Find out what's going on at DAKTARI

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Children Stories
Animal Stories
Campaign Stories
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.  


Tuesday, 20 February 2018 01:40

Mélissa Faugère - Volunteer January 2018


I volunteered at DAKTARI for three weeks and it was the most beautiful project of my young life. I had wanted to volunteer for a while but I was more interested in volunteering with animals rather than children. After three weeks at DAKTARI that completely changed and I was so happy to be able to spend so much time with such incredible children. 


Every week eight children from a local school come to spend one week with us to follow a teaching program and do educational activities. From Monday to Friday you could see how much they had changed. On Monday we helped the children to fill out a questionnaire with questions on several topics that will be discussed during the week with them. Usually on Monday they cannot answer the questions correctly. The same questionnaire is given to them on Friday and it is a joy for all the volunteers to see there has been a big improvement. During one of my weeks, the child I helped went from 4 out of 16 right on Monday to 14 out of 16 right on Friday! It is really amazing to observe the impact one can have on them and to realize that their future is in your hands. 


The best time of the week is Thursday night. We gather around a bonfire with the children and sing and dance all together. It is a beautiful moment to share with the volunteers and children.


In terms of the animals, it is just as wonderful. Each animal has its own story that has led it to DAKTARI. I loved being close to the animals, cleaning their enclosures, feeding them twice a day and cuddling the baby dassies! 


I could talk about my experience at DAKTARI for hours so I will thank all the volunteers and staff who I share my time with - it was lovely to meet you all. Leaving was the hardest thing but as DAKTARI says so well "Goodbyes are not forever, goodbyes are not the end, they simply mean I'll miss you until we meet again!" 


I'm already saving to go back! 


DAKTARI Bush School and Wildlife Orphanage aims to provide environmental and life-skills education to local children and stimulate community development. The below text outlines how our project aims further the sustainable development agenda. 


 1. No Poverty:
  • Improved education
  • Creating employment opportunities in the nearby area
  • Helping local youths find jobs
  • Promoting entrepreneurship
  • Access to technology 
 8. Decent Work and Economic   Growth: 
  • Teaching local youths the skills they need to find a job
  • Assist with work experience and training
  • Encouraging entrepreneurship 
 3. Good Health and Well-Being:
  • Education about HIV/AIDS and pregnancy 
  • The importance of clean water
  • Encouraging tree planting to improve air quality
  • Teaching respect to encourage healthy relationships
 11. Sustainable Cities and   Communities: 
  • Provide environmental education opportunities to local high-schools
  • Assisting in community improvement projects such as planting trees
  • Organizing clean-up days in the local community 
 4. Quality Education: 
  • Providing one-on-one teaching
  • Small class sizes
  • Learning to formulate your own opinion 
  • Reinforcing and building on existing education
  • Developing self-confidence
 12. Responsible Consumption and   Production: 
  • Teaching about water conservation
  • Adopting the principles of reduce, reuse, recycle 
  • Encouraging tree planting
  • Awareness of issues surrounding plastics
 5. Gender Equality: 
  • Learn about social issues such as respect 
  • Teach to respect all people regardless of their background
  • Program is accessible to all without discrimination 
 13. Climate Action: 
  • Learning about climate change and the social and environmental challenges
  • Encouraging individual action to prevent climate change
 6. Clean Water and Sanitation: 
  • Learn how to use a flushing toilet 
  • Importance of basic hygiene
  • Conduct water testing experiment to see if the water can sustain life 
 15. Life on Land: 
  • Teaching the economic importance of conserving the environment including plants, animals and water
  • Explaining the eco-tourism industry
 7. Affordable and Clean Energy: 
  • DAKTARI is run on solar power and we do our best to conserve energy
  • In the evening we use minimal lighting and turn off large appliances that use a lot of energy
 17. Partnerships for the Goals: 
  • Attending meetings with like-minded organizations so ideas can be shared and sustainable methods promoted


To sum up I would like to say that my time at DAKTARI was awesome!

