Find out what's going on at DAKTARI

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Children Stories
Animal Stories
Campaign Stories
Friday, 04 May 2018 06:37

A week of Job training in the village


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."



Thursday, 05 April 2018 06:34

My School, My Village, My Planet

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,, Fight Centre, 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.


Wednesday, 21 March 2018 20:51

Welcome to Tango and Chimoya


We are very happy to welcome two new babies at DAKTARI this mouth! 


At the beginning of March, we welcomed a baby sable antelope called Tango given to us from a nearby farm. We took in Tango when he was only 2 days old because his mother could not produce milk to feed him. 

Raising a baby antelope is a real challenge due to the complexity of their stomach. Sable antelopes gave four chambers in their stomach and if the milk is not the correct temperature it can go into the the wrong chamber. 


Last weekend, we welcomed Chimoya, a baby buffalo, given to us by a local farmer. We are taking care of her because her mother rejected her. She is now settled into her new enclosure with Tango who is very happy to have a new friend! 


Our volunteers are doing an amazing job of providing food and care for our two new babies! They are feeding them every few hours, making sure they receive all the attention they need. 


When Tango and Chimoya grow enough to go by themselves they will be released in a nearby reserve where they are free to enjoy the bush!


Thursday, 15 March 2018 05:29

Day Trip to Tshukudu Bush Camp


At the end of each week, our volunteers chose a "winner" of the week according to their politeness, participation in the classroom and their general enthusiasm and behavior during their week at DAKTARI. On Friday, the children have a ceremony to end their week and a "winner of the week" is chosen. They are rewarded with a tree that they can plant at home or at school and are invited to participate in a day trip with other winners from the other weeks. 


Last weekend, we took the eight children for a day trip to Tshukudu Bush Camp  for a game drive! This is a private game reserve home to the big 5 near Kruger National Park. Ian knows the reserve well as this is where he work as a game ranger and met Michele!  Our volunteer coordinator and two other volunteers accompanied the children on the drive. 


They saw many animals including zebra, giraffe, kudu, hippo, crocodile, waterbuck, impala, caracal and two rhino families! They learned a lot about the wildlife and animals thanks to the knowledge of the wonderful ranger Richard. The children were amazed by the animals and even got to touch three beautiful cheetahs that were raised on the reserve. This is the first time they got to see many animals in the wild. 


We would like to say a big THANK YOU to Tshukudu Bush Camp for this wonderful day!


Wednesday, 07 March 2018 18:07

New Support!

We recently received some generous donations! 


Powafix, a paint manufacturer, donate 20L of paint to us. We will use this paint to keep our bush camp up to date and keep DAKTARI's camp clean and pleasant for the volunteers and staff. 


Waltons also donated some laminated pouches to us. This donation will contribute to our work of educating underprivileged children about the importance of the environment. 


Build it Hoedspruit donated 3 rolls of wire mesh. This will keep our camp safe and functioning so we can continue to welcomes new animals, volunteers and children to DAKTARI. 


We are very grateful for all these amazing donations! Donations like these are important in keeping our camp up to date, improving the running of our environmental education program. 





Tuesday, 27 February 2018 13:40

DAKTARI's Impact

When the children arrive at the DAKTARI camp on Monday, they fill in a general survey that works as a level indicator. The questions are based on crucial points of their education that they may or may not have learned in school or in life as of yet. The questionnaire is used as a progression sheet as they are asked to fill out the same questions when they leave on Friday. 


Through mapping the results of this survey, it has become evident that the progression the children are making throughout the week has decreased over the last three years (2015-2017). Although they are learning the same content as the previous years, the children possess more knowledge on these topics than when they arrive. This is particularly the case with their understanding of environmental awareness. 



This demonstrates that after over 12 years of working in this area, the impact DAKTARI is having on the community is becoming increasingly visible. As more children come to DAKTARI, they spread their knowledge to their family and friends making them aware of certain environmental issues. DAKTARI has now reached over 4000 children and each child that attends becomes an important ambassador to spread their knowledge into the nearby villages. 


DAKTARI also works in the community and the twice-weekly Eco Clubs the children attend at the local schools help them expand their knowledge after they have been to DAKTARI. Moreover, children that have never been to DAKTARI can also attend to learn about the environment. The DAKTARI team regularly meet with the teachers and headmasters of the local schools and the schools have reported significant improvements in the students who have attended DAKTARI. This includes increased concentration in the classroom, more confidence to speak up in class, an increase in politeness and self-esteem and a higher pass rate at the end of the year.