Join us to volunteer with children and animals
DAKTARI’s volunteering program is designed to give our volunteers the opportunity to teach local children, care for injured or abandoned wildlife and get fully immersed in the South African bush and culture.
As teachers and caretakers at DAKTARI our volunteers are vital to the success of our programs and make a great impact on the communities. You will spend your day teaching children and helping our staff care for the animals around the camp. This can be anything from feeding an animal with a bottle to cleaning their enclosures or picking up a hammer and renovating their homes.
Don’t forget to check out our long-term volunteer positions to stay at DAKTARI for up to a year!
TEACHING THE CHILDREN
Monday through Friday you will be teaching a group of eight children, aged 12-16, about the environment, the importance of protecting wildlife and about social issues like safe sex. All classes are taught in English but you do not need to be a native English speaker to teach at DAKTARI. You also don’t need to have any teaching experience. We have everything you need to be a great teacher!
Your day starts at 7:00am and lessons begin at 9:00am. Classes finish at 4:30pm and then we have group talks with the kids about social issues. We also make time for fun! You will play games with the children, join them in the pool and dance around the bonfire to their favourite songs!
Several times a year we also run a Job Hunting Program where we invite local unemployed youths to our camp and teach them the skills they need to find a job.
WORKING WITH THE ANIMALS
The animals at DAKTARI are a big part our our education program. Sadly, many of the animals we have here are not able to be released but we are able to give them a second life at DAKTARI where they make a big impact. Many of the children who visit DAKTARI have never seen the local wildlife, but here they get to see these animals for themselves and find their love for the South African wildlife.
As a volunteer you will help with the different chores that need to be done to keep our animals happy and healthy such as cleaning each enclosure and feeding them.
Many of the animals that come to DAKTARI are injured or require special care. That means that you may be tasked with providing medicine, first aid or additional feeding to animals at the camp, day or night. If we have any new arrivals or animal releases, you will also have the opportunity to renovate or build new animal enclosures with our staff!
We now offer the possibility to come as an animal volunteer! Are you excited about the orphanage part of DAKTARI, but not so sure you’re the right person to teach the children? Then you’re in luck!
We are always in need of volunteers who want to help out with taking care of our animals and can take up to 3 of these volunteers at once. You will be given a bit more responsibility regarding animal care and will work closely with our animal manager and animal welfare and development manager.
Want to come to DAKTARI specifically as an animal volunteer? Then be sure to mention that in our inquiry!
ECO CLUB AND COMMUNITY PROJECTS
Volunteers have many opportunities to get involved with the local communities around DAKTARI. Each week, DAKTARI hosts two ECO CLUBs at the local village schools. The ECO CLUB is a voluntary afterschool club that the children attend to learn more about the environment. Our volunteers can join DAKTARI’s outreach manager each week to help host the ECO CLUB.
It is also possible to get involved in some of our community improvement projects. These projects are often centered around waste management and include large litter clean-ups, painting and the installation of rubbish bins.
DAKTARI RESERVE AND ACCOMMODATION
DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage is set in a beautiful nature reserve with granite hills and the most stunning views. Leopard, hyena, buffalo, impala, kudu, wildebeest, zebra and giraffe roam freely within our grounds. The camp itself is located in the heart of the reserve and it is here that you will work with the children and enclosed animals. However, you will be going into the reserve to explore the signs of nature around us!
We are located in the middle of the bush and so the camp is rustic, although we do our very best to make sure everyone is kept clean, comfortable, and well fed! You will enjoy hot showers, running water, and solar-powered lights in your traditional chalets. You may be sharing your chalet with up to 4 other volunteers but everyone has their own bed and space to store clothes and personal items. There are no plugs in the chalets but we have an allocated charging station in the bar where you can charge all of your electronic devices. The only items we do not allow are hair dryers and straighteners as they use too much of our solar power.
At DAKTARI, everyone is served three meals a day by our experienced kitchen staff. We can cater to vegetarians and vegans, but gluten free people should bring their own food for the first week and can then stock up during the weekend. Sadly, gluten free food is too expensive for us to be able to provide it without an extra cost. Laundry is done for everyone each day, with the exception of Sunday, and the rooms are cleaned every day. Our volunteers are often pleasantly surprised at the nice conditions when they arrive.
All arrivals and departures are on Saturdays. When you arrive, you will be given a tour and introduction to DAKTARI. We can pick you up from the Hoedspruit airport or Hoedspruit town (if you come in with the early shuttle). You will have Sunday to relax, catch up on rest and study for your lessons on Monday!
Living and working at DAKTARI is very safe provided you respect the rules of the camp.
WEEKENDS AND TIME OFF
On Saturdays you can take a trip into Hoedspruit with Ian. This gives you the opportunity to do any shopping you might need and a chance to get out of the camp for a while. There are plenty of great restaurants in town to have lunch at too!
Sundays are your day off. You can plan a day excursion if you like or just relax at the camp. If you are interested in taking a longer break over the weekend (Friday to Sunday), you are welcome to arrange that with our staff.