caring for baby antelopes and doing regular duties has occasionally left me exhausted though. I love that I am making a difference here in the lives of many children and animals but my limits have definitely been pushed but they have been pushed for the better. I think my favorite times were when I was able to share in the local culture and dances with everybody and we all had a great time as well as when I was able to take breaks and bask in the beauty of South Africa and not worry about a single thing.
I have enjoyed my time here greatly. I come from a very urbanized city with little to no wildlife. Coming here is like a vacation and reminder that the Earth has so many wonderful things to show us. I was also able to partake in great opportunities like working with children to teach them to take care of their environment and feed baby antelopes and buffalo from a bottle. We also are lucky enough to work closely with a cheetah, dassies, jackals and wild dogs which is something very few people will ever do in their lifetime. It also gave me a break from the very fast-paced lifestyle we have in Los Angeles so I will be very refreshed coming back home.
My best memory may have to be the bonfire night dances with the children and staff. It is like a party and everyone has a great time. It makes me feel like we are all one big family enjoying our time together."
My School, My Village, My Planet is one of South Africa's biggest community-based fundraising programs and you can help us just by becoming a cardholder and shopping.
The money you can raise through your purchases will contribute to our work of educating underprivileged children about the importance of the environment and animals.
We invite ± 350 children per year for a week of environmental education at DAKTARI. This includes transport, food, accommodation, stationery, a trip to a neighbour private game reserve, T-Shirts for children and running cost.
The way the card works is very easy! You can apply for your FREE card or download the My School App and shop with your card at partner stores such as Woolworth, Waltons, loot.co.za, Fight Centre, MySchoolTravel.co.za and participating Engen QuickShops. Every time you swipe your card at a partner store, they will donate a percentage of the value of your purchase to aid the valuable work we do!
I arrived 3 of March 2018 for one month. My biggest interest to come to DAKTARI was the kids because I would like to work in social services. I always wanted to do a volunteers trip. Furthermore, the perfect place for me is in the middle of the bush to discover the animals and to learn a lot of things about them.
During my stay at DAKTARI, I went a week in the neighbouring village. I lived with a local family and discovered their daily life and their culture. I was disoriented by their way of life: the toilets are not in the house, it looks like a hole outside and sometimes there is no door. The most shocking thing for me was the shower. The family puts a little water in a bath with a dishcloth and you have to do it by yourself. And there is not a real road in the village.
Then the children play everywhere with everything the most of the time without shoes. Everybody is really welcome, friendly and you feel like a star because everyone wants a picture with you!
During this week, I visited the creche and discovered that it is very different than in Switzerland. I went also to the primary school and secondary. I had the opportunity to teach English and math. The greatest difference is the number of student in one classroom: around 50, sometimes more!
During the english lesson, they had to read a text and answer questions. The problem was that if a front person read basically they were talking to each other and it’s hard to get everyone’s attention. During the math lesson, I tested the children with mental calculations, they all stood up to answer. What I remember is that really hard and tiresome to have a large class like that.
The secondary school was to teach the teenagers to keep a healthy environment, not to throw waste on the ground and how to reuse it. For example, we make a rubbish with the brick of milch. You have to know that this is an optional lesson and there were so many students present.
My experience was just amazing! I really want to come back there because the life is totally different but really a good place to live as well.
My best memory was in the primary school when all children come to hug me. I felt really overwhelmed but so comfortable at the same time because they look so happy.