Find out what's going on at DAKTARI

Read through DAKTARI's Blog to get updated on what's happening at the camp. If you want to receive our newsletter to stay up-to-date, sign up at the bottom of the page!

Children Stories
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Friday, 14 July 2017 10:13

Game Drive to Greater Kruger!


Every Friday, before the children leave, a 'winner of the week' is chosen based on how helpful, kind and polite they have been during their stay at DAKTARI. They are given a tree to plant and are rewarded with a game drive. 


Last weekend, the winners from the previous ten weeks went on their game drive to Balule Nature Reserve in Greater Kruger and were generously shown around by Tsakane Safari Co. On the game drive, they got to see numerous animals including a herd of nearly forty elephants! This was the first time they had ever seen these animals in the wild and were fascinated by the sheer size of them. They also saw giraffe, impala, kudu and zebra. 


As they drove through the reserve, the field ranger explained how he tracks animals using the sights and sounds of the bush and why it is important to conserve wildlife. This built upon the knowledge they gained during their stay at DAKTARI. 

At the end of the drive, the children were shown around a tented camp and got to talk to one of the game rangers about what it's like to live amongst lions and elephants! Thank you Tsakane for showing the children the magic of the bush and providing them with an unforgettable educational experience. 

Nathaniel with the dassie's

Eight years ago, Nathaniel came to DAKTARI as a child to take part in our environmental education program. Last week, we had the pleasure of welcoming him back as a volunteer! Nathaniel is currently in his third year of University in Johannesburg studying Animal, Plant and Environmental Sciences and plans to pursue a career in conservation.  


It’s quite funny that I came here again because coming here for the second time really shows that DAKTARI is a place where most of the students, if not all, would like to come back at a later stage in their life.”


When Nathaniel first came to DAKTARI in Grade 8, it was a completely new experience for him. He’d never interacted with animals before and found it fascinating to be part of a community that respects and cares for wildlife. His week at DAKTARI made him very curious about the environment and his passion for nature and wildlife started to grow. Nathaniel decided to return to DAKTARI as a volunteer because it was here that he was first inspired to care for nature. During his two weeks working as a volunteer, he has been involved in teaching the education program as well as tending to the animals in our wildlife orphanage.


“What I have enjoyed most in my two weeks at DAKTARI is the educational program because I love to teach about the environment and I can tell the children are happy to be here”


Thank you for giving your time back to DAKTARI Nathaniel, we have loved having you here and we look forward to hearing about your progress in the future!   

Wednesday, 15 March 2017 17:39

Welcome Helene!

Helene and Micah Outreach managers

It is a bittersweet week here at DAKTARI. First, we need to say goodbye to Micah, our Outreach Manager since April 2016. During his time as the outreach manager, he built a truly amazing curriculum for the Eco Clubs at Maahlamele and Rakgolokwana. The new lessons are full of great information and provide lots of activities and fun for the kids. Each week, the kids come back and often they bring friends to join them! We are so excited to see how the Eco Clubs continue after his fantastic work.


We do have some good news, great news actually - we have a new Outreach Manager! Helene Colson has been here at DAKTARI for five weeks, learning all about the outreach program from Micah and teaching her first few Eco Clubs. Here is her welcome to you:


Dumelang everyone!

My name is Hélène, and I will be the new Micah (well, the new outreach manager). I am French, I am 25 and I used to work in an NGO as a legal advisor.


I’ve decided to come to South Africa because I really wanted to discover this beautiful country with amazing wildlife and landscapes.


DAKTARI is the perfect association for me, giving me the opportunity to put together environment and kids! Kids are the future of our planet and I think that it is important to stake everything on their education and on their ability to build great things.


And living in the middle of the bush is incredible! I love my morning cup of coffee watching our nyalas.


I am looking forward to achieving fun and helpful projects with the Eco-Clubs kids and the communities. And I will do my best to learn Sepedi thanks to the amazing teachers I have here in DAKTARI!


Welcome Helene!!!

Monday, 13 February 2017 17:11

Dassies, dassies everywhere!

