Pénélope and Claude came to DAKTARI with an amazing attitude and the willingness to make the best of their stay! Leaving their families in France, these two ladies set out on an adventure where they fit right in and actively took part in all activities with an unmatched enthusiasm and energy. Their sole worry before coming to DAKTARI was their level of English, but like with the rest of challenges they faced throughout their stay, it soon became evident that it was nothing to worry about!
They wrote a short text to sum up their experience:
'We spent two weeks at DAKTARI to realise our childhood dream. What a great moment to be immersed in the bush and share the daily life with children and animals!! There is a great ambience like in a 'big family'!! We really loved our stay, and we recommend it to everybody...
The "French Ladies",
Claude & Pénélope'
Honestly a real pleasure to have these awesome ladies stay with us! Thank you for everything Mademoiselles!
We released a Large spotted Genet at Leopard Rock!
It is always a mix of emotions when an animal is released back into the wild. Although not always a good thing, an emotional link is made with every animal that comes through DAKTARI, so seeing it go brings a tinge of sadness. On the other hand, returning it into its natural habitat is something which brings joy as it is going back where it was always meant to be!
This large spotted genet came from Moholoholo Rehab Centre about a month ago, and we are thrilled to be able to set it free again now that it has grown bigger and strong enough to survive in the wild. As an animal sanctuary, DAKTARI's Wildlife Orphanage does not often do releases so being able to do this on our farm is something which we take pride in. Due to the nature of the animal and the stress that transporting it brings on its own, we decided to do this aside from the children to prevent any unfortunate incidents. As it is nocturnal, we sometimes forget that these are wild animals who can and will bite!
To continue our efforts to provide our animals with the best care in order to make releases like this possible, help us by donating to our campaign here!
Although short, we hope that this video shows you the speed of this beautiful animal as well as how well it camouflages! We couldn't see it once it got into the bush!
Farewell little one!
The new meerkat enclosure is FINISHED!
After a lot of hard work and a long wait, the new meerkat enclosure is finished! This is amazing news not only because it will allow us to give the meerkats more space, but also because it means that we can accommodate more animals that may need it and provide the mongooses with a new, larger enclosure where we can build their family. At the moment the new enclosure is being filled up with new toys and tools to enrich the meerkats but they already seem to be quite happy to be in their new home!
Unfortunately, our family of meerkats will not be able to be released back into the wild because of their close relationship with humans due to the fact that they were kept as pets before they came to DAKTARI. However, with their new enclosure, we hope to make the most of them as an educational tool for the children! They are so lovely!
A very special thank you goes out to the Brigitte Bardot Foundation and to Mr and Mrs Barry Peart for funding the enclosure! The latter did so in memory of Gina Whitaker, a close friend of theirs. We appreciate their contribution to the project and we hope they are as happy with the outcome as we are!
We hope to also decorate the lower part of the enclosure to liven up the entrance into the farm! Also, Piggy the Pig really enjoys the new enclosure as she can spend time with the meerkats and live out the Lion King!! (Also eat their food...)
We appreciate that your support makes projects like this possible! We are always thinking of new ways to accommodate our animals better as part of the Wildlife Orphanage and without your continued help, it would be nearly impossible!
If you would like to support us in this cause donate here! Just look at how happy Piggy and Madonna are in the new enclosure!
We are very happy to announce that we have joined the Jane Goodall Shoots & Roots Program as a new member!
The Shoots & Roots program was developed by the renowned Jane Goodall as a platform to empower and involve the younger generations in a community to take action and work for creating community-based solutions to big challenges. As we believe that the mission and goal of DAKTARI is very much aligned with the aim of the Shoots & Roots Program, it seemed natural to join.
In addition to the reputation of Mrs. Goodall and her legacy, joining this project will allow DAKTARI to take part in a large network of similar organisations, creating connections to share experiences and methods to empower the younger people. Moreover, the educational program which they provide as part of the project is something of great interest to us as it will serve to develop our own curriculum for both the children who visit the farm, as well as those who DAKTARI provides support for in the neighbouring communities through outreach projects such as Eco-Club.
