DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage is a local NGO located in the South African bush near Kruger National Park Founded in 2006, DAKTARI works to educate and inspire children to value their environment and stimulate community development.

DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage provides the perfect environment for local children to learn about their natural heritage. The children come to DAKTARI for five days and complete lessons in our Environmental Education Program. In addition, the children help care for some of our animals in captivity who cannot be rehabilitated or released back into the wild. This program instills a sense of care, respect, and empathy towards animals and wildlife in their communities. Volunteers come from around the world to teach lessons and guide the children in caring for the animals at DAKTARI.

DAKTARI also runs an Outreach Program to extend our reach and create a more significant impact on the local communities. The weekly ECO Club and Wildlife Crime Campaigns help inspire children and ignite positive attitudes towards their valuable environmental heritage.

Discover DAKTARI!

DAKTARI Kudu Award


Ian and Michèle Merrifield officially opened DAKTARI Bush School & Wildlife Orphanage in 2006 but it was a long road to make it happen. Ian and Michèle met while Ian was working as a game ranger at Tshukudu Game Lodge and Michèle was volunteering there. While hand-raising injured zebras, wildebeest, and warthogs, Ian and Michèle fell in love.


I loved Daktari, it feels like your part of a close friend group with so many international people. It felt great to have an impact on the children by teaching them about actual/important things that matter in society nowadays that might change their future. I would recommend Daktari to everyone who wants to have an amazing experience that enriches their life!

Hilde, Volunteer in May 2023
I spent one week in DAKTARI and it was a very interesting experience. Even if i was there for only a week i feel like i was part of a big family. it was so cool to be surrounded by all thoses wonderful animals (already missed the meerkats). The teaching program for the kids is also very interesting and i recommend this adventure.
Leslie, Volunteer in December 2021

My family with two children ages 11 and 13 stayed for one week at Daktari. The combination of working with local children and taking care of animals was perfect for us. Already after the first day, my youngest child was asking if we could stay longer and come back again. We were made to feel welcome from the first minute of our arrival and had the opportunity to meet so many new animals and people. We stayed busy with all of the activities offered, but not too busy – we still had plenty of time to relax! Thank you so much to everyone at Daktari for making our stay so special!

Amber, Volunteer in July 2023
My wife and I spent 2 weeks in DAKTARI and it was an unforgettable experience. The all staff are friendly, and they make you fell at home, the food was delicious. We could mixed with other international volunteers and staff all time and we had so much fun in teaching program, animal care and all activities.
Cassio, Volunteer in October 2021

Daktari is a really amazing time that I didn’t want to leave. My 4 weeks there went by way to fast. In Daktari you get to learn many new things about teaching, animals, South Africa and also yourself. It is so wonderful to help shape the future of the kids that come every week and also to have an impact on the project. I loved seeing all the animals everyday and getting the chance to interact with them. I can only recommend coming here.

Maria, Volunteer in June 2023

Amazing experience with the kids. I met very friendly and welcoming people. Thank you for everything !

Jeanne, Volunteer in June 2023
I would recommend Daktari to everyone who want to make a difference in the life of children and who are looking to work with animals as well. When you stay here for a long time you will become part of a family that takes care off each other. I believe and love what they are doing. Volunteering at Daktari has bin one of the best decisions I ever took.
Stijn, Volunteer in November 2019

My time at daktari was amazing. having an experience as a volunteer has allowed me to learn a lot. i would advise anyone to come and spend a few months in Daktari. this kind of opportunity is a must.

Noémie, Volunteer in April 2023
That was a great experience! It was my first time doing volunteer work, and I could learned a lot, have fun, great moments, know people from all world, teach kids… but I can tell that they teach me about everything of life… and about love! Thank you DAKTARI for give us this experience, and the amazing staff that are our new friends! Lets together!
Carolina, Volunteer in October 2021

I have been welcomed and treated as a part of the family and I have met so many incredible people. I really enjoyed working with children and animals, I learned so much. It was the best experience of my life and I will never forget all the memories I have created during my stay.

Sara, Volunteer in August 2021

I had a wonderful time at Daktari, I enjoyed both working with animals and teaching the childeren about all kinds of things. I am positively surprised about Dakari’ s influence on their surroundings and what they do for the community. Daktari is very well organised and I really enjoyed being here. However, I think there could be a little bit more guidance for the volunteers, especially for the group dynamic. But despite that, I had a wonderful time here. Thank you so much for that.

Robin, Volunteer in June 2023
Brigitte Bardot DAKTARI
South African National Parks
Vetted Organization - Global Giving
Site Visit Verified - Global Giving
Effective Organization - Global Giving
Top-Ranked Organization - Global Giving
2021 Top Rated Organization - Volunteer Abroad
Validated Organization - CAF International
Community Choice Award - Top Rated in 2021 SUPPORT
Community Choice Award - Voted Best 2021 VOLUNTEER PROVIDER
Community Choice Award - Top Rated in 2021 FUN
Community Choice Award - Top Rated in 2021 IMPACT