Karin Volunteer with her family - May 2018
My name is Karin and I’m from the Netherlands. I’m at Daktari with my husband Gerwin and my two sons Nils (14) and Bjorn (10). When we’re planning this holiday we really like to combine working as a volunteer and meeting other cultures and experience the nature. Daktari offers that. Especially the education program for the local students and working with the animals is why we choose Daktari.
We came at Daktari on Saturday 28th of April 2018. We flew to Johannesburg where we rent a car. We drove to Daktari ourselves. It was a beautiful trip and, in the end,, we even saw buffalo. We’re staying for one week.
At Daktari, every volunteer works with the animals and give some lessons to the students. Every evening there is a meeting where the work and the lessons for the next day are planned. You do stabling, feeding the animals and cleaning up. The animals vary from smaller ones like mongoose, meerkat, owls, eagles, bush baby and dassies to bigger ones like ostrich, caracal, cheetah and wild dog. The subjects of the lessons are about the environment, renewable energy, knowledge of the animals but also about politeness, respect and job opportunities at a game reserve.
My sons helped with cleaning the enclosure of the cheetah “Martin”. That was exciting! First, we had to lure the cheetah with a chicken to got him locked. It took a couple of minutes but eventually, it worked. And then they could start cleaning the water and fill it up with fresh water again.
The Tuesday we went to another school in the village where Daktari offers a special education program called “Eco-club”. The children coming there on voluntary base. It is very special to see how eager the students are to learn. It was a lesson which took almost 2 hours without a break. And they were still focussing! In the Netherlands students that age (15-17) not even have the focus for 1 hour! I was impressed.
When we were at Daktari they had a baby buffalo and two baby sable antelope. Six times a day they get a bottle of warm milk. At 6 pm it was my turn and it was already dark. With my headlight, I got into the fence and the buffalo came immediately to me. He was pushing me forward to get along so he gets his milk. It was really funny. When he was drinking I had to say to myself: I am here in South Africa feeding a baby buffalo! It was great!
Daktari was a family experience we will never forget!
Thank you so much!