As part of joining the project, the partner associations are encouraged to begin three projects lead by the young people of the affected communities involving children, animals, and the environment. With this in mind, our Animal Caretaker Sara began the 'My Dog My Friend' campaign with the children from the local Eco-Club. The aim of the campaign is to raise awareness about the importance of keeping clean and healthy dogs for the health of the community, as well as how to take care of them. With the involvement of the children we can already see some results!
Through this program we believe that we can go further in our shared objective of turning learners into leaders! Read more about the larger picture of the project here!
Marloes - Volunteer in March / April 2015
"I visited several countries as a tourist, which were all nice experiences, but I was looking for more. I really wanted to help people, not only by spending money in their country. Out of all the projects that were looking for volunteers, I chose Daktari. The combination of working with kids and animals is great. But Daktari earned my choice because of their tone of voice; positive and full of sincere love for the environment. At first I was really nervous about joining them as a volunteer. I did not have experience in teaching, working with kids, animals or travelling alone. These worries were not necessary at all. I was adapted in a group of very nice people and really felt at home. The staff even cooked me vegetarian meals. Fake meat in the bush; I did not expect that at all :)! I had never been so far from the civilized world. I had to get used to the peace and quiet. But after a few days I really appreciated it, even the digital detox cure :)! The set-up of the teaching programme is great. We have done so many things with the kids, which gave lots of energy. Finding the squirrel in the peanut butter, feeling the breath of the donkey in my neck during dinner and getting kicked of the couch by the warthog because I was sitting on his spot; Daktari is really a unique, peaceful and loveable place. The only thing that annoyed me during my two weeks stay was the sound of the owl. I said that I would rather hear the sounds of traffic. But as I am writing this experience on my roof in the noisy center of Rotterdam, I think that owl was not that bad ;). I have many good memories from my stay. Thank you very much for that Daktari, I wish you all the best in the future!"
To see the full interview Marloes did on GoAbroad.com about her experience at DAKTARI, click here!
Thank you Marloes for your kind words!
A great start to 2015!
Hello one, hello all!
We have been super busy with the steady stream of new volunteers coming down to South Africa but we did not forget about the newsletter! Check out below a condensed summary of all things that have happened at DAKTARI and the projects that we have been involved in! Hopefully you have had as great of a start to the year as we have :)
A real roller-coaster of emotions including Shiloweni's passing and the joy of welcoming new members to our big family.
I hope you enjoy!
All the best,
My experience as a long-term Volunteer at DAKTARI
« I will come back, Africa!! Be sure that, one day, I will travel again within all your beauties» was my last thought when I flew back to France, leaving behind me South Africa. Leaving behind?? Actually not really, I think South Africa will be always in my heart, from all I learnt, saw, discovered, experimented… By all the amazing people I met, children, volunteers, locals, Michele, Ian… And by all these crazy funny animals I had the chance to work with or contemplate during my trip.
Oh, I forgot to introduce myself. Anne-Sophie, 24, French, Marketing Manager at DAKTARI from April 2014 to March 2015, now flying towards new adventures!
How did I choose my volunteer experience?
I searched for months and months for a humanitarian mission or a volunteering experience. I wanted to travel after my studies, being involved in an environmental project where I could help the less fortunate than myself. But doing what exactly? Protecting the wildlife? Supporting the children? And where? In South America, Africa? So many questions and projects all over the world that it was difficult to choose one.
And one day, as if the entire universe just converged to guide me and light my path, the perfect opportunity just came to me. I found DAKTARI, an organization that works with underprivileged children AND injured animal, in the middle of the South African Bush, next to the Kruger Park! PERFECT!! I sent an email to Michele to come for 1 month. Her reply: “Dear Anne-Sophie, (…) I saw you just completed your study in Marketing (…), I am currently looking for a Marketing Manager here at DAKTARI, for 1 year (…), If you are interested send me your CV (…)”
From that moment to today, everything went very quickly and my life took a new turn.