Anyone who has been to DAKTARI or follows us regularly knows that we have a thing for dassies. With the successful release of our last dassies, Buddha and Lulu, there were no more dassies at camp!


Not to worry though, last week DAKTARI picked up seven more!

Three of the dassies were handraised in the nearby province of Mpumalanga. The caretakers were not able to keep the dassies any longer and asked if DAKTARI would take them. All of the dassies are fully grown and we are hoping to be able to release them soon. One of the dassies, however, is sick and we are busy caring for him. Will caring for sick dassie
Baby Dassie The other four dassies are small little babies that DAKTARI picked up from Moholoholo Rehabilitation Centre. The mother of these dassies sadly died and now they require constant attention – something our volunteers are happy to help out with! The cute little dassies are settling in well. Again, we hope to release them when they are fully grown.

It’s never boring here at DAKTARI ☺
Wednesday, 01 February 2017 15:44

Squirrel Raising at DAKTARI

If you have ever volunteered at DAKTARI, there is a good chance you have helped us raise a baby tree squirrel. If not, you have most definitely met Compton, our tame, breakfast-stealing tree squirrel. It is become a major part of DAKTARI's program in the summer and we almost always have a squirrel in our care.

Since September 2016, DAKTARI has cared for seven different baby squirrels. Two have been released, two are still in care, and the other three sadly didn't make it. The squirrels are fragile and we always prefer to have the mother take him or her back. However, the mother will sometimes abandon the baby if she is too scared to retrieve it. This often happens when the squirrel nests are in the roofs of the chalets, dorms, or other structures at DAKTARI.
Children holding a baby squirrel
Volunteers feeding squirrel Caring for a baby squirrel involves feeding them 4-5 times per day, stimulating them so they pee and poo, ensuring that they are warm enough and have enough space in their enclosure, and changing their diet at the appropriate time so they can grow up to be released. Most times, a baby squirrel will have one main caretaker and other volunteers will help with feedings. The main caretaker has the privilege of naming the squirrel.

You too can become a squirrel mother (or father!). Join us at DAKTARI and help raise a little squirrel yourself!
Wednesday, 04 January 2017 21:45

DAKTARI 2016: A Year in Review

Group pic thank you

If you have been keeping up with the news at DAKTARI, you will know that we have had a lot to be thankful for this year. Thanks to support from our supporters like you and our sponsors, we were able to do a lot of wonderful things this year and we want to tell you about them!

A quick snapshot of our year:

  • Welcomed 295 Grade 8 students from four secondary schools near DAKTARI to our camp in 2016
  • Introduced 14 new animals to the wildlife orphanage
  • Upgraded several buildings and our solar power system at DAKTARI
  • Had 38 young adults attend our career guidance program to help them gain employment
  • Hosted 57 Eco Clubs at two school
  • Worked alongside 118 volunteers from 11 different countries

For a more detailed breakdown of everything we’ve accomplished with your help in 2016 and a sneak peek into 2017, keep reading! If you are short on time, just know that the DAKTARI team, our volunteers, our kids, and our animals all thank you for the opportunity to do what we love and reach so many people in our community.

Wednesday, 07 December 2016 13:33

Delphine Peraudeau - Volunteer November 2016

Delphine Volunteer Review

I stayed at Daktari during 3 weeks from end October to mid November 2016. This was not my first holiday volunteering but Daktari provided me with a unique opportunity to both bring some of my experience to children and to be surrounded by nature and animals.


Each Monday 8 children aged 12-13 year old came from local villages to spend the week with us. Our days were organised around giving lessons to the children (mostly linked to the environment) and taking care of the animals (meerkats, mongoose, eagles, wild dogs etc.). The programme of lessons is very well prepared and detailed but Daktari is always keen for volunteers to bring their own experience and personality, and improve it if necessary. Depending on the number of volunteers present, we usually led with another volunteer a couple of lessons a day (which we chose the day before) and attended the other lessons in order to bring one on one support to the children. We also had more relaxed talks with the children on topics such as respect, substance abuse and safe sex and played board games. Overall the days were quite busy but you have some breaks to relax. There was no obligation to attend all the activities but most volunteers wanted to help and spend as much time as possible with the children. A volunteer coordinator attended most of the lessons and helped with the organisation and translation in case the children struggle to understand in English.