I had my first volunteer experience at Daktari in September 2017. I was staying for nine long weeks. Before my arrival I was quite anxious and nervous because I did not know if I would like the place or the people. My worries completely disappeared as I was taken care of as soon as I stepped off the plane and into the green van and the airport and drove to Daktari, which is a one hour drive away from Hoedspruit. 


The welcome at Daktari was very warm and quelled my fear that these people will have no interest at making me feel at home. I was supported by the staff from the moment I arrived at Daktari until my departure in December. Never was anyone annoyed by any questions I asked and never did I feel like I was unwelcome or unwanted. 


Every week we welcome a group of eight students to teach about the environment and every week was unique because every group of children had their own dynamics. 


Every week we welcome a group of eight students to teach about the environment and every week was unique because every group of children had their own dynamics. Concerning the lessons, a big plus was that you do not have to teach every one of them. You can choose which classes you want to teach at the daily board meetings. Classes are usually taught by two volunteers, so you do not have to be afraid about having to do the classes alone without support. 


Even though I felt like my experience was very positive, there were a few things I disliked. That would be the fact that you do not have much privacy or the opportunity to wander outside of the camp due to the wild animals on the reserve. However, you do have the chance on going on tours on the weekend to see some of the local sites so do not worry about not being able to leave the Daktari camp during your stay.  


To sum up my experience, I would like to say that my time at Daktari was awesome! I had fun, great students and lovely baby animals to take care of. I do not regret spending nine weeks at Daktari and I would love to visit again. 

Wednesday, 31 January 2018 11:19

Akani Mtini

This week we had a wonderful child stay with us called Akani. She is 13 years old and comes from Maahlamele School in the Oaks Village. 


Akani was the only student in last weeks group to receive excellent feedback from the volunteers in all subjects during the week including English, Maths, Politeness & Respect and Animals & Nature. She was also a very talented storyteller and on her last night amazed the children, volunteers and staff by telling a beautiful story with so much courage and enthusiasm. 


Some of the children in her group had misbehaved when she was here and refused to sleep on several occasions. Akani responded to this by writing a letter of apology to DAKTARI once she returned home. In her letter she said "I had a very beautiful wonderful and marvelous week at DAKTARI, I cant wait to grow up and make my own game reserve where I can put my animals and make a hotel so that when people come they can sleep there." Below is her full letter. 



"Dear Daktari Bush School, 


I know you are all fine so there's no need for me to greet you. First I want to tell you how much I love you all, I love you so much and I can't mention how I miss you. 


I just want to say thank you for the love that you gave me, respect, kindness, patience cant' mention what you taught me and inspires me to do. I had a very beautiful and marvelous week at Daktari I can't wait to grow up and make my own game reserve where I can put my animals and make a hotel so that when people come they can sleep there. 


I can feel you are surprised but don't worry I will come and donate at Daktari it will depend on how much money you want :) 


I wish I could reverse days at Daktari so that I could come back and have a good behavior. I have realized my behavior was bad and I'm really sorry for other things I have done wrong (I wish I was God so that I could reverse days :) ) So I'm not and I will never reverse days. I promise that if I go to other reserves I will behave because I learn a lot from Daktari. 


You know what Daktari volunteers keep up the good work, respect, kindness, love and know your worth to keep on QUEENING. I miss you guys I really really miss you. 


From your loved one, 

Akani Mtini"  


Thursday, 18 January 2018 00:26


The last few weeks have been very busy at our camp as we have started to update some of our animal enclosures. Our animal team have been working hard to improve parts of the camp. They recently finished the rabbit enclosure and did an incredible job giving them a brand new home. The improvements included: 

  • Expanding the size of the enclosure 
  • Replacing the mesh roof with tiles
  • Creating a place to store hay 
  • Building a house for them to shelter in
  • Replacing the fencing and adding another door 

They are now working on the dassie enclosure! Although it is still a work in progress, the improvements will include: 

  • New mesh on the front of the enclosure 
  • Stones surrounding the enclosure 
  • A place to store hay 
  • Integrating more natural aspects such as wood, water and hay 

Once the dassie enclosure is complete there are plans to renovate the meerkat, mongoose and caracal enclosures. We hope to report many more improvements in the coming months! 

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