3 flights. 20 hours of travel. 1 foot on the African Continent and my heart had found what it was looking for… DAKTARI. The bush. A new exciting home. New friends. A new team work. And I was ready for the most wonderful job ever!! The children’s smiles. The staff’s dance. The birds’ songs. The animals’ foolishness. The adventurous volunteers. Ian’s jokes and his crazy dirty stories. Michele, her dogs and her contagious funny attitude…
I will never forget all these beautiful adventures and meetings. Here is a sample of what is in my head when I think about DAKTARI: Face to face with Cachou (the Dassie) on my toilet while he was having a poo, a good morning!! Live with 6 little bush babies in my room. Work with a foolish squirrel which bites all the papers and a warthog who breaks everything. Released a pangolin into the wild. The “I LOVE YOUUUU” of the ostriches. Hear the hyena calling at night. And also the Lions (once)!! Scratching the porcupine under his arm. Holding a Python. The Boma fires under the stars with the children and the volunteers. But also… Discovering Shiloweni (the Leopard) dead in his enclosure. See a Black Mamba in the roof above my room. Take my shower with a frog and put Giraffe poo in my mouth (because it’s part of the tradition!).
Finally, how could I forget the breath-taking sunset of the Leopard Rock, the smell of the colourful flowers, the beauty of the green bush, the peaceful noisy sounds around… The list is unlimited and the words are missing to express what Africa is really like. You have to try it to know!! Give your time as a volunteer and you will see that you are not only helping and discovering others, but yourself…
For this unforgettable volunteer adventure and for making one of my childhood dreams come true (living in the bush surrounded by beauty and animals), I would like to say a huge and warm thank you to 2 great lovely people, Ian and Michele!! You are such wonderful people who put all their hearts into this worthy cause and it was an honour for me to work by your side. Thank you for this memorable lesson of life and all I have learnt thanks to you and DAKTARI! Keep going!
In this place I felt alive, free and strong!
Let’s celebrate World Water Day with DAKTARI Bush School!
On Sunday 22th of March 2015, the planet celebrates water on Earth! Water is a gift of life, a gift that everyone has to honour and care about. Yet today, about 750 million people lack access to safe water and about 2.5 billion people don’t have access to improved sanitation*.
For this upcoming special day, Temesho, 14 tell us about his story with water. Temesho lives in the Limpopo Province of South Africa. In his village there is no safe tap water or proper sanitation. The option? Walk everyday, sometimes for hours, carrying laundry to the only free source of water around: the river. “The river is full of paper and all things”, Temesho tell us, but “me and my family we need water to drink”. The water from the river is used for ordinary house tasks like cleaning, cooking, washing and most of it, drinking. The conclusion, the locals are forced to pollute more and more of the river with chemical cleaning products and put their lives and those of the animals in danger.
On World Water Day this year, DAKTARI, through the eyes of this little boy, would like to pass the message that education can save lives and protect the environment! We have to educate the underprivileged children about the importance of drinking safe water and not to pollute the river. Also, we have to make people everywhere understand the seriousness of water conservation. Realise today and everyday, the water that you use is a gift and not something that should ever be taken for granted.
A story of water, with Temesho
Do not waste water and close your tap. Reduce your consumption of water. Teach your children to use water in a good way.
*Resources: World Health Organization and UNICEF Joint Monitoring Programme (JMP). (2014). Progress on Drinking Water and Sanitation, 2014 Update.
I am Manu, the new marketing volunteer at DAKTARI! I arrived at the camp about a week ago and after spending the week working with the kids and the animals as a standard volunteer, I can safely say that I have fallen in love with the project already. But now, it is time to get to work!
Firstly, a little bit about myself. I was born in Spain but have moved around the world a few times. Before coming to South Africa I did my Bachelor in the UK and moved to Switzerland where my family is located for the moment. I graduated with a degree in Law and Management, but, with the aim of doing something more fulfilling, I decided to look for a project that would allow me to travel and discover a new place while working with both animals and mainly kids. That's when I found DAKTARI!
I can't wait to get started, and with all the support from Anne Sophie and the rest of the team I am sure its going to be an amazing experience!
Thank you all for your continued support to this amazing project! Maybe we'll see each other soon :)
Source: FastFACTS – February 2015 – Issue 282
Institute of Race Relations
South Africa Education Profile
The good news is that the proportion of South Africans aged 20 and above with no schooling declined from 11.6% in 2002 to 5.5% in 2013.