Daktari is situated in the middle of a game reserve which makes it a unique location too. You are surrounded by the bush and the sound of animals. This is a place where you feel very quickly at home and relaxed. The accommodation (chalets) was comfortable and to my surprise, we had hot water everyday! The food was very good too (and I'm French) and you don't have to drop bad habits like smoking (there is a nice quiet area for smokers) and drinking (for a cheap price too). There was a really nice atmosphere among the volunteers who came from everywhere.


Every Saturday we had the opportunity to go to the nearest town for shopping. I also spent an amazing week end in the Kruger Park with Greg, our guide, and 3 other volunteers. Visiting the park in a small group and accompanied by somebody like Greg who has a great deal of knowledge and passion about the animals is something you'll experience nowhere else. Greg also offers other types of day or week end excursions for Daktari.


In short, I had an unique and amazing experience at Daktari and guess what... I'm already planning to go back there for a longer period...

Saturday, 05 November 2016 11:23

Shana van Dyck - Volunteer September 2016

Such an amazing project with the loveliest people!

I have had the most amazing month at Daktari! Daktari is such a great project, what they do is amazing! I've always wanted to go and volunteer in Africa but I wasn't sure if I wanted to find a project with animals or with people and this was just such a good combination, I immediately knew this was it!


My first week, the group of kids we got were amazing! They were a little shy in the beginning because this is such a new experience for them. For most, it was the first time they went away from home for that long. But very quickly the kids opened up to us. They were so enthusiastic to learn! You can tell they're not used to having people actually ask them questions and pay attention to them in class.


In the beginning of the week we take a survey with each kid with questions about animals, the environment, safe sex, respect... all the topics we teach about in the week. On Friday we take the survey again and we can see how much they improved. A girl there my first week went from 2/16 to 14/16! All the kids improve and grow so much! Not only pure knowledge, but also their English, their confidence...   

      Shana van Dyck

The animal part was amazing as well! My first night I hardly slept because of all the noises; owls, ostrich, dogs, donkey, squirrels... But I got used to it so quick and now it's weird to be back home and to hear cars and plains at night! Every day you do stabling twice a day; preparing food, cleaning out the cages, giving clean water... There was also an orphaned baby nyala we had to take care of while I was there which was such an amazing experience! It's also good to know that all the animals at Daktari are there for a reason! That was something we really tried to teach the kids as well; protecting the animals doesn't mean putting them into cages if they can live in the wild!


On Friday afternoon and in the weekends you have free time and there are lots of trips and excursions to take! Me and another volunteer Beccy, went to the Blyde River Canyon with Gregg. Not very cheap but definitely cheaper than a tour with a company, and Gregg knows so much about the area, the animals, the history! We also went and did a homestay in the Oaks village to really get immersed in the culture! I was also very lucky and joined the students of the week (each week the volunteers choose a student of the week; someone who improved the most and has shown the most interest. They win a free game drive) for their game drive to Kruger! We saw so many animals and all the Big 5 except for a leopard!


Last but not least, the people there, staff and long-terms and Michele and Ian are so wonderful! They have been so sweet! I would highly recommend this project, you'll have the time of your life!

Wednesday, 02 November 2016 13:34

New DAKTARI record! 28 Volunteers in one week!

toerboer group photo

On October 16th, DAKTARI welcomed its largest group of volunteers ever. A South African based travel company, Toerboer, brought 28 volunteers to work at DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage. The group, made up of volunteers from Canada, the U.S., and South Africa, was split in half and each group shared the responsibilities of teaching the children at DAKTARI and completing community projects.

During their 6-day stay, the volunteers successfully completed a teaching week at DAKTARI and also planted 60 trees at four different secondary schools! It was a very rewarding experience for DAKTARI and for Toerboer’s volunteers. All 28 volunteers left with tears in their eyes, hoping to return soon!

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