The proportion of those with matric increased from 29.8% to 38.8%. (read more)
General: The banded mongoose is a sturdy mongoose with a large head, small ears, short, muscular limbs and a long tail, almost as long as the rest of the body. The Banded Mongoose is not an endangered species, the development of agriculture in the continent has had a positive influence on their numbers as crops of the farmland serve as an extra food source.
Interesting fact: Mongoose are highly social, living in packs of about a dozen, typically up to about 30. Packs sleep together and forage in loose groups, each mongoose obtaining its own food. Groups live in home ranges which may be territories, as meetings between groups are aggressive. Each home range contains several dens which are used in rotation for a few days at a time.
Pilou, the little tiny girl
Personal history: Pilou has been found by a neighbour in her garden. After it was obvious she was abandoned by her family, she took this little tiny mongoose and call DAKTARI to take care of her. Pilou arrived in February 2015, at 3 weeks old. She looks very friendly and curious to discover the world. In a few months when she will be ready and strong enough, she will join Jackson and Leon, our two others Banded Mongooses.
Would you like to sponsor Pilou?
Please email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information, thank you!
Jackson and Leon
Personal history: A lady from Tzaneen found Jackson (picture on the left) in January 2015 alone in her garden. Quite friendly and tame, we think that this male Banded Mongoose was hand raised by humans and maybe escaped. He was very happy to find Leon and those two seem very good together.
Leon (picture on the right) arrived at DAKTARI a few years ago with a brain disease. Indeed, he just turns around in circles all the time. It was too risky to release him with the others 11 Banded Mongoose into the wild and Leon stayed at DAKTARI. Little by little, new lonely mongooses arrive in the camp and Leon appreciates the company! Soon, we will organise another rehabilitation project, with the long term goal being a release of them into the wild.
Would you like to sponsor Jackson and Leon?
Please email email@example.com for more information, thank you!
A film by Gareth Kaatze
This is the story of Marupi, a young child passionate about the beauty and the animals of South Africa. He lives close to the famous Kruger Park, but does not have the chance to experience it. From a far-away village in Limpopo, Marupi does not have access to the water, lives surrounded by rubbish and tries to find some space in the overcrowded classroom.
One day, he found the perfect place for his dream to come true. It is a bush school and a wildlife orphanage, which inspired and educated him about the environment and conservation. He learnt to take care of the animals, to protect the planet and respect others.
Marupi came back to his village, proud and grown up, with the desire to share with others what he learnt to make South Africa a better place…
Behind the Scene
10 days of filming to meet, understand, discover the life of the local underprivileged children. In their classroom, village, surroundings, we followed Marupi and his incredible story. A little boy like no other, who loves animals and nature. He was so happy to come for a week at DAKTARI and learn more about his passion for the environment. So many precious and funny moments remain in our minds during the filming... You have to know that, with the animals, it is not always easy to control everything! :)
Gareth Kaatze, a young South African movie maker, passionate about nature and conservation projects, gives us the right tone for our cause through the video. Original, non-conventional, funny and heart-warming, this is the kind of story that DAKTARI spreads everyday and that Gareth knew how to reveal to the world through the lens of his camera.
THANK YOU Gareth!
Thank you Ingrid and TravelMagSA for their lovely article in their magazine! TravelMagSA is a digital diversion of Lifestyle and Leisure Travel Magazine. You can visit their website at: www.topbiz.co.za
"A meerkat that inevitably started to bite. A mongoose that turned out to be not such a great pet. A Verraux Eagle whose wing had to be amputated because it flew into a pow- er line. A blind donkey found aimlessly wandering around Phalaborwa. The list goes on. All the animals at DAKTARI have a story to tell, their fates sealed by human ignorance and relentless en- croachment, and then altered by human kindness. Some will live out their days in captivity but many of DAKTARI’s animals have been rehabilitated and returned to the wild. All the animals, whether they stay or are prepared to be released, are part of a unique educational system that helps teach rural children about the importance of respect and kindness to animals and the conservation of our planet. Small successes perhaps on the scale of the damage being done by people to our planet, but at DAKTARI I became convinced that without these small successes we would all be lost, if not doomed. DAKTARI inspired me to feel hope, and what is more important than hope? (read more...)